Live coverage: Trump rally duels with White House correspondents' dinner

Live coverage: Trump rally duels with White House correspondents' dinner
© Getty

President Trump is bucking tradition Saturday night as he holds a rally in lieu of attending the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner in Washington.

Trump is speaking around 7:30 p.m. in Harrisburg, Pa., as journalists and political insiders gather in D.C. for the annual charity event.

Follow along for The Hill's coverage of the evening.

 

Comedy Central's Hasan Minhaj roasts Trump, media

10:40 p.m.

"Daily Show" correspondent Hasan Minhaj fired off a series of jokes at the expense of President Trump and news organizations in the room Saturday night.

"I get it, I get it. We got to address the elephant that's not in the room," he joked. "The leader of our country is not here. And that's because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight. It would be hard for [Russian President Vladimir Putin] to make it."

"As for the other guy, I think he's in Pennsylvania because he can't take a joke," he said.

Read more of the comedian's top jabs from the dinner here.

 

Bob Woodward: "Mr. President, the media is not fake news'

10:20 p.m.

Bob Woodward, one of the reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, urged members of the media on Saturday to "persist" in the face of an adversarial presidential administration, rejecting President Trump's accusations that journalists are reporting "fake news."

"Mr. President, the media is not fake news," Woodward said at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. "Whatever the climate, whether the media is revered or reviled, we should and must persist and I believe we will."

Woodward and Carl Bernstein gained notoriety in 1970s for their reporting in Washington Post of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon.

Trump has frequently assailed journalists and news outlets who cover his administration critically as "fake news." 

 

WHCA president: 'We are not fake news'
 
9:50 p.m.
 
White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) president Jeff Mason addressed President Trump's attacks on news media during his opening remarks at Saturday's dinner.
 
Mason, a correspondent for Reuters, maintained that "press access under President Trump has been very good," citing several press conferences and media access on Air Force One.
 
"Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the rhetoric that has been employed by the president about who we are and what we do," he said. "Freedom of the press is a building block of our democracy. Undermining that by seeking to delegitimize journalists is dangerous to a healthy republic."
 
"It is our job to report on facts and to hold leaders accountable. That is who we are. We are not fake news, we are not failing news organizations, and we are not the enemy of the American people."
 

Correspondents' dinner set to kick off

9:28 p.m.

Journalists, Hollywood stars and various political figures gathered at the Washington Hilton are waiting for the White House correspondents' dinner to begin following President Trump's fiery rally in Pennsylvania blasting the event.

 

Trump offers his own 100-day rating – for the media

8:30 p.m.

President Trump on Saturday offered his own rating surrounding the first 100 days of his administration – for the media.

Trump said members of the media deserve "a very, very big, fat failing grade" for their coverage of his administration.

"Now, before we talk about my first 100 days, which has been very exciting and very productive, let’s rate the media’s 100 days," Trump said to a roaring crowd in Harrisburg, Pa. "Should we do that? Should we do it?"

 

Trump: Media 'trapped' at 'very boring' correspondents' dinner

8:15 p.m.
 
President Trump wasted no time Saturday evening tearing into news media attending this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, which he skipped to hold a rally.
 
Trump told a roaring crowd in Harrisburg, Pa., that "a large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now."
 
"They would love to be with us right here tonight," Trump asserted. "They’re trapped at the dinner, which will be very, very boring."

 

Pence tears into media at 100-day rally

8:06 p.m.

Pence came out swinging against the media at Trump's rally celebrating his 100th day in office, calling media "willing allies" of left-wing activists.

"While left wing activists and their willing allies in the media, while they’ve been ignoring the facts and spreading that fake news, the American people know the truth," Pence said to cheers.

"The truth is President Trump has been relentlessly delivering on the promises he’s made to the American people and America is back."

 

Trump signs executive order on trade in Pennsylvania

7:25 p.m.

Trump has signed an executive order calling on the Commerce Department to review international trade agreements to check for potential abuses.

Under the executive order, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has 180 days to report back to Trump on whether trade deals, like NAFTA, have helped or hurt the U.S. economy.

"We've taken unprecedented action to bring back American jobs, American wealth and American dreams, and we are just getting started," Trump said at the singing in Camp Hill, Pa.

Standing alongside Trump at the signing were Ross and Vice President Pence, who is expected to introduce the president at his rally in Harrisburg.

 

WHCA entertainer: ’It’s gonna be very interesting’

7:20 p.m.

Comedian and “Daily Show” correspondent Hasan Minhaj was tight-lipped ahead of his speech later in the evening.

“It’s gonna be very interesting, let’s just put it that way,” Minhaj told MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff at the Washington Hilton.

“The circumstances are very different,” he said.

Asked to describe Trump's first 100 days: “A lot of coffee, very little sleep.”

 

Samantha Bee roasts Trump at mock WHCA event

7:13 p.m.

Samantha Bee delivered a scathing roast of President Trump — and at times a blistering critique of the news media covering him — during her TBS comedy special "Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” on Saturday in D.C.

Saying that although she loves “poking fun at the media,” Bee, 47, declared, “as much as you all kind of deserve it sometimes, I know your job has never been harder.”

“You basically get paid to stand in a cage while a geriatric orangutan and his pet fox scream at you,” Bee said in front of a 2,500-strong crowd.

“You continue to fact-check the president as if he might someday get embarrassed,” she added.

 

Trump pens Washington Post op-ed on first 100 days

6:53 p.m.

Trump touted his early accomplishments in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Saturday evening.

"In the past 100 days, I have kept that promise – and more," Trump wrote.

"Issue by issue, department by department, we are giving the people their country back," he continued. "After decades of a shrinking middle class, open borders and the mass offshoring of American jobs and wealth, this government is working for the citizens of our country and no one else."

In the op-ed, Trump runs down a list of achievements, including his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and his abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump has pushed back at scrutiny that his first 100 days in office have seen no major legislative victories following the GOP defeat on attempting to repeal and replace ObamaCare last month.

 

Trump arrives in Pennsylvania

6:03 p.m.

Trump has arrived in Harrisburg for his rally, which falls on the 100th day of his administration.

The president announced last week that he would celebrate his 100th day in office by holding the rally in Pennsylvania, a swing state that helped deliver him the presidency in November.

Trump has long maintained a tense and often antagonistic relationship with the press since launching his White House bid in 2016, illustrated when he announced in February that he would skip the annual WHCA dinner.

Trump is the first president to not attend the high-profile gala since Ronald Reagan, who missed the dinner in 1981 while he was recovering from an assassination attempt.

The WHCA dinner honors journalists who cover the White House and awards scholarships to aspiring reporters.