There has been speculation this year over Trump not attending the traditional White House Correspondents’ Dinner(WHCD). Every single president since 1924 has attended the dinner at least one during their term in office, Obama attending 8 times. The news comes amid increasingly tense relations with the press and banning several media outlets from White House briefings, calling the media the “enemy of the people.”
However, Trump is not the first President in modern America to have missed the WHCD. Over 30 years ago Ronald Reagan missed the black-tie dinner. But he wasn’t exactly in full health. According to the Reagan Library, Reagan was recovering from a gun-shot wound after a failed assassination attempt. Although Reagan was injured, he still made a phone call that evening in 1981 to the dinner.
Now in my opinion, I believe Trump missed the dinner to avoid being laughed at. Trumps fan girls will put a spin on this and say he is avoiding being hobnobbing with “dishonest media”. Whilst this may not be the case, another reason may be that he will never compete with Obama’s comedy chops. Trump knows he will be compared to President Obama’s performances, and that’s very bad for him. Trump can be funny off the cuff, but his prepared jokes are not exactly understood by all. Just watch the footage from October at the Al Smith dinner. He was even booed by the audience for some of his mean spirited jokes. Ouch, humiliating.
If the current President thinks that being absent from the WHCD will insulate him from being mocked, he’s very well mistaken. The President may ultimately be able to build a wall, or impose a travel ban, but he will never be able to stop comedy. Personally, I hoped that Alec Baldwin could attend in place of Trump.