WASHINGTON — President Trump will not attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year, continuing a boycott that began his first year in office, the White House announced on Friday, but the president will “actively encourage” members of his administration to go in celebration of the First Amendment.
The president’s decision did not come as much of a surprise. Just a few hours after the announcement on Friday, the president tweeted about the “Fake News Media” and said, “so much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!”
Amid his and his press office’s antagonistic relationships with the news media, the president did not attend the annual gala last year either. The event is typically a cozy mix of journalists and politicians, but during the first year of the Trump administration, it turned into an event for press freedoms.
Mr. Trump has continued to dismiss news stories as “fake news” when he considers them unflattering to himself or to his administration. In recent days he has focused his attention on The Washington Post, its owner, Jeff Bezos, and the company that made Mr. Bezos among the richest people in the world, Amazon.
On Friday, he turned his attention to stories suggesting that the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, could replace his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, a seemingly implausible scenario given the ethical cloud hanging over Mr. Pruitt’s head.