Trump jokes about Melania leaving him at Gridiron Club Dinner

President Donal Trump turned to his wife and asked, "You love me?"
President Donal Trump turned to his wife and asked, "You love me?" Photo credit: Getty

President Donald Trump has joked about impeachment, Jared Kushner's security clearance and Melania Trump leaving him as he attended his first Gridiron Club dinner, a highly formal and traditional event full of the news media he often dubs "fake news".

The event at the Renaissance Washington,- with men in white ties and women in evening gowns, is more insider-ish and less high-profile than the celebrity filled White House Correspondents Association dinner, slated for April 28.

Asked by Variety whether he planned to attend that dinner, Trump said, "We haven't decided yet. Very soon."

Before an audience that included Jared and Ivanka Trump, a number of cabinet secretaries and Vice President Mike Pence, Trump spent about a half-hour telling jokes, riffing on the news media, getting jabs in at potential 2020 opponents, bashing Democrats on DACA and even making a bit of news.

He said that North Korea had called up and asked to begin talks but he told them that they have to "denuke" first.

He also joked about the situation, saying that he would not rule out talks with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, but Kim faced "the risk of dealing with a madman. That's his concern, not mine."

A number of his quips made fun of the atmosphere in the West Wing after a chaotic week, what with more staff departures and rumours of more to come.

"It's been really another calm week at the White House," he quipped. "We finally have it running like a fine-tuned machine."

He was joined on the dais by his wife Melania and the most controversial joke of the evening involved her.

"I like turnover. I like chaos. It really is good. Now the question everybody keeps asking is, 'Who is going to be the next to leave? Steve Miller or Melania?"

There was laughs, and a lot of oohs.

"That's terrible. That is terrible." He turned to his wife and said, "You love me?" Then, he said, "I won't tell you what she said." A moment later, he said, "She said, 'Behave.'"

As his routine went on, he slipped in more serious points, including a pointed remark at a potential opponent in 2020, former vice president Joseph Biden, whom he called "sleepy Joe".

He also took some credit for the success of the Olympics, made jabs at Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, and called out by name CNN chief Jeff Zucker, who was present.

He even had some words of praise for the news media, calling the crowd "quality people".

Just hours before, Trump tweeted that "Mainstream Media in US is being mocked all over the world. They've gone CRAZY!"

Before the crowd made up of Washington's media elite, bureau chiefs and White House reporters, he said, "I do want to say this is one of the best times I can ever remember having with the media. This might be the most fun I have had since watching your faces on election night." He did an imitation of CNN's John King, working the network's electoral map as the shock of his win became clear.

Then, he added, "A lot of you cover things very squarely, and there are few professions that I respect more....I want to thank the press for all that you do to support and sustain our democracy. I mean that."