President Donald Trump ripped the media in a Saturday night campaign-style rally held at the same time as the Washington media gathered for its annual gala.
“They are very, very dishonest people,” Trump told a frenzied crowd in Michigan.
“Fake news. Very dishonest.”
The event marked the second consecutive year that Trump opted to hold a rally rather than face the media at the White House Correspondents Dinner.
The president opened his speech in Washington Township with a nod to his decision to blow off the annual black-tie gala.
“You may have heard that I was invited to another event tonight, the White House Correspondents Dinner,” Trump said. “But I’d much rather be in Washington, Michigan than in Washington D.C. That I can tell you.”
Trump sounded familiar notes in a long-winded address that hit many of his favorite topics: the “dishonest press,” the “corrupt Democrats,” his Election Night victory.
“Who won the state of Michigan after decades?” Trump said. “I remember that night.”
Meanwhile, reporters, politicos and powerbrokers descended on the Washington Hilton for a gala that drew far fewer A-list celebrities than in past administrations.
Unlike last year, several White House aides — including spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and top adviser Kellyanne Conway — opted to attend the event.
“The president encouraged his staff and all of us to attend, so we did,” Sanders said on the red carpet. “We felt like it was important for us to be here.”
Conway added that the president always urges his staff to enjoy themselves.
“He also encourages us to have fun,” Conway said. “He’s a really great boss. And he believes in having a fun and social workplace.”
Among the bold-faced names in attendance were Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former reality star-turned-Trump staffer Omarosa Manigault.
Comedian Michelle Wolf, best known for her appearances on “The Daily Show,” was slated to headline the event.
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