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White House correspondents' dinner features jabs at Biden's age, Trump's legal woes, mainstream media

The annual White House correspondents’ dinner was held Saturday in which President Biden was joined by politicians, journalists and celebrities for an election year roast, with the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war and protests over the conflict.

The event featured a roast of the president by comedian Colin Jost, who also made jokes targeting the media and Republican politicians, including former President Trump and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.

“Like many of you here tonight, I pretend to do news on TV,” Jost told the crowd, referring to his “Saturday Night Live” skit.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters outside the event condemned Biden’s support for Israel and Western media coverage of the war. This, as anti-Israel protests have been held on U.S. college campuses in recent weeks.

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Chants of “Shame on you!” and “Free Palestine” were heard as guests in suits and long dresses made their way inside for the dinner. Protesters accused U.S. journalists of not covering the war enough and misrepresenting it when they do cover it. 

“Western media we see you, and all the horrors that you hide,” protesters chanted.

Inside the event, Biden, 81, made jokes about his age while also using the dinner as an opportunity to take shots at Trump, his top challenger for the 2024 presidential election.

“Yes, age is an issue, and I’m a grown man running again a six-year-old,” Biden said, referring to Trump.

“Look, age is the only thing we have in common. My vice president actually endorses me,” the president added, as former Vice President Mike Pence refuses to endorse his former running mate.

Biden also joked about accusations that Congress is political theater, and took the opportunity to cite GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado being kicked out of a theater last year for groping her date.

“Being here is a reminder that folks think what is going on in Congress is political theater,” the president said. “That is not true. If congress were theater, they’d have thrown out Lauren Boebert a long time ago.”

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President Joe Biden stands for the pledge of allegiance during the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner in Washington, D.C.

Media outlets have been highly critical of Biden as of late for not giving interviews to mainstream outlets like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, among others. Biden skipped his Super Bowl interview with CBS News in February after canceling last year’s Super Bowl interview with Fox News.

On top of journalists’ limited access to Biden for interviews, he has also held fewer press conferences than his predecessors.

Instead of giving interviews with traditional news media, Biden has recently sat down with radio host Howard Stern and late night host Seth Myers.

“To all of my friends in the press, and Fox News, I have higher standards,” Biden said on Saturday. “I do interviews with strong independent journalists who millions of people actually listen to, like Howard Stern.”

Jost’s roast included mentions of Biden’s age, Trump’s legal cases and independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s chances of winning the election.

“I didn’t know you were going to show photos of me from high school,” Jost said. “It’s not really fair. You can’t do it for President Biden because the technology wasn’t invented when he was in high school.”

“How refreshing it is to see a president at an event that doesn’t begin with a bailiff saying all rise?” Jost added. “And, I would like to point out, it is after 10 p.m., Sleepy Joe is still awake. While Trump has spent the past week falling asleep in court every morning.”

President Joe Biden speaks during the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner in Washington, D.C.

Jost continued, “The Republican candidate for president owes half a billion in fines for bank fraud and is currently spending his days farting himself awake during a porn star hush money trial and the race is tied? The race is tied. Nothing makes sense anymore.”

Referencing Kennedy Jr.’s stance against vaccines, Jost joked, “Like his vaccine card says, he doesn’t have a shot.”

The comedian compared the accomplishments of Biden and former President Obama, saying, “Obama got [Osama] Bin Laden, you got O.J. [Simpson].”

Jost also told the president that he reminded him of his grandfather.

“Some of your best qualities remind me of his. And, I will say, he was 95, and he was still great at stairs,” Jost said, referring to instances of Biden falling down on the stairs of Air Force One. “I think it is because he didn’t try to run up them.”

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