Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Politics
US President George W. Bush, left, waves with impressionist Steve Bridges at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2006.

US President George W. Bush, left, waves with impressionist Steve Bridges at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006.

Roger L. Wollenberg/Pool/Getty Images

Updated 11:20 AM EDT, Tue April 23, 2024

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner returns this weekend with “Saturday Night Live” star Colin Jost as the featured entertainer.

The annual event was started in 1921 by journalists who cover the White House.

“Presidents have been attending since 1924 — with only one exception — to demonstrate a mutual respect for the First Amendment,” Steven Portnoy, former president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, told CNN in 2022.

President Joe Biden attended last year’s dinner and joked about a range of topics. Donald Trump is the only president who never attended the dinner while in office, although he did attend in previous years as a guest.

The dinner is known for its laughs and lighthearted moments. In more recent years, they have featured a speaker — usually a comedian — roasting the commander in chief.

The White House Correspondents' Dinner is held in 1923. It was started two years earlier by the White House Correspondents' Association, the organization of journalists who cover the president. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to attend the dinner.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is held in 1923. It was started two years earlier by the White House Correspondents’ Association, the organization of journalists who cover the president. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge became the first president to attend the dinner.

Library of Congress

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, seated, shakes hands with Raymond P. Brandt, chief of the Washington bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at the 1945 dinner. Roosevelt was congratulating Brandt for winning the first Raymond Clapper Memorial Award, which was given by the White House Correspondents' Association for distinguished reporting.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, seated, shakes hands with Raymond P. Brandt, chief of the Washington bureau of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at the 1945 dinner. Roosevelt was congratulating Brandt for winning the first Raymond Clapper Memorial Award, which was given by the White House Correspondents’ Association for distinguished reporting.

Gil Friedberg/AP

President Harry Truman, second from left, presents a $500 check to Peter Edson, second from right, for winning the Raymond Clapper Memorial Award in 1949.

President Harry Truman, second from left, presents a $500 check to Peter Edson, second from right, for winning the Raymond Clapper Memorial Award in 1949.

AP

Legendary golfer Bobby Jones, left, presents a duplicate of his famous putter, Calamity Jane, to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the dinner in 1959. In the center is Felix Belair Jr. of The New York Times.

Legendary golfer Bobby Jones, left, presents a duplicate of his famous putter, Calamity Jane, to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the dinner in 1959. In the center is Felix Belair Jr. of The New York Times.

AP

President Richard Nixon shakes hands with US Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain at the dinner in 1973. Just a month earlier, McCain had been released from a Vietnamese prison after being a prisoner of war for over five years.

President Richard Nixon shakes hands with US Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain at the dinner in 1973. Just a month earlier, McCain had been released from a Vietnamese prison after being a prisoner of war for over five years.

National Archives

Until 1962, the correspondents' dinner was open to just men. President John F. Kennedy, center, refused to attend until it was opened to women.

Until 1962, the correspondents’ dinner was open to just men. President John F. Kennedy, center, refused to attend until it was opened to women.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

President Gerald Ford, right, speaks with comedian Chevy Chase, left, in 1976. Chase famously portrayed Ford as clumsy on

President Gerald Ford, right, speaks with comedian Chevy Chase, left, in 1976. Chase famously portrayed Ford as clumsy on “Saturday Night Live.” Between the two, from left, are “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels and cast members Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.

Fred Hermansky/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Ford laughs with Helen Thomas, a White House correspondent with United Press International, at the 1975 dinner. Thomas was the first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association.

Ford laughs with Helen Thomas, a White House correspondent with United Press International, at the 1975 dinner. Thomas was the first female president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.

National Archives

President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter chat with Paul Healy, right, of the New York Daily News and Lawrence O'Rourke, left, of the Philadelphia Bulletin as they arrive to the dinner in 1977. Healy was the new president of the White House Correspondents' Association, and O'Rourke was its outgoing president.

President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter chat with Paul Healy, right, of the New York Daily News and Lawrence O’Rourke, left, of the Philadelphia Bulletin as they arrive to the dinner in 1977. Healy was the new president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and O’Rourke was its outgoing president.

John Duricka/AP

At the 1987 dinner, President Ronald Reagan called up his wife, Nancy, to say a few kind words to the press. After a pause she responded,

At the 1987 dinner, President Ronald Reagan called up his wife, Nancy, to say a few kind words to the press. After a pause she responded, “I’m thinking.”

Charles Tasnadi/AP

President George H.W. Bush laughs while watching Jim Morris do an impression of him at the 1989 dinner.

President George H.W. Bush laughs while watching Jim Morris do an impression of him at the 1989 dinner.

Mark Reinstein/Corbis/Getty Images

President Bill Clinton holds a placard proclaiming,

President Bill Clinton holds a placard proclaiming, “Don’t blame me. I voted for me,” at the dinner in 1996. Clinton was auditioning some potential slogans for bumper stickers.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Clinton high-fives a

Clinton high-fives a “clone” of him played by actor Darrell Hammond in 1997.

Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images

President George W. Bush conducts the Marine Corps Band during the dinner in 2008.

President George W. Bush conducts the Marine Corps Band during the dinner in 2008.

Kristoffer Tripplaar/Pool/Getty Images

Comedian Keegan-Michael Key plays President Barack Obama's

Comedian Keegan-Michael Key plays President Barack Obama’s “anger translator” Luther in 2015.

Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, attend the correspondents' dinner in 2015. They didn't attend any of the dinners while he was president.

Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, attend the correspondents’ dinner in 2015. They didn’t attend any of the dinners while he was president.

Christy Bowe/ImageCatcher News Service/Corbis/Getty Images

Obama drops the mic after speaking at his last correspondents' dinner in 2016.

Obama drops the mic after speaking at his last correspondents’ dinner in 2016. “Obama out,” he said.

Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden speaks with Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central's

President Joe Biden speaks with Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” in 2022. The dinner had returned after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Pete Marovich/The New York Times/Redux

President Joe Biden speaks while wearing sunglasses at the correspondents' dinner in 2023.

President Joe Biden speaks while wearing sunglasses at the correspondents’ dinner in 2023.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images