Gridiron Dinner, Annual Gathering Of Top D.C. Media And Political Figures, Canceled Over Coronavirus Concerns

The Gridiron Club & Foundation, has canceled its annual white-tie dinner on Saturday because of concerns over the coronavirus.

The dinner is a gathering of media and political elite that features satirical skits about Washington politics, performed by a mixture of TV reporters and anchors and print bureau chiefs.

“I’m sorry to have to announce that the Gridiron Club & Foundation is canceling its 135th anniversary dinner this coming Saturday (as well as all associated events and rehearsals),” the group’s president, Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote in a statement to members. “Given the concerns over the Coronavirus and advice from government officials about avoiding large gatherings, we feel it’s best not to put you or your guests at risk. We are taking this step based on expert advice as well as the feedback we are hearing from members and others who had planned to attend.”

The event is not as well known as the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, primarily because cameras are not allowed, but it does draw top government officials, House and Senate lawmakers and governors in a format that still has shades of its 19th century origins. When it comes to the night’s satirical segments, the motto is “singe, not burn,” and attendees cap the evening off by locking arms and singing Auld Lang Syne.

President Donald Trump attended the event in 2018, even though he skipped the WHCA last year, and sent his daughter Ivanka in his place last year.

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