On April 29, Donald Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to skip the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner since Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt at the time of his no-show.
Thirty-six years later, Trump avoided the character assassination attempts he knew would come from self-righteous media at the dinner.
He just had better things to do.
Such as tour a factory that makes landscaping and gardening tools. Such as speaking to a crowd of supporters at a farm show center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Such as once again defeating the media at their own game.
Freedom of the Press? Please!
Approximately 2,700 card-carrying members of the Washington snob set attended the dinner. Many of them get paid to second-guess Trump’s every move.
They tried to make the evening about freedom of the press. But in the end, it was really about Trump, whom they roasted as best they could.
About 7,000 people attended Trump’s rally. Many of them wore red “Make America Great Again” hats.
Trump turned it into a celebration of his first 100 days in office, and the people were fine with that. He called it “100 days of action.” He talked about what he’s accomplished so far and what he still wants to accomplish.
Trump Chooses the Road Less Traveled
While getting bashed in D.C. by people who voted for the election loser, he said everything he needed to say in a few sentences to people who voted for the election winner:
“A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Without the president. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.”
This is a guy who knows how to win… no matter who or how far away the enemy is!
The president may have been a two-hour’s drive from the dinner, but he was very much in the minds of the media gathered to whine about how he treats them.
And he must be as savvy of a businessman as he says because their minds are exactly where he’s been living rent-free for the past year or so.
Media Stumble Trying to Land a Punch
Try as they might, speakers at the media dinner could not point to anything concrete regarding Trump’s supposedly poor treatment of them. They could not cite even one legitimate example of how he has stepped on freedom of the press.
And no wonder. Trump may have no respect for the media – he referred to the New York Times as “totally failing” – but they are still allowed in the White House briefing room. And they’re still allowed on Air Force One.
In fact, there was one rare moment of candor and honesty from a member of the mainstream media. Reuters correspondent and this year’s president of the media association Jeff Mason had to admit that “press access under President Trump has been good.”
Fake News an Issue at Both Venues
Still, the media railed on about Trump’s feud with them. And they repeatedly denied that they dish out “fake news.”
Just the fact that they felt the need to defend themselves regarding fake news accusations proves their inferior position when it comes to their dealings with Trump.
And while they were trying to justify their existence and make themselves believe their treatment of the president is fair, he was lambasting them. Like he usually does. And the audience ate it up.
“CNN and MSNBC are fake news,” he said, with some supporters booing those media outlets and others cheering his characterization of them. The news media “are a disgrace… incompetent, dishonest people.”
In Donald We Trust
Trump’s supporters may not be happy with some folks in the Republican Party, including those who put the ObamaCare replacement bill on the shelf. But they continue to trust Donald Trump and believe he’s going to accomplish what he promised.
As one Pennsylvania supporter said, “He’s not left or right; not really Republican even. I like that. I wish we had no parties. They just lock into left or right, and nothing gets done. He wants to fix stuff.”
So, will freedom of the press be in jeopardy during the Trump Administration? Absolutely.
But that’s only because the media and others on the left will continue to try to silence those who disagree with them. As they did recently when conservative commentator and columnist Ann Coulter tried to speak at the University of California-Berkeley.
Trump, on the other hand, is fine with the media saying whatever they want. He knows what hogwash looks like. And even more important, so do the nearly 63 million people who elected him as the 45th president of the United States.
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