Trump’s decision to attend the Gridiron, and possibly the Correspondents’ Dinner, comes at a time when coverage of the president is especially tense, given the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians seeking to disrupt the 2016 election. The indictments of 13 Russians on Friday — which stopped short of suggesting any collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign — became another occasion for Trump to attack the media for allegedly skewing the stories against him.
Trump’s surprise decision to participate in a journalistic ritual suggests a desire to maintain some sense of respect and decorum, and was welcomed by some veteran Gridiron Club members. But it is also likely to renew questions about whether journalists should break bread with the president given his virulent anti-press rhetoric.
“Faced with these attacks on our doing our job, we’re going to invite this guy to come and mock us in person? It’s abhorrent.” Slate Chairman Jacob Weisberg said last year, prior to Trump announcing that he wouldn’t attend that year’s Correspondents’ Dinner.