It’s meant to be the annual Washington love-in, a dinner where White House journalists and the president yuk it up in a hotel ballroom. But this Saturday, President Donald Trump stood up his dates.
Members of the White House Correspondents’ Association, or WHCA, were decked out in bow ties and gowns at the downtown Washington Hilton.
Trump, however, was 685 miles (1100 kilometers) away in Green Bay, Wisconsin, for a rally with his baseball cap-wearing supporters.
As usual, he devoted portions of his speech — like most of his speeches — to haranguing the “fake news media” or “enemy of the people.”
“They are fakers,” he said of the media to a typically boisterous crowd. “I’ll tell you, you know what sucks? Their ratings suck because people don’t believe them.”
Back in Washington, the WHCA’s president Olivier Knox told attendees he did not want to dwell on Trump — but called for a rejection of the president’s rhetoric.
“Fake news and enemies of the people are not punchlines, pet names or presidential. And we should reject politically expedient assaults on the men and women whose hard work makes it possible to hold the powerful to account,” he said.
Although there’s nothing obligatory about attending WHCA dinners, presidents have usually done so at some point during their time in office since the inaugural version in 1921.