The White House Correspondents’ Association on Tuesday tapped the comedian Hasan Minhaj from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” to host the annual dinner on April 29 — the first one in 36 years without a sitting president in attendance.
“I was not looking for somebody who is going to roast the president in absentia,” said Jeff Mason, a Reuters correspondent and president of the association, said during a Tuesday morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show.
But Minhaj, who in the past has ripped President Trump as a “racist Cheeto,” does not appear to be prepared to hold back, tweeting on Tuesday, in classic Trump style, “It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD!”
Trump became the first president since Ronald Reagan in 1981 to skip the dinner where politicians, journalists and celebrities typically dine and trade good-natured barbs.
[Regan was recovering from an assassination attempt a few weeks earlier but phoned in to the dinner with a few jokes].
The Trump administration has labeled the media the “opposition party” and said he was boycotting the event because he did not want to pretend he was friendly with the media even for a day.
Many celebrities are staying away. The New Yorker, Mike Bloomberg’s Bloomberg LP, Vanity Fair and Time/People all canceled their pre- or post-event parties.
CNN, MSNBC/NBC and Reuters are still tossing bashes at the event.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of Watergate-era fame, will also speak out and hand out the journalism awards, which are the ostensible reason for the dinner.