President Joe Biden poked fun at himself, took jabs at the GOP, and commented on the current political climate in the United States at the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night. “I’m really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have.” Continue reading “President Biden & Trevor Noah At White House Correspondents’ Dinner”
After comedian Michelle Wolf’s stint at the White House Correspondents Dinner this weekend, tons of Trump supporters wailed about how “inappropriate” her jokes were and how she “crossed a line.”
But just to put it all into perspective, let’s take a trip in the way-back machine to remember Trumpers’ own proudly public statements.
|Sarah Huckabee Sanders|
I’ve not commented on the now-infamous Michelle Wolf performance at the annual White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday night because I wanted to take a bit to understand the “outrage.”
I’ve read the text of Wolf’s performance and seen the video, and to be honest I don’t see the “cringeworthy” or “embarrassing” content folks seem to be up in arms about.
The performance was a roast. That, by definition, means folks are going to be joked about.
Initially, I heard about the terrible “attack” on White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. That Wolf’s comments went after her “appearance.”
I assumed Wolf did a riff on Sanders’ weight or attractiveness. But no – Wolf made a joke about Sanders’ “smoky eye” makeup.
Here’s the crux of Wolf’s comments about Sanders:
Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get: you know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams. “It’s shirts and skins, and this time, don’t be such a little b—-, Jim Acosta.”
I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. Like, she burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it; maybe it’s lies.
It’s probably lies.
And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You know, is it Sarah Sanders? Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Is it Cousin Huckabee? Is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? Like, what’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know: Aunt Coulter.
The comment about “smoky eye” was a riff on Sanders’ lying to the press on a daily basis. It wasn’t an “attack” on her appearance.
Writing for HuffPost, Michelangelo Signorile had this take:
The performance has everyone talking, and many are expressing outrage that she “went too far” ― outrage that seems phony and forced. Some journalists who cover the White House and, unsurprisingly, many conservatives and Trump supporters are up in arms about Wolf’s barbs.
In both cases, the reactions are troublingly hypocritical.
The response of many Washington journalists is a particularly bad sign. It shows us some prominent sectors of the fourth estate are acquiescing to the Trump administration ― normalizing it ― rather than taking up the challenge of dealing with an authoritarian presidency.
Frankly, the reactions reek of an attempt to protect access by brown-nosing members of the administration ― but at the cost of legitimizing a president and an administration that has attacked the free press and called just about everyone in it a purveyor of “fake news.”
Where I was sitting, people were laughing generously in response to many jokes, and, as with any comedian, less so to others.
Beltway reporters for larger news organizations who’ve been viciously attacked themselves by the most vulgar, insulting, offensive president in U.S. history suddenly seemed shocked ― shocked! ― by what they perceived as vulgarity and insults coming from a female comedian.
I highly encourage you to read the full piece by Michelangelo. I think he’s spot on.
Here’s some of the response from the world of journalists:
That awkward moment when journalists say comedians are the problem. pic.twitter.com/cqig9IKS0w
— Richard Hine (@richardhine) April 30, 2018
Couldn’t agree more. So much important and amazing journalism this year — that should be the focus, when truth matters and is needed more than ever. It was an embarrassment in the room and surely to the audience at home. https://t.co/vhbnG6tn55
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) April 29, 2018
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 29, 2018
I asked @maggieNYT to quote the line where Michelle intensely criticized SHS’s appearance. She unfollowed me.
She has an extremely important job. Making vague statements that she herself cannot back up with facts/quotes isn’t helping.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 29, 2018
Lies turning into ash turning into a smokey eye is a joke about lies. Calling her Aunt Lydia is a joke about standing for the oppression of women under the guise of folksy warmth. These aren’t jokes about her physical appearance. They’re intense criticisms of her character.
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) April 29, 2018
And Donald Trump, who refused to show up for a second year in a row due to his thin skin and inability to handle any criticism, chimed in thusly:
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it. The filthy “comedian” totally bombed (couldn’t even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2018
For the second year in a row, Donald Trump will skip the annual White House Correspondents Dinner.
The long-standing event, begun in 1921, serves to celebrate the First Amendment, fund scholarships for gifted students in college journalism programs and honor excellence in journalism.
“I sort of feel like the press so bad, it’s so fake, it’s so made up,” Trump said in an interview with WABC radio in New York Friday morning. “So I just think I want to get it straightened out with the press before I do it.”
The dinner has been attended annually by every president for 37 years. The last president to miss the event was Ronald Reagan, who was, understandably, recovering from an assassination attempt in 1981.
The fact is a regular ritual of the dinner is the president standing making several minutes of remarks in jest.
Many say the Trumpster is afraid he would bomb in the humor department. He also, apparently, does not care to spend an evening with those he vilifies on a regular basis on Twitter.
Statement on President and WHCA Dinner pic.twitter.com/WiemgnIvcq
— WHCA (@whca) April 6, 2018
POTUS will not be there when reporters who have broken accurate stories that he falsely called “fake news” — including @maggieNYT @jdawsey1 @jimsciutto @evanperez and @carlbernstein — are honored with @WHCA awards. https://t.co/5TMo1bjOjH
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 6, 2018
Trump announced he won’t be going to the White House Correspondents Dinner, which I’m fine with.
But I do find it amusing that the guy who says he’d rush into an active shooting scene unarmed is scared of Journalists and Comedians making fun of him.
— Deon (@imnottayediggs) April 6, 2018
The White House Correspondents Dinner should invite @BarackObama to speak. Everyone could use an encore. pic.twitter.com/AvCnQGoaut
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) April 6, 2018
I will NOT be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner as this is no time for JOKING about hush money to porn stars, rampant government corruption, secret meetings with Russians and “Nosey Bob” Mueller’s so-called “Investigation.” These are NO LAUGHING MATTERS!
— Donald J. Drumpf (@RealDonalDrumpf) April 6, 2018
The annual White House Correspondents Dinner took place in Washington, D.C. last night, sans President Trump.
Trump is the first president to not attend the charity event, which raises funds for journalism scholarships, since Ronald Reagan in the the 1980s.
Of course, Reagan missed the dinner because he was recuperating from being shot. Trump just couldn’t take the jokes.
Here’s The Daily Show‘s Hasan Minhaj’s full set of jokes at the dinner. He gets rolling around the 3 minute mark.
Sample: “Who is tweeting at 3 am, SOBER? Donald Trump because it’s 10 am in Russia, business hours.”
Wow. Talk about thin skin.
Clearly the Trumpster, in a big departure from past presidents, decided he couldn’t take the good-natured ribbing from the press.
OR – he wouldn’t be able to stand up and deliver his own humorous remarks without failing.
The last time a sitting president did not attend was in 1981, when Reagan was a no-show. Of course, it was shortly after he had been shot, so he certainly had a good reason.
Before that, Richard Nixon was the last to just “no-show” and that was in 1972. And, like Trump, he had a very tumultuous relationship with the press.
From The Hill:
The dinner honors journalists who cover the White House and awards scholarships to aspiring reporters.
The White House Correspondents’ Association, which organizes the annual dinner, typically invites the president and members of his staff. A comedian is brought in to roast the commander in chief, who then delivers lighthearted remarks.
Trump attended the dinner in 2011, where he was repeatedly mocked and teased by then-President Obama. Trump chose to skip the dinner during the 2016 presidential campaign, despite receiving a number of invites from the media.
Past dinners have attracted celebrities and athletes from outside of Washington. The association hosted the first dinner in 1921.
Bloomberg L.P., who hosts a high-profile after-party, pulled the plug on the event. Vanity Fair, who usually partners with Bloomberg in throwing the party, announced earlier this month that it would not participate.
And the New Yorker, the magazine that hosts the dinner’s kickoff party beforehand, cancelled its event earlier this month.
CNN and MSNBC were also reportedly deliberating whether it would pull out of the annual dinner.
While most presidents have issues with the media, they rise above. President Obama was particularly funny delivering prepared jokes at the annual event during his 8 years in the White House.
The White House Correspondents’ Association issued this statement: