Trump staff will skip the White House Correspondents' Association dinner out of 'solidarity' with Trump



The White House notified the White House Correspondents' Association Tuesday that staff members will be skipping the annual White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) Dinner, scheduled for April 29 out of "solidarity" with President Donald Trump, who previously announced he would skip the event.

According to a statement from the WHCA posted to Twitter, the association said it "regrets" the White House's decision and said it has "worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic."

The WHCA said in the statement that the Trump administration has an open invitation to the event.

The statement, signed by the WHCA president Jeff Mason added:

"Only the White House can speak to the signal it wants to send with this decision. But our signal is clear. We will celebrate the First Amendment on April 29 and look forward to acknowledging the important work of our terrific members."

Trump's announcement to skip the dinner came amid his longstanding acrimony toward reporters. Shortly after his inauguration, he called the press the "enemy of the people."

The annual dinner is usually a chance for a number of mainstream media outlets and to engage with government officials for a night of levity, usually hosted by a comedian. The sitting president traditionally gives a speech at the event.

Trump and several of his adult children have attended the correspondents' dinner in recent years. Former President Barack Obama famously roasted Trump at the event in 2011.

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U.S. President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama stand during a presentation of colors at the White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: (AFP OUT) President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC. This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinner (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama says "Obama out!" at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: (AFP OUT) Comedian Larry Wilmore speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington.This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinner (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane (2nd R) attend the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S. April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S. April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Actress Emma Watson attends the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: (AFP OUT) President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner on April 30, 2016 at the Washington Hilton hotel in Washington, DC. This is President Obama's eighth and final White House Correspondents' Association dinner (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama laughs at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
US President Barack Obama speaks at the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2016. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama stands between WHCA President Carol Lee (R) and Jerry Seib of The Wall Street Journal at the the White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
US President Barack Obama arrives to speak at the 102nd White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, DC, on April 30, 2016. / AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with Carol Lee, WHCA president, at the White House Correspondents Association's annual dinner in Washington, U.S., April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and wife Stephanie attend the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S. April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde (C) attends the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner in Washington, U.S. April 30, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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Here's the full statement from the WHCA:

"The White House informed the White House Correspondents' Association this evening that White House staff will not be attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner out of "solidarity" with President Trump, who has previously announced that he would skip the event.

The WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is hallmark of a health republic.

We made clear in our meeting tonight that President Trump, Vice President Pence, and White House staff continue to be welcome to join us at this dinner.

Only the White House can speak to the signal it wants to send with this decision. But our signal is clear. We will celebrate the First Amendment on April 29 and look forward to acknowledging the important work of our terrific members and awarding scholarships to students who represent the next generation of our profession."

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