Live Coverage

Today's News: Feb. 25, 2017

Democrats chose Tom Perez as new leader, Trump says he won’t attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and more from the United States and around the world.

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez Christopher Aluka Berry / Reuters

—Members of the Democratic National Committee have selected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new chairman, beating out Representative Keith Ellison for the top position. More here

—In the latest development with his contentious relationship with the press, President Trump said will not attend this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. More here

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).

Updates

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President Trump Will Not Attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

In the latest development with his contentious relationship with the press, President Trump said will not attend this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The president made the announcement over Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

Trump, who would firsthand be the subject of ridicule by a comedian selected by the association, decided to avoid the awkward showing on April 29. In 1981, Ronald Reagan was the last person to not attend the dinner, but that was because he was shot in an assassination attempt a month earlier.

Several media organizations, including Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Bloomberg, had already announced they would no longer host afterparties. Samantha Bee, of TBS’s Full Frontal, said she would host a Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner event to raise money for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Trump has never handled roast-style events well. In 2011, Seth Meyers ripped Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner with some scathing jokes, including, “Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican, which is surprising since I just assumed he was running as a joke.”

Earlier this year, there were rumors of whether this year’s dinner would even happen. But in February, Jeff Mason, a Reuters reporter and WHCA president, said the dinner was still on, adding, “the WHCA will pursue its core mission of advocating for journalists’ ability to ask questions of government officials, push for transparency, and help Americans hold the powerful to account.”

Democrats Select Tom Perez as New Chairman

Christopher Aluka Berry / Reuters

Members of the Democratic National Committee have selected former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as their new chairman, beating out Representative Keith Ellison for the top position. Democrats, still reeling after the win of President Trump in the last election, are hoping fresh leadership can get the party back on track. In recent years, Democrats have struggled to connect with voters in state and local elections, as Republicans dominate state governments nationwide. A majority of the 447 members of the DNC, who are activists and donors from across the country, thought Perez could bring the necessary change. Ellison, who is the first Muslim elected to Congress, was backed by the progressive wing of the party, including from Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Perez was a darling of former administration officials, and enjoyed the endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden. Meeting in Atlanta, the selection required two rounds of voting. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who built an outsider campaign, dropped out of consideration before the first round of voting, along with a string of other long-shot candidates. Perez said the Democratic Party is “suffering from a crisis of confidence, a crisis of relevance" after Trump’s win in the 2016 election. In his first act as chairman, Perez made Ellison the deputy chairman of the DNC.

Dozens Killed in Suicide Attacks in Syria

A September 2016 view of Homs (Omar Sanadiki / Reuters)

Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents stormed two Syrian security offices in Homs, killing at least 32 people, including the head of the local military intelligence service branch. The Levant Liberation Committee attack in the central city, which has been ravaged by the civil war, also wounded at least 24 others. The twin attacks, each with three suicide bombers, hit heavily fortified buildings. As rescue workers arrived on the scene, other bombs went off at security checkpoints. This comes just one day after a suicide car bombing killed 60 people and wounded 100 in the northern city of al-Bab. The city was recently retaken by Syrian forces after three years of ISIS control.