Instead of a comedian, the White House Correspondents’ dinner will feature author Ron Chernow. It’s been rumored for months that the association was considering forgoing the tradition of inviting a stand-up comedian. For the past two years, President Trump has not attended the Correspondents’ Dinner. Knox is hoping Chernow’s presence instead of a comedian’s might lure the president out, creating a less combative atmosphere.
- Should the association have stuck by the tradition of inviting comedians?
- Think President Trump will attend the next dinner?
New York (CNN) At its annual fundraising dinner, the White House Correspondents’ Association shelves its tradition of having a comedian roast the president and the press corps. Instead, the famous author, Ron Chernow, is the speaker.
The president of the association, Olivier Knox, made the announcement on Monday. He had been leaning against inviting a comic for several months and had talked to other members about the change.
Dinner is a key date in the social calendar of Washington, but its meaning has changed in the midst of constant media attacks and increasing political polarization. Booking Chernow instead of a stand-up performer is an acknowledgement that the annual dinner changes dramatically when the president is not there.
President Trump snubbed the event two years in a row and there is little reason to believe that he is going to attend the next dinner on 27 April 2019.
Historically, Knox told CNN earlier this year, “when the president comes, the program’s center of gravity naturally tilts towards the president.” After speaking and ribbing the press corps, the comedian serves as a counterbalance.