Tuesday night President Trump took to Twitter offering his reaction to the White House Correspondents’ Association’s (WHCA) announcement that Ron Chernow, famed biographer, will headline the 2019 White House Correspondents’ dinner.
The Monday announcement signaled a departure from tradition, NBC News reports, that dates back nearly 100 years, “where a comedian headlines a roast.”
At this years annual dinner comedian Michelle Wolf, took aim at both the President, who was not in attendance, opting instead to hold a MAGA rally on the same night, and his Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was in attendance. Wolf, who was a correspondent for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” said that Sanders, “burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye.”
Her performance that NBC News notes “skewered,” both Democrats, the media, and other Republican’s “was meet with a flurry of criticism.” which prompted WHCA’s president at the time, Margaret Talev to issue a statement via tweet that read in part, “Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people. Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”
Oliver Knox, the current President of WHCA having taken over this summer said on Monday that he was, “delighted,” that Chernow, “will share his lively, deeply researched perspectives on American politics and history at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” Knox added, “As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history.”
Wolf reacted to the announcement that an author and not a comedian would be the featured speaker via tweet, wherein she called WHCA, “cowards.”
In his tweet on Tuesday night, President Trump took aim at Wolf, calling her that “so-called comedian,” before he praised the decision to have an author as the headliner, even suggesting that he might attend the event in April.
Chernow in a statement via WHCA, said he was asked by the organization to make a “case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige,” adding, “Freedom of the press is always a timely subject and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics. My major worry these days is that we Americans will forget who we are as a people and historians should serve as our chief custodians in preserving that rich storehouse of memory. While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson won’t be dry.”
Wolf responded to President Trump’s tweet saying, “I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist.”
One hour after his reaction tweet @ 11:40 p.m. President Trump in all caps tweeted “America First!”
It’s unclear what prompted the all-caps tweet, though in my opinion, President Trump seems to be referencing his earlier statement regarding Saudi Arabia and his decision not to punish the Saudis government for their role in the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
For editorial thoughts on Michelle Wolf and the controversy surrounding her performance @ the News Blender.