Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the Trump administration’s boycott of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner while at one of the many glitzy parties that surround the annual event, The Hill reported.
Spicer, at the annual tech- and media-focused “Bytes and Bylines” party kicking off the weekend, told ITK he believes President Trump and his aides “have to make decisions that are in their best interests.”
The White House two days earlier said it directed members of the Trump administration to boycott the WHCA dinner. Trump has skipped the party three years in a row.
But Spicer insisted Trump administration officials don’t have to attend the party to show that they are supportive of the First Amendment and free press.
“You can celebrate the First Amendment and all this without necessarily the fanfare,” Spicer told ITK.
Spicer was the belle of the ball at the sixth annual “Bytes and Bylines” mixer, held at the lush home of Ireland’s ambassador to the U.S., Daniel Mulhall. Mulhall guided Spicer around the party, introducing him to eager attendees who gathered in a circle around Spicer at some points.
The party was hosted by politics, tech and media hotshots Allen Gannett, Eric Kuhn, John McCarthy, and Jennifer DeCasper, chief of staff to Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
Guests mingled across the Irish ambassador’s stone back patio and green lawn when they weren’t waiting in line for Guinness beer and authentic Irish whiskey.
Attendees included former Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Jim Moran(D-Va.); West Wing actress Melissa Fitzgerald; NBC News correspondent Stephanie Ruhle; CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter; an assortment of ambassadors and many more D.C. insiders.
Almost as soon as Spicer arrived at the event, the former Trump spokesman got in line, turned around and asked ITK, “Is the Guinness here?”
Irish-themed foods, including sausages wrapped in bacon, circulated as guests discussed what you might expect from this crowd: Russian bots, autonomous vehicles and former Vice President Joe Biden‘s decision to jump into the Democratic presidential race.
ABC News White House correspondent Tara Palmeri told ITK that the main topic of conversation at the event was “how boring the [WHCA] dinner’s going to be.”
After walking away, Palmeri came back to tell ITK that she will not be attending the dinner because she will be covering Trump’s rally in Green Bay, Wis. She added that is what “real” White House correspondents do.