Breaking with tradition, Donald Trump says he won't attend this year's high-profile dinner with journalists. The US president has frequently slammed news media he does not like, labeling them the "enemy of the people."
An annual fundraising dinner held by journalists and attended by politicians and celebrities will be down one high-profile guest this year - the president of the United States.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he does not plan on attending the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner this April.
"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!" the president tweeted.
The US president is usually the guest of honor at the dinner, which includes a light-hearted roast of the press and the president.
In response to Trump's announcement, WHCA President Jeff Mason said dinner "has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic."
In his statement, Mason noted that the association will "look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession."
The dinner, which dates back to 1921, serves as a college scholarship fundraiser for students in journalism programs.
Leading up to this year's event, outlets including Bloomberg and the New Yorker said they would not be hosting after-parties that have been a fixture of past events.
Trump's tensions with the press
Trump's tweet comes amidst the president's ongoing battle with the news media, which he has called the "opposition party" and "the enemy of the people."
On Friday, the White House also denied specific media outlets access to an off-camera briefing, including CNN, the New York Times, Politico and the Los Angeles Times.
Smaller outlets that publish favorable coverage of Trump and his administration were allowed to attend the press gaggle - including right-wing news site Breitbart, which was managed for four years by Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon.
Calls for a 'replacement' Trump
Following Trump's announcement, some on social media were calling for actor Alec Baldwin, who has been impersonating Trump on comedy sketch show SNL, to step in the president's place.
Although he says he's not going this year, Trump is no stranger to the Correspondents' dinner. The event made news in 2011 when President Barack Obama delivered scathing jokes about Trump - who was in the audience.
During his keynote speech, Obama joked that he hoped Trump would move on from questioning Obama's citizenship and "get back to focusing on the issues that matter," including finding out whether the moon landing was faked.
rs/jr (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)