April 6 (UPI) — President Donald Trump has decided again to skip what has traditionally been one of the year’s most humorous events in Washington, D.C. — the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the organization said Friday.
Trump chose not to attend last year’s event, his first in office, and became the first president since Ronald Reagan to decline the invitation.
Reagan skipped the 1981 event because he was recovering from an assassination attempt. He did, however, telephone well wishes and a few jokes during the dinner.
“The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year’s dinner but he will actively encourage members of his executive branch to attend,” WHCA President Margaret Talev said Friday.
Talev said Trump’s press officer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, instead will represent the White House at the head table.
The dinner, an annual feature in Washington since 1921, is billed as a celebration of the First Amendment. It includes acknowledgement of award-winning reporting and the presentation of journalism scholarships.
Traditionally, the event is attended by the president and vice president — and typically features self-satirizing skits and speeches. The WHCA is an organization of journalists assigned to cover the president of the United States.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush appeared alongside impersonators, with Obama’s serving as his “anger translator.”
Trump had told a New York City radio station Friday he probably would not attend this year’s dinner.