Trump: San Diego ‘really wants’ border wall

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump once again counter-programmed the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, holding a rally in Michigan where he claimed San Diego supports tighter enforcement of the US border with Mexico.

On Saturday, the President spoke to supporters in Michigan's Washington Township. The rally took place at 4 p.m. PT, on the same evening journalists gathered in Washington, DC, for the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Early in his speech, President Trump spoke about San Diego, which he called a "wonderful place." Trump said that San Diegans "really want" a new border wall, and he encouraged residents to put pressure on Governor Jerry Brown to crack down on immigration issues.

Trump's comments came on the same day that supporters rallied in Balboa Park in support of a group of Central American migrants who arrived recently in Tijuana, Mexico and will soon seek asylum in the US.

Also on Saturday, a statement from US Border Patrol officials claimed that members of the caravan have already sneaked into the US illegally.

Skipping dinner

In skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Trump took a page out of a playbook he followed last year. In April 2017, Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania instead of attending the dinner.

But while skipping the dinner may be something of a tradition for the current President, that wasn't always the case for past administrations. The last president to miss the dinner was Ronald Reagan. Reagan did not attend in 1981 because he was recovering from an assassination attempt, but he still delivered remarks via phone.

Trump, however, has had a notably contentious relationship with the media. The President routinely argues that he receives unfair media coverage and denounces "fake news." He has even labeled the media the "enemy of the American people."

Earlier this month, the White House Correspondents' Association, which represents the White House press corps, put out a statement saying that the White House had informed the association that the the President would not be attending the dinner in 2018.

The statement said, however, that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will attend the event to represent the administration and that the President "will actively encourage members of the executive branch to attend and join us as we celebrate the First Amendment.

During Trump's rally last year, the President mocked the correspondents' dinner taking place back in Washington.

"A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now," he said at the time. "They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents' dinner -- without the President. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington's swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people."

Trump won both Michigan and Pennsylvania in the 2016 presidential election.