May 1, 2022
2022 White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Transcript
The White House Correspondents’ Association holds its annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C., with The Daily Show’s host Trevor Noah providing the entertainment along with remarks from President Biden 4/30/22. Read the transcript here.
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President Clinton: (00:05)
I know there was some talk about not coming this year, and I admit the thought did cross my mind.
Laura Bush: (00:16)
George always says he’s delighted to come to these press dinners. Baloney.
Speaker 1: (00:24)
It is great to be here at the Washington Hilton. It’s Something a prostitute might say to a Congressman.
Speaker 2: (00:33)
Isn’t that what the confirmation process is all about here in Washington? Weeding out the truly qualified to get to the truly available.
Speaker 3: (00:41)
Well, here in one room, we have members of the media, politicians, corporate executives, advertisers, lobbyists and celebrities. Everything that is wrong with America is here in this room tonight.
President Obama: (00:54)
With that, I just have two more words to say, Obama.
Speaker 4: (01:04)
We’re back from Washington. It’s the White House Correspondents’ dinner with special appearances by Gail King, Cecilia Vega, Yamiche Alcindor, the President of the United States, and tonight’s headliner, Trevor Noah.
Speaker 4: (01:22)
But first from the White House, the host of the Late Late show, James Corden.
James Corden : (01:30)
Hello, members of the White House Press Corps. I’m a British talk show host who lives in Los Angeles. So who better than I to come down here to the White House and see if I can get a job?
President Biden: (01:46)
James Corden : (01:47)
President Biden: (01:48)
Well, how are you?
James Corden : (01:49)
I’m very well. So good to see you. Now, listen, I’m here at the White House today and I really want to be of service. And I’m wondering if you think there’s any department here at the White House that could use my help?
President Biden: (02:01)
I certainly do. The pressroom. You should go be with the press.
James Corden : (02:07)
You want me to be the face-
President Biden: (02:09)
James Corden : (02:09)
… of the party who tells the truth to America? I hear you loud and clear.
President Biden: (02:13)
James Corden : (02:13)
I’ll be right back.
President Biden: (02:14)
Lots of luck.
James Corden : (02:15)
Where would I find that office?
President Biden: (02:17)
Left, right, left, and don’t come back.
James Corden : (02:22)
James Corden : (02:27)
Sorry I’m looking for Jen, Jen Psaki. Jen?
Jen Psaki: (02:32)
James Corden : (02:33)
Hi. How are you?
Jen Psaki: (02:34)
I’m good. How are you?
James Corden : (02:34)
How nice to see you? Are you well?
Jen Psaki: (02:36)
I’m good. What are you doing here?
James Corden : (02:38)
We figured people in the White House work long hours and maybe I take over the press briefing thing?
Jen Psaki: (02:45)
James Corden : (02:45)
That sound like a good idea?
Jen Psaki: (02:45)
… that sounds really good.
James Corden : (02:48)
Jen Psaki: (02:48)
Are you ready?
James Corden : (02:49)
My hunch is this whole thing is just a walk in the park.
Jen Psaki: (02:52)
Maybe I can write you some notes: War with Russia:-
James Corden : (02:55)
Jen Psaki: (02:56)
James Corden : (02:56)
Keep it light, Jen.
Jen Psaki: (02:58)
CDC: Good. Okay?
James Corden : (03:00)
Really? They’ve been pissing me off.
Jen Psaki: (03:02)
James Corden : (03:05)
Jen Psaki: (03:05)
Iran: Diplomacy good.
James Corden : (03:07)
Jen Psaki: (03:08)
James Corden : (03:08)
What if I get asked about Kim and Pete?
Jen Psaki: (03:12)
We love love around here. So I think that’s a safe place to be.
James Corden : (03:15)
Has he watched the new Kardashians on Hulu?
Jen Psaki: (03:18)
I don’t think he’s had a ton of times to see that.
James Corden : (03:20)
He’s not seen it?
Jen Psaki: (03:20)
James Corden : (03:20)
He’s not seen it.
Jen Psaki: (03:21)
… he’s probably not seen it.
James Corden : (03:22)
That’s a problem.
Jen Psaki: (03:23)
So last thing: Is that what you’re going to wear?
James Corden : (03:29)
Jen Psaki: (03:30)
It’s a little bit more brunch than press briefing, to me.
James Corden : (03:33)
All right. You want me to change, I’ll change. But let me tell you this: Everybody loves brunch.
James Corden : (03:47)
Okay. All right. I’m ready.
Jen Psaki: (03:48)
James Corden : (03:48)
Is this good?
Jen Psaki: (03:48)
This looks great.
James Corden : (03:49)
Is this is a good look? Is this right?
Speaker 5: (03:50)
Yeah, no. I think it’s good. I think it’s good.
James Corden : (03:51)
All right. Do you have a quick little pre-show prayer?
Jen Psaki: (03:53)
James Corden : (03:54)
C.J. Cregg, if you’re watching down on us, give us the strength to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, unless we need to lie.
Jen Psaki: (04:09)
James Corden : (04:09)
James Corden : (04:12)
Good morning, everybody.
Speaker 6: (04:14)
James Corden : (04:14)
How are you? Nice to see you. Jen’s taking a well earned break. So anyone got any questions?
Speaker 6: (04:21)
James Corden : (04:21)
Speaker 7: (04:23)
Thanks, James. What does the President plan to do to prevent a recession?
James Corden : (04:27)
I don’t really want to speak for the President on that one. I don’t think it’s my place to speak for him on those issues. So-
Speaker 7: (04:33)
Isn’t that, literally, your job?
James Corden : (04:37)
Next? Who else?
James Corden : (04:38)
Speaker 8: (04:38)
Why does this president spend every weekend away from the White House?
James Corden : (04:42)
Have you spent time here?
Speaker 8: (04:43)
James Corden : (04:43)
Geez, of course. Wouldn’t you want to get away? Come on. What’s the point of having a Camp David if you can’t pop down there every once in a while?
Speaker 8: (04:50)
But he goes to Delaware.
James Corden : (04:53)
And what is Delaware?
The President has used the strategic petroleum reserve. Is he watching gas prices and will he tap the [inaudible 00:05:01] again?
James Corden : (05:01)
I don’t think it’s for me or you, Jenny, to talk about who or what the President is tapping, okay?
James Corden : (05:13)
Yes, you sir, with the face.
Speaker 9: (05:15)
When the President says one thing and White House staff say something else, who are we supposed to listen to? The President or White House staff?
James Corden : (05:23)
Well, you know what, David?
Speaker 9: (05:24)
That’s not my name.
James Corden : (05:27)
You say your name’s not David. I say your name is David and I’m stood up here and you’re sat down there, unless you want to be sat at the back with whoever they are.
James Corden : (05:36)
Speaker 10: (05:37)
Could you give us an update on the [inaudible 00:05:39] Agreement?
James Corden : (05:39)
Could you sing the question?
Speaker 10: (05:42)
I could, but I-
James Corden : (05:42)
Sing the question. I’d like to hear you sing the question.
Speaker 10: (05:45)
Could you give us an update on the [inaudible 00:05:48] Agreement?
James Corden : (05:48)
No, I can’t.
James Corden : (05:51)
Jeff Mason: (05:52)
James, can you tell us what is the President’s plan for deficit reduction?
James Corden : (05:56)
Okay. Before we start, can you explain the sock choice in here?
Jeff Mason: (06:00)
I mean, [crosstalk 00:06:02].
James Corden : (06:01)
Okay. Anyone else? Anyone else?
Jeff Mason: (06:03)
Could you answer my question.
Speaker 6: (06:05)
James Corden : (06:05)
[crosstalk 00:06:05]. It’s okay.
Speaker 6: (06:09)
James Corden : (06:09)
Do you know what?
Jeff Mason: (06:09)
James Corden : (06:10)
Do you know what? Deficit … They warned me about you.
Jeff Mason: (06:11)
James Corden : (06:12)
They warned me about you. What’s your name?
Jeff Mason: (06:14)
Uh-huh (affirmative). Jeff Mason.
James Corden : (06:15)
Jeff Mason: (06:15)
James Corden : (06:16)
You’re right. Jeff’s a whiny little bitch.
Jen Psaki: (06:18)
Okay. Okay. James,-
James Corden : (06:21)
How are you?
Jen Psaki: (06:21)
… thank you.
James Corden : (06:22)
Jen Psaki: (06:23)
James, I’m sorry. This is just not for you. You’ve got to go.
James Corden : (06:26)
Well, in that case, I will hand you over to your host for the evening. Please welcome the President of the WHCA, Steven Portnoy.
Steven Portnoy: (06:36)
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, James Corden. Thank you Ben Winston. Thank you and welcome to the country’s biggest annual celebration of the first amendment of journalism scholarship and self-effacing humor. And we are grateful for the vaccines, the therapies, the tests that make it possible for us to be here together tonight.
Steven Portnoy: (06:57)
And we are pleased to have the President in attendance here with us.
Steven Portnoy: (07:06)
With stories of tradition of this dinner that dates back to Calvin Coolidge in 1924, now, here’s a picture of our 1923 dinner. Sir, I believe you were still in the Newcastle County Council at the time. But what I’m about to tell you is real. We looked this up. Not a joke.
Steven Portnoy: (07:25)
Will the folks at table 82 please identify themselves. Table 82. You’re out there somewhere. There you are. See, that’s where you sat Mr. President the first time you attended this dinner in this hotel ballroom in 1974. You were a guest that night of the Philadelphia Bulletin evening newspaper. That’s right. Table 82. Yes. Now, tonight you don’t look a day over table 79.
Steven Portnoy: (07:54)
Now, the theme that night 48 years ago in the midst of Watergate was High Times and Misdemeanors and the entertainer was Roy Clark, the host of Hee Haw. So we understand why you might have had some pause about coming back. But we are grateful you’re here with us tonight, sir.
Steven Portnoy: (08:09)
There hasn’t always been comedy in the history of this dinner. In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt used his speech at this dinner to deliver a serious address promoting land lease. And 70 years after that, Barack Obama dove from this room into the sit room with you, sir, to watch the US take out Bin Laden.
Steven Portnoy: (08:26)
But it has been said that the more pivotal moments that night in 2011 occurred in this room at this podium and at that table right down there. So will the folks at that table please raise your right and solemnly swear no matter what jokes might be made about you tonight, you’ll just laugh, please.
Steven Portnoy: (08:48)
As has been written, there are more than 2,600 people in this room tonight vaccinated and tested today. All of you. Now, most of you are not White House Correspondents, but rather are spouses, sources, bosses, sponsors or are just very wealthy. I want that noted for the record. I hereby disclaim all the laughter and applause in advance on behalf of the WHCA.
Steven Portnoy: (09:11)
But a special word of thanks to our members for their service to the profession and to the free people of the world. I’ll have much more to say about that later.
Steven Portnoy: (09:22)
And we do have some serious business to get to tonight, along with some comedy. Up first to present our WHCA Awards, please welcome ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent, Cecilia Vega.
Cecelia Vega: (09:44)
Good evening everybody. Thank you, Steven. Thank you to the board for putting this all together and getting us all in the same room. It’s wonderful to see everybody: Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Trevor Noah, Jen, thank you all for being here tonight.
Cecelia Vega: (09:55)
The bylaws of our association say that the promotion of excellence in journalism is core to the WHCA’s mission. Each year a panel of independent judges reviews dozens of entries for the five major WHCA Awards. Tonight it is my honor to announce the winners:
Cecelia Vega: (10:14)
The Aldo Beckman award for overall excellence in White House coverage is named for a former Association President, the late Chicago Tribune Correspondent, Aldo Beckman. This year, that award goes to Jonathan Swan of Axios. The judges said, “Jonathan’s riveting series Off the Rails and it’s accompanying podcast described the final days of Donald Trump’s presidency with speed and detail laying out the former president’s last ditch efforts to overturn the election.”
Cecelia Vega: (10:53)
Jonathan Swan: (10:54)
This series is my best attempt to reconstruct Trump’s final days while sources, memories are still fresh and people are willing to talk.
Cecelia Vega: (11:08)
Ladies and gentlemen, the WHCA is extremely pleased to give the Aldo Beckman award to Jonathan Swan.
Cecelia Vega: (11:29)
The WHCA gives out two awards for reporting under deadline pressure. One for print, another for broadcast. This year’s print winners are Zeke Miller and Mike Balsamo of the Associated Press. The judges said, “The pair drew on their sources to get the scoop about the administration’s changing mass guidance, work that resulted in tight informative news stories throughout the day.”
Cecelia Vega: (11:58)
Everybody please welcome the winners of the Deadline Award for Print, Zeke Miller and Mike Balsamo.
Speaker 11: (12:04)
Thank you, sir.
President Biden: (12:14)
Speaker 12: (12:14)
Thank you very much, sir.
Cecelia Vega: (12:23)
This one hits close to home. The Broadcast Award. It goes to my dear friend and my colleague, Jonathan Karl of ABC News. This is for his work on January 6th. The judges said, “As the riot was still ongoing, John and his team delivered reporting that was ahead of the curve, a detailed narrative that doesn’t hit one false note, even with a year’s perspective.”
Jonathan Karl: (12:54)
Chaos and lawlessness striking at the heart of American democracy. Breaking out after the President of the United States urged an angry mob of his own supporters to confront members of Congress and even his own Vice President who were preparing to certify the election.
Cecelia Vega: (13:12)
The WHCA is pleased to honor the deadline reporting of ABC’s, my friend, Jon Karl.
Jonathan Karl: (13:18)
[inaudible 00:13:18]. Thank you.
President Biden: (13:33)
Jonathan Karl: (13:37)
Because the microphone’s blank, I just want to say here, there was a whole team at ABC News that made this possible. Thank you for all of them. And, if I may, I also want to say there was a lot of other … There was great reporting on January 6th, reporting that showed that this was not just a riot. It wasn’t just an attack on the Capitol. It was an assault on American democracy. Thank you. Thank you.
Cecelia Vega: (14:01)
That’s why we love him.
Cecelia Vega: (14:11)
This is a relatively new award, the next one, for Visual Journalism. It goes to Brendan Smialowski of AFP. You can see it right here. The judges said, “This photo of President Biden’s sit down with Vladimir Putin in Geneva captured the underlying drama of the summit. Look closely,” the judges wrote. “The body language and each game face tell the story.”
Cecelia Vega: (14:41)
Please join me in congratulating AFP photographer, Brendan Smialowski.
President Biden: (15:01)
Brendan Smialowski : (15:01)
Cecelia Vega: (15:06)
The WHCA partners with the University of Florida to present the Collier Prize for State Government Accountability. This year’s winners are the Miami Herald and ProPublica for their series Birth and Betrayal, exposing the failures of a Florida program that compensates parents when their babies suffer brain damage during delivery.
Speaker 13: (15:26)
I didn’t throw her away in an institution. I didn’t throw her way like she was garbage like they wanted me to do. I kept her and she lived 27 years because of that. Wasn’t because of anybody else.
Cecelia Vega: (15:40)
Accepting the Collier Prize, please welcome Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald.
Carol Marbin Miller: (15:45)
Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much.
President Biden: (15:55)
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.
Cecelia Vega: (16:03)
And now a name we all know: the Katherine Graham Award for Courage and Accountability. The award named in honor of the legendary Washington Post publisher goes this year to the newspaper she helmed, as well as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and Media Partners around the world. This team of more than 600 journalists in 151 countries exposed the secrets of the Pandora Papers.
Speaker 14: (16:29)
Pandora Papers show how the ultra rich and powerful move their money around the globe. It is the largest collaboration of journalists ever organized by the ICIJ.
Speaker 15: (16:39)
We have emails, passport copies, bank statements that show how presidents, kings, princesses, billionaires and criminals hide and move money.
Cecelia Vega: (16:50)
Please welcome the winners of the Katherine Graham Award from the ICIJ and the Washington Post.
President Biden: (16:56)
Speaker 16: (16:56)
Thank you so much.
President Biden: (17:12)
Cecelia Vega: (17:13)
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much.
Speaker 4: (17:20)
And now, with a special presentation, a correspondent of a different sort: Billy on the Street himself, Billy Eichner.
Bill Eichner: (17:34)
Good evening. I’m Billy Eichner. For years, the White House Correspondents’ dinner has honored our bravest reporters and journalists, but for far too long, I think the Correspondents’ dinner has been ignoring the most important journalists of all: Entertainment journalists. We can all agree that it is more important than ever to be entertained, but without entertainment journalists, how would we even know who’s entertaining us?
Bill Eichner: (17:57)
I have a movie coming out in September called Bros. The first gay rom com ever made by a major studio and I’ll be depending on entertainment journalists to spread the word.
Bill Eichner: (18:07)
Tonight, the WHCD honors them for the first time. Here are your honorees: For her fearless work in reporting that Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde, “Couldn’t be happier,” we present the WHCD award for relationship news to entertainment correspondent, Naz Perez.
Bill Eichner: (18:27)
For his courageous work interviewing the Jonas brothers, while they filmed a new commercial for Tostitos, we present the WHCD freedom of the press junket award to E-News Daily Pops, Justin Sylvester.
Bill Eichner: (18:40)
And, finally, for his galvanizing, no holds barred look at what’s been happening on The Bachelor, we present the WHCD award for telling us what’s been happening on The Bachelor, to Today Show contributor, Jason Kennedy.
Bill Eichner: (18:57)
Congrats to all and may God bless entertainment. Thank you.
Steven Portnoy: (19:04)
Ladies and gentlemen, Billy Eichner.
Steven Portnoy: (19:14)
Now, among the things we White House correspondents are proudest of are the scholarships and mentorships that our association provides. And here to tell you more about that and to introduce you to this year’s great crop of WHCA scholars is NBC News Correspondent, the host of PBS’s Washington Week, Yamiche Alcindor.
Yamiche Alcindor: (19:45)
Thank you so much, Steven. Good evening, Mr. President. Good evening, First Lady Biden. Good evening, Trevor. I’m so excited to be here. Sorry, Trevor. [inaudible 00:19:57]. Well, I love you too.
Yamiche Alcindor: (20:02)
Each year the White House Correspondents’ Association funds dozens of scholarships for promising young people in partnership with participating colleges and universities and organizations. The program is one by Steve Thomma, the WHCA Executive Director, and it is overseen this year by board members, Francesca Chambers, and Fin Gómez, great friends.
Yamiche Alcindor: (20:27)
The program also pairs scholars with real working White House journalists as mentors. And I should say, in July, 2020, I had the great honor of being paired with a scholarship winner, Cara Harris. She was a student then at Arizona State. We have forged a deep relationship and I’ve got to have a front row seat to seeing her blossom, go from an intern to now an associate producer at CNN. I will pause to say that we will bring her into the peacock gang soon. Cara, just hold on a minute. But she is right now at CNN.
Yamiche Alcindor: (21:00)
[inaudible 00:21:00]. I am grateful. I am grateful to the WHCA for so much, for the deep friendships that I’ve formed, for the professional and personal support during so many challenging times and for allowing me to connect with the next generation of young journalists who are really blazing a path ahead. And now, ladies and gentlemen, meet the 2022 WHCA Scholarship winners.
Abby Neff: (21:28)
Abby Neff from Columbus, Ohio.
Alexia Stanbridge: (21:30)
Alexia Stanbridge from Morgan, Utah.
Allison Novelo: (21:32)
Allison Novelo. I’m from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.
Amanda DeJesus: (21:35)
Amanda DeJesus from Staten Island, New York.
Annie Klingenberg: (21:37)
Annie Klingenberg from West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Cooper Pierce: (21:39)
Cooper Pierce. I’m from Grimes, Iowa.
Corinne Dorsey: (21:40)
Corinne Dorsey from Dallas, Texas.
Diannie Chavez: (21:42)
Diannie Chavez from Surprise, Arizona.
Erin Harper: (21:44)
Erin Harper from Washington, D.C.
Jana Rose Schleis: (21:47)
Jana Rose Schleis from Two Creeks, Wisconsin.
Julia Mueller: (21:49)
Julia Mueller from Beaverton, Oregon.
Skye Witley: (21:52)
Skye Witley from Olympia, Washington.
Kate Marijolovic: (21:54)
Kate Marijolovic from Willoughby Hills, Ohio.
Katherine Mahoney: (21:56)
Katherine Mahoney. And I’m a sophomore from Olney, Maryland.
Kayla Bennett: (21:59)
Kayla Bennett from Dayton, Ohio.
Kendall Lanier: (22:00)
Kendall Lanier from Kansas City, Missouri.
Kiara Patterson: (22:03)
Kiara Patterson from Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Neetish Basnet: (22:05)
Neetish Basnet from Kathmandu, Nepal.
Lily O’Shea Becker: (22:08)
Lily O’Shea Becker from St. Louis, Missouri.
Maia Bond: (22:11)
Maia Bond from Rowland, Missouri.
Malak Alsayyad: (22:12)
Malak Alsayyad from Cairo, Egypt.
Maria Fernanda Bernal: (22:14)
Maria Fernanda Bernal. I am from Richmond, California.
Mavis Chan: (22:17)
Mavis Chan from Hong Kong.
Robert Wicker Perlis: (22:19)
Wicker Perlis from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Sara Avery: (22:21)
Sara Avery from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sarah Elbeshbishi: (22:23)
Sarah Elbeshbishi from Montgomery Village, Maryland.
Sophia Marchionini: (22:26)
Sophia Marchionini from Silver Spring, Maryland.
Lexi Martin: (22:29)
Lexi Martin from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Teghan Simonton: (22:31)
Hi, my name’s Teghan. I’m from Jonesboro, Arkansas,
Daniel E. Lam: (22:34)
Daniel Lam from Whitestone, New York at Dartmouth College.
Kate Marijolovic: (22:37)
Amanda DeJesus: (22:38)
Skye Witley: (22:39)
Kendall Lanier: (22:40)
Cooper Pierce: (22:42)
Iowa State University.
Maria Fernanda Bernal: (22:42)
The UC, Berkeley, School of Journalism.
Sophia Marchionini: (22:46)
The University of Maryland.
Sara Avery: (22:46)
Lily O’Shea Becker: (22:46)
The University of Kansas.
Alexia Stanbridge: (22:48)
Arizona State University.
Malak Alsayyad: (22:49)
Columbia. Graduate School of Journalism.
Annie Klingenberg: (22:51)
Teghan Simonton: (22:52)
The University of Missouri.
Lexi Martin: (22:52)
University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Yamiche Alcindor: (22:59)
They are an amazing, amazing group, aren’t they? Right? They’re amazing. And of course, they are here with us tonight. So please stand and be recognized. Once again, thank you all for your support of this important and growing program. It is funded directly by organizations to the WHCA and your ticket purchases tonight. So thank you again and have a great time.
Steven Portnoy: (23:43)
Thank you, Yamiche. And now what is for me, and I hope and trust will be for you a true highlight of this evening, this association has within its history legacies that we have an obligation and an opportunity to lift up. And here to do that is my CBS News colleague and the co-host of CBS Mornings, Gayle King.
Gayle King: (24:15)
I am so glad to be here, Rob, don’t roll the prompter yet because I’m going to go off script for just a second. Don’t be scared. We’ve been talking for the past two days so I’ve lost my voice, so I’m going to power through, but I just want to say I’m so happy to be here. A note to self, Drew Barrymore and I were minding our own business. We were upstairs at the reception. Somebody said, “Gayle, would you and Drew come down and take a picture on the red carpet?” We said, “Sure.” We go downstairs, we’re about to step on the red carpet, they go, “Gayle, Drew, move, move, move! Kete are here.” It stands for Kim Kardashian and Pete. So Drew and I go sleeking off. And then they say, “You guys come on back.” Do you think we went back? Yes, we wanted a picture. Thank you, Drew Barrymore. As excited as I am to be here, I think the most excited person in the world would have to be Steve’s mom. Steve goes, “Oh, boy.”
Gayle King: (25:11)
When I came in today to do the COVID test, which guys, thank you very much, thank you, Mr. President, thank you, Dr. Jill, thank you, George, Trevor, everybody, they really are testing and they really are checking. So I was really gratified when I came in, took my test. I am negative. Thank you, Jesus. Praise him all the time. I don’t know about you, but you take the test and you go, “Please, please, please don’t let it be today. Please.” So Allison and I, my assistant, we came in just to get the lay of the land and we happen to see Steven’s parents. Steven’s mother says to me, and I quote, “I’m so proud of my son because he is sitting next to the president of the United States tonight.” And that is a really big deal. Ms. Mona went on to say that from the time Steven was five, he was writing scripts, he was doing fake newscasts. He was saying, “Good morning. My name is Steven Portnoy from ABC News. Well right now, you work at CBS.
Gayle King: (26:17)
I asked Ms. Mona, “What are you wearing?” She goes, “I’m going to go fifties Kim Novak style, a sleeve three quarter, big ball gown, I’m pulling out all the stops because did I mention my son is sitting next to the president of the United States?” And then she went on to say to me, “You guys should do a story about him. He’s amazing.” So George Cheeks, I’ll send that over to you, our big boss at CBS News. All right, Rob, let’s go on the script. Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen. For seven decades, the black women who cover the White House like April Ryan who’s down in the center, 25 years, Ms. April. She’s a White House Correspondent. You go, April Ryan. We’ve been riding on the shoulders of two pioneers. April, I want to be you when I grow up. Their names are Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne.
Gayle King: (27:27)
And I’m embarrassed to say until this week, when I was doing the research on this and cutting the track, I did not know their names before, and I’m sure that’s happened to many of you in this room too. I’m hoping that after you see this tape, you won’t forget. Roll tape, please.
Speaker 17: (27:46)
In the middle of the 20th century, America was a segregated nation. Schools and transportation in the south were separated based on race, and so was the nation’s press. Alice Dunnigan, the Kentucky born granddaughter of slaves, was determined to fulfill her dream of becoming a journalist.
Alicia Dunnigan: (28:06)
I am Alicia Dunnigan and Alice Dunnigan was my grandmother.
Speaker 17: (28:14)
By the time she reached her thirties, Dunnigan had a regular column for a local paper. But she wanted more.
Alicia Dunnigan: (28:20)
She said the two strikes out against her was that she was black and that she was female.
Speaker 17: (28:25)
She landed a job in Washington, D.C. writing for the Associated Negro Press, a wire service for black-owned papers. In 1947, Alice Dunnigan became the first female black reporter credentialed to cover the White House.
James Johnson Jr.: (28:41)
I am James Johnson Jr. and Ethel Lois Payne was my aunt.
Ethel Payne: (28:46)
This is Ethel Payne.
Speaker 17: (28:47)
For Ethel Payne, the path to journalism began when she was denied admission to law school because of the color of her skin.
Ethel Payne: (28:55)
You couldn’t control your opportunity so you had to be prepared for whatever opportunity came along. Writing for her was a natural, something she liked to do.
Speaker 17: (29:03)
In 1951, Payne was hired as a Washington reporter for the Chicago Defender, one of the country’s leading black newspapers at the time.
Dwight Eisenhower: (29:13)
I don’t give a hoot whether you’re Democrat or Republican in this kind of a job.
Speaker 17: (29:17)
Dunnigan and Payne regularly attended President Dwight Eisenhower’s news conferences.
Alice Dunnigan: (29:22)
Integration in schools on military posts may be delayed until 1955.
Speaker 17: (29:28)
In 1954, just two months after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Ethel Payne demanded to know whether Eisenhower would support a ban on segregation in interstate travel. Ike did not like that question.
Ethel Payne: (29:42)
I’d like to know if we could assume that we have administration support in getting action on this?
Dwight Eisenhower: (29:51)
I don’t know what right you say that you have to have administration support. The administration is trying to do what it thinks to be believed decent and just in this country.
Speaker 17: (30:01)
The moment sparked headlines of its own.
Ethel Payne: (30:03)
White House Press Secretary. Ron Ziegler, stated, frankly that he was ousted.
Speaker 17: (30:08)
Ethel Payne later went on to become the first black female commentator at CBS News.
Ethel Payne: (30:14)
Black sound any different from other groups of voters.
Speaker 17: (30:19)
Payne and Dunnigan were as dedicated to family as they were to their work.
James Johnson Jr.: (30:24)
My aunt was a very good cook. I can’t think of one thing because everything she touched was good.
Alicia Dunnigan: (30:32)
She never too much talked about what she did. If you asked her, she would tell you. I remember talking to her one time and we had finished dinner. And so she said, “My doctor said I should stop smoking cigarettes, so now I smoke a pipe.”
Speaker 17: (30:55)
Their legacies live on in the work done by journalists of color today.
James Johnson Jr.: (31:00)
I have great love and feeling for how she inspired us as the next generation.
Alicia Dunnigan: (31:06)
She knocked the door down. I marvel at all that she did and all that she was and all that she fought for.
Gayle King: (31:16)
Very nice. Very nice. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, tonight, the White House Correspondent Association is pleased to celebrate the creation of a new honor, the Dunnigan-Payne Prize for lifetime career achievement as a White House Correspondent. I am thrilled to tell you that this is the first time this award has been granted posthumously to the women it’s named after, Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne. Remember when I said I came in to get the test? Well I ran into family members. Cousin Jimmy and niece, Sylvia Peters, who told me that Aunt Ethel was elegant and eloquent. I like that. She was a bright star in dark times, her light continues to shine everywhere. Their families are here. Family members, please stand. Thank you, family. May the legacies of your grandmother and your aunt continue to inspire generations for decades to come. Thank you and bravo. Bravo.
Steven Portnoy: (32:38)
Well folks, what you’ve just seen is what this evening is all about. And we are grateful to be together to honor the legacies of Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne. One more round of applause, please. President Biden, Dr. Biden, ladies and gentlemen, we journalists are inheritors of a public trust. We’re the guardians of the people’s right to know what their government is doing in their name with their money. We are the questioners, the contrarians posing provocative queries so that government officials may be made to explain their views and defend their actions for posterity and for the whole free world to see. And as in the case of the women we’ve honored here tonight, we are a privileged few uniquely positioned to bring public concerns directly to those who hold or seek power. There is no perfect way to do this work, it is as it ever was.
Steven Portnoy: (33:35)
But it is now at all times and increasingly for profit subject to derision and suspicions of bad faith or political motivation. Working journalists in the United States have come under assault, harangued while covering street demonstrations, taunted at political rallies, harassed on social media, their equipment gleefully destroyed at the capital on January 6th. In dangerous places all over the world, journalists are subject to jailing and intimidation for their use of pen, pad, camera and keyboard. They’ve been tortured, murdered, kidnapped, and we must never forget. Mr. President, at table 48 tonight is a woman named Deborah Tice. Mrs. Tice, would you please stand? Now, Mrs. Tice’s son, Austin, is a colleague of ours at the Washington Post at McClatchy and at CBS. And he should be here with us tonight, but he’s been held captive in Syria since 2012.
Steven Portnoy: (34:38)
As we take note of Trevor Reed’s return, our thoughts tonight are with Austin Tice and our collective hopes that after nearly 10 years in captivity, he will soon return home safely to his mother, his father, his colleagues and his friends. We are thinking tonight of our colleagues in unsafe places everywhere, of Northern Virginia resident and Washington Post contributor, Vladimir Kara-Murza, arrested this month in Russia for the high crime of speaking the truth about at Vladimir Putin’s war atrocities in a speech to American lawmakers, a charge that is in our front to free people everywhere. And the brave journalists you are about to see have been killed in the past two months covering Russia’s war in Ukraine. (silence).
Steven Portnoy: (37:03)
Needless to say, our prayers are with their families and with Benjamin Hall of Fox News who continues his recovery. 75 years ago, before he demonstrated the power of television to highlight hypocrisy and allowed Americans to see and reject demagoguery, Edward R. Murrow read to his CBS radio audience from his contract. He noted that he agreed in writing that his broadcasts would contain facts, reported, “As fairly as possible to enable the listener to weigh and judge for himself.” We who enjoy the protections of a free press know and should always remember those protections were established for the people. It is the people’s right to know. It is the people’s right to decide this country’s future course. To gird our democracy, we reporters believe that in the United States, no man or woman who holds or seeks power is above being questioned.
Steven Portnoy: (38:06)
Our democracy depends on journalists shining light and truth upon darkness and lies and bringing accountability to officials at every level of our government. We gather here tonight to honor that work and to celebrate the American freedoms of speech, press, religion, petition and peaceable assembly, without which our democratic constitutional republic could not survive. And in that respect, we proudly continue our tradition of raising a glass in a toast to the First Amendment and to the president of the United States. Ladies and gentlemen, President Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (38:47)
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Steve, for that introduction and a special thanks to the 42% of you who actually applauded. I’m really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approver ready than I have. That’s hard to say after what we just saw. This is the first time a president attended this dinner in six years. It’s understandable. We had a horrible plague followed by two years of COVID. Just imagine if my predecessor came to this dinner this year, now that would really have been a real coup if that occurred. Little tough, huh? But I’m honored to be here at such an event with so much history. It was already referenced, the very first president who attended the White House Correspondents and it was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. I’d just been elected to the United States Senate. I remember telling him, “Cal, just be yourself. Get up there and speak from the heart. You’re going to be great, kid. You’re going to do it well.”
Joe Biden: (40:45)
Of course, Jill is with me tonight. Jill, how are you, kid? I think she’s doing an incredible job as First Lady, the First Lady to continue working full time. And she does as a professor. She doesn’t pay much attention to the polls. Though she did say the other day, instead of introducing myself as Jill Biden’s husband, maybe to introduce myself as her roommate. I’ve attended this dinner many times, but this is my first time as president. And the organizers made it pretty hard for me tonight. Although the good news is if all goes well, I have a real shot at replacing James Cordon. It was great having him over to the White House the other day just as he announced he’s leaving the show. Great performers going out on top after eight years of the job, sounds just about right to me. And it’s tough to follow pros like James and Billy Eichner. Billy, where are you again? Where is he? Well Billy, you’re famous for your interviewing skills…
President Biden: (42:02)
You’re famous for your interviewing skills. Billy, you should know what you’re doing, pal. You know it well. I think you should host Meet the Press. Maybe they’ll start to watch it again. I’ll never be invited to Meet the Press again. Anyway, I’ve never had to open before Trevor Noah. Trevor’s great. When I was elected, he did a show and he called me America’s new dad. Let me tell you something, pal. I’m flattered anybody would call me a new anything. Oh my God.
President Biden: (42:40)
Folks, it’s been a tough few years for the country. There’s one reason why it’s great to be here again. Everyone at the White House is so excited. I told my grandkids and Pete Buttigieg they could stay up late and watch this show tonight. Tonight, we come here and answer a very important question in everybody’s mind, why in the hell are we still doing this? I know there are questions about whether we should gather here tonight because of COVID.
President Biden: (43:16)
Well, we’re here to show the country that we’re getting through this pandemic, plus, everyone had to prove they were fully vaccinated and boosted. So if you’re at home watching this and you’re wondering how to do that, just contact your favorite Fox News reporter. They’re all here, vaccinated and boosted, all of them. Man, look, Fox News, I’m really sorry your preferred candidate lost the last election. To make it up to you, I’m happy to give my chief of staff to you all so he can tell Sean Hannity what to say every day.
President Biden: (44:09)
In fact, Ron Klain is here at the CBS table with our Mick Mulvaney. Mick on CBS, I was stunned. I figured he’d end up on Masked Singer with Rudy. Amazing hire, guys. Really quite amazing. Look, I know this is a tough town. I came to office with an ambitious agenda, and I expected it to face stiff opposition in the Senate. I just hoped it would be from Republicans. But I’m not worried about the midterms. I’m not worried about them. We may end up with more partisan gridlock, but I’m confident we can work it out during my remaining six years in the presidency.
President Biden: (44:52)
Folks, I’m not really here to roast the GOP. That’s not my style. Besides, there’s nothing I can say about the GOP that Kevin McCarthy hasn’t already put on tape. At the same time, a lot of people say the Republican Party’s too extreme, too divisive, too controlled by one person. They say that’s not your father’s Republican Party. Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear this wall down.” Today’s Republicans say, “Tear down Mickey Mouse’s house.” Pretty soon, they’ll be storming Cinderella’s castle. You can be sure of it.
President Biden: (45:33)
But Republicans seem to support one fella, some guy named Brandon. He’s having a really good year, and I’m kind of happy for him. Let me conclude with a serious word. We live in serious times. We’re coming through a devastating pandemic, and we have to stay vigilant. I know Kamala wanted to be here, for example. Thankfully, she’s doing well. You should all know. She sends her best. We’re in a time when what we’ve long taken for granted is facing the gravest of threats, and I’m being deadly earnest.
President Biden: (46:20)
Overseas, the liberal world order that laid the foundation for global peace, stability, and prosperity since World War II is genuinely, seriously under assault. At home, a poison is running through our democracy, of all this taking place with disinformation massively on the rise, where the truth is buried by lies and the lies live on as truth. What’s clear, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, that you, the free press, matter more than you ever did in the last century. I really mean it. I’ve always believed that good journalism holds up a mirror to ourselves to reflect on the good, the bad, and the true. Tonight, I want to congratulate the awardees and the scholarship winners who carry on that sacred tradition. We’ve all seen the courage of the Ukrainian people because of the courage of American reporters in this room and your colleagues across the world who are on the ground, taking their lives in their own hands. Although it’s not Ukraine, it’s Russia. Mom, I’d like to meet you and Dad to talk about your son. We just saw a heartbreaking video. Nine had been killed reporting from Kyiv struck by Kamikaze drone strike after a shopping mall attack, shot in the neck while documenting Ukrainian fleeing, killed when Russian missiles hit the television tower in a residential neighborhood, one journalist from Radio Liberty just killed days ago.
President Biden: (48:09)
So many of you telling the stories and taking the photos and recording the videos of what’s happening there, the unvarnished truth showing the destruction and the devastation and, yes, the war crimes. Tonight, we also honor the legacy of two historic reporters, and that is Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne. I’m glad you saw that tonight. I didn’t know you were doing that. These are the first Black women to be White House reporters, who shattered convention to cover a segregated nation.
President Biden: (48:49)
We honor journalists killed, missing, imprisoned, detained and tortured, covering war, exposing corruption, and holding leaders accountable. We honor members of the press, both national and local, covering the once-in-a-century pandemic where we lost a million Americans, a generation reckoning on race, an existential threat in climate change. The free press is not the enemy of the people, far from it. At your best, you’re guardians of the truth.
President Biden: (49:22)
President Kennedy once said, and I quote, “Without debate, without criticism, no administration, no country can succeed and no republic can survive.” The First Amendment grants the free press extraordinary protection, but with it comes, as many of you know, a very heavy obligation to seek the truth as best you can, not to inflame or entertain, but to illuminate and educate. I know it’s tough, and I’m not being solicitous. The industry is changing significantly.
President Biden: (49:59)
There’s incredible pressure on you all to deliver heat instead of shed light because the technology’s changing so much. The system is changing. But it matters. No kidding. It matters. The truth matters. American democracy is not a reality show. It’s not a reality show. It’s reality itself, and the reality is that we are a great country. Our future is bright. It’s not guaranteed because democracy’s never guaranteed. It has to be he earned. It has to be defended. It has to be protected.
President Biden: (50:46)
As you’ve heard me say many times, there’s not a damn thing this country can’t do when we stand united and do it together. I know we can do anything we want to do. That’s right. I’ve been around a long time, as has been pointed out many times tonight. But I give you my word as a Biden, I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I am today. I really mean it. At times of enormous change, it presents enormous opportunities.
President Biden: (51:15)
For despite all the crises, all the partisanship, all the shouting and showmanship, I really know this and you know it, too. We are a great nation because we’re basically a good people. Here in America, good journalism, good satire about our leaders, about our society is quintessentially an American thing. It demonstrates the power of our example. I, honest to God, believe it reveals our soul, the soul of our nation.
President Biden: (51:48)
That’s what I’d like to toast tonight, if I may, to the journalists and their families, to the people and the elected representatives, to the United States of America. By the way, Madeleine Albright was right. We are the indispensable nation. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to turn this over to Trevor now and strap myself into my seat. Trevor, the really good news is now you get to roast the president of the United States and, unlike in Moscow, you won’t go to jail. The podium is yours.
Trevor Noah: (53:02)
Wow. That was pretty fantastic. One more time for President Biden, please. That was really great. I got a promise I will not be going to jail. I’ll switch things up now. Let’s see how we do this. How’s everybody doing tonight? You guys good? Everyone good? First of all, thank you so much, Steve. Good evening, Mr. President, First Lady, members of the media, and all the men relieved that Ronan Farrow isn’t here tonight. It is my great honor to be speaking tonight at the nation’s most distinguished super spreader event.
Trevor Noah: (53:41)
No, for real, people, what are we doing here? Let’s be honest. What are we doing? Did none of you learn anything from the Gridiron Dinner? Nothing, huh? It’s like do you read any of your own newspapers? I mean I expect this from Sean Hannity. But the rest of you, what are you doing here? You guys spent the last two years telling everyone the importance of wearing masks and avoiding large indoor gatherings. Then the second someone offers you a free dinner, you all turn into Joe Rogan. I mean Dr. Fauci dropped out. That should have been a pretty big sign. Fauci thought it was too dangerous to come tonight. Pete Davidson thinks it’s okay, and we all went with Pete. Okay. All right then.
Trevor Noah: (54:25)
Now, for those who don’t know me, my name is Trevor Noah, and I’m really honored to be here, honestly, because you could have picked any comedian. You could have invited anyone, but you went with the South African variant, very on theme. I appreciate that. COVID risk aside, can I just say how happy I am that this event is happening again for the first time in three years? Yeah. The truth is I want us all to have a good time tonight. So please, everyone relax. I know everyone in this room is worried about who catches you laughing at what. But just chill. Just chill.
Trevor Noah: (55:02)
We’re celebrating. We’re out. Get comfortable. Not too comfortable, Jeffrey Toobin, not too comfortable. No, you know what? No, don’t ooh him, a bunch of haters. You know what? So what, Jeffrey. You made a mistake. You whipped it out in front of your coworkers. That’s the first step to winning a Grammy for comedy album of the year. You’re halfway there, my friend. You don’t let the haters stop you. We all come back from mistakes.
Trevor Noah: (55:26)
Now, you might have noticed I’m going to be telling some jokes tonight. But I want you to understand I am not here to tear anybody down. Okay? Yeah, I might roast you gently like a pair of testicles on a Tucker Carson special, but I’m not doing this just for the attention. All right? I’m a comedian. I’m not Kyrsten Sinema. All right? By the way, give it up for Kyrsten Sinema. Whoever thought we’d see the day in American politics when a senator could be openly bisexual, but a closeted Republican. That’s progress. That’s progress. Yes, I know a lot of you are worried. Yes, it is risky making jokes these days. I mean we all saw what happened at the Oscars. I’ve actually been a little bit worried about tonight. I won’t lie. I was like, “What if I make a really mean joke about Kellyanne Conway and then her husband rushes up on the stage and thanks me?” I just hope we all stay calm because it is exciting to be here, even though some people don’t think this dinner should even exist, as you said, Mr. President, because some people think this shows that the media is too cozy with politicians.
Trevor Noah: (56:38)
But what those people don’t understand is that you guys have integrity. You would never allow personal connections to affect your ability to be good journalists. Isn’t that right, Chris Cuomo? Where is Chris, by the way? Is he here? Couldn’t make it? Oh, by the way, before we really get going, a few quick announcements. Anyone here who is a Democrat in a swing district, I’ve been asked to remind you not to hand your resumé to the cable news execs at your table until after the event, please. Thank you very much. Also, a quick note before people order their Uber’s home tonight, Governor Greg Abbott is generously providing free buses for the Telemundo table. Very classy, very classy.
Trevor Noah: (57:25)
But, man, what a room this is, huh? Look at this room. Everyone is here tonight. We’ve got politicians. We’ve got the media. We’ve got celebrities, basically anyone who’s been to Jeffrey Epstein’s island. This is an exclusive event. In fact, coming in, I heard Meghan McCain telling the bouncer, “Do you know who my father was?” And they were like, “You have a ticket. You can just come in.” But she insisted on telling them who her father was anyway.
Trevor Noah: (57:52)
I’ll tell you as somebody coming from Africa, I mean I’ve just got to say this is so exciting to be at this swanky party full of Washington’s most powerful people. It’s not as exciting as Madison Cawthorn made it sound, but still very sexy, very, very sexy. There’s many big names here tonight. One of my favorites, Ron DeSantis is here. Yeah, yeah. Oh man, I’m actually surprised that he found the time. He’s been so busy trying to outmaneuver Trump for 2024. I see you, Ron. I see you, player. Yeah. I’ve seen what you’ve been doing, blaming Trump for the lockdowns, distancing yourself from the vaccines that Trump created with his own two hands.
Trevor Noah: (58:28)
“Nobody knew how to make vaccines until I made them, beautiful, beautiful vaccines. Nobody know how, not even Fauci.” But Ron is playing it coy, man. He won’t even tell people if he got the booster. Or as they say in Florida, don’t ask, don’t tell. Am I right? I see you, Ron. You see, what I like about Ron DeSantis is if Trump was the original Terminator, DeSantis is the T-1000. You’re smarter than him. You’re slicker than him. You can walk down ramps. Because, you see, Trump said he won the election, but everyone was just able to look at the numbers and see that he was wrong.
Trevor Noah: (59:15)
That’s why Ron DeSantis is one step ahead. First, you ban the math textbooks, then nobody knows how to count the votes. Boom, my man. Ha ha ha. What a room. Are you kidding me? The great chef, José Andrés, is joining us here tonight. Give it up for him, people, my good friend in the room. Whenever there’s a disaster anywhere in the world, Chef José is there, which I guess is why he’s sitting at the CNN table tonight.
Trevor Noah: (59:50)
Now, of course, the real reason that it’s such an honor to be here tonight is that we all get to be in the same room as the most powerful man in the United States. So let’s give it up for Joe Manchin, everybody. Where is he? Is he there? Good to see you, sir. Good to see you. No, for real, for real though, Mr. President, thank you for being here. Thank you for having me here. I was a little confused about why me, but then I was told that you get your highest approval ratings when a biracial African guy is standing next to you.
Trevor Noah: (01:00:17)
“So let me just say, Joe, I’m glad that I could do my part and, hopefully, this will work.” I’m not actually him. I just did the voice. More importantly, First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden is here, everybody. Give it up for her. Interesting fact, even as First Lady, Dr. Biden continued her teaching career. the first time a presidential spouse has ever done so, ever. Congratulations. Now, you might think it’s because she loves teaching so much, but it’s actually because she’s still paying off her student debt. I’m sorry about that, Jill. Yeah, I guess you should have voted for Bernie.
Trevor Noah: (01:01:08)
Sir, can I just say? I think everyone will agree that it’s actually nice to, once again, have a president who’s not afraid to come to the White House Correspondents Dinner and hear jokes about himself. I’ll be honest. I’ll be honest. I’ll be honest. If you didn’t come, I totally would have understood because these people have been so hard on you, which I don’t get. I really don’t. I think ever since you’ve come into office, things are really looking up. Gas is up. Rent is up. Food is up. Everything.
Trevor Noah: (01:01:41)
No, it really has been a tough first year for you, Mr. President. Surely, you must be a little worried about 2024. There’s a lot of passion on the Republican side. There really is. It’s going to be an interesting time. As you all know, President Biden’s lack of a filter does get him into hot water sometimes. Last month he caused a huge international incident saying that Vladimir Putin should be removed from power. It was very, very upsetting to Russia. Until someone explained to them that none of the stuff Biden wants actually gets done.
Trevor Noah: (01:02:25)
But despite some hiccups, President Biden has led the country through some really dark times since he took office, the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the launch of CNN+. Don’t forget. Don’t forget. Don’t forget. He’s also had some major legislative successes in his first year in office, I might add. He got a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed that would do everything from fixing America’s roads and bridges to modernizing school buses, which Matt Gaetz’ girlfriend is very excited about. Don’t boo love.
Trevor Noah: (01:03:00)
Don’t boo love. Not to mention no President in my memory has given more marginalized groups opportunities. I’m talking about women, the LGBTQ community, the Taliban, the list goes on and on. And I know, Mr. President, that the left is super upset at you, but I think that they should be happy to know that you just recently announced that you’re proposing a new 20% minimum tax on the super wealthy. And I will say President Biden, that you are a big man here, a really big man. You could have targeted Donald Trump, but instead you chose to only raise taxes on billionaires. That was big of you. Really nice. Proved me wrong. Show me the taxes.
Trevor Noah: (01:03:44)
Personally, I think that President Biden could do a better job of taking credit for the things that are going right. Unemployment is currently at 3.6%. Think about that people, 3.6%. 2% if you don’t count the Cuomo family. And I will say, President Biden came into office and he’s done well and he’s done badly. And in this room, I know there’s a lot of mixed reviews. There was a lot of talk about how the President really respects the press, but what has he really done for you guys? Think of all the journalists whose careers have been hurt by the Biden presidency. People like Daniel Dale. Used to be CNN’s star fact checker on TV every day. But, now there’s barely anything to check.
Trevor Noah: (01:04:26)
Same for Glen Kessler of the Washington Post. On the way here, I saw him on the street offering four Pinocchios for a dollar. Mr. President, that’s on you.
Trevor Noah: (01:04:34)
And what about Maggie Haberman? For four years, it was exclusives. On the Russia investigation, corruption. The President doesn’t read his daily briefings. On and on. Now look at her. She spends all day fighting with random people on Twitter like a common political reporter. You’ve ruined her Mr. President.
Trevor Noah: (01:04:59)
Now, of course, President Biden doesn’t often have to deal with the media directly. Yes. That task falls to Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Yes. Glad you could make it tonight. Really glad you could make it tonight, Jen. It’s nice that you’re willing to come over here and risk getting COVID for like what? The 10th time now? Let me ask, how do you keep getting COVID, Jen? Your boss hooked us all up with free tests. Does he not have your address? Going on there?
Trevor Noah: (01:05:26)
The word on the streets is actually that Jen Psaki is going to MSNBC next month. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Apparently, just being on CSPAN, the ratings were too high and she wanted more of a challenge. Wanted switch things up. She can’t laugh at that. Don’t put the camera on her. If it’s true, congratulations to Jen on your big career change. But, moving to MSNBC is going to be a big switch up for you because right now your current job is to make the Biden administration look as good as possible at all costs. Now, you’re going to be at MSNBC and you’re going to have to… You’ll be fine actually. Sorry.
Trevor Noah: (01:05:59)
I don’t even know why I apologize. By the way, MSNBC, can I just say you guys are doing great work? Yeah. I love watching your shows. When Trump was in office, your shows were all about how bad he was. And now that Biden’s in office, your shows are all about how bad Trump was. Consistency is important. We appreciate that. We really do.
Trevor Noah: (01:06:20)
Also, shout out to Joe and Mika. Yeah. I love you guys. Most adorable HR violation in town. I love it. So adorable. What? And that’s why we’re really here people. We’re here to honor the media. Yeah. So, first and foremost, let’s give it up for the White House press pool. Let’s give it up for them please.
Trevor Noah: (01:06:40)
You guys are relentless. Every day you show up and every day you demand answers on the pressing issues of the day. And then Fox News asks about Hunter Biden. And I’ll be honest though. I actually think that’s a good thing. I really do. I think people need to be held accountable if they’re using their dad’s name to get ahead in life. And I can’t think of anyone better to ask about that than Peter Doocy. Yeah. Wherever he is. Chris Wallace laughed at that joke.
Trevor Noah: (01:07:18)
But, you see the real purpose of tonight is to honor some of the country’s best political journalists. People like Abby Philip. [inaudible 01:07:24]. Right. And Mick Mulvaney. I actually get why CBS hired Mick Mulvaney. I get it. He’s more than just the guy who assured everyone that Donald Trump would concede gracefully. No, he can also get you access to other people who assured you that Donald Trump would concede very gracefully. It’s very important.
Trevor Noah: (01:07:45)
So, shout out to CBS, my corporate cousin. You can actually find us on Paramount Plus. Yes. Right between SpongeBob Squarepants and a bunch of movies that even Delta’s in-flight entertainment system turned down.
Trevor Noah: (01:07:55)
But, I don’t want to dwell on that. I don’t want to dwell on Mick Mulvaney. When we have so many other great journalists here tonight. We got Anderson Cooper in the house, man. We got Rachel Maddow. We got Don Lemon. We got Shepherd Smith. And so many other huge talents who can no longer be mentioned in Florida public schools. I see you Rhonda [inaudible 01:08:12]. What’s going on, baby? Oh man.
Trevor Noah: (01:08:17)
A lot of big media names in the rooms tonight. Chuck Todd is here. Chuck, you here? Yeah. How you doing? I’d ask a follow up, but I know you don’t know what those are. Don’t boo him. He’s trying. Man, these people are mean, Chuck.
Trevor Noah: (01:08:34)
The Axios team is also in the house. I didn’t know this, but Axios is actually Greek for political playbook without the birthdays. Yeah. And Axios got a lot of flack a few years ago for releasing a star photo that had fewer black people in it than CPAC, but kudos to Axios. They fixed that problem by not releasing any more star photos.
Trevor Noah: (01:08:58)
And Jonathan Swan, My man. I’m a fan, personal fan. You’ve been crushing it with those interviews. Congrats on the award. People are always asking, “How does Jonathan Swan get these politicians to open up to him?” I’ll tell you how. It’s the Australian accent. Yeah. American journalists sound too aggressive. What did you do with the money? An interview with Jonathan Swan is like being interrogated by koala bear.
Trevor Noah: (01:09:21)
But, Senator McConnell. Don’t you think it’s strange that you and the devil have never been seen in the same place at the same time? Don’t you think that’s strange? “Well, I guess when you go to hell, you’ll find out for yourselves.”
Trevor Noah: (01:09:42)
NPR is here tonight. One of my favorites. Congratulations on all the work you do. I love tiny desk concerts. I just wish you guys didn’t always have to beg for money. Maybe you’re spending too much on those tote bags. Who designs those? House of Gucci? Why don’t just ask Ivanka which kids make her stuff? Come on.
Trevor Noah: (01:10:01)
And how about the New York Times? Also here. Man, can I just say New York Times, I did not realize how much you guys like to party. Yeah. I’ve seen some of you sneaking off to the bathroom to do things you’re not supposed to do tonight. Like post on Twitter. Yeah. I’ve seen that. I love the New York Times. I really do. You guys are the best you. You do some of the most accurate, precise reporting in news. You never fail to write down exactly whatever the police have given you to say. Really powerful. Is it just me or does the New York Times keep blaming bail reform on crimes that had nothing to do with bail reform? I’m half expecting to open your newspaper and see a headline “Mets blow four run lead due to changes in state bail laws.” And it’s actually crazy how you guys have been attacked for everything, from your investigations into Trump’s taxes, to your reporting on the pandemic. And yet the biggest death threats that you received is because there were two L’s in the Wordle that day. That was wild.
Trevor Noah: (01:10:53)
By the way, give it up to those New York Times reporters who managed to get those Kevin McCarthy tapes. That was amazing. Yeah. Give it up for them. Incredible. You knew how crucial those tapes were, which is why you immediately waited until your book was for sale to tell the people about them. Bravo. Bravo. And you know what I liked about those tapes is that the one piece of good news is that now we know whether Nancy Pelosi or Kevin McCarthy, our Speaker of the House, that position will still be held by someone who believes that Trump should have resigned and was responsible for what happened on January 6th. Yeah. That’s bipartisanship. I like that.
Trevor Noah: (01:11:22)
I’m really excited because the Kings of Cable are here. Fox News in the house. Yeah. The top rated news network for the past, what, 300 years? Killing it. And I know Fox has a bad reputation. I even feel you tense up now when I talk about them. They really do crush it. I think they get a bad rap because it’s a mixed bag. They actually have really good journalists. It just depends on when you watch. Right. Fox News is sort of like a waffle house. Yeah. It’s relatively normal in the afternoon, but as soon as the sun goes down, there’s a drunk lady named Janine threatening to fight every Mexican who comes in. “You can’t throw me out. I know the real president.”
Trevor Noah: (01:12:03)
How about that Fox prime time lineup? Tucker Carlson. Sean Hannity. Laura Ingram. Their coverage of COVID was really impactful. Their segments about vaccines moved their viewers into the ICU. And congrats. Congrats to Sean Hannity on becoming the longest running host in cable news history, by the way. Give it up for him. For real. Give it up for him. Longest running host. Don’t hate. Don’t hate the player. Yeah.
Trevor Noah: (01:12:27)
Fun fact. Sean Hannity and Ainsley Earhart are actually dating now. Yes. Yeah. And I actually think it’s beautiful to see an office romance at Fox that won’t end in a $20 million settlement. Yeah. I’m sure wherever Roger Ailes is right now, he’s looking up and smiling.
Trevor Noah: (01:12:43)
Oh, Laura Ingram. Wow. What can you say about her that hasn’t already been said by the anti-defamation league? Powerful. I’m just sad that Tucker Carlson isn’t here today. He’s my favorite. What a talent. Tucker Carlson, are you kidding me? Woo. That man’s a beast. Who else could fill an entire show each night asking questions that Google could easily answer? Do vaccines work? Who really won the election? Who’s the president right now? Is this America? Gripping stuff.
Trevor Noah: (01:13:17)
But, if we’re honest people, there’s so much happening in the world right now. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and you just want to tune it all out. And that’s why I love watching CNN. Where’s Jeff Zucker, by the way? Also couldn’t make it? What’s what’s happening over there? Apparently Jeff got fired after he tried to keep his workplace relationship a secret, which is weird because if he really didn’t want anyone to know about it, he could have just made a show about it on CNN Plus. I know, I know. It’s so sad. CNN Plus. Gone, but forgotten. You know who I blame? You know who I blame, CNN? I blame John King. That’s who. Yeah, John. Your magic wall can predict how every person in the country is going to vote in every county. But, it couldn’t give you a heads up that nobody wanted more CNN? They spent $300 million on CNN Plus. $300 million. Can I be on a CNN? I think Stanley Tucci was playing you guys. Yeah. No. I think that dude knew exactly where Italy was. And he was just going to keep searching as long as you were paying.
Trevor Noah: (01:14:14)
$300 million. Do you understand how much money that is? I do get it. Streaming, they say, is the future. As the old saying goes, “You got to spend money to make sure that Chris Cuomo doesn’t get into wrongful termination lawsuits.” And that’s not the only big change going on at CNN. They just brought on Chris [inaudible 01:14:31]. Yeah. My man over there, Chris. As the new head of news. His first order of business, hire a guy who knows how to turn off the breaking news banner. Yeah. What happened with that? Did yhey just put it on during the OJ chase and then never figured out how to get rid of it? The news is not always breaking.
Trevor Noah: (01:14:50)
But, this is an interesting time for the media world. As with many industries, the pandemic was a major disruption for journalists. But, I also think it helped humanize you, honestly. Millions of Americans watched TV anchors reporting from inside their own homes. Meanwhile, reporters in print media, we’re like, we get it. You have homes. Way to show off.
Trevor Noah: (01:15:11)
And we have to face the facts. The media is in a tough position. You did say that, Mr. President. Informing the American public is harder than ever before. You’re battling conspiracy theories that the election was stolen by George Soros. That JFK Jr. is still alive. That everyone in this room is a secret pedophile. And that’s just what Clarence Thomas’s wife believes. It’s insane, people. This is truly the golden era of conspiracy theories. Whether it’s the right wing believing Trump can still win the 2020 election or the left believing Joe Biden can still win the 2024 election. Thank you, Mr. President.
Trevor Noah: (01:15:50)
And so, as we sit in this room tonight, people, I really hope you all remember what the real purpose of this evening is. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, we dress nice. Yes. The people eat, they drink, we have fun. But, the reason we’re here is to honor and celebrate the [inaudible 01:16:06] and what you stand for. What you stand for. An additional check and balance that holds power to account and gives voice to those who otherwise wouldn’t have one. And I’m not just talking about CNN or Fox or any of the other major organizations. I’m talking about everyone. The young journalists we saw today. Intrepid journalists who aren’t even in this room in Flint, Michigan. Or that daring reporter at the Des Moines Register or the unflinching local newscaster in El Paso, Texas.
Trevor Noah: (01:16:41)
Every single one of you, whether you like it or not is a bastion of democracy. And if you ever begin to doubt your responsibilities, if you ever begin to doubt how meaningful it is, look no further than what’s happening in Ukraine. Look at what’s happening there. Journalists are risking and even losing their lives to show the world what’s really happening. You realize how amazing it is. In America, you have the right to seek the truth and speak the truth even if it makes people in power uncomfortable. Even if it makes your viewers or your readers uncomfortable. You understand how amazing that is?
Trevor Noah: (01:17:22)
I stood here tonight and I made fun of the President of the United States and I’m going to be fine. I am going to be fine, right? Do you really understand what a blessing it is? Maybe it’s happened for so long that it might slip your mind. It’s a blessing.
Trevor Noah: (01:17:40)
In fact, here, ask yourself this question. Honestly, ask yourself this question. If Russian journalists who are losing their livelihoods, as you were talking about Steve, and their freedom for daring to report on what their own government is doing. If they had the freedom to write any words, to show any stories or to ask any questions. If they had basically what you have, would they be using it in the same way that you do? Ask yourself that question every day because you have one of the most important roles in the world.
Trevor Noah: (01:18:23)
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate you. Please be careful leaving tonight. We all know this administration doesn’t handle evacuation as well. Good night, everybody. Thank you so much.
Speaker 18: (01:18:37)
Thank you, Trevor. Thank you, Mr. President. Thanks again to our Executive Producer, Bob Bain and his amazing team. Thank you, Washington Hilton. Thank you to our members. Best of luck to my friend, Tamara Keith of NPR. Next year’s WHCA President. And have yourselves a goodnight, everyone. Goodnight.
Speaker 19: (01:19:08)
Ladies and gentlemen, please remain in your seats until the President and First Lady have departed. This has been Deborah Rodriguez speaking for the White House Correspondent’s Association. Thank you and goodnight.