Donald Trump’s absence at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was the first time since 1981 that a President has missed the event.
Trump, who was celebrating his first 100 days in office, appeared at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 29, where he lashed out at the media who were gathered at the Washington Hilton for the annual event.
“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. They are trapped at the dinner, which will be very very boring – they are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner without the president.” he said to the crowd.
“I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd, and much better people,” Trump said to a cheering crowd.
Meanwhile in Washington D.C., comedian Hasan Minhaj – who was hosting the event – roasted Trump in a scorching 25-minute speech.
Trump’s relationship with the media has always been fractious. He has repeatedly referred to mainstream media as “fake news” and questioned their objectivity in news reporting.
Mainstream (FAKE) media refuses to state our long list of achievements, including 28 legislative signings, strong borders & great optimism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2017
The last time a President refused to attend the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981 who had been the source of an assassination attempt just a month prior.