By HELENE COOPER
Many of President Obama’s friends and foes alike got shellacked — as expected — on Saturday night when Mr. Obama took to the stage at the gussied-up White House Correspondents’ Dinner at the Washington Hilton. But none so much as Mr. Trump, reality television star, birther and Republican presidential aspirant.
As a hair-gelled, grimly unsmiling Mr. Trump sat at a nearby table — a guest of the Washington Post — Mr. Obama ripped one punch after another at the real estate tycoon.
“Donald Trump is here tonight,” the comedian in chief said, grinning. “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is prouder to put this birth certificate to rest than The Donald. Now he can get to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened at Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?”
It was almost painful to watch, the juxtaposition of the president, flexing his new post-birther comedy chops, and the real estate mogul-cum-politician, grimacing at his table as Mr. Obama basked in his post-long-form-birth-certificate glow.
“All kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and experience,” Mr. Obama said, as people in the room either chortled or grimaced nervously, all depending on their proximity to Mr. Trump.
In “Celebrity Apprentice,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Trump, teeth flashing, “the men’s cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha steaks, but you recognized that this was a lack of leadership, so you fired Gary Busey.”
“These,” Mr. Obama said, “are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well-handled, sir. Well-handled.”
The birther issue gave Mr. Obama lots of fodder for the evening, including a video of his birth, which he mentioned before cutting to a clip from “The Lion King.”
But in the end, it was Mr. Trump who served as the punching bag for the evening. As it turned out, Mr. Obama’s swipes were just the warm-up act for Seth Meyers, the headliner for the evening, who spent most of his routine going after Mr. Trump, who sat at the Washington Post table, grimacing.