NEW YORK— With President Donald Trump staying away, “The Daily Show’s” Hasan Minhaj is set to headline this year’s White House Correspondents Association dinner.
In a press release, the comedian made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the president’s Twitter style, saying: “It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD!”
WHCA President Jeff Mason made the announcement on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday, saying the April 29 dinner will be “different” without Trump. In a statement, Mason says the event “will be focused on the First Amendment and the importance of a robust and independent media.”
Trump was famously the butt of jokes from President Barack Obama at the 2011 dinner. Trump announced in February that he wouldn’t attend this year.
“I was not looking for somebody who was going to roast the president in absentia. That’s not fair, and that’s not the message that we want to get across,” Mason said on MSNBC on Tuesday. “I was looking for somebody who is funny and who is entertaining, because I want the dinner to be entertaining, but who can also speak to the message that the whole dinner is going to speak to … the importance of a free press.”
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward will also speak about the First Amendment.
Minhaj has been a correspondent on “The Daily Show” for two and a half years. He wrote and performed an off-Broadway show titled “Homecoming King.” Netflix will premiere a version of the one-man show this spring.