President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and First Gentleman Doug Emhoff, will attend this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, underscoring how one of the biggest social nights of the year for Beltway media and politicos has lasted despite predictions of its demise.
The sold-out event at the Washington Hilton on Saturday night also is expected to draw celebrities and other notables, with attendees scheduled to include John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, as well as the Tennessee state lawmakers who were ousted, then reinstated, for their protest over gun violence. Roy Wood Jr., correspondent for The Daily Show, will headline the event. He will follow Biden’s stand-up material — and given the media events of the week, there will be plenty of material.
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The presence of POTUS and FLOTUS is a contrast to the Trump years, when the onetime Celebrity Apprentice host not only skipped the dinner but counter-programmed the event with a rally in which he bashed the dinner as elitist.
Tamara Keith, White House correspondent for NPR and this year’s WHCA president, said that the event has “proven to be a very important gathering for Washington. It is our biggest and primary way of raising money both for the scholarship and the work that the WHCA does on a daily, hourly basis to improve the ability of journalists to do their jobs. And also, it is a celebration of the First Amendment, and all of those people in that room are tacitly endorsing the need for journalists to ask tough questions.”
Starting last year, when Biden returned to the tradition of presidential participation, the event has recovered not just from the Trump cold shoulder but from back-to-back cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid. There still will be a rapid testing requirement for attendees this year.
C-SPAN will present live coverage of the event as well as the red carpet, and cable networks are expected to carry the president’s shtick.
Also back are the numerous events, screenings and parties surrounding the weekend. One of the most prized is Garden Brunch, marking 30 years since Tammy Haddad started it in the backyard of her home. The event has moved to a bigger venue, the Beall-Washington House in Georgetown.
Other highlights: UTA once again is hosting its pre-dinner Friday night bash at Fiola Mare in Georgetown, while CAA gathers earlier in the evening at The Henri.
Following the dinner, TheGrio, owned by Allen Media Group, is hosting Byron Allen Presents The Washington, D.C. Gala, honoring CBS News’ Gayle King and featuring a concert by Diana Ross, and Wood as host, per organizers. The event at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture will be aired on TheGrio and other platforms May 1.
Also following the dinner, CBS News is hosting an event at the French Ambassador’s residence, while Comcast and NBCUniversal News Group are hosting an after-party at the Organization of American States.
Here’s a rundown of the WHCA events (with more to be added) as well as the current lineup of dinner guests.
Wednesday, April 26
MSNBC’s Leguizamo Does America reception. Screening of John Leguizamo’s new MSNBC project at The Observatory at America’s Square. Hosts are Dalila Wilson-Scott and Rashida Jones.
Thursday, April 27
The Great Playbook Debate. British Ambassador Karen Pierce and Politico host an event at the British Embassy.
Bytes & Bylines party. Technology, media and political leaders gather for the annual pre-weekend event, held at the residence of Irish ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason. Co-hosts are Allen Gannet, Eric Kuhn, Shua Goodwin, Susanna Quinn, Sarah Kate Ellis and Stellene Volandes.
Friday, April 28
Crooked Media/MoveOn/HIT Strategies reception. Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Dan Pfeiffer host a cocktail reception at Dauphine’s, along with Crooked Media’s new CEO Lucinda Treat, MoveOn’s executive director Rahna Epting and HIT Strategies’ Terrance Woodbury and Roshni Nedungadi.
CAA WHCD Kickoff Party. Wood is the guest of honor at the reception at the D.C. bistro The Henri.
Elle Women Of Impact. Elle honors women leaders as part of its first Impact Issue, with a reception at Ciel Social Club. Honorees include Ashley Biden, Amanda Nguyen and Elena Velez, with host Sara Austin, executive editor of Elle.
MPA/SAG-AFTRA Reception. The Motion Picture Association and SAG AFTRA host a reception at the MPA’s headquarters, with Charles Rivkin and Fran Drescher as hosts. It’ll also celebrate the launch of the Green Council.
Voto Latino Our Voices. Voto Latino hosts its annual event celebrating diversity in the media, with MSNBC’s Rashida Jones and 60 Minutes correspondent Cecilia Vega as honorees. The Decatur House event is hosted by Rosario Dawson and Maria Teresa Kumar.
Right To Bear Arts Gala Dinner. The Creative Coalition hosts its annual event at the Madison Hotel, promoting support for the arts at the federal, state and local level. Tim Daly, Rachel Bloom, Justin Hartley and Billy Eichner are scheduled to be part of a delegation also meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and White House officials earlier in the day.
Axios After Hours. Axios is teaming with Live Nation for an event at the National Building Museum. Hosts are Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz from Axios and Michael Rapino from Live Nation.
Semafor ‘No Agenda’ WHCD Party. Semafor, which launched last fall, hosts an event at the home of Justin Smith, its CEO.
UTA Cocktail Party. The agency and client General Motors are hosting the annual event celebrating America’s journalists at Fiola Mare.
Versus/Rina Shah event. The Versus venue Heist hosts an event along with political strategist Rina Shah.
Saturday, April 29
Garden Brunch. The annual gathering at the Beall-Washington House, a prelude to the dinner itself, draws a mix of celebrities, politicos and media figures. In addition to Haddad, co-hosts are Gayle King, Kevin Sheekey, Mark and Sally Ein, Stephanie Ruhle, Jon Banner, Craig Minassian, Franco Nuschese, Teresa Carlson, Kelley McCormick, David Adler and Dan Meyers. The event will honor the work of Blue Star Families, which connects military families with their neighbors. Also being recognized will be those on the front lines of Ukraine and other hot spots.
White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. The annual event at the Washington Hilton will feature standup monologues by Biden and Wood, as well as a speech from Keith. The dinner also includes award and scholarship presentations. Networks and news outlets host pre-dinner receptions at the hotel.
Comcast/NBCU After Party. The annual event will be held at the Organization of American States.
CBS News After Party. The network and French Ambassador Laurent Bili host an event at the French Ambassador’s Residence, along with Paramount brands including BET, Comedy Central and Pluto TV.
Byron Allen Presents The Washington, D.C. Gala. Allen Media Group’s theGrio hosts a gala at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History, with honoree Gayle King and a performance by Diana Ross. Other sponsors include P&G and My Black Is Beautiful. Allen said that he started the gala to be “a spectacular celebration, informative and a great deal of fun.”
Sunday, April 30
CNN Political Hangover. The network and Chris Licht host the annual post-dinner, Sunday morning event at The Line DC.
Politico Brunch. Elena and Robert Albritton host their annual brunch at their Georgetown home.
ABC News: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). Other guests TBA.
CBS News: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, FBI Director Chris Wray, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Rosario Dawson, BD Wong, Justin Hartley, Sofia Pernas, Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romjin. Paramount Global chair Shari Redstone and CBS President and CEO George Cheeks also are planning to attend.
NBC News: Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, UN ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield, Small Business Association administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, Citizens United’s David Bossie, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt, Deputy White House Press Secretary Emilie Simons, John Leguizamo, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen.
NPR: Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl.
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