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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

'Maybe I will go?' Trump floats idea of attending correspondents' dinner

The association has broken with its long-standing tradition of having a comic roast the president

US President Donald J. Trump speaks to the news media before departing on Marine One with his family on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. EPA
US President Donald J. Trump speaks to the news media before departing on Marine One with his family on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC. EPA

President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday that it was a "good first step of a dying evening and tradition" for the White House Correspondents' Association to feature a historian, not a comedian, at its annual event to be held next spring.

"So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the white house correspondents dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian," he wrote in a Twitter post.

"Maybe I will go?" said Mr Trump, who has repeatedly derided some media organizations as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people", and who has refused to attend the dinner during his first two years in office.

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On Monday, the White House Correspondents Association said Ron Chernow, who has written biographies of presidents George Washington and Ulysses Grant and founding father Alexander Hamilton, had been asked to speak on freedom of the press at the black-tie affair in April.

The decision breaks with the association's long-standing tradition of having a comic roast the president and the press at the dinner. Wolf angered Trump administration officials with her blistering routine last year.

It was not the first time comics at the dinner have riled their targets. Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes and Seth Meyers have spoken at the dinner and also had their detractors.

Although the dinner has become a high-profile event on Washington's social calendar, it is primarily a fund-raiser to earn money for college journalism scholarships, journalism awards and to pay for other programs sponsored by the WHCA, which represents journalists covering the White House.