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

Donald Trump white house dinnerLarry Busacca/Getty ImagesDonald Trump attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25th, 2015 in Washington, DC.

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 be 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.

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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