The White House Correspondents Association will hold its annual dinner Saturday night, marking the return of a historic Washington tradition after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Held for the first time in 1921, the black tie event will be attended by its first incumbent president since 2016, while Joe Biden prepares to deliver statements to various journalists, celebrities and VIPs. Donald Trump skipped the act when it was held during his presidency.
In many ways, it will return to normal for one of Washington’s most important annual events, but organizers are taking precautions as COVID-19 lasts.
Below are some questions and answers about the event that is often called a “nerd prom.”
Where is the dinner held and how many people will attend?
The Washington Hilton is the venue for the event and the correspondent association says 2,600 tickets have been sold.
Celebrities like Kim Kardashian are expected to attend. Trevor Noah, presenter of “The Daily Show” at Comedy Central, will host the dinner.
As Biden goes, his chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, is not. The 81-year-old infectious disease expert cited personal risks and said it was up to others to make their own decisions.
What are the protocols for COVID?
Guests must be fully vaccinated and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test on the day of the event, according to the requirements of the association.
Several VIPs tested positive for COVID after this year’s Gridiron Club dinner, held on April 2nd. That event reportedly required guests to show a vaccination test, but the club, also a journalists’ organization, did not require them to test negative. Among those who tested positive after Gridiron’s dinner were Attorney General Merrick Garland, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and California Democrat Adam Schiff, according to the Washington Post.
Is Biden taking extra precautions?
Yes. Although the 79-year-old president wants to “show his support for the free press,” as White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier this week, he will not attend the dinner party. He will make his own speech and will be there for the presentation of scholarships and other interventions. Psaki said he expected Biden to wear a mask when he wasn’t talking.
The event will be broadcast live on C-SPAN.
What were some of the highlights of the past dinners?
In 2011, President Barack Obama roasted the famous Trump aide, prompting some to speculate that verbal jokes and subsequent laughter eventually motivated the New York real estate mogul to mount his candidacy for the White House.
Comedian Michelle Wolf in 2018 made headlines when investigating the second of Trump’s four press secretaries, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, saying she “burns facts and then uses the ashes to create a perfect smoky eye.” The correspondent association later said Wolf’s routine had not been “in the spirit” of his mission.
In other years, as CNN approached, there was a double for George W. Bush, a video of Bill Clinton washing the presidential limousine and Ronald Reagan calling the event from Camp David, where he was recovering from ‘attack on his life. .
This year, the association will posthumously honor the first two black women in the White House press corps, Alice Dunnigan of the Associated Black Press and Ethel Payne of the Chicago Defender. Gayle King, co-host of CBS Mornings, will present the award to journalists’ families during the dinner.