White House Correspondents’ Association dinner returns after two-year hiatus

Trevor Noah

Washington, US | Xinhua | The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) annual dinner returned on Saturday after two years of cancellations due to COVID-19.

U.S. President Joe Biden attended the event and made remarks and jokes, with which he took a swipe at his predecessor Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and conservative-learning Fox News.

“The Daily Show” host and South African comedian Trevor Noah also spoke at the gathering held at the Washington Hilton.

The black-tie gala took place despite concerns it could be another COVID-19 super-spreading event.

Dozens of individuals, including several senior Biden administration officials, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the elite Gridiron Club and Foundation dinner in early April.

Attendees of the WHCA event must provide proof of vaccination and a same-day negative COVID-19 rapid test. Biden skipped the dinner portion.

Anthony Fauci, a top U.S. infectious diseases expert, had decided not to attend because of personal concerns about health and safety.

“For real, people, what are we doing here? … I mean Dr. Fauci dropped out. That should’ve been a pretty big sign,” Noah said in his remarks.

This year’s dinner was the WHCA’s first since 2019 and also the first in six years to have the presence of the sitting U.S. president.

Trump, when he was in office, declined to go to the occasion amid a contentious relationship with the media, which he often derided as “fake news.”

Held for the first time in 1921, the WHCA’s annual dinner is traditionally attended by the U.S. president and first lady, as well as senior government officials.

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