WASHINGTON – After months of head-to-head conflict, President Donald Trump and the Washington political press elite buried the hatchet – at least temporarily – for a few hours on the weekend during the exclusive Gridiron Dinner for the press corps, where the mogul spoke and joked in a self-deprecating way about assorted current issues.
“I won’t rule out direct talks with Kim Jong-un – I just won’t. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that’s his problem, not mine,” the president said before the 660 invited guests at the event, including reporters, politicians, businessmen and top government officials.
Another of his historical antagonists, the late Cuban leader Fidel Castro, also figured in the president’s remarks, with Trump claiming that had he mentioned the Cuban’s name in his recent State of the Union address it would have brought all Democratic lawmakers to their feet in a standing ovation.
One of the Trump’s best-received comments at the dinner, however, did not include any of his “enemies” but rather his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who last week saw his White House security clearance reduced from “top secret” to “secret” in what was widely viewed as a humiliating downgrade for one of the president’s closest advisers.
“Before I get started, I wanted to apologize for arriving a little bit late. You know, we’re late tonight because Jared could not get through the security,” he joked.
The president attended the gala dinner accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who last year stood in for the mogul at the event accompanied by his wife Karen.
Also attending the dinner, which took place in the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington, was Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Kushner.
After his failure to attend the event last year, Trump’s appearance at the Saturday evening affair for White House correspondents was interpreted by certain experts as something of a mini-truce with the press corps, whom the president constantly ridicules for trafficking in “fake news,” if it reports in ways that he finds objectionable.
In fact, just an hour before attending the gala, Trump once again took to Twitter to attack the big US media outlets, saying that the “Mainstream Media in U.S. is being mocked all over the world. They’ve gone CRAZY!”