The White House Correspondents' Dinner is always a weird occasion. While it's meant to celebrate the press, journalists and politicians don't always have the best relationship. In recent years, the WHCD was at least semi-fun to catch up on the next day, as big name comedians (and even President Obama) were brought in to deliver a solid roasting of the crowd. This year, it's going to be even stranger since the President Trump won't be in attendance. Which begs the question: Who is going? And will Hillary Clinton attend the WHCD this year? It's sort of anyone's guess. She hasn't said anything yet about attending and even organizers aren't sure who's actually showing up.
SiriusXM host of The Press Pool and former WHCA board member Julie Mason told The Hill that there's a weirdness factor due to the lack of star power (Hasan Minhaj, a comedian is hosting this year, but he's sort of an unknown). Mason said, "When you go back through the years, especially during Republican presidencies, it really wasn’t this star-studded celebrity power bash. And there weren’t all these exclusive parties." She explained, "That really mushroomed during the Obama years, because celebrities love Democrats and big party-givers love celebrities."
Making it even more complicated is that fact that, given some media outlets boycott of the official event, Samantha Bee of Full Frontal is holding a "Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner." It might be more likely that Clinton will attend that event — or at least the Full Frontal after party scheduled for that night. Elvis Costello is at least performing at that gala.
Either way, it's likely that the former presidential candidate will attend at least one of the events that weekend, though she isn't really a media darling either. Instead of attending the dinner, which is meant to be a celebration of the White House press corps, Trump is holding a rally that night to celebrate his 100th day in office. He is the first president in 36 years to not attend and even his staff turned down invites to the "Nerd Prom."
Maybe it's a good thing that Trump and some outlets aren't attending the event. Trump does tweet regularly about his distaste for the mainstream media and has accused most major news outlets of lying or "failing" since taking office. He actually called the media the "enemy of the American people" this year. If it was weird to watch the press and the White House mingle before (when administrations weren't even very forthcoming with the media), it would be even more ironic if he actually showed up.
Also, Trump doesn't seem to love jokes at his expense: In 2011, when Obama roasted Trump, judging by the look on the then-real estate mogul's face, he didn't find it very funny. The president denies that that is the reason he's not attending this year, but it's hard not to wonder.
Clinton isn't exactly known for her sense of humor either, but she at least gets the idea of a roast. During the 2016 campaign, Clinton was also a pretty good sport on late night TV and on Saturday Night Live, so she'd likely fare well at either the real WHCD or Samantha Bee's version. If anything, whichever event Clinton attends this weekend will likely be The One everyone will clamor to get into. Thankfully, there's no chance Clinton will awkwardly run into President Trump at either one. That would definitely be weird.