WASHINGTON — The White House has ordered Trump administration officials to boycott the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, according to a senior administration official.
The order was issued Tuesday morning by White House Cabinet Secretary Bill McGinley, who announced that all Trump administration officials are being ordered to boycott the dinner, scheduled for Saturday night.
The move marks yet another deterioration in relations between the White House press office and the press corps, though President Donald Trump had announced earlier this month that he would be skipping the annual dinner for the third year in a row. The President will instead hold a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the same evening.
“The dinner is so boring and so negative that we’re going to hold a very positive rally,” Trump told reporters at the time.
The usual tensions between reporters and government representatives have escalated to extreme levels in the Trump age, due largely to the President’s near-daily attacks against the media. His portrayal of the people who cover him as his “enemy” and the “enemy of the people” has been denounced by historians, press freedom advocates and politicians in both parties.
In previous administrations, both the President and vice president traditionally attended the gala event which promotes the First Amendment. The last president to skip the dinner was Ronald Reagan in 1981, who declined because he was recovering from an assassination attempt.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also previously told CNN she would not be attending the dinner, instead traveling to the Trump rally with the President.
Sanders had attended the two previous dinners under the Trump administration. Last year, she was infamously roasted by comedian Michelle Wolf while sitting at the head table on stage.