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Obama drops mic at correspondents’ dinner

Free Press wire reports | 5/5/2016, 9:19 p.m.
President Obama took aim at Democrats and Republicans alike last Saturday in his final appearance headlining the star-studded White House ...
President Obama greets comedian Larry Wilmore after the “Comedy Central” host ended last Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner with remarks that later drew criticism.

WASHINGTON

President Obama took aim at Democrats and Republicans alike last Saturday in his final appearance headlining the star-studded White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner. However, he saved his sharpest barbs for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

“The Republican establishment is incredulous that he’s their most likely nominee,” President Obama told attendees at the black-tie event, which brought together journalists and media moguls with Hollywood stars and power brokers from Capitol Hill and beyond.

“They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president. But in fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world — Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan,” the president said to howls of laughter, referring to contestants on the Miss Universe pageant that Mr. Trump formerly co-owned.

President Obama made fun of the angst many in the Republican establishment have expressed at the prospect that Mr. Trump or Tea Party candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz could win the party’s nomination to run in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“Guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish. But instead, a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan,” President Obama said, referring to the top Republican in the House of Representatives, who many have hoped could be lured into running for president.

“That’s not an option people,” President Obama said, displaying comedic chops perfected through seven previous appearances at the annual dinner. “You may not like steak or fish, but that’s your choice.”

In his remarks, the president looked back on his years in office and jokingly predicted the country may be nearing its doom.

“The end of the republic has never looked better,” the tuxedo-clad president said, looking out at the well-groomed crowd as he blasted Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus.

“Congratulations on all your success,” the president told Mr. Priebus, while wearing a sarcastic grin. “The Republican Party, the nomination process — it’s all going great.”

Larry Wilmore, the host of a show on cable outlet “Comedy Central,” took his own shots at Mr. Trump when he took the podium after President Obama, joking that, next year, the dinner will be called: “Donald Trump presents a luxurious evening paid for by Mexico.”

Mr. Trump has promised to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to prevent illegal immigration, and he has said he would force Mexico to pay for it.

Mr. Wilmore’s remarks at the end of the event have drawn criticism from several quarters, however, because of the way he referred to the president.

“All jokes aside, let me just say how much it means for me to be here tonight,” he said wrapping up. “I’ve always joked that I voted for the president because he’s black.

“But behind that joke is the humble appreciation for the historical implications for what your presidency means,” Mr. Wilmore added. “When I was a kid, I lived in a country where people couldn’t accept a black quarterback. Now think about that. A black man was thought by his mere color not good enough to lead a football team. And now to live in your time, Mr. President, when a black man can lead the entire free world.