Op-Ed: Trump’s decision not to attend Correspondents’ Dinner sends dangerous message

By Alex Pinsk || Assistant Opinion & Editorial Editor

Recently, Donald Trump announced his decision not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner which will be held on April 29. He posted on twitter that he “…will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening,” according to CNN News.The Correspondents’ Dinner is an annual event held for the purpose of recognizing journalism. Traditionally, the dinner is inclusive of humor, music, talking, and various performances. It is arguably the most noteworthy event that the White House hosts and, while somewhat exaggerated and mildly ludicrous, is important in its efforts to promote journalism in the United States.

So why would our president opt out of an event that so many deem hugely significant? What reason does Trump have to protest a great American tradition? Why would he decide not to attend a function which has been attended by every single president since Ronald Reagan, who in 1981 did not attend the Correspondents’ Dinner due to an assassination attempt, a perfectly viable and not the least bit suspect excuse?

Well, ever since he came into office, Donald Trump has been angry at the reporters and at the media in general for making “false claims” and portraying him in a negative light. He finds reporters to be unintelligent and their articles broadcasts to be corrupt. In fact, according to The New York Times, Trump said that journalists are “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” Ultimately, our president is not in favor of being trashed by the media, an aspect that inherently comes with being a political authoritative figure, and thus has decided that it is within his right not to be present at this major event. I might argue that his presence will not be sorely missed; however, that is undeniably beside the point.

Many presidents in the past have been upset about the media and how it represents political leaders, most namely themselves. It is a common feeling among high-ranking officials that the media does not always accurately depict people or events, but that is something, I’m sorry to say, that they have to live with. It is not an excuse to rant on about how irritated you are about journalism, and it is without a doubt not an excuse to skip the Correspondents’ Dinner. Certainly, Trump is allowed to feel however he wants about the media; however, in my opinion, he should not be allowed to go to such great lengths to prove his exasperation.

Politically, the Correspondents’ Dinner is not the most influential event, as it is full of humor and music, yet it is well-renowned and historically occurs on an annual basis. So while it may seem a little over the top, I think that Trump not being there is a huge problem for our country and what it’s meant to represent.

The president is supposed to support the people, supposed to show up for events that openly support democratic ideals, or merely consequentially, important to the nation. It is the president’s job to support journalism, whether or not he has a problem with the media, and to support the United States and its political system. The government is a presidential system, not a semi-presidential system, not a parliamentary system. In other words, we have one main leader. We are represented chiefly by this one man, Donald Trump.

No one wants to be represented by a man who, out of his huge self-worth, cannot gather any selflessness, who is not capable of humility or accountability. So, Donald Trump, repress your ego and attend the Correspondents’ Dinners, or promptly remove yourself from office.

Alex Pinsk is the Assistant Opinion & Editorial Edior. Her email is mpinsk@fandm.edu.

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