Donald Trump, who bashed Wolf relentlessly for her performance at last year’s dinner, returned to the theme on Tuesday night after it was reported the annual event would ditch the tradition of having a comedian next year.
“So-called comedian Michelle Wolf bombed so badly last year at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner that this year, for the first time in decades, they will have an author instead of a comedian,” Trump tweeted. “Good first step in comeback of a dying evening and tradition! Maybe I will go?”
The comedian fired back on Twitter, “I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist. #BeBest,” she wrote, in a nod to Trump’s support of the Saudi explanation for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The #BeBest hashtag is a reference to Melania Trump’s campaign against cyberbullying.
Trump did not attend last year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but sent press secretary Sarah Sanders in his stead. Wolf, a stand-up comic and former writer for “The Daily Show” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” ripped Sanders, referring to her as Aunt Lydia, the villain in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and saying “she burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye.”
Some took issue with the “smoky eye” comment especially, saying it was a criticism of her appearance.
Wolf did not back down from criticism, telling NPR’s “Fresh Air” in May, “I wouldn’t change a single word that I said.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association announced Monday they will instead host a speech by presidential biographer Ron Chernow. Chernow will speak about the First Amendment.
“The White House Correspondents’ Association has asked me to make the case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige,” Chernow said in a statement. “Freedom of the press is always a timely subject and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics.”
The show has traditionally featured comedians taking jabs at the current president. Comedians such as Meyers, Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert, Wanda Sykes and Hassan Minhaj all have taken their place at the podium.
Prior to Trump skipping out on the 2017 and 2018 affairs, Ronald Reagan was the last president to miss the dinner in 1981 as he was recovering from an assassination attempt.
The dinner is not scheduled to take place until April 27, 2019.