President Trump bashes White House Correspondents’ Dinner
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Netflix(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump declared the White House Correspondents’ Dinner “dead” and called for the event to be scrapped or reinvented going forward, adding his voice to the widespread criticism that comedy routine at Saturday night’s annual event crossed a line with personal attacks on some members of the president’s senior leadership.
In a series of tweets, the president offered a personal attack of his of his own – directly slamming comedian Michelle Wolf for being a “filthy ‘comedian’” and called the dinner an embarrassment for the country.
The president did not attend the dinner, for the second consecutive year, and instead held a rally in Michigan on Saturday night.
“You may have heard I was invited to another event tonight – the White House Correspondents’ Dinner – but I’d much rather be in Washington, Michigan!” the president said during the rally in a dig at the event.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders, who did attend the dinner, was seated on stage just a few feet away from Wolf as the comedian delivered scathing punchlines at her expense, even comparing Sanders to one of the darkest characters in the show “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“I have to say I’m a little star-struck,” Wolf said. “I love you as Aunt Lydia in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.'”
In the series, Aunt Lydia is a particularly cruel character, a supervisor of the handmaids who tortures her subjects.
At another point, Wolf made a joke that Sanders “burns facts.”
“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies,” Wolf said.
The comedian also took aim at Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, who she also accused of being a liar and made light of the concept of a tree falling on her.
“You guys gotta stop putting Kellyanne on your shows. All she does is lie,” Wolf said. “If you don’t give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie. It’s like that old saying: If a tree falls in the woods, how do we get Kellyanne under that tree? I’m not suggesting she gets hurt; just stuck. Stuck under a tree.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer denounced the dinner following Wolf’s controversial performance, calling the event a “disgrace,” while former communications director Anthony Scaramucci labeled it “an atrocity.”
The criticisms of the evening’s entertainment were also voiced by members of the White House press corps, including the New York Times’ Maggie Habermann, who was one of the journalists honored with an award for her reporting at the dinner.
The president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Margaret Talev, issued a statement saying the performance was not in keeping with the message of the evening, which was billed as a celebration of the First Amendment.
“Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission,” Talev said.
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