Washington, US (BBN) – US President Donald Trump has announced he will not attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on 29 April.
The glitzy event draws celebrities, journalists and politicians, normally including the US president, reports BBC.
Trump said he would not attend a day after the White House excluded several major broadcasters and newspapers from a press briefing.
He has frequently described negative news coverage as “fake”.
The announcement comes as relations between the White House and some media outlets continue to deteriorate.
On Friday, the BBC, CNN, Buzzfeed and the New York Times were among media groups barred from an off-camera informal briefing held by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Hours before the briefing, Trump had delivered a strong attack on what he called “fake news” in the media, targeting stories with unnamed sources.
He said “fake news” was the “enemy of the people”.
Trump announced his non-attendance at the correspondents dinner via Twitter.
He wrote: “I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
Bloomberg News and the New Yorker magazine are among media outlets who have said they will not hold their usual after-parties this year.
There have been some calls for journalists to boycott the event itself.
Every sitting president since 1924 has attended the correspondents’ dinner at least once, according to the New York Times.
They traditionally make a light-hearted speech at the annual event. Former US President Barack Obama attended eight times.
Trump has himself attended the dinner in the past
In 2011, Barack Obama joked that Trump would turn the White House into a casino if he became president and made fun of rumours, then propagated by Trump, that President Obama was not born in the US.
The New York businessman was shown on camera sitting stony-faced through a barrage of jokes at his expense, including some from host Seth Meyers, although he said last year that he “loved that dinner”.
In a statement the White House Correspondents’ Association said it took note of the president’s announcement and said the dinner would “continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic”.
Ronald Reagan was the last sitting US president not to attend the dinner, but this was after he was shot in 1981 and he still phoned into the event.
According to NPR, Richard Nixon was the last president to simply skip the event, doing so in 1972.