Trump Slams 'Filthy' Comedian After White House Press Dinner

WHCA chief says remarks were 'not in the spirit of the night'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2018 5:07 AM CDT
Trump Slams 'Filthy' Comedian After White House Press Dinner
Michelle Wolf arrives at the Sixth Annual Hilarity for Charity Los Angeles Variety Show at the Hollywood Palladium on March 24, 2018, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Michelle Wolf's scathing monologue at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner is receiving poor reviews from President Trump and WHCA President Margaret Talev, among many others. Talev tells Politico that Wolf's routine, which included personal remarks about White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was just a few feet away from her, made her uncomfortable and "did not embody the spirit of the night," which is intended to celebrate journalists and First Amendment freedoms. "I appreciated Sarah Sanders for joining us at the head table and her grace through the program," says Talev. More:

  • Trump's reaction. The president, who skipped the dinner for the second year in a row, thinks it's time to either reboot or kill off the event. "The White House Correspondents' Dinner was a failure last year, but this year was an embarrassment to everyone associated with it. The filthy 'comedian' totally bombed (couldn't even deliver her lines-much like the Seth Meyers weak performance). Put Dinner to rest, or start over!" he tweeted Sunday evening.

  • More critics. Fox correspondent Ed Henry, a former WHCA chief, and MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski were among those calling for Wolf to apologize, the AP reports. "Enough of elites mocking us all," said American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp. He said he walked out of the event with his wife, Mercedes Schlapp, the White House's strategic communications director, because of Wolf's remarks.
  • "She had a message to deliver." In other remarks Sunday, Talev defended the decision to have Wolf speak at the dinner, telling CNN that "she had a message to deliver and she did." She said, however, that it would be a shame for the routine to define the evening, and that after hearing from dismayed association members, she'll work on possible changes to the format of the dinner. Talev stressed that the association doesn't preview or censor the remarks of comedians.
  • Huckabee is outraged. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders' father, was among the conservatives denouncing Wolf, the Hill reports. The dinner was supposed to celebrate the First Amendment, he tweeted. "Instead they celebrated bullying, vulgarity, and hate. They got all dressed up so they would look nicer when they had a hired gun savagely attack their guests. Do they really wonder why America has no respect for them? Sad!"

  • Wolf's most biting jokes. The Washington Post rounds up some of Wolf's harshest jokes from her 19-minute monologue. Beyond Sanders and Trump, her many targets included Mike Pence, Roy Moore, Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway—and the liberal media.
  • In defense of Wolf. Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi is among those defending Wolf's jokes, and her right to make them. Expecting Wolf to apologize "sends an incredibly dangerous message," she writes. "It suggests that it's not OK to criticize the president and his people. And it lends credence to Trump's repeated claims that the mainstream media is out to get him."
  • Journalists distance themselves. Some journalists distanced themselves from the dinner over Wolf's remarks, Politico reports. If the event did anything, "it made the chasm between journalists and those who don't trust us, even wider," tweeted AP reporter Meg Kinnard. "And those of us based in the red states who work hard every day to prove our objectivity will have to deal with it." But many fellow comedians praised Wolf, including 2012 dinner host Jimmy Kimmel, who said the association should "hire a juggler" next year if they can't take a joke.
(Read more White House Correspondents Dinner stories.)

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