The annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner took place Saturday night at the Washington Hilton. With President Donald Trump opting out of the dinner for the third year in a row – and instructing Administration officials to avoid the event as well – the event took on more of a subdued tone.
Historian Ron Chernow was the guest speaker, a departure from the tradition of featuring comedians as entertainment for the evening. Chernow managed to strike a balance between humorous moments and historical perspective during his 30 minute speech.
While his approach may have been more subtle than that of previous dinner entertainers, Chernow didn’t avoid commentary directed at the president. “Washington committed only one major blunder as president: He failed to put his name on Mount Vernon and thereby bungled an early opportunity at branding…Clearly deficient in the art of the deal, the poor man had to settle for the lowly title of father of his country. A very sad story.”
In an interview with the New York Times, President Trump’s former chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, said of Chernow’s remarks, “It was perfectly spot-on for the time and for where we are in the world. It sort of hit the spot.”
Read more via nytimes.com: Perspective, Not Parody, at a Subdued Correspondents’ Dinner