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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

WHCA Responds to Trump White House Boycott

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Not only is President Trump skipping this Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner (again), but he ordered his whole administration to skip it too. It is the first ever White House boycott of the annual event.


The White House Correspondents' Association did not directly respond to the president's announcement, only offering the following remarks. 

Trump hasn't attended the WHCD since 2011, the year host Seth Meyers infamously roasted him. The Trump punchlines have only gotten worse since he's become president, but last year's keynote speaker roasted another member of his administration. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was sitting only feet away from comedian Michelle Wolf as she mocked her and her looks. 

It was too much, even for liberal media personalities, some of whom demanded Wolf apologize. 

"She looked pained," "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski said of Sanders. "She was being humiliated for a prolonged amount of time on stage. Do we really want to be laughing at that? It’s not funny.”


Wolf didn't apologize (in fact, she doubled down), but the WHCA did. They distanced themselves from Wolf in a statement explaining that her speech was "not in the spirit" of their mission.

The association announced shortly after the controversy that next year's keynote speaker would be biographer Ron Chernow, considered a much safer choice.

It didn't matter to the White House because the damage had been done. Trump will be holding a rally in Wisconsin Saturday night instead.

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