The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) announced Saturday that the 2020 White House Correspondents’ Dinner will be postponed to a later date. The annual dinner, originally scheduled for Saturday, April 25th, is among the latest major DC events to reschedule amid the coronavirus pandemic.
WHCA President and ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl said he had been monitoring the situation since early March. He told reporters last Thursday that the WHCA was “exploring alternative dates” for the high-profile annual dinner. The WHCA tweeted on Sunday that they are “unable to go ahead with its 2020 dinner on April 25.” The WHCA has yet to announce on a new date for the dinner.
The WHC Dinner joins a number of other noteworthy cancellations in the DC area. All Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo have been closed since March 14th, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival has cancelled or postponed all of its major events this year.
In early March, the Gridiron Club announced the cancellation of their annual dinner for only the third time in its 135-year history and the first-ever cancellation for public health reasons. The Gridiron Club was also considering the optics of hosting a light-hearted gathering of media elites during a global pandemic when making their decision. “We’ve always taken the view that it’s appropriate to have political humor even when times are dark,” said Gridiron President Craig Gilbert. “The difference with coronavirus is the health issue.”
The WHC Dinner announced comedian headliners Kenan Thompson from SNL and Hasan Minhaj from the hit Netflix show, “Patriot Act,” signaling a return to the comedic tradition of past dinners. We hope that the WHCA will be able to uphold that tradition at a later date this summer. Even with the rescheduled date, it is unlikely President Trump will attend, having missed the last three dinners during his presidency.