While Michelle Wolf was expected to roast the absent president and his administration at the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner, perhaps members of the media didn't realize just how brutally honest she'd be when referring to them.
"You guys are obsessed with Trump," the comedian told the assembled journalists. "Did you used to date him? Because you pretend to hate him but I think you love him. 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 yet, that comment was not the one that stirred the most controversy on Saturday night. Jokes aimed at White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders inspired criticism from several public figures, including liberals such as Mika Brzezinski, to whom Wolf responded on Twitter.
Why are you guys making this about Sarah’s looks? I said she burns facts and uses the ash to create a *perfect* smoky eye. I complimented her eye makeup and her ingenuity of materials. https://t.co/slII9TYdYx
— Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) April 29, 2018
New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman also defended Sanders, and in turn received the following response from Wolf's fellow comedian Kumail Nanjiani:
They call you liars. They call Mexicans rapists. They call Muslims murderers. They support white supremacists. But someone calls them out on what they do, & suddenly they’re heroes for not walking out. https://t.co/B9aT7moy2C
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) April 29, 2018
In her less-than-20-minute skit, Wolf managed to make scathing jokes about Mike Pence's anti-choice stance, Ivanka Trump's supposed complicity in the oppression of women, Wall Street bankers going unpunished for the 2008 financial crisis, Starbucks' alleged racism, the shortage of education funding, sexual harassment cases against powerful men, Democrats' ineffectiveness, and how mainstream media outlets such as CNN "broke" the news.
As it often is, the event itself was criticized for putting on display the coziness that members of the media, especially White House correspondents, have with those in power. Some journalists' eagerness to defend members of Trump's team perhaps only further highlighted the issue.