Despite presidential snub, Trump jokes front and centre at White House press dinners – World

Without U.S. President Donald Trump, who scheduled a rally instead to mark his 100th day in office, the usually celebrity-filled soiree hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association took a more sober turn, even as it pulled in top journalists and Washington insiders.

Instead of the typical roasts — presidents of both parties have delivered their own zingers for years — the event returned to its traditional roots of recognizing reporters’ work and handing out student scholarships as famed journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein presented awards.

However, headline comedian Hasan Minhaj still brought the humour.

‘Welcome to the series finale’

Hasan Minhaj roasts Trump’s team2:20

“Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” Minhaj, who plays a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show program, told the crowd

He also joked about Trump, despite organizers’ wishes, saying he did so to honour U.S. constitutional protection of free speech: “Only in America can a first-generation, Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president.”

‘He can’t take a joke’

Hasan Minhaj on the elephant (not) in the room0:27

Minhaj even addressed Trump’s absence.

“We’ve got to address the elephant that’s not in the room,” he said. “The leader of our country is not here. And that’s because he lives in Moscow. It’s a very long flight. As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke.”

In a video message, actor Alec Baldwin, who has raised Trump’s ire playing him on NBC’s Saturday Night Live program also encouraged attendees.

Few other celebrities graced the red carpet, although some well-known…

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