Back in February when it had become obvious that the relationship between the White House and the press corps was going to be… something different, President Trump announced that he wouldn’t be going to Nerd Prom. (Also known to some sticklers as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.) At the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was dispatched to do the round of morning shows and explain why. The short version of the explanation was that he was going to, “spend the night focused on what he can do to help better America.”

With the big event coming up next weekend we now know how he’ll be accomplishing that laudable goal. He’s going to travel to Pennsylvania and hold a rally. (The Hill)

President Trump will hold a rally in Pennsylvania the night of the White House Correspondents Dinner, he said Saturday.

“Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The announcement comes after Trump decided earlier this year that he would skip the annual dinner in Washington, D.C., breaking with longtime political tradition of the president attending the event alongside lawmakers and celebrities.

I suppose this makes sense in a way. Having said already that he wasn’t going, it would be far too much of a walk back to turn around and show up now. But the media has already been on his case relentlessly about going to his Florida retreat every weekend, so the optics of sitting at Mar-a-Lago while the press yucked it up with whatever comedians they’ve lined up wouldn’t exactly be ideal. So why not hold yet another big rally? He’s pretty much assured that everyone will be covering it just in case he either announces something big or says something they can rip to shreds, so the focus will probably be there rather than on the dinner.

Exit question. Does anyone think that this is a one off thing and that Trump will just start showing up for Nerd Prom beginning next year? I just don’t see it. It’s been made into an issue at this point and the metaphorical battle lines have been drawn. It would be totally out of character for the President to just change his mind and go to the big party in 2018. That doesn’t work out without someone offering him an apology first (feel free to debate the merits of how that would work) and that’s not very likely to happen. So do they go on giving each other the silent treatment straight through 2020? The more I think about it, why would it matter? They can have the show without him and and clearly plan to do so next weekend. Three more rounds of that won’t kill anybody.

Just as a reminder, here’s how the “comics” tended to apply the humor the last time a Republican was in the White House. Trump probably isn’t missing out on too much actual fun from his perspective.