Trump cancels decades-old White House Christmas party for journalists as feud with media escalates

In wake of hostile relations between Trump administration and establishment media, the commander-in-chief has decided to drop the Christmas soiree for White House correspondents.


                            Trump cancels decades-old White House Christmas party for journalists as feud with media escalates

President Donald Trump's increasingly contentious relationship with the press has led to another casualty: the White House Christmas party for the media.

According to Fox News, the annual Christmas gathering was a significant calendar event for White House correspondents, including Washington reporters, anchors, and commentators who mingled with administration officials. Quite a few New York media executives would make it a point to fly in for the occasion every year.



 

The invitation-only event grew so large at its peak that two separate soirees were held back-to-back, one for print organizations and another purely for broadcast outlets. Adding to the invitation's allure, journalists who attended these events got to visit a decorated White House with a spouse or other family member, or a friend or a colleague. The event usually boast of a fully catered buffet of crab claws, lamb chops, and elaborate desserts.

However, the highlight was the photo sessions, wherein the president and first lady would pose with guests and chat with them in front of a Christmas tree. The White House made sure to send out the photos of the gathering to their mothers - a moment of pride for them. 

At 18 feet tall, the official White House Christmas is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each state and territory, on display inside the Blue Room at the White House November 26, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Getty)
At 18 feet tall, the official White House Christmas is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each state and territory, on display inside the Blue Room at the White House November 26, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Getty)

That said, the White House is yet to make an official announcement confirming the press party cancellation. While President Trump threw such a gathering last December, he and First Lady Melania Trump did not pose for pictures and just offered a few welcoming remarks to the guests.

These media parties were often frequented by top White House officials, especially the communications staff. Chief of staff John Kelly held forth with reporters and made informal remarks for at least 15 minutes during last year's event.

 U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony held by the National Park Service at the Ellipse near the White House on November 28, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
 U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony held by the National Park Service at the Ellipse near the White House on November 28, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, the decision to drop the party is hardly surprising, especially considering Trump's attacks on the "fake news" media coupled with the overwhelmingly negative coverage of him and his administration.

The White House was forced to pull the credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta after a contentious turn at a news conference. His press pass was restored after CNN filed a lawsuit against the White House. Having said that, Trump twice refused to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, a media awards event attended by every commander-in-chief since Richard Nixon.



 

The White House, however, is in the midst of a full panoply of other parties this holiday season despite dropping the media party. These events have guest lists including selected media people who are generally favorable to Trump.

On the other hand, a number of liberal commentators received invitations when Democrats occupied the White House. Similarly, more conservative pundits were invited during Republican administrations.

Quite a few questions were raised by critics who wondered whether those who cover or comment on the White House should engage in such socializing.