As he ensured his Twitter followers over the weekend, Trump's 100th day in office and the WHCD will be celebrated separately, even though the two events both fall on the same day: Saturday, April 29. In a tweet to his 28 million followers on April 22, just a week prior to the big day, Trump said he would hold a "big" rally in Pennsylvania instead of attending the WHCD, as most presidents have traditionally done. This rather remarkable announcement by Trump is yet another episode of visible tension between him and the press.
Trump's rally will be conducted at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg. Since 1981, Trump is the only American president, apart from Ronald Reagan, who will not attend the celebrated dinner. Sure, he's claimed the media treats him unfairly, but that might not be a valid enough excuse. For example, it's good to remember that Reagan didn't attend the dinner only because he was recuperating from a gunshot wound received in a failed assassination attempt several weeks before the dinner. That said, Reagan called in to apologize for not being there in person.
But unlike most presidents, Trump is known for his acerbic relationship with the media. In February, he tweeted about "fake news media" and tagged several major outlets by calling them the "enemy of the American people." People saw the description as an escalated form of aggression from the president against the press.
Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2017
But Trump has attended the historic dinner before — just not as president. In 2011, Trump attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner where former president Barack Obama poked fun at Trump for spearheading a rumor against Obama that he was not born in America. A visibly-unamused Trump was shown at the dinner surrounded by press members.
This year, Hasan Minhaj from The Daily Show will be hosting the dinner in Washington D.C. Minhaj, a comedian from an Indian Muslim family, joined The Daily Show in 2014 and often talks about his life as an Indian American and his experience with racism and bullying.
So far, not much is known about what Trump will discuss at his big rally in Pennsylvania but it is obvious that Minhaj poking fun at Trump will be quite the sight, even if Trump is not present. In fact, Trump's absence could give the comedian a rich opportunity to discuss the president's relationship with the media, comedy, and — of course — criticism.