White House Correspondents’ Dinner: See Michelle Wolf’s Scathing Speech
“Here we are at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” said comedian and Correspondents’ Dinner host Michelle Wolf as she began her speech Saturday night. “Like a porn star says when she’s about to have sex with a Trump, let’s get this over with.”
For the second year in a row, the president opted to skip the annual gala. So to kick off the night, the White House Correspondents’ Association presented a video in which a cartoon version of the president—the same one who often stops by Stephen Colbert’s Late Show—spoke with various members of his Cabinet about whether he would attend the event. (Colbert himself famously emceed the Correspondents’ Dinner in 2006.) The clip also guest starred cartoon likenesses of journalists including Rachel Maddow.
Later, Wolf took the stage—and pulled no punches. As the former Daily Show correspondent told a roomful of journalists and politicos, “I have no agenda. I’m not trying to get anything accomplished. So everybody that’s here from Congress, you should feel right at home.” Naturally, Wolf didn’t let the commander in chief’s absence slide, either: “Of course Trump isn’t here . . . I would drag him here myself, but it turns out the president of the United States is the one pussy you’re not allowed to grab.”
Though Wolf has said that her upcoming Netflix series, The Break, won’t be particularly political, the jokes she told Saturday were appropriately topical—some of them hitting, perhaps, a little too close to home, especially for those guests who work in Trump’s orbit.
Her barbs ranged from predictable to edgy, with swipes at politicians including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan as well as journalists including Maddow and Sean Hannity. Wolf also addressed the #MeToo movement, aiming digs at Bill O’Reilly and Fox News especially. But a large amount of her time, as one might expect, was dedicated to lampooning the president.
“People call Trump names all the time—and look, I could call Trump a racist or a misogynist or xenophobic, or unstable, or incompetent, or impotent. But he’s heard all of those before and he doesn’t care,” Wolf said “So tonight, I’m gonna try to make fun of the president in a new way. In a way that I think will really get him. Mr. President: I don’t think you’re very rich. Like, I think you’re rich in Idaho, but in New York, you’re doing fine.” She then engaged the room in a little game of “Donald Trump is so poor.” How poor is he? So poor that “he has to fly failed-business class”; so poor that he “looked for foreign oil in Don Jr.’s hair”; and, in a joke that might fall into the “too soon” category, so poor that “Southwest used him as one of their engines.” The final joke hit harder: Trump is so poor, Wolf said, that “he had to borrow money from the Russians, and now he’s compromised and susceptible to blackmail and possibly responsible for the collapse of the republic.”
“Trump is a racist, though,” Wolf continued. “He loves white nationalists, which is a weird term for a Nazi. Calling a Nazi a white nationalist is like calling a pedophile a kid friend. Or Harvey Weinstein a ladies’ man. Which isn’t fair—he also likes plants.”
Wolf also made an oblique reference to the upheaval that’s gripped the country over the past year, with a nod to the uptick in demonstrations: “People are saying America is more divided than ever, but I think no matter what you support politically, we can all agree that this is a great time for craft stores. Because of all the protests, poster board has been flying off the shelves faster than Robert Mueller can say, ‘You’ve been subpoenaed.’ And thanks to Trump, pink yarn sales are through the roof.”
“I know there’s a lot of people who want me to talk about Russia and Putin and collusion,” Wolf continued, “but I’m not gonna do that—because there’s a lot of liberal media here and I’ve never wanted to know what any of you look like when you orgasm. Except for you, Jake Tapper.”
Some of the night’s jokes filled the room with a palpable tension—like one in which Wolf noted Mike Pence’s anti-abortion stance. “He thinks abortion is murder,” Wolf said, “which, first of all, don’t knock it ‘til you try it—and when you do try it, really knock it. You know, you’ve got to get that baby out of there. And yeah, sure, you can groan all you want. I know a lot of you are very anti-abortion. You know, unless it’s the one you got for your secret mistress.”
“I had a lot of jokes about Cabinet members,” Wolf said later, “but I had to scrap all of those because everybody has been fired.” But some members of Congress did stay in their jobs long enough for Wolf’s set. After a joke in which Wolf said McConnell couldn’t make it to the dinner because “he’s finally getting his neck circumcised,” Wolf added, “Paul Ryan also couldn’t make it. Of course, he’s already been circumcised. Unfortunately, while they were down there, they also took his balls.”
On The Daily Show, Wolf proved she’s got a deep well of Ivanka Trump material, so naturally she brought some with her Saturday night. “She was supposed to be an advocate for women,” Wolf said of the first daughter, “but it turns out she’s about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She’s done nothing to satisfy women—so, I guess, like father like daughter.”
“She does clean up nice . . . She’s the diaper genie of the administration,” Wolf added. “On the outside it looks sleek, but on the inside it’s full of shit.”
And as for Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who attended the dinner in Trump’s place? “I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders. You know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What’s ‘Uncle Tom’ but for white women who disappoint other white women?”
In general, Wolf also urged the media to stop giving Kellyanne Conway a platform on their programs. “If you don’t give her a platform, she has nowhere to lie,” Wolf said. As always, there were plenty of digs at the media, including jokes about specific outlets—like CNN. “You guys love breaking news,” Wolf said. “And you did it. You broke it. Good work.” As for Fox News? “Fox News is here, so you know what that means, ladies. Cover your drinks.” Wolf also targeted Sean Hannity, who found himself in hot water after the revelation that he was Michael Cohen’s third client. “People want me to make fun of Sean Hannity tonight, but I can’t do that. This dinner is for journalists,” she said. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski’s engagement, Wolf said, “is like when a #MeToo works out.”
And as for Megyn Kelly, whose tenure at NBC has been a bit of a letdown so far, Wolf said this: “Megyn Kelly got paid $23 million by NBC and then NBC didn’t let Megyn go to the Winter Olympics. Why not? She’s so white and cold and expensive, she might as well be the Winter Olympics. And by the way, Megyn, Santa’s black. The weird old guy going through your chimney was Bill O’Reilly.”
One group Wolf refused to attack, however? Print media. After all, Wolf reasoned, “it’s illegal to attack an endangered species.” Still, as Wolf wrapped up her performance, she finished with one final scold for journalists: “You guys are obsessed with Trump,” she said, adding later, “I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks, or vodka, or water, or college, or ties, or Eric—but he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re gonna profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money—because he doesn’t have any.”
And with that, Wolf left the stage. Because, as she put it, “like an immigrant who was brought here by his parents and didn’t do anything wrong, I’ve got to get the fuck out of here.”
Watch the full address below: