President Donald Trump made an unprecedented announcement via Twitter of a decision that hasn't been made by a president in 36 years: He won't be attending the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Trump tweeted his decision to opt out of the dinner -- one that he has attended as a private citizen in the past and been the butt of the joke at on a number of occasions.
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!” Trump tweeted.
What House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later confirmed the decision.
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“This wasn't a president that was elected to spend his time with reporters and celebrities,” Sanders said, NPR reported.
Sanders pointed to the relationship between Trump and the press as a reason for declining the invitation.
“I think it's kind of naive of us to think that we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn't there,” she said. “You know, one of the things we say in the south, if a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? I think that this is a pretty similar scenario.”
White House Correspondents' Association President Jeff Mason responded to the news in a statement:
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The White House Correspondents' Association looks forward to having its annual dinner on April 29. The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Trump’s presidency continues to make headlines and spark controversy -- most recently regarding a raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL under Trump’s leadership as commander in chief.
The father of the SEAL, Bill Owens, declined to meet with the president due to the controversial and debated nature of the raid, which many deemed questionable.
“I'm sorry, I don't want to see him,” Owens said when informed of a potential meeting with Trump, reports WTVJ.
“I told them I don't want to meet the president.”