Trump Pokes Fun at Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon at Gridiron Dinner

Posted March 06, 2018

It was an enjoyable presidential debut at the Gridiron Club's annual dinner for Donald Trump, who dished out pointed one-liners and endured some barbs from political rivals and the press.

The annual dinner of the Gridiron Club and Foundation, now in its 133rd year, traces its history to 1885, when President Grover Cleveland refused to attend.

Now, I'm sure some Trump supporters will defend Trump with a typical "what aboutism", arguing that President Barack Obama comically fileted Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondent's Dinner. "What are you going to do?" Vice President Mike Pence, who was the headliner a year ago, will be back at the dinner, along with his wife, Karen. And the president who regularly accuses mainstream journalists of "fake news" concluded by very briefly thanking "the press for all you do to support and sustain our democracy", adding twice for emphasis: "I mean that".

To The New York Times, Trump remarked that they shared status as New York icons but "the only difference is I still own my buildings".

Saying he was once asked how he could deal with a "madman" like North Korea's Kim Jong Un, Trump said: "That's his problem, not mine". "Free Melania. She's actually having a great time".

Toward the end of his comments, Trump couldn't resist one of his favorite themes, revisiting his election night victory. "I really am proud to call him the apprentice".

Per tradition, the Gridiron Club dinner also featured speakers from both political parties. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, will represent Democrats.

Cotton made light of what he called the source of his personality: the common touch of Harvard, the sensitivity of the Army, and the personal touch of Dick Cheney. In fact, based on what was reported about the event (cameras were not permitted), I wish Trump would give up his "day job" and pursue comedy full time.

While it has been said that Donald Trump has been left isolated and vulnerable after the shock departure of Hope Hicks, it looks like he is finally coming to terms with it and even making jokes about it. Riffing on Biden, Trump said: "A guy makes outrageous statements - he's going to be president?"

Trump also mocked his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was recently stripped of his top secret national security clearance, leaving him below the White House calligrapher in terms of access to sensitive information.

And in a riff off of Patsy Cline's famous song, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is attending, is portrayed by a cast member singing, "You see I'm an Arkansas Huckabee, someone who's born to be ... part of the GOP ..." The charitable organization contributes to college scholarships and journalistic organizations with an evening of humorous give-and-take between the press and the people they cover.