5 memorable moments from White House Correspondents’ Association Dinners past

The White House Correspondents’ Association’s (WHCA) annual dinner this Saturday will be unlike those in years past: there’s no president and no comedian.

For the third year in a row, President Trump will not be in attendance of the so-called “Nerd Prom” and is instead holding his own dueling rally in Green Bay, Wis. Trump also announced a total White House boycott of the event, breaking from the precedent set by the past two dinners during his administration in which other top aides attended.

WHCA President Olivier Knox has also called this year’s dinner a “reset” after comedian Michelle Wolf’s performance last year sparked backlash following her criticism of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Instead of a comedian, the association has instead invited historian Ron Chernow, who wrote the biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the hit Broadway musical.{mosads}

Knox said he hopes to shine the light on journalists’ achievements this year with a nontraditional headliner. All eyes in Washington are on the highly anticipated night to see how the dinner plays out with a lineup that breaks with those in recent decades.

Ahead of the dinner, The Hill took a look at some of the most memorable moments to come out of White House Correspondents’ Association dinners past. Here are some of our picks:


1. When former President Obama took a jab at Donald Trump over his birth certificate in 2011

Then-President Obama took aim at Donald Trump in 2011 for calling on Obama to release his birth certificate and prove he was born in the United States. At the dinner, Obama took the release of his certificate one step further, sharing a “birth video” — a clip from the beginning of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

“I know that he’s taken some flack lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald,” Obama joked. “And that’s because he can finally get back to the issues that matter, like did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?” he quipped, referencing several other popular conspiracy theories.

2. Michelle Wolf’s jabs at Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her “smokey eye” in 2018

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful,” Wolf said at last year’s dinner. “But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies.”

Wolf’s comments, along with comparing Sanders to “The Handmaid’s Tale” villain Aunt Lydia set off a firestorm, as many public figures said she took the jokes too far.


3. Bill Clinton’s famous “Final Days” farewell video in 2000

At the 2000 dinner, then-President Bill Clinton released a farewell video called “Final Days” that poked fun at him being a lame duck Commander in Chief. The video shows Clinton all alone in the White House with little to do: washing his car, mowing the lawn, reading magazines and watching movies and riding a bicycle through the White House to kill time. 


4.  Laura Bush’s show-stealing roast of her husband in 2005: 

In 2005, First Lady Laura Bush surprised Americans with her witty jabs at her husband, President George W. Bush, poking fun at his intelligence, his pronunciation of the word “nuclear” and his early bedtime. 

Laura Bush is spotted laughing through her routine, in which she says: 

“I am married to the President of the United States, and here’s our typical evening: nine o’clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep, and I’m watching Desperate Housewives — with Lynne Cheney.”

“One night, after George went to bed, Lynne Cheney, Condi Rice, Karen Hughes and I went to Chippendale’s. I wouldn’t even mention it except Ruth Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor saw us there. I won’t tell you what happened, but Lynne’s Secret Service codename is now ‘Dollar Bill,'” Laura Bush joked.


5. President Obama’s mic drop heard around the world in 2016

At his last White House Correspondents’ Dinner as president, Obama ended his speech simply, “Obama out” doing a literal mic drop to a room full of applause. The moment quickly went viral for the gesture.

Tags Bill Clinton Donald Trump Sarah Huckabee

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