Hasan Minhaj, a “correspondent” for The Daily Show, is hosting this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner. The comedian’s main claim to fame is using a tweet to say Donald Trump is “white ISIS.”
The selection of the rather obscure comedian comes as President Donald Trump has announced he will not attend the event. It has become a tradition in recent years for sitting Presidents to attend the dinner. In such a politically charged environment, however, where media members have been shamelessly outspoken in their criticism, President Trump chose not to participate.
Hasan Minhaj commented on his selection.
“It is a tremendous honor to be a part of such a historic event even though the president has chosen not to attend this year. SAD! Now more than ever, it is vital that we honor the First Amendment and the freedom of the press.”
Minhaj comes from a Muslim family originally from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. His parents immigrated to Davis, California where Minhaj was born and raised, but his mother spent the first eight years of his life away from him, in India, completing medical school.
In December of 2015, Minhaj took to Twitter to call then-candidate Trump “white ISIS.”
— Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj) December 9, 2015
People Magazine points out that Minhaj’s hosting talents leave much to be desired. At the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner last year, Minhaj cut the jokes and lectured everyone over their desserts.
After delivering the usual jokes about politicians like John Kasich and Hillary Clinton, the Daily Show correspondent devoted the last few minutes of his speech to speaking somberly about Sunday’s shooting massacre that killed 49 people at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, criticizing the congresspeople in the audience over their failure to fight for true equality in the U.S.
“What we saw in Orlando was one of the ugliest cocktails of problems that we still see here in America – a cocktail of homophobia, xenophobia, lack of access to mental healthcare and sheer lack of political will,” Minhaj said.
“All of us satirists, we’ve all been yelling out, crying out for change. But the sad reality is that we are all complicit in what happened,” he continued. “Every day in our workplaces, in our homes, in our religious institutions, there is cover or overt discrimination or phobia towards people of different religious, racial or sexual walks of life. And we just sit there and we let it happen, because it doesn’t affect our bottom line.”
“The sad reality is that stuff like this is going to continue to happen unless we realize that civil liberties are an all or nothing game So whether you like it or not we all have to step up and fight for each other, otherwise the whole thing is a sham.”
“And until we do that, hijabis are going to get harassed in the streets, members from the trans community are going to be demonized for using the bathroom, and my brothers and sisters in the African-American community, their spines are going to continue to get shattered in the backs of paddy wagons until we stand up and say something.”
As Minhaj spoke, the C-SPAN broadcast cut several times to the black-tie-attired dinner audience shifting uncomfortably in their seats, checking their phones – doing anything but laughing.
The selection of Minhaj is an obvious response to the snub by President Trump. It seems the White House Correspondents Association feels no need to hide any bias or put on a face of civility or respect with the President.
What do you think of the selection of Hasan Minhaj to host the White House Correspondents Dinner? Let us know in the comments, and in addition, share this on social media.
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