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Trump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step'

The Hill logo The Hill 21/11/2018 Brett Samuels
Donald Trump, Mike Pence are posing for a picture: Trump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' © Getty Trump: WHCA picking non-comedian for headliner a 'good first step' President Trump on Tuesday suggested he may consider attending the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner after the organization picked an author to headline next spring's annual dinner in the wake of controversy over last year's entertainer.

"So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the White House Correspondents' Dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"Good first step in comeback of a dying evening and tradition! Maybe I will go?" he added.

The WHCA announced Monday that it had selected presidential biographer Ron Chernow as the headliner for its 2019 dinner, marking the first time in years the annual event would not feature a comedian or entertainer.

Chernow wrote an award-winning biography of Alexander Hamilton that was the basis for the smash Broadway musical "Hamilton."

The event will take place April 27.

Trump has not attended either of the previous two WHCA dinners during his presidency. At past events, the evening's entertainer typically mocks the president, who then makes light-hearted remarks of their own.

Wolf, who called the WHCA "cowards" for choosing Chernow, sparked controversy last year with a 20-minute monologue that took aim at the president, Vice President Pence, Ivanka Trump, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the media and others.

Scores of reporters and conservatives lambasted Wolf, suggesting she crossed a line with her jokes aimed at Sanders, who was attending in the president's place.

Wolf's fellow comedians and a handful of other reporters praised her no-holds-barred set, and noted that Trump himself had disparaged his critics and the media, and made vulgar remarks without apologizing.

The spat prompted calls from a number of journalists to change the format of the event, or do away with it entirely.

The president has had a contentious relationship with the press dating back to his time on the campaign trail. He regularly derides coverage he dislikes as "fake news," and has labeled certain reporters and outlets "enemies of the people."

The White House on Monday dropped its effort to revoke press credentials from CNN's Jim Acosta, but in doing so laid out a set of rules it says it will impose at presidential news conferences.

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