Adding fuel to its growing feud with President Donald Trump, CNN told POLITICO it will be boycotting the White House Christmas party for the media this year.
“CNN will not be attending this year’s White House Christmas party,” a CNN spokesperson said. “In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests. We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants.”
The annual event, scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m., is typically seen as a time when reporters and their bosses can mingle freely with administration members, but Trump’s posture toward the press has been uniquely aggressive.
Since Trump began his run for office, CNN has been one of his favorite targets. He has often criticized the network as “fake news” and alleged that the network makes up stories.
In response to this news, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Tuesday night, “Christmas comes early! Finally, good news from @CNN.”
Past holiday parties have been off the record, but it’s not clear whether that’s the case this year. It was not specified in the invitation, and the White House has not responded to request for comment.
If possible, relations between the administration and CNN have grown even more fraught lately. Sources at the network told POLITICO that a Trump tweet last weekend criticizing CNN International was viewed as especially galling, because of the belief that it imperiled journalists working in dangerous locales or countries hostile to a free press.
Over the last two days, CNN has been regularly running segments about the tweet, focused on the value of their international reporting. And its much publicized new marketing slogan — “Facts first” — appears to be a direct response to the administration.
The offending Trump tweet sent Saturday read: “.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!”
The president also tweeted a knock on CNN on Monday: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”