Mika Brzezinski declared the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Dinner a win for President Trump after the comedian invited to perform angered many, including the president.
“This was a win for Trump,” Mika Brzezinski said on Morning Joe on Monday. “If you didn’t want this to be a win for Trump, you gave him one in a big way.”
Comedian Michelle Wolf’s caustic performance at Saturday’s dinner — replete with jokes about abortion, homosexuality, and the Trump administration — caused outrage across Twitter, both from defenders of the administration and members of the mainstream media.
Wolf sparked particular disgust with her comments about White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The Daily Show alumnus compared Sanders to an actress from The Handmaid’s Tale and said she “burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
This was too much for many mainstream journalists, who stepped up to defend Sanders and said the jokes were mean-spirited and crossed a line. Some even called for an end to the dinner’s current format, including the booking of comedians.
“Let the great comedians perform on Netflix, where we watch Dave Chappelle,” said Brzezinski’s co-host, Joe Scarborough.
White House Correspondents Association president Margaret Talev tried to put distance between the organization and Wolf on Sunday, saying the comedian’s performance was not in the intended spirit of the dinner.
“Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honoring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not to divide people,” the WHCA said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”
Brzezinski criticized the move as hypocritical, arguing that the WHCA was trying to “have it both ways, to have this woman at the dinner and then apologize for it.”
“You own it, White House Correspondents Association,” she said.