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You don’t need to be a meteorologist to know that putting the two most controversial topics in the world together in one room will create the perfect storm. Yet still, every year, people are surprised when politics and comedy get together at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and everyone has a meltdown.

Saturday night, members of the press and the Washington elite all gathered at the Washington Hilton Hotel for their annual night of awards and roasting. The main reason for the dinner is to award scholarships to promising student journalists and recognize members of the media for their undying commitment to informing the public, pressing world leaders and exposing injustice. That’s all very nice, but the real reason people watch the event is just to see the monologue by the host of the night. And to criticize them.

Usually the “host” would be the president of the United States – you may recall Barack Obama’s “Obama out” mic drop at the end of his final WHCD in 2016 or the release of his “birth video” in 2011. The president typically comes out, roasts the media for their coverage of him, anyone he’s had a public spat with, members of the opposing party and people in his own administration. It’s meant to be a night of fun so these people who are constantly at each other’s throats can chill out and see the humour in what they do. It’s rarely that simple though.

This year, for the second year in a row, Donald Trump refused to attend the dinner, opting instead to hold a campaign-style rally in Michigan. In the president’s stead, the Trump White House offered up advisor to the president, Kellyanne Conway and White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Since Trump wasn’t there to give a speech, the White House Correspondents Association tapped comedian Michelle Wolf to headline the event.

Wolf hit on a number of relevant and controversial points in her monologue. She talked about abortion, the Me Too movement and the division in America. She also harshly criticised the media in general, specific journalists, Donald Trump (duh), Ivanka Trump, Conway, Sanders and other government officials. The next morning there was obviously a tonne of backlash to Wolf’s comments because of course people had a problem with something a comedian said about politics. In particular, people were upset about her roast of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“I have to say, I’m a little starstruck,” Wolf said of Sanders at the dinner, “I love you as Aunt Lydia in A Handmaid’s Tale.” She then addressed the fact that Sanders has a habit of saying things that aren’t 100 per cent true at White House press briefings.

“I actually really like Sarah,” Wolf continued, “I think she’s very resourceful. Like, she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create the perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

It wasn’t long before the internet was going berserk over the comments. The Left was elated by the blunt description of the Trump White House. The Right, not so much. They zeroed in on the references Wolf made to Sander’s appearance – her smoky-eye and the comparison to Aunt Lydia, which many interpreted as a comment on Sander’s weight, not on her character or how she does her job.

The argument soon became about Wolf going after a woman’s appearance and a comedian being held to a higher standard than the president of the United States. Critics sited the many occasions on which Donald Trump has referred to women’s appearances or made fun of their looks publicly. Mika Brzezinski and Rosie O’Donnell know that all too well.

Of course, the president also weighed in. He addressed the controversy Sunday night and Monday morning on Twitter, calling Wolf “filthy” and the Correspondents’ Dinner a “DEAD” “failure.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association made an unusual move after the backlash. They distanced themselves from the comedian in a statement released Sunday.

“Last night’s program was meant to offer a unifying message about our common commitment to a vigorous and free press while honouring civility, great reporting and scholarship winners, not divide people,” the statement read in part, “Unfortunately, the entertainer’s monologue was not in the spirit of that mission.”

Some people had an alternative theory about Wolf getting the cold shoulder from the WHCA. It was more about what she said about journalists’ roles in publicizing Trump and profiting off his presidency, rather than the Sanders stuff. Interesting.

Wolf defended herself online, also clarifying that she was not going after Sarah’s looks at all. She pointed out that she called her smoky eye “perfect” and her comments were about Sander’s “despicable behaviour,” not her looks.

Here’s Michelle Wolf’s full address so you can decide for yourself.