Politics

Watch Hasan Minhaj Go Hard After No-Show Trump At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner

"The leader of our country is not here. That’s because he lives in Moscow."

Earlier today journalists gathered in Washington DC for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, an annual shindig where a late night TV star mocks the president directly to his face. Only this year’s event was a little bit different, because the president refused to attend.

Trump’s boycott made him the first president to miss the dinner since 1981. That was the year Ronald Regan failed to attend, although at least he had a good excuse: he had recently been shot in an assassination attempt.

In any case, it’s a bummer that Trump decided not to show. President Obama nailed all eight of his appearances, and while it’s hard to imagine his successor being anywhere near as funny, it damn sure would have made for interesting viewing.

But if there was a silver lining to Trump’s absence, it’s that emcee Hasan Minhaj felt no need to pull his punches. “Welcome to the series finale of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” he began. “My name is Hasan Minhaj, or as I’ll be known in a few weeks, number 830287.”

“I would say it’s an honor to be here, but that would be an alternative fact,” Minhaj continued. “No one wanted to do this, so of course it lands in the hands of an immigrant.”

The Daily Show correspondent and first-generation Indian-American Muslim went on to address “the elephant that’s not in the room”. “The leader of our country is not here,” Minhaj quipped. “That’s because he lives in Moscow and it’s a very long flight.”

“As for the other guy, I think he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke.”

Minhaj also poked fun at a number of other no-shows. “Mike Pence wanted to be here, but his wife wouldn’t let him because apparently one of you ladies is ovulating,” he joked. “Good job ladies! Because of you, we couldn’t hang out with Mike Pence.”

As for Sean Spicer, Minhaj said the under-fire White House Press Secretary was probably at home “googling how to fake his own death”.

But the night ended on a more serious note, with Minhaj driving home the importance of free speech. “Even the president is not beyond the reach of the First Amendment,” he said. “The president didn’t show up because Donald Trump doesn’t care about free speech. The man who tweets everything that enters his head refuses to acknowledges the amendment that allows him to do it.”

You can watch Minhaj’s entire performance below.