Biden Praises Reporters In Ukraine As White House Press Dinner Resumes

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – US President Joe Biden praised journalists who covered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during a speech at the White House Correspondents Association dinner on Saturday night, April 30.

After being postponed for two years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and boycotted by Donald Trump during his administration, the event was resurrected with vigor, including statements from comedian Trevor Noah.

 

Biden began his address by making jokes about his poor popularity ratings, his age, and Trump’s anti-media stance.

 

“I’m really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have,” Biden said.

 

His remarks took a more serious turn, thanking journalists for their courage in covering Ukraine and beyond, before making a plea for national unity.

 

“A poison is running through our democracy… with disinformation massively on the rise,” Biden said.

 

“You, the free press, matter more than you ever did in the last century. I really mean it.”

 

The dinner was attended by journalists, media executives, administration officials, and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and comedian Pete Davidson. It featured slideshows recognizing the first two female Black journalists to join the White House Correspondents Association, as well as journalists who have died while covering Ukraine in recent months.

 

A recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Washington, including an outbreak at the journalists’ white-tie Gridiron dinner in early April, has infused the White House meal with trepidation.

 

Organizers mandated that all attendees be tested for the virus, and several high-ranking authorities, including infectious disease specialist Dr. Antony Fauci, declined.

 

Biden used the opportunity to mock Fox News presenters in the audience, many of whom have expressed doubt about vaccinations on live TV, by pointing out that they had to provide proof of vaccination status to attend.

 

Biden took extra measures by missing the meal portion of the event and simply attended the speaker’s session. He chose not to talk while wearing a mask.

 

The president has generally been unmasked at packed White House events in recent weeks, but those gatherings were smaller than Saturday’s dinner, which was planned to seat around 2,600 people.

 

The White House Correspondents Association was founded in 1914 and has held a dinner nearly every year since 1921 to celebrate the reporters who cover the presidency and raise money for scholarships.

 

Biden could not resist a jab at Putin in closing out his remarks.

 

“Trevor, the really good news is, now you get to roast the president of the United States,” he said to Noah, who gave the event’s roast.

 

“And unlike in Moscow, you won’t go to jail.”

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