Donald Trump or The Grinch? White House cancels Christmas party to spite the press

The president expressed his dismay with the media by cancelling a traditional White House Christmas party for press

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 13, 2018 8:43AM (EST)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Universal Pictures/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Universal Pictures/Salon)

President Donald Trump has abandoned another venerable tradition in order to get back at the media — this time, the White House Christmas party for members of the press. The story was broken in an exclusive by — Fox News.

President Trump has canceled the White House holiday party for the media, making the decades-old tradition a victim of his increasingly contentious relationship with major news organizations.

Fox News' media reporter Howard Kurtz noted that the White House did not announce that it was dropping the press party but that "the decision is hardly shocking, given Trump’s constant attacks on 'fake news' and the overwhelmingly negative coverage of him and his administration." The report also went into detail about how the rest of Trump's holiday parties seem to be proceeding:

While dropping the media party, the White House is in the midst of a full panoply of other parties this holiday season. Selected media people generally favorable to Trump, including a few Fox News hosts, have made those guest lists.

When Democrats have been in the White House, more liberal commentators have gotten invitations, while more conservative pundits have shown up during Republican administrations.

This isn't the first time that Trump has refused to participate in a tradition that helped bridge the gap between the politicians in Washington and the members of the press assigned to cover them. He has also refused to participate in the White House Correspondents Association Dinners on both occasions that those events were held during his presidency, even though presidents as far back as Richard Nixon have been involved in them (and Nixon was certainly no friend of the press).

In April, when Trump refused to participate in the second event of this nature, he partially alluded as to why in a tweet, according to The New York Times.

"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!" Trump tweeted at the time.

There may be additional reasons why Trump wants to avoid the press this time around. Despite publicly claiming to be unconcerned about the possibility of impeachment, privately the president is deeply concerned that revelations about him potentially violating campaign finance laws to stifle stories about extramarital affairs could put him in legal jeopardy, according to NBC News. As one close Trump ally told the news outlet, "The entire question about whether the president committed an impeachable offense now hinges on the testimony of two men: David Pecker and Allen Weisselberg, both cooperating witnesses in the SDNY investigation."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Christmas Christmas Party Donald Trump Journalists Media Press