President Trump tweeted he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
Shortly after Trump’s tweet, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, which sponsors the annual event, said in an email that the dinner would take place even without Trump’s attendance.
“[The dinner] has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic,” said Jeff Mason, WHCA president. “We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession.”
Many took to Twitter for alternative suggestions.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) February 25, 2017
Though U.S. presidents and reporters frequently have adversarial relationships, the event is one each year in which the sides put aside their differences and give speeches that poke fun.
Trump attended the dinner in 2011 when Barack Obama was president and was roasted by the then-president.
The first White House Correspondents’ Dinner occurred in 1921, and the first president attended — Calvin Coolidge — in 1924. Fifteen presidents have attended since.
Ronald Reagan was the last president to skip the dinner, according to the Reagan Library. In 1981, the newly elected president decided he wouldn’t attend because he was recovering from a gunshot wound in a failed assassination attempt on his life less than a month earlier.