"Man." Trump also said, "I really am proud to call him the apprentice".
In another wisecrack, Trump said he had offered Jeff Sessions a ride to the event but the attorney general "recused himself" - a reference to the top law enforcement official's abstention from the Russian Federation probe.
Trump's remarks come as his assaults on news organizations and journalists - and his attempts to delegitimize the press - have become a centerpiece of his presidency. "We were late tonight because Jared could not get through security". As at the Correspondents dinner (which Trump skipped last year), the President is expected to not only take a little roasting but dish out a few jokes of his own.
Gridiron President David Lightman, who cited the frequent friction between the president and the press, joked that he was surprised Trump made a decision to attend because it meant he "has to eat dinner at a hotel he doesn't own".
The annual dinner of the Gridiron Club and Foundation, now in its 133rd year, traces its history to 1885, when President Grover Cleveland refused to attend.
In remarks released ahead of the event, the club's president, David Lightman, congressional editor for McClatchy News, assured the president that the crowd was "way bigger than Cleveland's". Former President Barack Obama spoke at the dinner in 2015, 2013 and 2011.
Here's a look at some of President Trump's memorable one-liners from his debut at a Washington press dinner, known as the Gridiron Dinner, where not every joke got a laugh.
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Per tradition, the Gridiron Club dinner also featured speakers from both political parties. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and one Democrat, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The skits performed by reporters Saturday included White House staff chaos - a number called "West Wing Story" - Trump's tweeting habits, and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
However, if Saturday night is any indication, were Trump to swap his role as commander-in-chief for comedian-in-chief, he would likely be a cruel, heartless comedian who would "punch down", mocking those already struggling. But that leaves a lot of room, with the chaotic events of the Trump era providing material. "I just have an easier time admitting it". "They thought Trump had vouched for me, boy, were they naïve". "I won't tell you what she said", he continued, before adding that she'd told him to behave.
A cast member playing House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi turned to "I'm Against It", a song from the Marx Brothers film "Duck Soup", to explain her attitude toward Trump: "I don't know what Trump has to say/It makes no difference anyway/Whatever it is, we're against it/Even if our own side once professed it/We're against it".
Trump was jetting back from his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida Saturday afternoon. Last year, Pence wore a tuxedo. You're a NY icon.
The Gridiron Dinner, at the Renaissance Hotel, is on the record but is not televised.
Donald Trump sat out the last White House Correspondents' Dinner, but chose to make an appearance at a similar event on Saturday.