WASHINGTON â€“ Months afterÂ comedian Michelle Wolf made controversial remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, the groupÂ announced Monday that biographer Ron Chernow will headline the the organization’s 2019 dinner.Â
Chernow,Â whose 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton was later adapted into the critically-acclaimed Broadway musical, is an acclaimed author and one of the most “eminent biographers of American presidents and statesmen,”Â WHCA said.
“As we celebrate the importance of a free and independent news media to the health of the republic, I look forward to hearing Ron place this unusual moment in the context of American history,” WHCA PresidentÂ Olivier Knox said in a statement.
The organization’s annual dinner typically features a notable comedian. But this year’s guestÂ Wolf drew controversy with her remarks, which included jabs at Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“I actually really like Sarah. I think sheâ€™s very resourceful,” Wolf said at the dinner. “She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe sheâ€™s born with it, maybe itâ€™s lies. Itâ€™s probably lies.”
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Wolf’s routine was criticized by many, including members of the press.Â Former WHCA President Margaret Talev later released a statementÂ that Wolf’s comments did not uphold the organization’s mission to offer a “unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press.”
“Every day we are working hard to advocate for our members and ensure coverage that benefits the public, and the dinner is an important opportunity to highlight and maintain our essential work,” the statement read.
After WHCA’s announcement on Monday, Wolf called the group “cowards.”
“The @whca are cowards. The media is complicit. And I couldn’t be prouder,” she wrote on Twitter.
The last time the dinner featured a non-comedian was in 2003, when singer Ray Charles provided entertainment.
For his part, Chernow promised that he wouldn’t “be dry.”
“My major worry these days is that we Americans will forget who we are as a people and historians should serve as our chief custodians in preserving that rich storehouse of memory,” Chernow said.Â “While I have never been mistaken for a stand-up comedian, I promise that my history lesson wonâ€™t be dry.â€
Knox notedÂ ChernowÂ brings a “deeply researched” perspective on American politics. Chernow has chronicled the lives of many American businessmen, Founding Fathers and past presidents.
HisÂ most recent biography ofÂ President Ulysses Grant was named one of the 10 best books of the year by the New York Times.Â
The recipient of awards like the Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the National Medal for Humanities, Chernow said his speech at the WHCA dinner is a “perfect moment to go back to basics” on the First Amendment.
President Donald Trump has yet to attend the dinner, a notable departure from the conduct of past presidents. Trump has repeatedly called for the WCHA dinner to end, calling it a “disaster and an embarrassment.”Â
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