26 Feb 2017

Trump shuns White House media dinner

2:51 pm on 26 February 2017

US President Donald Trump has announced he will not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on 29 April.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would not attend the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Photo: AFP

The glitzy event draws celebrities, journalists and politicians, normally including the US president.

Mr Trump said he would not attend a day after the White House excluded several major broadcasters and newspapers from a press briefing.

He has frequently described negative news coverage as "fake".

The announcement, made via Twitter, comes as relations between the White House and some media outlets continue to deteriorate.

On Friday, media groups including the BBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail and Politico were among those barred from an off-camera informal briefing held by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Hours before the briefing, Mr Trump had delivered a strong attack on what he called "fake news" in the media, targeting stories with unnamed sources.

He said "fake news" was the "enemy of the people".

Mr Trump announced his non-attendance at the correspondents dinner via Twitter.

He wrote: "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!"

Bloomberg News and the New Yorker magazine are among media outlets who have said they will not hold their usual after-parties this year.

There have been some calls for journalists to boycott the event itself.

Every sitting president since 1924 has attended the correspondents' dinner at least once, according to the New York Times.

They traditionally make a light-hearted speech at the annual event. Former US President Barack Obama attended eight times.

Mr Trump has himself attended the dinner in the past

In 2011, Barack Obama joked that Mr Trump would turn the White House into a casino if he became president and made fun of rumours, then propagated by Mr Trump, that President Obama was not born in the US.

The New York businessman was shown on camera sitting stony-faced through a barrage of jokes at his expense, including some from host Seth Meyers, although he said last year that he "loved that dinner".

In a statement the White House Correspondents' Association said it took note of the president's announcement and said the dinner would "continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic".

- BBC