For the first time in years, the White House has excluded notable black and LGBT reporters from its Christmas party guest list.
Chris Johnson, chief political and White House reporter for the Washington Blade, received numerous invites under the Obama administration and was an attendee to the annual event for the last seven years. Johnson told Politico he contacted the White House to ask about this year’s invitation but his query went unanswered.
“I assumed it was an oversight, because I’m at the White House every day and contribute to the pool reports,” Johnson says. “I could interpret this as playing favorites. The lack of invite is very consistent with me being ignored by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders during the press briefings.”
Johnson added to the Independent that his exclusion is “just kind of consistent with the policy of the administration to exclude LGBTQ people.”
The NAACP tweeted on Wednesday morning that April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN contributor, was also missing from the guest list. This is the first time in 20 years Ryan was not extended an invite.
“April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN contributor, told the Post she was not invited for the first time in 20 years covering the White House.” https://t.co/kYzsVFMpXG
— NAACP (@NAACP) November 29, 2017
When asked by the Washington Post if she knew why she wasn’t invited, Ryan says she has “no clue” but doesn’t think it was a mistake.
“I don’t think I was overlooked. I think they don’t like me. For whatever reason, they have disdain for me,” Ryan says.
Like Johnson, Ryan has been vocal about her observation of the White House’s treatment of certain reporters. She told Essence that reporters of color are treated as “opposition” to the Trump administration.
CNN announced they will also be absent from the event and have declined the invitation.
“CNN will not be attending this year’s White House Christmas party,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests. We will send a White House reporting team to the event and report on it if news warrants.”
The White House’s annual Christmas party takes place on Friday at 2 p.m.