President Trump is skipping tonight’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner for the third year in a row.
What is the WHCD?
The black-tie dinner has long attracted presidents, dignitaries, journalists and entertainers. The annual fundraiser and awards event acknowledges the role of the free press and allows journalists to schmooze with sources and each other. News outlets pay for tables and invite administration aides, lawmakers, other government officials and the occasional Hollywood celebrity.
What happened to the comedians?
The annual Washington gala has traditionally featured comedians, who often use the forum to roast the guests, particularly those holding office. The presidents may also make light-hearted or comedic speeches, as former President Barack Obama did in 2015 with an “anger translator” bit.
Last year, with Trump absent, comedian Michelle Wolf lobbed biting jokes at the administration in a performance that drew some criticism.
Months after Wolf’s performance, the WHCA announced that it was doing away with the tradition of hosting a comedian. This year, instead of a comedian, the event will feature the author Ron Chernow.