Comedian Michelle Wolf on Monday slammed the White House Correspondents' Association for its decision to invite presidential biographer Ron Chernow to be the featured speaker at their annual dinner next April instead of a comedian or celebrity, calling its board members "cowards."
The WHCA sent out a press release Monday announcing the decision to invite Chernow, described by the association as one of the "most eminent biographers of American presidents and statesmen."
"I’m delighted that Ron will share his lively, deeply researched perspectives on American politics and history at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner," said Olivier Knox, chief Washington correspondent for SiriusXM and president of the WHCA. "As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history."
Wolf suggested the decision was cowardly and the media "is complicit."
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) November 19, 2018
"The White House Correspondents’ Association has asked me to make the case for the First Amendment and I am happy to oblige," Chernow said. "Freedom of the press is always a timely subject and this seems like the perfect moment to go back to basics. My major worry these days is that we Americans will forget who we are as a people and historians should serve as our chief custodians in preserving that rich storehouse of memory. While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson won’t be dry."
Wolf, a former writer for Comedy Central's "Daily Show" and the featured comedian at the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner, received backlash for her comments targeting White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
"I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies," Wolf said, joking about Sanders' appearance.
"And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know. Aunt Coulter," Wolf said.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman came to Sanders' defense on Twitter, saying it was "impressive" that she sat there and endured the attacks without walking out of the dinner.
That @PressSec sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance, and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television, was impressive.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 29, 2018
President Donald Trump, who did not attend the dinner, said he heard the event was a "boring bust" and that Wolf "bombed."
"While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn't work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust….the so-called comedian really ‘bombed,'" Trump tweeted.
While Washington, Michigan, was a big success, Washington, D.C., just didn’t work. Everyone is talking about the fact that the White House Correspondents Dinner was a very big, boring bust…the so-called comedian really "bombed." @greggutfeld should host next year! @PeteHegseth
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 29, 2018