President Trump to attend journalists' dinner as he trashes media
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is expected to attend one of Washington’s most exclusive media dinners Saturday evening in what will be a rare social meeting between him and many of the mainstream journalists he has sparred with during his more than 14 months in office.
Trump’s appearance at the annual Gridiron Club dinner comes in the wake of his White House facing multiple whirlwind weeks of negative headlines, some focused on the closest members of the president’s inner circle.
So far, there is no sign that the president plans to use the opportunity to offer any sort of olive branch to the press. Prior to his departure from his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Saturday, he used Twitter to attack the U.S. media, saying they are “being mocked all over the world,” adding, “They’ve gone CRAZY!”
The Gridiron dinner features comedic musical skits performed by some of Washington’s top journalists, often with lines roasting the political figures in attendance from both sides of the aisle.
Early into Trump’s tenure in 2017, he dodged a similar situation by skipping the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, with his communications staff acknowledging that his decision largely had to do with his objections to how he is covered by the media.
At the time, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders talked on ABC’s “This Week” about Trump’s choosing to skip the correspondents’ dinner.
“I think it’s kind of naive of us to think that we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn’t there,” Sanders said. “There’s no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another Saturday night.”
In contrast, two weeks prior to the 2016 election, then-candidate Trump took part in a similarly fashioned roast during the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in Manhattan, but he was notably heckled for his jabs at rival candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary believes it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy — and a totally different policy in private. That’s OK,” Trump said, drawing boos. “I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary — you or I? For example, here she is tonight in public, pretending not to hate Catholics.”
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