President Trump, showing just how different his tenure in the White House is than his predecessors, chose to spend the evening of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with supporters in Pennsylvania rather than the Washington elite. To the inevitable scorn of the media, Trump held a rally in Harrisburg to talk about his first 100 days and assure the public that he was, as ever, in the corner of the American people.
“There’s no place I’d rather be than right here in Pennsylvania,” Trump said. “As you may know, there’s another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington, D.C. A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner…without the president. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you.”
Trump expressed some tongue-in-cheek sympathy for the journalists attending the ceremony, which, he said, would be “very, very boring.” He said he might show up to next year’s event just to “make it more interesting.”
Trump, of course, is historically tied to the annual dinner; some have said that his appearance at the 2012 event was the catalyst that inspired his presidential run a few years later. At that dinner, Trump sat stone-faced as President Obama and host Seth Meyers lobbed insult after insult in his direction, mocking him for his campaign to uncover the president’s birth certificate. Was that the moment Trump decided to give it a go in 2016? We may never know, but the myth is always more exciting than the truth anyway.
On Saturday, Trump seemed much more at ease with himself than he would have had he attended the show, where speakers would have no doubt enthralled themselves and the audience with a fresh round of presidential roasting. And it’s not that Trump lacks a sense of humor, it’s that the jokes aimed at Trump would not be like the jokes aimed at Obama…or even George W. Bush. They would be mean-spirited, ridiculously exaggerated…not even jokes at all, from any reasonable standpoint. The Washington media can’t stand President Trump, and they would have let him know it.
And that’s fine, because the feeling is obviously mutual. Trump was where he belonged that night, surrounded by Americans who still wholeheartedly believe in his radical plan to change the federal government forever.
And just a hundred days in, Trump is well on his way to making good on those lofty promises. As Vice President Mike Pence said in his introduction, “In just 100 days, President Trump has turned America around and he’s just getting started.”
While Washington (whined) and dined, the people of Harrisburg cheered. We wouldn’t have it any other way.