WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden plans to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner, the first time a sitting president will be at the event since Barack Obama in 2016.
The organization said in a tweet that it was pleased to host Biden and first lady Jill Biden at the dinner April 30 that will honor the First Amendment.
Donald Trump opted to skip the event when he was president, and it was canceled in 2020 and last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” is serving as the event’s entertainer. In 2018, Michelle Wolf’s biting, after-dinner comedy routine grabbed headlines, even in Trump’s absence.
After the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington earlier this month, some of those who attended, including Cabinet members, other administration officials and members of Congress tested positive for COVID-19 amid a surge of cases around the nation’s capital.
Capacity for the upcoming dinner is more than 2,600 and the event is fully booked.
Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, suggested last weekend that the correspondents’ dinner should move forward. He told “Fox News Sunday” that “we are at the point in this pandemic” where “I think we can gather safely.”
“I don’t think events like that need to be canceled,” Jha said. “I think, if people put in good safeguards, they can make it substantially safer, make sure people are vaccinated, make sure you have testing, improve ventilation.”
The association is requiring that everyone who attends the dinner must be fully vaccinated, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and produce a negative result from a rapid COVID-19 test taken earlier in the day.