Mon, Mar 05, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Trump cracks jokes at media’s Gridiron Ball

WASHINGTON RITE:The US president did not show up last year, but this year he gave a speech poking fun at Cabinet members and even his son-in-law

Bloomberg

The jokes were mostly on US President Donald Trump on Saturday as he spent the evening with a few hundred of his least favorite people — the Washington press corps — at its annual Gridiron Dinner. The president, though, as the guest of honor, got the last laugh, and even thanked the media.

No, really.

Trump wrapped up his comments by lauding the reporters “for all you do to support and sustain our democracy. I mean that.”

In a speech lasting more than 30-minutes, Trump cracked jokes about US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, Vice President Mike Pence — “he is one of the best straight men you are going to meet” — and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

He said he would not rule out direct talks with Kim Jong-un — but warned it was the North Korean leader who faced “the risk of dealing with a madman.”

He did not spare Stephen Bannon, the former White House strategist (“that guy leaked more than the Titanic”) and even mocked his own relentless cable TV-viewing habit.

Trump last year turned down the traditional invitation extended to the commander in chief and also skipped the White House Correspondents Dinner.

However, he flew back from his club in Palm Beach, Florida, to attend the annual white-tie charity event, at which some of the country’s best-known print and television journalists perform musical skits that lampoon Washington’s most powerful politicians.

While still in Florida, Trump stayed true to form, saying on Twitter that the “Mainstream Media in U.S. is being mocked all over the world. They’ve gone CRAZY.”

The comment was appended to a tweet from his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr, highlighting an article from a conservative Web site.

Trump, arguably, warmed up his comedy chops in Florida earlier in the day.

According to CNN, he talked to a Republican donors’ meeting about Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) becoming “president for life,” and added: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

Trump joked that he was late to the event “because Jared could not get through security,” referring to how Kushner was recently stripped of his top security clearance.

He said that it had been “another calm week at the White House” — a week that saw the departure of Trump’s confidant Hope Hicks and financial irregularities surrounding Kushner and the ongoing investigation into his campaign.

“We finally have it running like a fine-tuned machine,” Trump said. “I like turnover. I like chaos. It really is good.”

The president suggested he needed to wrap up his comments quickly, saying: “I have to be up early tomorrow to watch Fox and Friends.”

Additional reporting by AFP

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