The annual White House holiday party for the news media is usually a placid affair, with cookies, punch and a photo opportunity.
The president and first lady pose for souvenir photos amid festive decorations with journalists who normally would be hurling tough questions at the commander in chief.
This year, things will be a little different. And a little awkward.
President Trump and first lady Melania Trump hosted the party as usual, but it was not be the usual party. Trump began calling the news media “fake” and the “enemy of the American people.”
At least two journalists who cover the White House for news outlets that focus on the LGBT and African-American communities were not invited to the upcoming White House Christmas party.
Chris Johnson, White House reporter for the Washington Blade and April Ryan, only Black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House, were both apparently snubbed this year without explanation
Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
Ryan is a CNN contributor and correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN), which describes itself as “the nation’s only African-American controlled network radio company”
The 30-year journalism veteran has been covering the White House since January of 1997, and she is also the author of the best-selling book, The Presidency In Black and White: My Up Close View of Three Presidents and Race in America.
were apparently both snubbed this year without explanation, prompting some observers to question whether black and gay journalists were banned from the annual White House holiday press party.
The White House Press Office sent out the following statement in response to the issue:
We appreciate that this is a unique opportunity and special time for people, including the President and First Lady who have offered to welcome guests into their home. This year we put an emphasis on including those who cover the White House day-in-and-day-out, giving an opportunity to the folks behind the scenes capturing it who are rarely recognized.
A spokeswoman for the White House asserted to us that the fact Ryan and Johnson weren’t invited was an oversight.
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