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Trump Says He's Bailing on the White House Correspondents' Dinner Because of 'Fake News' and 'Other Things'

He'll be the first president to sit out of the annual scholarship dinner since Reagan did in 1981 while recovering from an assassination attempt.

by Lauren Messman
Feb 28 2017, 5:01pm

Screenshot via Fox News

In his first morning TV interview since becoming president, Donald Trump sat down with FOX News to talk about the Oscars, blame Obama for the current wave of leaks and town hall protests, and explain his decision to opt out of attending the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner. 

"I just thought in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things we're talking about now, it would be inappropriate," Trump said of attending this year's event. He added, "I have great respect for the press, I have great respect for reporters and the whole profession. With all of that being said, I just thought it would be better if I didn't do the dinner. That doesn't mean I'm not going to do it next year."

Trump announced via Twitter on Saturday that he would not be attending the annual scholarship dinner—which was started in 1921 in an effort to recognize quality political reporting and foster relationships between the press and the president's administration—a day after numerous major news outlets were barred from the daily White House press briefing. 

He'll be the first president to sit out of the dinner since Ronald Reagan did in 1981. Though Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt at the time, he still managed to make remarks by phone, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Trump's self-proclaimed "running war" with the media has raised questions about whether or not the dinner would even happen this year. While multiple news outlets have already canceled their parties around the event, the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) has said that it will go on as usual. 

"We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession," WHCA president, Jeff Mason, said in a statement