In a statement, Minjah said “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!”
Jeff Mason, White House Correspondents Association president and journalist for Reuters, said in announcing Minjah’s role at the dinner:
“I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Hasan’s smarts, big heart and passion for press freedom make him the perfect fit for our event, which will be focused on the First Amendment and the importance of a robust and independent media.”
Mason also said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that while President Trump will not be in attendance at the dinner, Minjah very likely will make jokes poking at both the press and the administration, but he “was not looking for someone who would roast the president in absentia.”
President Trump announced in February he will not attend this year’s dinner, making it the first time a sitting president will not be present since 1981, when Ronald Reagan was recovering from an assassination attempt. The White House later announced no staff would attend in “solidarity” with the president.
The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner will be held on April 29 at the Washington Hilton.