President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One during his departure from Andrews Air Force One Base, Md., Saturday, April 28, 2018. Trump is traveling to Michigan to speak at a rally on the same night as the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, the second straight year Trump as skipped the event with the White House Press Corps. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump gives thumbs-down to White House Correspondent’s Dinner comic

For the second straight year Trump skipped the event with the White House Press Corps.

The reviews are in: President Donald Trump gave a thumbs-down Sunday to the comedian who roasted his chief spokeswoman at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, offending present and past members of his administration, including one who walked out in protest.

The organization’s leader said she regretted that Michelle Wolf’s routine may end up defining an evening that was designed to rally around journalism.

WHCA President Margaret Talev said she has “heard from members expressing dismay with the entertainer’s monologue and concerns about how it reflects on our mission.” She said she will work with the incoming president of the group and take comments from members on their views “on the format of the dinner going forward.”

Trump joined in the criticism.

“Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust…the so-called comedian really ‘bombed,’” Trump tweeted Sunday.

The president, who regularly lobs sharp attacks at the news media, including individual news organizations and reporters, declined to attend the journalism awards dinner for the second consecutive year. He instead held a campaign rally in Michigan.

Wolf is known as a contributor on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah.” But some of her jokes, particularly a series of barbs about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as Sanders sat just feet away, seemed to spark the most outrage.

Sean Spicer, who preceded Sanders at the White House lectern, tweeted after dinner that the night “was a disgrace.”

Others, including Ed Henry, chief national correspondent for Fox News and a former association president, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, called on the association to apologize to Sanders. Brzezinski has been the subject of personal attacks by Trump. Henry also called on Wolf to apologize.

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, tweeted that he and his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, director of strategic communications at the White House, walked out of the dinner. “Enough of elites mocking all of us,” he said.

Talev, Bloomberg News’ senior White House correspondent, said she didn’t want a dinner celebrating the constitutional right to free speech to be overshadowed by the ensuing uproar over Wolf’s jokes.

“My only regret is that to some extent those 15 minutes are now defining four hours of what was a really wonderful unifying night and I don’t want the cause of unity to be undercut,” Talev said Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

Talev said she spoke to Sanders after Wolf’s routine and “I told her that I knew that this was a big decision whether or not to attend the dinner, whether to sit at the head table and that I really appreciated her being there.”

“I thought it sent an important message about the role of government and the press and being able to communicate with one another and work together,” Talev added.

No Trump administration officials attended the dinner last year after Trump decided to skip it. Many were in the audience Saturday night, however, including counsellor Kellyanne Conway, herself a target of Wolf, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Sanders sat at the head table with association board members.

Talev said that, by tradition, the association does not review the comedian’s monologue before it is delivered.

“We don’t censor it. We don’t even see it,” she said.

Wolf tweeted “thank you” to Spicer.

As he did last year, Trump flew to a Republican-friendly district to rally supporters in an attempt to counter the dinner. He assured the audience in Washington Township, Michigan, a state he won in 2016, that he’d rather be there than at “that phoney Washington White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”

Wolf’s act, which also included abortion jokes, had some in the audience laughing. Others sat in stony silence.

Related: Political heavyweights hit Washington in hunt for NAFTA deal

Among Wolf’s less off-colour one-liners:

—”Just a reminder to everyone, I’m here to make jokes, I have no agenda, I’m not trying to get anything accomplished, so everyone that’s here from Congress you should feel right at home.”

—”It is kinda crazy that the Trump campaign was in contact with Russia when the Hillary campaign wasn’t even in contact with Michigan.”

—”He wants to give teachers guns, and I support that because then they can sell them for things they need like supplies.”

Wolf closed by saying, “Flint still doesn’t have clean water,” a reference to the Michigan city where lead-tainted tap water flowed into homes for 18 months before a disaster was declared in 2015.

The state recently decided to end distribution of free bottled water in Flint, saying the tap water was now as “good or better” than in many communities.

Related: Issues split Trump and Macron, handshakes and kisses aside

___

Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

“Huge disappointment” as BCVT learns Northern Sea Wolf will not sail this summer

The Nimpkish is arrriving near-empty as frustrated travelers can’t get to Bella Bella for transfer

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Bella Coola enjoys 33rd Annual Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo

Sunny skies on Monday added a welcome touch to an otherwise damp weekend

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

ZONE 8: Williams Lake’s Gabby Knox is a 2nd-generation BC Games competitor

Both parents competed in softball, but Knox is making waves in the pool

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Most Read