Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

The White House Correspondents' Dinner. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 30, 2022 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good evening to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world live from the nation's capital. You are looking at live pictures for something that really hasn't happened, well, at all in two years. And for the first time in half a decade, a sitting president will not only attend the White House Correspondents' Dinner but will tell jokes there and will allow himself to be roasted in front of the American people by Daily Show Host Trevor Noah.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I believe that's Fran Drescher. Am I correct in that?

BERMAN: Yes, it is Fran Drescher. The entire cast of Spinal Tap is with her there.

KEILAR: I want to get to CNN's Kristin Fisher. He is just making stuff up.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: You can't even get through it can you Brianna.

KEILAR: He is killing me, Kristin. All right, tell us what's happening.

FISHER: Well, you know, there is about 2,500 people inside this ballroom. Last I was in there, I couldn't get back there in between these live shots, but last I was in there, everybody eating their salads, they were about to get their main course and we're pretty much just waiting for President Biden to get here.

And for the real fun to begin, which is, of course, when Trevor Noah and the president start speaking and delivering some jokes, some good jokes, we hope, because it's been a long time since we've heard anything like this at a White House Correspondents' Dinner. First, it was President Trump, who never showed up to the dinner during the four years in office, and then it was the coronavirus pandemic.

So, this really is kind of a coming out party for the White House correspondents and a lot of people here in media and journalism in the Washington, D.C. area. And there were so many concerns about obviously the spread of COVID. But we are all vaccinated here. And we've all taken a test. And you had to show proof of a negative test before you get in here. So, hopefully, this doesn't turn into any kind of super- spreader event. And, you know, Brianna and John, Brianna you really dressed the part look like you should be here, but, John, I feel like you should have worn the black tie for tonight. Like this is a black tie sort of night.

KEILAR: I'm still wearing pants. So, I don't know if I quite fit the part. Although that's perhaps more en vogue.

Okay, look, I see our Don Lemon with Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell. I just saw our Dana Bash a moment ago, Pamela brown I saw there at the dinner the audience. What's the mood like, Kristin? I mean, is it just -- people haven't seen each other for so long but they still have these COVID concerns.

FISHER: People are just excited to get out, have a few drinks, have some good conversation. Obviously, some people have seen each other. But a lot of folks haven't seen each other in quite some time. So, it's been fun. It's been nice to talk to people.

It's also been -- I can't tell you, Brianna, how many conversations I've had with people who say, gosh, like I feel kind of awkward with the small talk. I'm probably one of them. It's been a while since you've been in this kind of circuit. But people are excited.

I think people -- we had one year at this dinner there was a historian that delivered remarks instead of a comedian. So, I think people are really happy to just kind of get out here and laugh have a good time and kind of get back to this tradition that really is just something that everybody in this area looks forward to every spring.

So, you know, next time, John and Brianna, you guys are going to have to get here and get in this crowd in this ballroom. And for anyone who has not been to this dinner, it is absolutely packed on the ballroom floor. I mean, trying to get in and get out is quite an undertaking.

And in terms of the celebrities that are here, this year, we are seeing a lot more celebrities than we did in previous years, most notably, of course, Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson.

Brianna, we talked about this earlier. I'm dying to know why Pete Davidson did not go up on that Blue Origin spacecraft, like he was supposed to do a few weeks ago. I tried to ask him, wasn't able to get an answer in.

But there are -- Drew Barrymore was here. One of the big succession actresses, Jerry, if you watch the show, is here. So, we are getting more of the Hollywood flavor at this year's dinner than we have in years' past.

KEILAR: Yes. Look, I'm dying to know why Pete Davidson is wearing Van sneakers while standing next to Kim Kardashian in a beautiful sequin. But that just speaks to maybe our different levels of curiosity about things, Kristin.

You, of course, you look beautiful. We are going to be checking in with you throughout the evening. So, thank you so much for that report for us live from the red carpet there at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

FISHER: Thanks. See you, Brianna.

BERMAN: All right. Let's get a history lesson here. One piece of information, the first president to go to a White House Correspondents' Dinner was Calvin Coolidge. I covered that.

Joining us now, Harry Enten, CNN Senior Data Reporter.


So, this has been going on for like a hundred years.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It's been going on for like a hundred years. I should point out my father was alive during the Calvin Coolidge administration. He had me when he was in his 60s. So, I do have a slight connection to Calvin Coolidge.

BERMAN: Slight.

ENTEN: Slight, I'm going to take it.

So, look, here are some featured speakers, the performers in history. This is just a fun, little kind of go through, right? So, the first emcee after World War II was Ed Sullivan. It was a really big shoe, a really big shoe there. The last without a Wikipedia page was Jim Morris in 1990. He was a George H.W. Bush impersonator. First sole woman host was Paula Poundstone in 1992. The most frequent host was Jay Leno, four times last in 2010, not the biggest Leno fan, but, whatever. And the least featured speaker until tonight was Ron Chernow back in 2019. I believe that was the non-comedian that we were referring to in the last section.

BERMAN: Do you have any favorites, Harry?

ENTEN: I do have some favorites. Yes, I do. Now, some of these are favorites because of what they did. And others of them are just favorites because I like them. So, James Cagney, a top actor and Yiddish speaker despite the fact that he wasn't Jewish but he grew up on the lower east side, Merv Griffin, created Jeopardy, how can you not like him?

BERMAN: Who is Merv Griffin?

ENTEN: Merv Griffin --

BERMAN: Never mind, inside joke.

ENTEN: Inside joke. You are too fast, very nice. Sinbad, 1991. I just like him. Ray Romano, everybody loves him. And Aretha Franklin, who I believe is the greatest singer ever, so what the (INAUDIBLE) in 1999.

BERMAN: All right. These were featured performers.


BERMAN: What about non-featured?

ENTEN: So, look, the Hollywoodization of this began inarguably 1944, during World War II, ten-plus performers. The first notable original song, I still like Ike by Irvin Berlin in 1954, God Bless America. First SNL performer Chevy Chase, in 1976. The biggest surprise not scheduled was Gary Shandling in 1989, I believe he went up there and helped push with his material. And perhaps the biggest history changer was Barack Obama making fun of Donald Trump in 2011. Some people believe that that spurred Trump to run for the presidency, but I don't think that's really true.

BERMAN: All right. Do you have favorites, Harry, in the non-featured category.

ENTEN: I do have favorites. Frank Sinatra in 1945, how can you not like the chairman of the board? Barbara Streisand in 1963, an EGOT Winner. The Disneyland Golden Horseshoe Review, I wasn't sure how to exactly pronounce that.

BERMAN: Just look up with people.

ENTEN: Whatever. Richard Nixon really liked them.

David Letterman in 2007, how did he not host? And, of course, perhaps my biggest favorite was Keegen-Michael Key in 2015, Barack Obama's anger management translator.

BERMAN: So, every president has attended as president except Donald Trump, but there have been sometimes when presidents did not attend, right?

ENTEN: Yes. There are, in fact, a bunch of examples, Warren Harding. You mentioned Calvin Coolidge was the first. But Warren Harding never attended. Richard Nixon didn't attend two times. I wonder why he wouldn't have attended.

BERMAN: What was he doing there?

ENTEN: What was he doing in 1974?

Jimmy Carter did not attend twice. Ronald Reagan recovering from an assassination attempt, pretty good reason, didn't attend in 1981. And Donald Trump didn't attend during his entire presidency.

BERMAN: And, look, there's always things going on and there are often big things going on around the time that these dinners take place.

ENTEN: Yes, there are often major events, so, during World War II, though, at least the 1944 and '45, as we've mentioned, a lot of performers. Ronald Reagan, after his assassination attempt, actually called in by phone to this, quite a performance there.

After Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1999, there was no comedian. It was Aretha Franklin. The Iraq War, no comedian, Ray Charles actually performed there. But perhaps most interestingly, on the eve of killing Osama Bin Laden, Obama laughed and actually made jokes. You wouldn't have known it was coming and, apparently, Bin Laden didn't know either.

BERMAN: This was an education.

ENTEN: This is what I try to do. I try to educate people. Even on a night like tonight where we are supposed to be having fun, I can't help but teach.

BERMAN: Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you, and you look beautiful this evening.

BERMAN: You're a blessing. It's a blessing having you.

So, roasting a sitting president on live television in primetime, no pressure, right? So, how will Headliner Trevor Noah handle this big moment?

KEILAR: And President Biden about to speak during a unique moment for his presidency. We have more live coverage of the White House Correspondents' Dinner ahead.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here it comes, nuclear proliferation, nuclear proliferation, nuclear proliferation, nuclear pro liberation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am married to the president of the United States and here is our typical evening. 9:00, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep and I'm watching Desperate Housewives.

BARACK OBAMA, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: But just in case there are any lingering questions, tonight, I'm prepared to go a step further. Tonight, for the first time, I am releasing my official birth video. Let's take a look.


KEILAR: Turning the table there on all the birthers who questioned, right, whether he was born in America.

I want to get now straight to the White House Correspondents' Dinner and our special celebrity guest, the most interesting man in the world, Pete Muntean.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I'm so flattered. You guys got the wrong Pete. The real guy is Pete Davidson. I am the wrong guy.

KEILAR: We're not confused, Pete.

MUNTAN: The trifecta here would have been to get me, Pete Davidson and Pete Buttigieg all together. We're going to like hoping to run into one other in like the men's room, or something, but we'll see. I don't know. That would be a tri-Pete. It's not really a re-Pete. It's like re-re-Pete.

BERMAN: So, Pete Muntean, again, the world's most interesting man, mayor of Reagan National Airport, who are you wearing tonight?

MUNTEAN: I'm wearing the rented tuxedo from Anthony's Tuxedos in Georgetown, Northwest Washington.


The tuxedo that I bought when I was 24 years old doesn't quite fit any more after two years of the pandemic. I had to spring for the rental this time, John. Why aren't you here, man? Where are you?

BERMAN: I've been banned from explaining why I'm not there.

MUNTEAN: I saw you were a bit sour about this on Instagram.

BERMAN: I was merely stating the facts. I am here in the D.C. Bureau to help cover the historic event attended by celebrity superstar reporters, like yourself. Pete Muntean, we're going to let you get back to the dinner now because I understand your table mates are calling for you. Give our best to Kim.

MUNTEAN: See you. Thanks.

KEILAR: It's the dessert portion of the evening, as Chris Cillizza will tell us, the best portion of the evening at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. So, it's important he gets there for it.

All right, I mean, let's talk about -- Chris, we'll start with you. Let's talk about this night. It is -- I don't know. There are so many audiences. It's supposed to be kind of fun. There is also a lot at stake and it comes at an interesting time in his presidency.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICAL REPORTER: It comes at a really hard time, I think, in this presidency for Joe Biden. I mean, I know, like he is going to tell jokes. They have professional joke writers. He is going to have jokes there. But the truth of the matter is that Joe Biden is not in a great spot politically as he comes into this.

It's also kind of hard to be funny when you have the war in Ukraine ongoing. You have most people in that room probably thinking, is this a super-spreader, should I be in this room right now? Chris Cillizza hypochondria would be definitely be thinking that. So, it's a weird vibe in the room, I would guess, for him. Plus, we haven't done it in a couple of years. And it's a weird time for him as well, and that he isn't, you know, in the 50s in terms of approval. He is in the low 40s. Everything looks like his party is going to get walloped in this coming election.

Now, I know that's not top of his mind tonight but you are never not the president. You know, you don't get to sort of turn that off and have fun this night. And so it's an odd time, I think, to do it. NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And there are questions about whether or not he was actually going to go. There was a dinner a couple weeks ago, the grid iron dinner ended up being a super-spreader event before this event. We had the vice president, Kamala Harris, test positive for COVID. So, lots of concerns about whether or not he should go. It sounds like they are precautions around him. He is not going to have dinner in the way that everybody else will have dinner. But, certainly, I mean, we talk about this possibly being a super-spreader event.

The problem is that this isn't just the only event that's happening, right? There have been events in Washington really since about Wednesday or Thursday of this week and they'll be going until Sunday. So, certainly, people taking precautions, some people deciding not to go because COVID is still with us.

BERMAN: Sorry, you can see Trevor Noah. These are live pictures right now, Trevor Noah hobnobbing with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki just a little bit prior to when he will be delivering jokes. I did not mean to interrupt you.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Not at all. It's just that if you are looking for an event that kind of speaks to the dichotomy of the moment we are in of people, including a number Democrats who want to say, let's move on with the pandemic, that it is just clearly not over, having Joe Biden speak at this massive event where the guests are not going to be masked. I believe he is going to be masked. Other people would know better than they --

BERMAN: He is masked when he's sitting on the dais, but when he's speaking, unmasked.

HABERMAN: Okay. So -- but regardless, it still sets up this sort of split screen of where the country wants to be, where part of Washington wants to be and just the reality of the moment we're in, which is that the virus is still very present.

BERMAN: Secretary of State Antony Blinken right there.

Ashley, I wanted to ask you because you worked on the Biden campaign. I mean, what is his style of humor? How would you describe Joe Biden comedy?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he is great in one- on-one settings.

BERMAN: This isn't one-on-one.

KEILAR: 3,000 to one.

ALLISON: I was kind of bearing in the lead. I think he should take tonight and let all the air out of the balloon and be self-deprecating and just where are my notes? All the things that people make fun him about, just take a dart and bust the balloon and say, I see it, I hear it, I know it but it's not real and I'm going to have -- I hope you have a good night and then keep it going. But I don't think delivering jokes is the strongest thing Joe Biden can do.

KEILAR: I agree with you. I think he is on good footing, sort of knocking the people who question, like, oh, you know is he all there? Does he find his way around? You know, just sort of like really play into that. I wonder is there any risk if in that.

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think his sense of humor is a little more suited to an older audience. He is the guy who drove around on a campaign bus that said like no malarkey, right? He is not speaking to the younger demographic, generally. And so I don't think he should try. That's going to be who Trevor Noah is really --

KEILAR: I do want to get one quick break right now and then we're going to be right back for hopefully the main course of the White House Correspondents' Dinner.



JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: It's hard to be funny with the president of the United States sitting right next to you looking at you, and yet somehow, day in and day out, Joe Biden manages to do it.




SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Donald Trump said recently he has a great relationship with the blacks. Though unless the blacks are a family of white people, I bet he is mistaken.


BERMAN: All right. That was 2011. Seth Meyers taking aim at then businessman Donald Trump sitting in the audience. That is a moment that Donald Trump has talked about as being inspiring for him to run for the presidency.

We are back waiting for the beginning of this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner. We are waiting to hear from President Biden and Trevor Noah, Astead. And we have an AAA list comedian speaking tonight.

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and I think this kind of signals the return of the real pomp and circumstance, the fanfare of the dinner. This is a setting where the folks who thrive are people don't take themselves that seriously. And we know politicians are famously a group of people take themselves seriously.

I think we'll see Trevor Noah try to burst that bubble. The question will be about Biden. I think it also will be about COVID too.


We know that there are legitimate concerns for some folks there but I think it mirrors kind of where the country is, where people are having to make individual risk assessments even if they have taken the precautions of vaccination and such. This is a new normal.

So, I think this is a moment that is reflective of where the country is but it's also kind of funky politically, as we've talked about for the president, who has to really thread the needle between, I think, providing a light funny side but also not having what I think is everyone's biggest fear, which is a viral moment that lasts in a negative way too.

KEILAR: There is Trevor Noah. We did just see our Kaitlan Collins in a beautiful yellow dress. And I actually have really high expectations actually for Trevor Noah. I wonder what you were thinking. He just seems like very professional and like he is going to read the room.

ALLISON: He has note cards and those cards are not reading the room. So, I think that he is going to land those jokes. I do not think Trevor Noah is going to give a pass to Joe Biden. This is like the Super Bowl kind of for comedians for, you know, the halftime show. And I think the country deserves a good laugh. So, like give us what we want. It is such a hard time. We rarely get the motions in Washington, D.C. I do have high hopes and I want to be bellyful laughing.

BERMAN: All right. Well, we will see. All right, guys, we're taking another quick break here. Stand by.

Much more to discuss coming up, counting down to the beginning, we're waiting to hear from Trevor Noah. Waiting to hear from President Joe Biden. How will this go? You can't always tell. Stick around.




JAMES CORDEN, COMEDIAN: Also good to see you. Now, listen, I'm here at the White House today and I really want to be of service. And I'm wondering if you think there is any department here at the White House that could use my help.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I certainly do, the press room. You should go be with the press.

CORDEN: You want me to be the face of the party.

BIDEN: Absolutely.

CORDEN: Who tells the truth to America. I hear you loud and clear. I'll be right back.

BIDEN: All right, lots of luck.

CORDEN: Where would you find that office?

BIDEN: Let, right, left and don't come back.

CORDEN: Message received.

Sorry I'm looking for Jen, Jen Psaki. Jen?


CORDEN: How are you?

PSAKI: I'm good. How are you?

CORDEN: How nice to see you. Are you well?

PSAKI: I'm good. What are you doing here?

CORDEN: We figured people in the White House work long hours and maybe I'd take over the press briefing thing. Does that sound like a good idea?

PSAKI: That sounds really good. Are you ready?

CODEN: My hunch is this whole thing is a walk in the park.

PSAKI: Maybe I can write you notes. War with Russia, bad.

CORDEN: Keep it light, Jen.

PSAKI: CDC good.

CORDEN: Really? They've been pissing me off.

PSAKI: Economy, strong.

CORDEN: Is it?

PSAKI: Iran, diplomacy good.

CORDEN: Diplomacy good. What if I get asked about Kim and Pete?

PSAKI: We love love around here, so I think that's a safe place to be.

CORDEN: Has he watched the new Kardashians on Hulu?

PSAKI: I don't think he's had a ton of time with that.

CORDEN: He has not seen it? He's not seen it, okay.

PSAKI: now, he's probably not seen it.

CORDEN: So, that's a problem.

PSAKI: So, last thing, is that what you're going to wear?


PSAKI: It's a little bit more brunch than press briefing to me.

CORDEN: All right. You want me to change? I'll change. But let me tell you this. Everybody loves brunch.

Okay. All right I'm ready is this good? Is this a good look? Is this right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think it's good.

CORDEN: All right. I try to have a quick, preshow prayer. C.J. Craig, if you are watching down on us, give us the strength to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, unless we need to lie. Okay.


CORDEN: Good morning, everybody.

Good morning. How are you nice to see you? Jen is taking a well-earned break. So, anyone got any questions? Okay. Yes.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, MCCLATCHY: Thanks, James. What does the president plan to do to prevent a recession?

CORDEN: I don't really want to speak for the president on that one. I don't think it's my place to speak for him on those issues. So --

CHAMBERS: Isn't that literally your job?

CORDEN: Next. Who else? Yes.

APRIL RYAN, THEGRIO: Why does this president spend every weekend away from the White House?

CORDEN: Have you spent time here?

RYAN: Yes.

CORDEN: Geez, wouldn't you want to get away? Come on, what's the point of having Camp David if you can't pop down every once in a while?

RYAN: He goes to Delaware.

CORDEN: And what is Delaware?

KELLY O'DONNELL, NBC NEWS: The president has used the strategic petroleum reserve.


O'DONNELL: Is he watching gas prices? And will he tap the SPRO again.

CORDEN: I don't think it's for me or you, Jenny, to talk about who or what the president is tapping.

Okay. Yes, you, sir, with the face.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS: When the president says one thing and White House staff say something else, who are we supposed to listen to, the president or White House staff?

CORDEN: Well, you know, David --

DOOCY: That's not my name.

CORDEN: You say your name is not David. I say your name is David. And I'm still up here and you're sat down there unless you want to be sat at the back with whoever they are.


STEVE HOLLAND, REUTERS: Could you give us an update on the AUKUS agreement?

CORDEN: Could you sing the question?

HOLLAND: I could but I'm not.

CORDEN: Sing the question. I'd like for you singing the question.

HOLLAND: Could you give us an update on the Aukus agreement?

CORDEN: No, I can't. Next.

JEFF MASON, REUTERS: James, can you tell us what is the president's plan for deficit reduction?

CORDEN: Okay, before we start, can you explain the sock choice in here? Okay, anyone else?

MASON: Can you answer my question?

CORDEN: Yes. Do you know what --

MASON: Deficit reduction.

CORDEN: Do you know what? They warned me about you.

MASON: Deficit reduction.

CORDEN: Okay. They warned me about you. What's your name?

MASON: Jeff Mason.


MASON: Deficit reduction?

CORDEN: You're right, Jeff is a whiney little bitch. Okay.

PSAKI: Okay. Okay, James, thank you.

CORDEN: Jen, how are you? Yes, good.

PSAKI: James, I'm sorry, this is just not for you. You've got to go.

CORDEN: Well, in that case I will hand you over to your host for the evening, please welcome the president of the WHCA, Steven Portnoy.



STEVE PORTNOY, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENTS' ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT, CBC NEWS: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, James Cordon. Thank you, Ben Winston. Thank you and welcome to the country's biggest annual celebration of the First Amendment of journalism, scholarship and self-effacing humor. And we are grateful for the vaccines, the therapies, the tests that make it possible for us to be together tonight.

And we are pleased to have the president in attendance here with us. It restore as tradition of this dinner that dates back to Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

Now, here's a picture of our 1923 dinner. Sir, I believe you were still in the Newcastle County Council at the time. But what I'm about to tell you is real. We looked this up, not a joke. Will the folks at able 82 please identify themselves, table 82? You're out there somewhere. There you are. See, that's where you sat, Mr. President, the first time you attended this dinner in this hotel ballroom in 1974. You were a guest that night of the Philadelphia Bulletin Evening Newspaper. That's right, table 82. Yes.

Now, tonight, you don't look a day over table 79.

Now, the theme that night 48 years ago in the midst of Watergate was high times and misdemeanors. And the entertainer was Roy Clark, the host of Hee Haw. So, we understand why you might have had pause about coming back. But we are grateful you are here tonight, sir.

There hasn't always been comedy in the history of this dinner. In 1941, Franklin Roosevelt used his speech at this dinner to deliver a serious address promoting land lease. And 70 years after that, Barack Obama dove from this room into the sit room with you, sir, to watch the U.S. take out Bin Laden.

But it has been said that the more pivotal moments that night in 2011 occurred in this room in this room at this podium and at that table right down there. So, will the folks at that table please raise your right hand and solemnly swear no matter what jokes might be made about you tonight, you'll just laugh, please?

As has been written, there are more than 2,600 people in this room tonight, vaccinated and tested today, all of you.

Now, most of you are not White House correspondents but rather are spouses, sources, bosses, sponsors or just very wealthy. I want that noted for the record. I hereby disclaim all laughter and applause in advance on behalf of WHCA.

But a special word of thanks to our members and for their service to the profession and to the free people of the world. I'll have much more to say about that later.

And we do have some serious business to get to tonight along with some comedy. First, to present our WHCA awards, please welcome ABC News Chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega.

CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, everybody. Thank you, Steven. Thank you to the board for putting this all together and getting us all in the same room. It's wonderful to see everybody. Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Trevor Noah, Jen, thank you for being here tonight.

The bylaws of our association say that the promotion of excellence in journalism is core to the WHCA's mission. Each year, a panel of independent judges reviews dozens of entries for the five major WHCA awards. Tonight, it is my honor to the announce the winers.

The Aldo Beckman Award for overall excellence in White House coverage is named for a former association president, the late Chicago Tribune correspondent, Aldo Beckma. This year, that award goes to Jonathan Swan of Axios.

The judges said Jonathan's riveting series, Off the Rails, and its accompanying podcast described the final days of Donald Trump's presidency with speed and detail, laying out the former president's last-ditch efforts to overturn the election.


JONATHAN SWAN, AXIOS (voice over): This series is my best attempt to reconstruct Trump's final days, while sources memories are still fresh and people are willing to talk.


VEGA: Ladies and gentlemen, the WHCA is extremely pleased to give the Aldo Beckman award to Jonathan Swan.

The WHCA gives out two awards for reporting under deadline pressure, one for print, another for broadcast.


This year's print winners are Zeke Miller and Mike Balsamo of The Associated Press.

The judges said the pair drew on their sources to get the scoop about the administrations changing mask guidance work that resulted in tight, informative news stories throughout the day. Everybody please welcome the winners of the award for deadline for print, Zeke Miller and Mike Balsamo. This one hits close to home, the broadcast award. It goes to my dear friend and my colleague, Jonathan Karl of Abc News.

This is for his work on January 6th. The judges said, as the riot was still ongoing, Jon and his team delivered reporting ahead of the curve, a detailed narrative that doesn't hit one false note, even with a year's perspective.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS (voice over): Chaos and lawlessness striking at the heart of American democracy breaking out after the president of the United States urged of an angry mob of his own supporters to confront members of Congress, and even his own vice-president, who were preparing to certify the election.


VEGA: The WHCA is pleased to honor the deadline reporting of ABC's, my friend, Jon Karl.

KARL: Because the microphone is blank, I just want to say here there was a whole team at ABC News that made this possible. Thank you for all of them. And if I may, I also want to say there was a lot of other -- there was great reporting on January 6th, reporting that showed that this was not just a riot. It wasn't just an attack on the Capitol. It was an assault on American democracy. Thank you. Thank you.

VEGA: That's why we love him. This is a relatively new award, the next one, for visual journalism. It goes to Brendan Smialowski of AFP.

You can see it right here the judges said this photo of President Biden's sit down with Vladimir Putin in Geneva captured the underlying drama of the summit. Look closely, the judges wrote. The body language and each game face tell the story.

Please join me in congratulating AFP Photographer Brendan Smialowski.

The WHCA partners with the University of Florida to present the collier prize for state government accountability. This year's winners the Miami Herald and ProPublica for their series, Birth and Betrayal, exposes the failures of a Florida program that compensates parents when their baby suffered brain damage during delivery.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I throw her away in an institution. I didn't throw her away like she was garbage like they wanted me to do. I kept her. And she lived 27 years because of that. It wasn't because of anybody else.


VEGA: Accepting the collier prize, please welcome Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald. And now a name we all know, the Katharine Graham award for courage and accountability. The award named in honor of the legendary Washington Post publisher goes this year to the newspaper she helmed as well as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and Media Partners around the world. This team of more than 600 journalists in 151 countries exposed the secrets of the Pandora papers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pandora papers show how the ultra rich and powerful move money around the globe. It is the largest collaboration of journalists ever organized by the ICIJ.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have emails, passport copies, bank statements that show how presidents, kings, princesses, billionaires and criminals hide and move money.


VEGA: Please welcome to the winners of the Katharine Graham award from the ICIJ and The Washington Post.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much.

And now, with a special presentation, a correspondent of a different sort, Billy on the street himself, Billy Eichner.

BILLY EICHNER, BILLY ON THE STREET: Good evening. I'm Billy Eichner. For years, the White House Correspondents' Dinner has honored our bravest reporters and journalists. But for far too long, I think the Correspondents' Dinner has been ignoring the most important journalists of all, entertainment journalists. We can all agree that it is more important than ever to be entertained. But without entertainment journalists, how would we know who is entertaining us?

I have a movie coming out in September called Bros, the first gay rom- com ever made by a major studio. And I'll be depending on entertainment journalists to spread the word.

Tonight, the WHCD honors them for the first time. Here are your honorees. For her fearless work in reporting that Harry Stiles and Olivia Wilde, quote, couldn't be happier we present the WHCD award for relationship news to Entertainment Correspondent Naz Perez.

For courageous work interviewing Jonas Brothers while they filmed a new commercial from Tostitos, we present the WHCD freedom of the press junket award to ENews Daily Pops Justin Sylvester.

And, finally, for his galvanizing, no-holds barred look at what's been happening on The Bachelor, we present the WHCD award for telling us what's been happening on The Bachelor to Today's Show Contributor Jason Kennedy. Congrats to all. And may God bless entertainment. Thank you.

PORTNOY: Ladies and gentlemen, Billy Eichner.

Now, among the things we White House correspondents are proudest are the scholarships and mentorships that our association provides. And here to tell you more about that and to introduce you to this year's great crop of WHCA scholars is NBC News Correspondent and the host of PBS' Washington Week Yamiche Alcindor.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NBC NEWS: Thank you so much, Steven. Good evening, Mr. President, good evening, First Lady Biden. Good evening, Trevor. I'm so excited to be here. Sorry, Trevor, you're just like -- okay. I love you too.

Each year, the White House Correspondents Association funds dozens of scholarships for promising young people in partnership with participating colleges and universities and organizations. The program is won by Steve Thomma, the WHCA executive director, and is overseen this year by Board Members Francesca Chambers and Fin Gomez, great friends.

The program pairs scholars with real, working White House journalists as mentors. And I should say, in July 2020, I had the honor of being paired with a scholarship winner, Kara Karis (ph). She was a student then at Arizona State. We have forged a deep relationship. And I've gotten to have a front row seat to seeing her blossom, go from intern to now associate producer at CNN.

I will pause to say that we will bring her into the Peacock gang soon. Kara (ph), just hold on a minute, but she is right now at CNN. I am grateful -- I am grateful to the WHCA for so much, for the deep friendships that are formed, for the professional and personal support during so many challenging times and for allowing me to connect with the next generation of young journalists who are really blazing a path ahead.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, meet the 2022 WHCA scholarship winners.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arina (ph) from Columbus Ohio.


ALLISON NOVELO, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Allison Novelo, I'm from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.



ANNIE KLINGENBERG, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Annie Klingenberg from Westchester, Pennsylvania.

COOPER PIERCE, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Cooper Pierce, I'm from Grimes, Iowa. CORINNE DORSEY, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Corinne Dorsey from Dallas, Texas.

DIANNIE CHAVEZ, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Diannie Chavez from Surprise, Arizona.


JANA ROSE SCHLEIS, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Jana Rose Schleis from Two Creeks, Wisconsin.

JULIA MUELLER, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Julia Mueller from Beaverton, Oregon.

SKYE WITLEY, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Skye Witley from Olympia, Washington.


KATHERINE MAHONEY, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Katherine Mahoney, and I'm a sophomore from Maryland.


KENDALL LANIER, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Kendall Lanier from Kansas City, Missouri.

KIARA PATTERSON, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Kiara Patterson from Shaker Heights, Ohio.

NEETISH BASNET, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Neetish Basnet from Kathmandu, Nepal.

LILY O'SHEA BECKER, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Lily O'Shea Becker from St. Louis, Missouri.

MAIA BOND, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Maia Bond from Rolla, Missouri.


MARIA FERNANDA BERNAL, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Maria Fernanda Bernal, I am from Richmond, California.


ROBERT WICKER PERLIS, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Wicker Perlis from New Orleans, Louisiana.

SARA AVERY, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Sara Avery from Raleigh, North Carolina.

SARAH ELBESHBISHI, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Sarah Elbeshbishi from Montgomery Village, Maryland.

SOPHIA MARCHIONINI, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Sophia Marchionini from Silver Spring, Maryland.

LEXI MARTIN, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Lexi Martin from Murfeesboro, Tennessee.

TEGHAN SIMONTON, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Hi, I'm Teghan. I'm from Jonesboro, Arkansas.

DANIEL LAM, WHCA SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Daniel Lam from White Stone New York at Dartmouth College.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American University.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ohio State University.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.C. Berkeley School of Journalism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The University of Maryland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The University of Kansas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arizona State University.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Northwestern University.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The University of Missouri.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


ALCINDOR: They are an amazing, amazing group, aren't they, right? They are amazing. And, of course, they here with us tonight, so please stand and be recognized.

Once again, thank you all for your support of this important and growing program. It is funded directly by your donations to the WHCA and your ticket purchases tonight. So, thank you again and have a great time.

PORTNOY: Thank you, Yamiche. And now, what is for me, and I hope and trust will be for you, a true highlight of this evening. This association has within its history legacies that we have an obligation and opportunity to lift up. And here to do that is my CBS News colleague and the co-host of CBS Mornings, Gayle King. GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS: I am so glad to be here. Rob, don't roll the prompter yet because I'm going off script for a second. Don't be scared. We've been talking for the past two days so I lost my voice, so I'm powering through. But I just want to say I'm so happy to be here.

A note to self, Drew Barrymore and I were minding our own business. We were upstairs at the reception. Somebody said, Gayle, would you and Drew come down and take a picture on the red carpet? We said, sure. We go downstairs, we're about to step on the red carpet, they go, Gayle, Drew, move, move, move, Kete are here, which stands for Kim Kardashian and Pete.

So, Drew and I go sleeking off and then they say, you guys come on back. Do you think we went back? Yes, we wanted the picture. Thank you, Drew Barrymore.

As excited as I am to be here, I think the most excited person in the world would have to be Steve's mom. Steve goes, oh boy. When I came in to do the COVID test, which, guys, thank you very much, thank you Mr. President, thank you, Dr. Jill, thank you, George, Trevor, everybody, they really are testing and they really are checking. So, I was really gratified when I came in took my test. I'm negative, thank you, Jesus, praying all the time. I don't know about you, but you take the test and you go, please, please, please, don't let it be today, please.

So, Allison and I, my assistant, we came in just to get the lay of the land and we happened to see Steven's parents. Steven's mother says to me, and I quote, I'm so proud of my son because he is sitting next to the president of the United States tonight. And that is a really big deal.

Ms. Mona went on to say from the time Steven was five, he was writing scripts, he was doing fake news casts, he was saying, good morning my name is Steven Portnoy from ABC News. Well, right now, you work at CBS. I asked Ms. Mona, what are you wearing? She goes, I'm going 50s Kim Novak-style, a sleeve, three-quarter, big ball gown. I'm pulling out all the stops because, did I mention, my son is sitting next to the president of the United States.

And then she went on to say to me, you guys should do a story about him.


He is amazing. So, George Cheeks, I'll send that over to you, our big boss at CBS News.

All right, Rob, let's go on the script. Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen. For seven decades, the black women who cover the White House, like April Ryan, who's down in the center, 25 years, Ms. April, as a White House correspondent. You go, April Ryan.

We've been riding on the shoulders of two pioneers. April I want to be you when I grow up. Their names are Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne. And I'm embarrassed to say until this week when I was doing the research on this and cutting the track, I did not know their names before and I'm sure that's happened to many of you in this room too. I'm hoping that after you see this tape, you won't forget. Roll tape, please.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the middle of the 20th century, America was a segregated nation. Schools and transportation in the south were separated based on race and so was the nation's press. Alice Dunnigan, the Kentucky-born granddaughter of slaves, was determined to fulfill her dream of becoming a journalist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am Alicia Dunnigan and Alice Dunnigan was my grandmother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the time she reached her 30s, Dunnigan had a regular column for a local paper but she wanted more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said the two strikes out against her was that she was black and that she was female.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She landed a job in Washington, D.C. writing for The Associated Negro Press, a wire service for black-owned papers. In 1937, Alice Dunnigan became the first female black reporter credential to cover the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am James Johnson Jr. and Ethel Lois Payne was my aunt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For Ethel Payne, the path to journalism began when she was denied admission to law school because of the color of her skin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You couldn't control your opportunities so you had to be prepared for whatever opportunity came along. Writing for her was a natural, something she liked to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1951, Payne was hired as a Washington reporter for the Chicago Defender, one of the country's leading black newspapers at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't give a hoot whether you are Democrat or Republican in this kind of job.

Dunnigan and Payne regularly attended President Dwight Eisenhower's news conferences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The integration of schools on military posts may be delayed until 1955.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In 1954, just two months after the Brown versus Board of Education Ruling, Ethel Payne demanded to know whether Eisenhower would support a ban on segregation in interstate travel. Ike did not like that question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd like to know if we could assume that we have administration support in getting action on this?

DWIGHT EISENHOWER, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT (voice over): Well, I don't know what right you say that you have to have administration support. The administration is trying to do what it thinks to be believed decent and just in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The moment sparked headlines of its own.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler stated frankly that he was ousted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ethel Payne later went on to become the first black female commentator at CBS News.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Blacks aren't any different from other groups of voters.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Payne and Dunnigan were as dedicated to family as they were to their work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My aunt was a very good cook. I can't think of one thing because everything she touched was good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She never too much talked about what she did. If you asked her, she would tell you.

I remember talking to her one time, and we had finished dinner. And so she said, my doctors said I should stop smoking cigarettes. So, now I smoke a pipe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their legacies live on in the work done by journalists of color today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have great love and feeling for how she inspired us as the next generation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She knocked the door down. I marvel at all that she did and all that she was and all that she fought for.


KING: Very nice, very nice. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, tonight, the White House Correspondents' Association is pleased to celebrate the creation of a new honor, the Dunnigan-Payne prize for lifetime career achievement as a White House correspondent.


I am thrilled to tell you that this is the first time this award has been granted posthumously to the woman its named after Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne.