"The White House informed the White House Correspondents' Association this evening that White House staff will not be attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner out of 'solidarity' with President Trump, who has previously announced that he would skip the event," WHCA president Jeff Mason wrote in a letter to members.
Mason wrote that the "WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic."
The president announced last month his intentions not to attend the annual event, tweeting, "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!"
I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017
The following day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged on ABC's "This Week" that the president's decision should not come as surprise to the media, given the tenuous relationship between the Oval Office and many media outlets.
"I think it's ... kind of naive of us to think that we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn't there," Sanders told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos.
She added, "You know, one of the things we say in the South [is] 'If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her?' I think that this is a pretty similar scenario. There's no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another Saturday night."