Instead, he will send Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to represent the administration.
Statement on President and WHCA Dinner pic.twitter.com/WiemgnIvcq— WHCA (@whca) April 6, 2018
"The White House has informed us that the president does not plan to participate in this year's dinner but that he will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment," the White House Correspondents Association said in a statement Friday morning.
"In keeping with tradition, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also will represent the administration at the head table. The April 28 dinner celebrates award-winning reporting, scholarship winners and the vital role of the First Amendment and the free press in American democracy."
Although Trump will not be there, White House Correspondents' Association President Margaret Talev said at a National Press Club symposium she was hopeful that the administration will be more involved this year.
"The message underscoring it is one of participation this year, and I think that's a good thing," Talev said Friday, reports Politico. "There is something a little bit different about their posture, the administration's posture this year — the White House telling us that while the president himself doesn't feel comfortable attending this year, he is going to actively encourage his Cabinet, his advisers, the executive branch who have received invitations to attend that dinner."
The announcement came just hours after Trump told the hosts of the 77 WABC Radio show Bernie and Sid that he "probably won't do" the dinner. He called the media "so bad" and "so fake," adding, "I want to get it straightened out with the press before I do it."
Trump did not elaborate on what he meant by that.
The president has frequently trashed the press on Twitter and during rallies. Just hours after the WHCA announced the president's decision, he tweeted, "Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!" on Friday.
Do you believe that the Fake News Media is pushing hard on a story that I am going to replace A.G. Jeff Sessions with EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, who is doing a great job but is TOTALLY under siege? Do people really believe this stuff? So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 6, 2018
CNN, one of Trump's favorite targets, will be honored with the Merriman Smith Award in broadcasting for a January 2017 report on how the U.S. intelligence community believed the Russian government had information on Trump it could use to blackmail him.
NBC News' Lester Holt will also be honored for his interview with Trump after FBI Director James Comey was fired. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, "who knows nothing about me," according to Trump, will also receive an award for her reporting on the president.