President Trump mocks Jared Kushner at annual dinner

Aaron Brown
March 5, 2018

"Nobody does self-deprecating humor better than I do", the president joked.

President Donald Trump attended the 133rd annual Gridiron Dinner with first lady Melania Trump on Saturday and was joined by elegant first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. "I was very excited to receive this invitation and ruin your evening in person. That's why I accepted".

The Gridiron Club's annual dinner has been attended by most USA presidents as well as opposition leaders. The tone of the event, which is not televised, is usually irreverent, and Trump pulled no punches when it came to some of his least favoured publications.

"Rest assured, Mr. President, this crowd is way bigger than Cleveland's", Club President David Lightman, congressional editor for McClatchy News, told the white-tie audience. By the way, I always knew, someday, you're going to fire her.

Water said, "This president has been called stupid, he has been called ignorant, and even his Secretary of State did not deny that he called him a moron". With some of the Democrats continuously seeking his impeachment, Trump joked that Pence has lately been showing a particularly keen interest on this matter. "He starts out each morning asking everyone, 'Has he been impeached yet?'"

- On former chief strategist Steven Bannon: "That guy leaked more than the Titanic".

Turning to the media, Trump said he and The New York Times are both New York City icons - "the only difference is I still own my buildings". And he made fun of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr, who stepped down in December as publisher of The New York Times, saying: "I inherited millions. I'm a NY icon, you're a NY icon, and the only difference is, I still own my buildings".

Kushner's woes were good for a few laughs.

After the 35-minute talk, the White House didn't say whether the president was joking. "It's invigorating since you want turnover", Trump quipped.

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Mr Trump said his staff were anxious that he couldn't do self deprecating humour, to which he joked "I told them not to worry".

"Now the question everybody keeps asking is, who is going to be the next to leave, Steve Miller (immigration hawk and Trump's speechwriter) or Melania?"

Trump said he wouldn't rule out direct talks with North Korea but Kim Jong Un faced "the risk of dealing with a madman". Presidents since William McKinley have dutifully shown up at the Gridiron's formal clambake, which has evolved into an evening of goofy entertainment by the journalists and jokey monologues by a prominent Republican and Democrat, and a roast-like speech by the president. The only senator in his 30s says he's looking for a role model and "the search continues". "We will be meeting and we'll see if anything positive happens".

North Korea's statement added that it is "really more than ridiculous" that the United States "insists that it will have dialogue only for making the DPRK abandon nuclear weapons and persist in "maximum pressure" until complete denuclearization is realized".

Trump was riffing on how she talks about impeaching him before making that IQ remark.

Having presidents attempt to do stand-up a couple times a year has always struck me as rather odd.

And all the while - before, between and after the two politicians' sets - the journalists of the Gridiron Club carried out another tradition, dressing up and performing musical skits swiping broadly at politicians and themselves.

On House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "She's insane, but she's a fine woman". Mr Trump joked, according to White House pool reports.

The Gridiron Club and Foundation contributes to college scholarships and journalistic organizations. Active membership is limited to 65 Washington-based journalists.

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