The next White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, traditionally a venue where it’s open season on taking jabs at elected officials, is likely to take on a more somber tone than past events.
The organization announced today that the upcoming event, scheduled for Saturday, April 27, 2019, will feature respected author and historian Ron Chernow, apparently dispensing with the tradition of having a comedian host the proceedings.
The WHCA made the announcement on Twitter — you can see the full announcement below.
The announcement quotes Olivier Knox, chief Washington correspondent for SiriusXM and president of the WHCA, saying: “I’m delighted that Ron will share his lively, deeply researched perspectives on American politics and history at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history.”
Chernow is also quoted in the announcement, saying: “The White House Correspondents’ Association has asked me to make the case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige. Freedom of the press is always a timely subject and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics. My major worry these days is that we Americans will forget who we are as a people and historians should serve as our chief custodians in preserving that rich storehouse of memory. While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson won’t be dry.”
Deadline notes that Chernow, a Pulitzer Prize winner, has written acclaimed biographies of J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Ulysses S. Grant.
“He’s not exactly a stranger to show business: His 2004 Hamilton bio became the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway musical ‘Hamilton,’ and 2017’s ‘Grant’ reportedly is getting a movie adaptation — directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio,” Deadline notes.
“The decision comes as President Donald Trump has refused to attend the event for the second time. Trump’s absence leaves what has evolved into a roast-like event without any meat,” Deadline adds. “Known as the D.C. Nerd Prom, the dinner has often been controversial, even in the pre-Trump era, as when Stephen Colbert hosted and roasted George W. Bush in 2006. In 2011, when Seth Meyers hosted, President Barack Obama blasted the in-attendance Trump so harshly that speculation later arose attributing Trump’s anger at fueling his presidential ambitions. In 2017, host Larry Wilmore was criticized after he affectionately called the outgoing Obama “my nigga” on live TV.”
Trump was a no-show in 2017 and 2018.
Here’s today’s Twitter announcement by the White House Correspondents’ Association …