Proms have a way of bringing out the worst in people—even president Obama.
Hark back to the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, an annual event often referred to as the Nerd Prom. After showing “original footage” of his birth (a clip from “The Lion King” movie) Obama went on to epically roast The Donald:
Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald,” Obama said. “And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter—like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?
Then Obama got real:
But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example—no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’—at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.
It’s easy to imagine Trump, now America’s commander-in-chief, swaddled in his bathrobe in the White House residence, re-running clips of his beet-red, stoic face as Obama, then Seth Meyers, humiliated him on stage. “Donald Trump has been saying he would run for president as a Republican—which is surprising, because I just assumed he was running as a joke,” said Meyers. Irony aside, many suspect that the 2011 dinner cemented Trump’s desire to become president—a claim he denies.
But now, Trump has planned the prom after-party to end all after-parties. (Fitting since Bloomberg, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, People, and Time have all canceled their ancillary soirees.) Trump wants to forget the whole star-studded, black-tie, red carpet ordeal; indulgence is so not The Donald’s thing, anyway.
Nothing spells revenge like the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is where the president will be hosting a “BIG rally,” on April 29, the same night that the press corps will gather in Washington, DC. The alt-prom announcement came yesterday:
Trump announced that he would not attend this year’s event in February, amidst increasing tensions with the “fake news” media, which he deems “the enemy of the people.” He is the first president to miss the event, which began in 1924, since Ronald Reagan, who was recovering from an assassination attempt in 1981.
The “BIG” rally also coincides with Trump’s 100th day in office, a mark that will bring discussion of his various unmet promises, from the repeal-and-replace of Obamacare to tax reform and authorization of the Mexican border wall. Trump now calls the 100 day benchmark “ridiculous.”
The rally appears to be an attempt to distract the media and his constituents’ attention from both the dinner—which has become increasingly popular in recent years on C-SPAN, CNN, and MSNBC—and his administration’s faltering progress.
In a drastically different vein than 2011, Trump will again steal the spotlight. He’ll splinter reporters’ attendance between Washington and his Pennsylvania rally, which is sure to be covered in splitscreen on cable news.
Responding to Trump’s tweet, Jeff Mason, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association and a reporter for Reuters, said that “we will be celebrating the First Amendment at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner next week, and we look forward to doing just that.”
What Trump perhaps hasn’t considered is, in lieu of his absence from the dinner, all Washington will be left with is memories of his savage 2011 skewering: