White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an interview that President Trump was not elected to “pretend” the media. Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” she said, “I think it’s kind of naive of us to think that we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn’t there.” Comparing the media’s treatment of the president to vandalism, she said, “One of the things we say in the South [is] if a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? I think that this is a pretty similar scenario.”
Sanders added, “There’s no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another Saturday night.”
Sanders said Trump be working on the evening of the dinner. “This wasn’t a president that was elected to spend his time with reporters and celebrities, this is a president who campaigned on speaking directly to Americans, and that’s what he’s going to spend his time doing,” she said.
Over the February 25-26 weekend, the president wrote on Twitter that he would not attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a tradition since 1921 that has featured the Washington press corps, celebrities, and newsmakers. In 2011, Barack Obama openly mocked Trump during the black-tie dinner. Obama roasted Trump for questions over the president’s birth certificate while also mocking his leadership experience when he recalled an episode of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Describing an episode in which he fired has-been actor Gary Busey over Little John or Meatloaf, Obama said, “These are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well-handled, sir. Well-handled.”