In his continuing war against the media, President Trump has decided to cancel a White House Christmas party for the press, ending a decades-long run in which the media hobnobbed with the president over eggnog and cookies.
“The White House made no announcement that it was dropping the press party,” Howard Kurtz of Fox News writes.
One White House correspondent who spoke to The Daily Wire said in years past he would receive the Christmas invitation weeks before Thanksgiving, so it was clear this year that there’d be no party.
Each year, the incumbent president and first lady spend much of December hosting parties at the White House, inviting everyone from family and friends to campaign staffers, top donors and members of the military. At each party, the first couple makes an appearance, chatting with guests and often taking portraits shot by a professional White House photographer.
For decades, the media also got invited to at least one party, and it was a heavily sought-after invitation which always included a plus-one (personal note, I took my wife and each of my two kids several times, then my dad, my mom, and some highly impressed friends).
The events were breezy — and the food was amazing. The White House chefs would prepare a feast that included lollipop lamb chops, stone crab claws and delicious desserts (the chefs would also make a ginger bread White House, which, during the George W. Bush years, included a tiny dog to represent Barney). What’s more, the media had the run of the place — and they could sit on all the furniture!
But Trump doesn’t much like the media (OK, he kinda’ hates them). Last year, instead of the normal 7 p.m. party for the media, Trump invited the press over at 2 p.m. (not exactly cocktail hour). The president appeared and made a few comments, saying they were off the record (the White House was miffed when some reporters printed his comments anyway).
In another break from tradition, Trump also didn’t stand for photographs like his predecessors. That process always included shaking hands with the president and first lady, plus some light chit chat. The line for photos would sometimes be an hour long, but it was worth it — the White House mailed out the photos weeks later, which no doubt got framed and hung on office walls across Washington.
Trump, though, likely didn’t want to take photos with some he considers his foes, like CNN’s Jim Acosta, so he scrubbed the photo session.
Still, some news outlets, notably The New York Times, have always stayed away from informal gatherings with the president, fearing the optics of socializing with the man they’re supposed to be covering.
So, this year, they won’t have to bother.