It’s one month until the White House correspondents’ dinner, the once glitzy get-together for Washington politicians and the journalists that cover them, which lost some of its allure after its guest of honour, Donald Trump, was a repeated no-show
The president regularly likes to call mainstream media the enemy of the people, so it follows that he has chosen not to break bread with them in front of a C-Span audience of potentially tens of people. He may also still be bitter about his ribbing by Barack Obama and Seth Meyers at the 2011 dinner. Many have said it was this night that made Trump want to run for president in the first place.
But rumours are now swirling that Trump may appear at the correspondents’ dinner for the first time. Axios reports that he hasn’t refused the invitation yet, and the dinner could be seen as part of a political “victory lap” following the Mueller report. It also helps that this year there won’t be a roast delivered by a comedian, in part because the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) has already been subject to constant haranguing by Trump.
Even before Trump, the annual soiree has always left a sour taste: it’s tough for America to believe that the fifth estate is a true check on power and corruption if every year they see Jim Acosta downing mimosas with Mitch McConnell. Trump’s decision to swerve it has been seen by some as good for democracy, even if being good for democracy had absolutely nothing to do with his decision to swerve it.
This year though, things are a little different. Trump is currently riding high after not being criminally convicted of being a Russian agent. The media meanwhile, having diligently reported on the myriad connections between Trump associates and Russians, are now in a period of self-flagellation. They stand accused of overhyping the Mueller investigation and letting their imaginations run wild with stories of indictments and impeachment. The Trump narrative that they are all biased against him now has fuel.