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.
The decades-long tradition saw reporters mingle with White House officials some time in mid-December. The invitation-only celebration had grown over the years to the extent that there were separate events for broadcast and print outlets.
But on December 8, The Washington Post had speculated that it might not happen this year, reporting that the annual event was still not scheduled.
On Thursday, Fox News, Trump’s preferred network, reported that the gathering had been canceled, although the White House has made no official announcement.
Fox News reported: “Many Trump supporters who view his coverage as unfairly harsh will undoubtedly welcome the president’s decision to exclude the media establishment, at least for this year.
“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.”
At last year’s event, Trump made a brief appearance with his wife and offered a few welcoming remarks but did not pose for images. The Independent reported that a number of black and LGBT reporters were left off the guest list for the first time in years and CNN boycotted the event, unhappy at Trump’s treatment of the network.
Trump’s relationship with the media went further south over the course of 2018.
The White House pulled the credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta after an altercation in a news conference. Trump has also clashed with journalists including ABC’s Cecilia Vega, American Urban Radio Networks’ Rachel Ryan and Abby Phillip of CNN.
Trump has twice refused to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which had been attended by every president since Richard Nixon.
The Daily Beast tweeted how “Trump has become the president who stole Christmas,” a theme taken up by many on social media.
Another person tweeted: “The Grinch is in the White House!” while CNN political analyst April Ryan, who was criticized by Trump this year, tweeted: “This is just sad on a lot of levels!”
Perhaps in a reference to Fox News’ Sean Hannity saying that “Christmas was under siege”, TJ Johnson tweeted to his followers: “So, it’s actually Trump that has declared war on Christmas.”