The show continues despite COVID-19 concerns.
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner returned Saturday night, two years after the pandemic had stopped and six years since a commander in chief attended the event.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attended the charity event at the Washington Hilton, the first incumbent president to do so since 2016. Former President Donald Trump openly rejected his three invitations during his time in office.
Biden referred to his predecessor during his speech and said, “We were hit by a terrible epidemic, followed by two years of COVID.”
He also joked about his current situation in the polls, describing the journalists in the room as “the only group of Americans with less support than me.”
The President honored the theme of the evening and honored the assembled correspondents.
“You, the free press, matter more than at any time in the past century,” Biden said.
The event is held by the White House Correspondents Association, which represents White House correspondents, and has been a tradition since 1921. The dinner seeks to raise awareness of the First Amendment, raise money for journalism programs and include jokes at the expense of the President, Washington, D.C., the community, and other news topics.
The president usually makes a speech in which he makes his own jokes.
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah is attending this year’s dinner. Other non-political celebrities are expected to attend the event, including Drew Barrymore, Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson.
Noah mocked the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as a “superior event.”
He also noted that the elite in Washington had assembled just weeks after the existence of a COVID-19 outbreak.
“Actually, what are we doing here? Didn’t any of you learn anything from the Gridiron’s Dinner? Nothing?” He said.
“I’ve spent the last two years telling everyone the importance of wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings at the door, and then the second person offers you a free dinner, and you all turn into Joe Rogan.”
The pandemic forced the WHCA to cancel dinners in 2020 and 2021.
Even though cases of COVID-19 are on the rise, and several members of the White House have recently contracted the virus, including Vice President Kamala Harris, the show has continued.
Organizers said all attendees should be vaccinated and required to show evidence of a negative test.
Concerns about the safety of dinner grew after the COVID-19 outbreak that occurred after Gridiron . Club Dinner On April 2, dozens of elected officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, contracted the virus.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that Biden is taking extra precautions.
“He’s not going to the dinner part,” she said. “He’s coming to the show. So… he’s probably going to wear a mask when he’s not talking.” “So of course he’s sitting on the podium at the front of the interaction and he’s not attending any of the receptions.”
ABC News’ Libby Cathy contributed to this report.