Vanity Fair, which has typically cosponsored the dinner's most glamourous after-party, will not do so this year, and The New Yorker will not hold its traditional kickoff party before the dinner, The New York Times reported today.
Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, has a history of publicly feuding with Trump, and David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, has written critically about Trump since day one. On November 9, Remnick published an article titled "An American Tragedy," saying that "despair is no answer." Instead, he wrote, "to combat authoritarianism, to call out lies, to struggle honorably and fiercely in the name of American ideals -- that is what is left to do. That is all there is to do." Both editors, however, joined Trump and other members of the media in an off-the-record meeting in January.
Carter will not attend the dinner, scheduled for April 29, he told the Times, saying he would be spending the weekend in Connecticut, and that the magazine has previously taken breaks from the dinner. Comedian Samantha Bee, who hosts the feminist news satire program Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,has already announced plans to hold an alternative correspondents' dinner, which may draw some other big names away from the event.
In the past the correspondents' dinner has featured celebrity comedians such as Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers. Comics have roasted presidents including Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who have responded with laughter, albeit awkwardly at times. The presidents have gotten in some digs of their own as well.
It was at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner that Obama famously jabbed at Trump, and some observers believe that event motivated Trump to seek the presidency. Obama was taking on Trump because the reality TV star and billionaire businessman had long led a campaign claiming that he was not a U.S. citizen. Obama eventually released a copy of his birth certificate to prove him wrong (but Trump himself has yet to release a copy of his tax returns, even though almost every presidential nominee since Richard Nixon has). "Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House," Obama said while showing a gaudy Photoshopped version of the White House meant to resemble what the home would look like if Trump lived in it. Those words turned out to be unfortunately prophetic.
At the same dinner, Seth Meyers said, "Donald Trump has been saying he will run for as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke." Video of the event shows the Donald is not pleased. Everyone is laughing, looking at his reaction, while Trump sits there red with rage.
There's no doubt that Trump and his advisers will take the dinner as an opportunity so shame the "liberal media." Trump lives for revenge. Kellyanne Conway, who characterized the Trump administration's blurring of the truth as "alternative facts," apparently feels wronged by the media. "We got no forbearance, we got nothing, we got no respect. We ... this man is president of the United States," she told CNN.
But as we've seen with Trump before, he can't take a joke. Before the election, at the Al Smith Dinner, which is usually an opportunity for candidates to show their sense of humor, Trump went too far. He attacked Hillary Clinton, calling her "corrupt," and offended religious leaders.
It will provide Trump and his advisers such as Steve Bannon, who has called the media "the opposition party," a chance to get mainstream coverage of them bashing and delegitimizing the media. It's exactly what they want -- to humiliate the "liberal media" at its own event.
In an interview with the Times, Bannon said, "The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." Bannon, however, comes from the media world. He was once an executive of the alt-right news site Breitbart.
Trump's inauguration speech, which was coauthored by Bannon, presented a dark revisionist history of American politics. A sinister thread ran through the speech. Who's to say anything will be different at the correspondents' dinner?
Trump's already proven many people wrong -- those who said no one should take him literally on his campaign promises. He's done exactly what he promised he would do. The Muslim ban continues to wreck the lives of many green-card holding immigrants as well as visitors and refugees.
Remnick was part of a panel at New York University on January 25 alongside Lydia Polgreen, the editor of The Huffington Post; Brian Stelter, a media reporter at CNN; and Jacob Weisberg, an editor at Slate. They discussed the possibility of not participating in the correspondents' dinner because, as Remnick has repeatedly said since Trump's win, "this is not normal." At the time, no one announced whether they would skip the event. But now Remnick has decided to distance his magazine from Trump's media manipulation game.