The White House staff won’t be attending the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, explaining that the move is a gesture of “solidarity” with Donald Trump, USA Today reports. The White House Correspondents’ Association announced the decision Tuesday.
“WHCA president Jeff Mason, a White House correspondent for Reuters, said that the group has worked to build a ‘constructive relationship’ with the president and his staff, something that is possible even with tensions between the administration and the press,” the story reports.
Said Mason: “We made clear in our meeting tonight that President Trump, Vice President Pence and White House staff continue to be welcome to join us at this dinner. Only the White House can speak to the signal it wants to send with this decision.”
Trump announced in February that he would not be attending. “The last president to miss the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981, when he was recovering from an assassination attempt,” the report notes. “Other presidents to miss the event include Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon.”