WASHINGTON – The White House Correspondents’ Association, which last year spurned comedy for its annual dinner amid tensions with President Donald Trump’s administration, is turning back to comedians this year.
Two comedians, in fact.
“Kenan and Hasan are two of the most engaged and engaging entertainers in America,” said Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent for ABC News and current president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA). “I’m thrilled they’ll help us celebrate the role of a free press in our democracy.”
No word yet on whether Trump will attend the dinner. He has skipped the previous three WHCA dinners during his administration.
It’s a return engagement for Minhaj, who hosted the dinner in 2017 and didn’t hold back against the absent Trump.
“No one wanted to do this, so of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant,” he joked at one point.
In 2018, Trump’s second year in office, the dinner featured comedian Michelle Wolf, whose abrasive routine drew praise from Trump opponents, condemnation from Trump backers, and post-dinner criticism from the WHCA.
Last year, the dinner featured historian Ron Chernow, who offered a more serous presentation on the freedom of the press, which some WHCA members believe has been under assault during the Trump administration.
“They wanted to try ‘boring’ at this year’s dinner, and I said, ‘Oh, I can deliver on that big time!'” Chernow did joke at one point during his speech. “So here I am, your 20-minute sedative for the evening.”