President Joe Biden cracked jokes before more than 2,000 guests on Saturday at the revived White House Correspondents’ Dinner as D.C.’s highest-profile annual party returned after two years of Covid-19 restrictions.

“Special thanks to the 42 percent of you that actually applauded,” Biden said as he took the stage. “I’m really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have.”

The president threw some punches at one of his favorite targets: former President Donald Trump.

He noted it was the first time a president had attended the dinner in six years. Trump didn’t participate during his presidency, and it was canceled for the last two years because of the coronavirus. 

“It’s understandable,” Biden said. “We had a horrible plague followed by two years of Covid,” he joked to laughter and applause from the room, clearly referring to Trump as a “plague.” “Just imagine if my predecessor came to this dinner this year. Now that would have been a real coup if that occurred.”

After joking about Republicans, he said they “seem to support some guy named Brandon,” referencing the “Let’s Go Brandon” cheer adopted by conservatives to mock him, which is code for “F— Joe Biden.” “He’s having a really good year. And I’m happy for him!”

The dinner for reporters, officials, and celebrities at the Washington Hilton featured entertainment from The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and remarks from a sitting president for the first time since 2016.

Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson, Olympic medalist Caitlyn Jenner and Martha Stewart were guests at the $350-per-seat bash.

The black-tie gala took place despite concerns it could be one of the pandemic’s great super-spreaders. More than 10 percent of attendees at DC’s similar but much smaller and snootier Gridiron Club dinner caught the coronavirus this month.

The dinner kicked off a night of festivities and commanded significant red-carpet attention for the first time since the Obama administration.

Attendees were required to provide proof of vaccination and a same-day negative COVID-19 rapid test, but Biden did not eat to limit his possible exposure to Covid-19, the White House said.

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