President Trump poked fun at son-in-law Jared Kushner, Vice President Pence, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, the New York Times and a long list of other worthies Saturday, including, mildly, himself.
The president was gentle on the media he loves to hate — he never said “fake news” once — as he delivered a rambling, campaign-style address at the annual Gridiron Club dinner. He seemed to enjoy himself, warming to the roast-style event that mixes journalists, government officials and other swamp dwellers.
“It’s been another calm week at the White House,” he began, before observing that his staff had worried that he couldn’t pull off the particular brand of self-deprecating humor the occasion demands.
“I told them, ‘Don’t worry, nobody does self-deprecating humor better than me,’” Trump said to laughter.
He praised Fox News and chided most of the rest of the press, observing at the close of his remarks that “this might be the most fun I’ve had since watching your faces on Election Night.”
Trump’s best lines, however, were directed at his own administration.
They were late, he said, because “Jared couldn’t get through security.”
He joked about Pence’s prudishness, the tumult and turnover among White House staff and first lady Melania Trump’s reported unhappiness in Washington.
There’s a watch on, Trump said, to see “who’s going to be the next to leave, Steve Miller or Melania.”
“By the way, she has been an incredible first lady,” Trump added, as his wife sat at the head table nearby.
Trump joked that unlike the New York Times, “I still own my buildings,” but otherwise refrained from broadsides against the brand-name media outlets he has, in other settings, accused of mistreating him.
He riffed at length about CNN anchor John King and the media befuddlement as Trump’s upset victory came clear on Election Night. But even Trump’s complaints about unfair treatment were delivered with good cheer.
He closed by thanking the press and offering a twist on his campaign slogan.
“We have a great country and we all together will make it even better,” Trump said.