For the first time in sixteen years, the White House Correspondents Dinner will not feature a comedian as the comedian as the featured speaker. Instead, the White House Correspondents Association will feature Ron Chernow, a noted biographer.
“I’m delighted that Ron will share his lively, deeply researched perspectives on American politics and history at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” said Olivier Knox, president of the WHCA. “As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history.”
“The White House Correspondents’ Association has asked me to make the case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige,” Chernow said in a statement. “Freedom of the press is always a timely subject and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics. My major worry these days is that we Americans will forget who we are as a people and historians should serve as our chief custodians in preserving that rich storehouse of memory.”
“While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson won’t be dry.”
The announcement comes after last year’s comedian, Michelle Wolf, delivered sharp jabs at the Administration and in particular, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Many journalists felt her jokes at Sanders crossed a line and publicly criticized them. The dinner has historically featured jokes at Washington’s, especially the president’s, expense, but the president was also usually in attendance to make jokes himself. However, President Donald Trump has not gone the past two years with little indication that will change in 2019.
Wolf has weighed in and has no regrets, tweeting, “The @whca are cowards. The media is complicit. And I couldn’t be prouder.”