Q of the Week: What Are Your Favorite Moments From the WHCD?

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner has been a D.C. tradition since 1921, with journalists and administration officials coming together once a year to eat, drink, and roast the current president. President Trump won’t be attending this year’s dinner, which takes place on Saturday, but he did attend in 2011, when then-President Obama made a few jokes at Trump’s expense. This week, we asked our Politics & Policy Daily readers to share their favorite moments from past dinners. Here’s what they said:

Miguel Velez remembers Obama “roasting Trump while Seal Team 6 was on its way to Bin Laden.”

Nancy Alpern found it particularly funny when President Obama joked that Michelle has the right to “bare arms” after the first lady was criticized for frequently wearing sleeveless clothing.

Nora Cregan recalls a joke from comedian Cecily Strong in 2015: “Let’s give it up for the Secret Service … the only law enforcement organization in the country that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot.”

For Fran Koenig, and several other readers, the most “stunning and shocking” moment from past dinners was when Stephen Colbert roasted former President George W. Bush in 2006:

Howard Cohen commented that Colbert’s routine seemed to go “over so many heads in the room; especially the mainstream media in attendance who did not quite ‘get it.’” Steve Ross remembers “how pissed the National Press Club was about those remarks,” which “highlighted how close the national press corps had gotten to the seats of power.”

But for Stephen Carter, the best jokes came in 2005, when Laura Bush had a chance to speak:

I was never a fan of George W.—never voted for him. But, Laura did more to humanize him that night than any thing he ever did as president. And, he could laugh at himself. I appreciated him more after that evening.