The annual glitzy event where journalists covering the White House normally dine with the president, power brokers and celebrities will be held in Washington Saturday night, but without President Donald Trump.
Comedian Michelle Wolf, best known for her contributions on “The Daily Show,” will headline the event. CNN’s coverage begins Saturday at 7 p.m., ET.
Trump, who has called the media “the enemy of the American people,” will hold a campaign-style rally in Michigan instead, as he did in Pennsylvania during last year’s dinner. Representing him at the dinner, which raises money for scholarships, will be White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
The dinner, referred to in some circles as “nerd prom,” brings together journalists and government officials to celebrate the First Amendment. Guests will begin arriving at the Washington Hilton at around 5:30 p.m. for the pre-parties, and the dinner is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. A presentation of awards usually start at around 9:30 p.m.
Trump snubbed the annual celebration of the White House press corps last year, the first time a president skipped the Washington tradition since 1981 when Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt. Even then, Reagan called in to make a few jokes.
Margaret Talev, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg News, announced Trump will not attend, but he “will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment.” Talev is also a CNN contributor.
Wolf was previously a writer for “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” and has a stand-up special on HBO called “Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady.” Netflix announced in February that Wolf will host her own half-hour, late-night talk show, which will premiere later this year. Typically at the dinner the hosting entertainer roasts the president and the administration, and the president returns the gesture.
Before Trump announced his candidacy, he attended the 2011 dinner, where President Barack Obama was at the head table and, along with comedian Seth Meyers, famously mocked Trump.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is known for being an A-list extravaganza, with exclusive parties hosted all weekend across the city. But the usual high-wattage of Hollywood stars will be subdued compared to the years when Barack Obama was president, and several companies have canceled their before- and after-parties.