Donald Trump says he’s skipping this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner because its members “make stories up.”
“Over the years you make a mistake, I fully understand when they hit you,” Trump said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” scheduled to air Tuesday morning. “But when they make stories up, when they create sources, ’cause I believe that sometimes they don’t have sources, you know, the sources don’t exist.”
“I do believe that a lot of the sources are made up,” he added. “A lot of the stories are made up. I believe a lot of, the stories are pure fiction, they just pull it out of air.”
The annual dinner, scheduled for April 29, is traditionally attended by the president, first lady, the White House press corps, media outlets and celebrities. Money raised at the event goes toward scholarships for young journalists. Trump will be the first commander-in-chief to skip the event in over 30 years.
“With all of that being said, I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do the dinner,” Trump told Fox News. “That doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it next year, but I just thought it would be better if I didn’t do it this year.”
The gathering is usually emceed by a known comedian who roasts the president and the media. But this year a number of news outlets — including The New Yorker and Vanity Fair — have refused to host the annual parties around the ceremonies.
Trump’s announcement comes as the president continues his assault on the free press, calling news organizations like the Times, NBC, ABC and CBS “fake news.”
Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer barred several major news organizations from attending a briefing.
Trump also addressed the Sunday night’s Oscar, show telling Fox News: “It just seems like the other side, whenever they’re losing badly, they always pull out the race card. I’ve watched it for years. I watched it against Ronald Reagan, I’ve watched it against so many other people. And they always like pulling out the race card. In fact I did much better than many other than other Republicans in the last election. I did much better with Hispanics, I did much better with African-Americans, if I didn’t do better, I wouldn’t be sitting here.”