The White House Correspondents Association dinner is an annual tradition in Washington D.C. The center of attention for the evening is always the President’s relationship with the media. And news broke last week that Trump wouldn’t be attending. If Trump doesn’t show up, this will be the the first time in 39 years that a president has missed the event.
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No wonder the media is treating this s a big deal. This is their night to reverse the roll that they have to uphold day in and day out. The last president to skip the event was Ronald Reagan, who missed it because he’d been shot in an assassination attempt.
With that in mind, we offer this interpretation from Ben Stein. Stein has a deep history in politics. He wrote speeches for Nixon while serving as his lawyer. He’s come to the defense of President Trump and makes a convincing argument for why Trump should skip the event.
CNN host Brianna Keilar grilled Stein on why Trump shouldn’t attend the White House Correspondents Association dinner.
“I don’t blame Mr. Trump one bit for doing it,” Stein said. “He’s a punching bag, day after day after day in the media and I don’t blame him for not wanting to go and be a punching bag in person.”
Keilar seemed offended by this, and countered with questions about Trump’s assertions that the media is the enemy of the people and constantly creating fake news.
“I wouldn’t say all the media is the enemy of the American people. But look, every day you pick up The New York Times they’re slamming, slamming, slamming him,” Stein said.
“I’m a great fan of CNN. I watch it quite faithfully every day. CNN is slamming him, slamming him, slamming him. Every day they are looking for a scandal,” Stein said.
“They are just turning the woods upside down looking for a scandal. They are hoping, I think, to do what they did to Nixon a long time ago and still haven’t found any scandals,” he noted. “And with all due respect, I don’t blame him for being furious at them. And I think he’s got a lot of company.”
“An awful lot of people are not great fans of the media and they see the media as an unelected aristocracy […] who are dumping all over the mainstream of America, and I think Mr. Trump has a lot of company,” he continued.
“There’s no doubt some of this is self-inflicted. But I think this general idea that the press can just hack and hack and hack away at the president that he is expected to sit there and take it is not a sound idea,” Stein explained. “I’ve noticed, day after day, week after week, everything is negative — not one positive response.”
“This is a guy they are smearing, smearing, smearing all the time,” he said. “I don’t blame him for wanting to fire back at them.”
Stein’d comparison to Nixon was apt, though he sees the accomplishments of the two men in very distinct lights. Still, he’s willing to defend Trump, to a point.
“I think it’s extremely unfortunate,” he said. “The country has real problems and for them to be focusing on trying to bring down this guy before he even gets started is a serious mistake.”