White House Correspondents’ Dinner Returns with the President’s Presence

The show continues despite COVID-19 concerns.

The White House Correspondents Dinner makes its grand comeback Saturday night, two years after the pandemic ended and six years since the last time a commander-in-chief attended the event.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to attend the benefit at the Washington Hilton, the first incumbent president to do so since 2016. Former President Donald Trump vocally snubbed their three invitations during his tenure.

The event is hosted by the White House Correspondents Association, which represents White House reporters, and has been a tradition since 1921. The dinner seeks to raise awareness of the First Amendment, raises money for journalism programs and includes jokes at the expense of the president, Washington, DC, community and other news topics.

The president usually has a speech where he tells his own jokes.

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah will host this year’s dinner. Other non-political celebrities are also expected to attend the event, including Drew Barrymore, Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson.

The pandemic forced the WHCA to cancel the dinner in 2020 and 2021.

Although COVID-19 cases are on the rise and several members of the White House have recently contracted the virus, including Vice President Kamala Harris, the show will continue.

Organizers said all participants must be vaccinated and are required to show proof of a negative test.

Concerns over dinner safety have escalated following a COVID-19 outbreak that followed the Gridiron Club Dinner on April 2. Dozens of elected officials, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have contracted the virus.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that Biden is taking extra precautions.

“He’s not attending the dinner. He’s coming to the show. So… he’ll probably wear a mask when he’s not talking,” she said. “And then, of course, he’s sitting on the dais in front of the interaction and not participating in any of the receptions.”

Libby Cathey of ABC News contributed to this report.

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