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Before Saturday night, it was unthinkable for a president to skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Although, don’t mistake a president’s attendance for enjoyment.
Presidents have always had two main reasons for attending this gathering of the out-of-touch media elite. One: They fear the media. Two: They desire the media’s adulation.
The thought of skipping the WHCD was previously unthinkable. To disrespect the all-powerful media in that way would start a war.
What Republicans in D.C. have never understood was that the war had already begun. There was no amount of cozying up to journalists at swanky dinners that would make the media love them.
Republican presidents in the past hoped their respectful treatment and capitulation in the war with the media would somehow result in them giving up or being nice.