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Trump Will Be First POTUS to Skip White House Correspondents' Dinner in Over 30 Years

Slated to take place April 29, the annual dinner is typically attended by the president, the administration and the White House press corps.
Image: Trump addresses CPAC in Oxon Hill, Maryland
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S. February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstJONATHAN ERNST / Reuters

President Donald Trump is skipping this year's White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, he announced Saturday on Twitter, offering without any explanation: "Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”

Slated to take place April 29, the annual dinner is traditionally attended by the president, first lady, members of the administration, the White House press corps and numerous media outlets. Proceeds raised by the dinner go toward scholarships and awards for aspiring journalists.

Related: That Time When Barack Obama and Seth Meyers Roasted Donald Trump

The gathering is typically hosted by a noted comedian who roasts the president and members of the media, and then lets the commander in chief crack his own jokes.

A number of publications — including Bloomberg, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair — have joined a growing list of news organizations that refused to host parties around the ceremonies, citing the president’s baseless claims that longstanding media organizations are spreading “fake news” or are “the enemy of the American people.”

The announcement comes after the president and his administration continue to maintain a public feud with the press and blocked multiple media organizations from attending an impromptu daily briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday.

CNN, The New York Times and Politico were not able to attend the off-camera press gaggle with Spicer, while conservative media organizations were shown preference by the administration.

The White House Correspondents' Association responded shortly after Trump tweeted and said they still planned to have the dinner despite his absence.

"The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic," association President Jeff Mason said in a statement.

"We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession," he added.

White House Strategist Steve Bannon told Conservative Political Action Conference attendees on Thursday that Trump would continue to attack the media, which Bannon described as “corporatist,” “globalist” and members of “the opposition party.”

Late-night comedy host Samantha Bee announced that she would host a dinner at the same night and time to compete with the White House Correspondents' Dinner in protest of the Trump administration. Named "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner," all proceeds raised will be donated to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Trump attended the dinner in 2011 when Barack Obama was president and was roasted by the then-president.

The first White House Correspondents' Dinner occurred in 1921, and the first president attended — Calvin Coolidge — in 1924. Fifteen presidents have attended since.

Ronald Reagan was the last president to skip the dinner, according to the Reagan Library. In 1981, the newly elected president decided he wouldn't attend because he was recovering from a gunshot wound in a failed assassination attempt on his life less than a month earlier.

Nevertheless, Reagan still called in to provide a few remarks.

"If I could give you just one little bit of advice," Reagan quipped over the phone, "when somebody tells you to get in a car quick, do it."