The Trump team is even figuring out a way to use the media's annual White House holiday party to undermine reporters.
Packing the holidays with its hallmark pettiness, the White House appears to have gone out of its way to not invite two prominent journalists — one who is black and one who is gay — to the annual media holiday party.
Ignoring the fact that the festivities are traditionally a bipartisan affair when the White House is supposed to graciously open its doors as a gesture of good will to hard-working journalists, the Trump White House appears to have turned the party into yet another display of passive-aggressive politics.
April Ryan, who has attended the White House event for nearly 20 years while working for the Urban Radio Network, was snubbed this year.
“I think they don’t like me,” Ryan told the Washington Post. “For whatever reason, they have disdain for me.”
Chris Johnson, the White House reporter for the Washington Blade, which is the nation’s oldest LGBTQ paper, was also left off the invite list. Johnson views the White House’s petty snub as being “consistent with the policy of the administration to exclude LGBTQ people.”
Johnson emailed the White House to ask about it but “was bounced between spokespeople” and never received an explanation.
It should be noted that White House seems determined to have a small crowd on hand this year, scheduling the media party for a weekday afternoon at 2 p.m. when most journalists, of course, are working.
Also, the Trumps will not pose for pictures with reporters, as previous administrations have done. Traditionally, the president and the first lady have stood for hours as a long line of reporters and their guests cued up for photos with them.
To be honest, it’s hard to imagine why any working Beltway journalist would agree to show up to the White House’s holiday party, considering Trump has spent his first year in office doing everything possible to undermine a free press, calling it an “enemy of the American people” and turning journalists into objects of ridicule and even physical attacks.
“Frankly it’s disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants,” Trump stressed last month.
It’s bewildering and disheartening that major news organizations are willing to legitimize Trump’s anti-media crusade by dutifully showing up and essentially posing as props for a glittering party.
To its credit, CNN journalists are refusing to attend. “In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests,” a network spokesman recently announced.
Apparently, the White House doesn’t feel it’s appropriate that certain black and gay journalists celebrate, either.