When the White House sent out the invitations for its annual holiday party for media, there were a couple of key reporters left off—begging the question whether the snubs have to do with their sexual orientation or race.
Chris Johnson is the chief political and White House reporter for the Washington Blade, an LGBTQ news site. He was left off the party’s guest list even though he has attended for the past seven years.
“I assumed it was an oversight, because I’m at the White House every day and contribute to the pool reports,” Johnson told Politico. “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 also told the Independent the lack of invitation is “just kind of consistent with the policy of the administration to exclude LGBTQ people.”
April Ryan, the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, has been invited to the White House holiday party for the past 20 years. Ryan, who has previously said the administration sees her as “the opposition” because of her race, said she had “no clue” why she wasn’t sent an invitation this year.
“I don’t think I was overlooked,” Ryan told the Washington Post. “I think they don’t like me. For whatever reason, they have disdain for me.”
Stephanie Grisham, the director of communications for Melania Trump and a special assistant to the president, did not comment on the absences from the guest list.
Considering the media’s strained relationship with President Donald Trump, journalists are divided across the board about whether or not to attend the annual party. The event will be held at 2pm on Friday and will undoubtedly feature Melania Trump’s widely feared Christmas decorations.
While some outlets are letting reporters decide for themselves whether to go or not, CNN opted out entirely.
“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,” a CNN spokesperson said.
Trump responded to CNN’s announcement with a tweet.
Great, and we should boycott Fake News CNN. Dealing with them is a total waste of time! https://t.co/8zJ3j7g5el— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2017