The jokes were mostly on Donald Trump on Saturday as he spent the evening with a few hundred of his least favorite people -- the Washington press corps -- at its annual Gridiron Dinner.
The president, though, as the guest of honor, got the last laugh, and even thanked the media.
Trump wrapped up his comments by lauding the assembled reporters "for all you do to support and sustain our democracy. I mean that."
In a more-than-30-minute speech, Trump cracked jokes about Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, Vice President Mike Pence -- "he is one of the best straight men you are going to meet" -- and son-in-law Jared Kushner. He didn't spare Stephen Bannon, the former White House strategist ("that guy leaked more than the Titanic") and even mocked his own relentless cable TV-viewing habit.
Trump and wife Melania were joined at the head table for the Gridiron dinner by members of the Cabinet and top military officials, along with White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, advisers Kushner and Ivanka Trump, and others.
Trump joked that he was late to the event "because Jared could not get through security," referring to how his son-in-law was recently stripped of his top security clearance.
The president suggested he needed to wrap up his comments quickly, noting, "I have to be up early tomorrow morning -- six o'clock -- to be listening to Fox and Friends." And in a tribute to his favorite news network, he offered to reduce the carbon footprint of White House travel by shrinking the press pool to only Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Judge Jeanine.
In an up-to-the-minute crack about tariffs, Trump said that many dying American industries come to the White House begging for help, "but it may be too late for print media."
Now in its 133rd year, the dinner, held at a downtown Washington hotel, raises money for college scholarships and journalistic organizations.
Also from Bloomberg...
Trump Wields a Popgun in the Battle of Wit
Humor can be a powerful political weapon in skilled hands. President Donald Trump just showed that he needs to go back to basic training.
Trump opened with a few good cracks about his hostile relationship with the press.
The routine went downhill from there, tumbling across the line separating well-chosen gibes from crude insults.
It's easy to poke fun at yourself when you're the one doing it ...
But heaven forbid if President Blackenstein makes fun of you at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner ... www.youtube.com
Other jokes made by Donnie Little Hands:
"So many people have been leaving the White House. It's invigorating since you want turnover. I like chaos. It really is good. Who's going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller, or Melania?" Trump said, according to White House pool reports. "That's terrible. But you love me right, honey? She said, behave! By the way she has been an incredible first lady."
Trump later added that Melania Trump is having a good time in the White House and joked, "she can finally claim me as an adult dependent."
According to a White House pool report, he also took aim at former adviser Stephen Bannon, joking that CNN had lost its "very best reporter" in Bannon.
Trump jokes that "his apprentice" Pence is just waiting for his impeachment. "Lately [Pence is] showing a particularly keen interest in the news these days. He wakes up every morning and asks, 'has he been impeached yet?' I don't like that," Trump joked of his vice president.
Trump shared his unofficial plans for de-escalating tensions with North Korea, saying he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should smoke a "peace pipe" with the country.
He also announced during his speech that he was willing to meet with North Korean leaders. "I won't rule out direct talks with Kim Jong Un, I just won't. As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that's his problem not mine," Trump said.
Regarding Jeff Sessions, "I offered him a ride over and he recused himself," Trump said.
Trump compares being president to hosting "The Apprentice". "In one job I had to manage a cutthroat cast of characters, desperate for TV time, totally unprepared for their roles and their jobs and each week afraid of having their asses fired, and the other job I was the host of a smash television hit," Trump reportedly joked.
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