Trump to boycott White House correspondents' dinner

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By Alasdair Sandford  with Reuters
Trump to boycott White House correspondents' dinner

Donald Trump has said he will miss the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 29.

“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” the US president said on Twitter.

His announcement comes amid escalating hostility between the US president and sections of the media whose coverage he doesn’t like and who he has branded as “enemies of the people”.

The Washington event often features a humourous speech by the sitting president. In 2011 Barack Obama ridiculed Trump – who was in the audience – after the mogul had spread false rumours questioning the president’s birthplace.

For decades all presidents have attended the dinner which brings together politicians, journalists and celebrities.

This year is different. Last week the media row saw the White House exclude several major news organisations from a press briefing, prompting others to walk out in protest.

The correspondents’ association says the dinner will go ahead. Jeff Mason, a Reuters White House correspondent who heads the group this year, said the dinner had been and would continue to be “a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic”.

The event has been criticised however – one columnist labelled it an ‘unseemly lovefest’ – for highlighting just the sort of cosy relations between political and media elites that have alienated many Americans.