It was a decades-old Christmas tradition for the media, however, not this year.
Today, President Trump cancelled the annual White House Christmas party for the press.
The annual Christmas-season gathering was a significant perk for those covering the White House, as well as other Washington reporters, anchors and commentators, and New York media executives would regularly fly in for the occasion. At its peak, the invitation-only soirees grew so large that there were two back-to-back events, one for broadcast outlets and one for print organizations.
Journalists who attended the events, which featured a catered buffet of lamb chops, crab claws and elaborate desserts, got to roam the decorated mansion with a spouse or other family member, a friend or a colleague, adding to the invitation’s allure.
But the biggest fringe-benefit was the picture-taking sessions, in which the president and first lady would patiently pose with guests and briefly chat with them in front of a Christmas tree, with the White House sending out the photos — copies of which were invariably sent home to mom. This would take a couple of hours, with long lines snaking across the building’s first floor. Bill Clinton even posed for pictures with journalists days after he was impeached.
The White House made no announcement that it was dropping the press party. The president and first lady threw such a gathering last December but did not pose for pictures. Trump made a brief appearance with his wife and offered a few welcoming remarks. …
While dropping the media party, the White House is in the midst of a full panoply of other parties this holiday season. Selected media people generally favorable to Trump, including a few Fox News hosts, have made those guest lists.
When Democrats have been in the White House, more liberal commentators have gotten invitations, while more conservative pundits have shown up during Republican administrations.
Some critics questioned whether those who cover or comment on the White House should engage in such socializing, but few turned down the invitations. …
President Trump cancels White House Christmas party for the press https://t.co/ZCwe3oy1mG
— Fox News Alert (@foxnewsalert) December 13, 2018
The Huffington Post added:
CNN, which Trump often slams as “fake news,” boycotted the event in 2017.
“In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests,“a CNN spokesperson told HuffPost at the time. “We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants,”
CNN’s 2017 snub prompted White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to respond with this tweet:
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) November 29, 2017
The Washington Post last week speculated over the future of the holiday party, noting that the “White House hasn’t said the event is off — but it hasn’t scheduled it, either.”
What do you think? Did Trump make the right call here?