Trump admin officials will not attend White House correspondents' dinner

Trump criticized several news outlets, including MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times.
Image: 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner
Sarah Sanders and ABC's Jonathan Karl at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington last year. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Hallie Jackson and Dartunorro Clark

President Donald Trump isn't the only one who won't be attending the White House Correspondents' Association dinner this year.

Administration officials also won't be at the annual black-tie event, which takes place Saturday night, a White House official confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

"Instead, Saturday evening President Trump will travel to Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he will hold a campaign rally," the official said.

Politico first reported the boycott, which comes as Trump on Tuesday derided MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as "Morning Psycho"; blasted CNN as "a proven and long term ratings and beyond disaster"; asked whether The New York Times would "get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness" for its coverage; and praised Fox News' "Fox and Friends" as "by far the best of the morning political shows on television."

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

This is the third consecutive year that the president will skip thenearly 100-year-old event. Trump said this month that he would not attend the dinner, telling reporters that it was “negative” and “boring."

The association's president, Olivier Knox, did not address the White House boycott in a statement Tuesday.

"We’re looking forward to an enjoyable evening of celebrating the First Amendment and great journalists past, presen, and future," Knox said, repeating the statement he made when Trump announced he would not attend.

The dinner, which celebrates the First Amendment and raises scholarship money for budding journalists, is no stranger to controversy; last year, comedian Michelle Wolf drew criticism for ridiculing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, as well as other administration officials, in her monologue.

Wolf, a former correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” compared Sanders to a ruthless figure in the dystopian show “The Handmaid’s Tale.” She added that Sanders “burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye,” referring to her make-up.

Others, including many fellow comics, defended Wolf's act, which also ribbed Democrats and the media, saying she spoke truth to power and spared no one.

The correspondents' association, however, issued a statement saying the comedian’s monologue “was not in the spirit” of its mission. Wolf has since said she does not regret her performance.

In response to the backlash, the association announced in November that it would break with the tradition of having a comedian host the event and roast the Washington elite. Instead, the biographer Ron Chernow, author of comprehensive tomes about Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant, will be the featured speaker.