While the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner may not be the most pressing topic of consideration for either journalists or the White House given the explosion of news and issues contained in the first week of the Trump presidency, its imminent-ish April 29 arrival has brought up questions.
Will the president, who is in a self-described “war with the media,” attend? Would it be better if he didn’t attend the annual event for the organization whose job it is to advocate for White House access and for a free press? Add to that traditional questions about the event’s increasing Hollywoodification and departure from its original focus on raising money for scholarships, and some are wondering if it should even happen this year at all.
What is definitely happening, however, is an alternative to Nerd Prom, as the WHCA dinner is known, which will feature Samantha Bee at its helm. The Full Frontal host is having her own Washington-based show on the same day as the WHCA’s dinner called Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It will serve not as a critique of WHCA’s event, but as a space to make sure there will be roast. “We just want to be there in case something happens — or doesn’t happen — and ensure that we get to properly roast the president,” she told the New York Times.
Trump’s 2011 appearance at the dinner featured President Obama and Seth Meyers roasting Trump for promoting the birther conspiracy and his lack of preparedness for a presidential role–something that may or may not have inspired Trump’s decision to run for president.
The event, which has yet to cement full details like the comedian line-up and how much of it will air on TBS, will also serve as a fundraiser for the Committee to Protect Journalists.