Fauci Pulls Out of WH Correspondents' Dinner

He says it's 'because of my individual assessment of my personal risk'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2022 2:32 PM CDT
Fauci Pulls Out of WH Correspondents' Dinner
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before a Senate committee hearing earlier this year.   (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File)

(Newser) – Weeks after a glitzy Washington, DC, dinner turned into a superspreader event, Dr. Anthony Fauci has decided he doesn't want to take his chances at another one. President Biden's top COVID adviser will not be at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday when the event returns for the first time since 2019, NBC reports. Fauci, 81, tells the New York Times that he is skipping the event "because of my individual assessment of my personal risk." President Biden, however, will be at the dinner, which will make the 79-year-old the first sitting president to attend the event since Barack Obama in 2016.

After the Gridiron Club dinner in early April, more than 70 guests tested positive for COVID, including Attorney General Merrick Garland. Former Fox host Greta van Susteren tells the Hill she is also skipping Saturday's event. "I had considered it, but having read about the Gridiron being a 'superspreader,' and it is much smaller than the WHCD, I decided to take the year off even though I am double vaxxed and double boosted," she says. Steven Portnoy, president of the correspondents' association, says guests will have to show proof of vaccination and a same-day negative test result.

Around 2,600 guests are expected at this year's WHCA, which will be hosted by Trevor Noah. Some medical experts support Biden's decision to attend, though others say it's still too early, especially since a more infectious omicron subvariant is spreading and Vice President Kamala Harris is infected. Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of NYU's Langone’s Division of Medical Ethics, tells the Times that he doesn't think Biden should attend. "He is high risk and occupies a very high office at a time of war," Caplan says. "He must be hypersafe. The correspondents’ dinner is highly optional. With the VP sick, he really needs to protect himself. His office imposes a duty of precaution." (Read more White House Correspondents Dinner stories.)

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