"This wasn't a president that was elected to spend his time with reporters and celebrities", Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained in an interview with ABC's This Week at the time, adding that it would be "kind of naive" to assume there wouldn't be any tension between the two sides.
Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the media and accused outlets of pushing "fake news", told NY radio station 77 WABC that he did not plan on attending the annual event. "Now in some cases there's sources, but then they won't do it correctly either".
While there are notable people of colour in the Trump administration - Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley - Mr Trump's Cabinet is predominantly white. He also declined an invite past year. "So much of the media is dishonest and corrupt!" It includes acknowledgement of award-winning reporting and the presentation of journalism scholarships.