February 28, 2017 07:01 AM EST

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WATCH | President Trump met with local and digital news media on the eve of his address to a joint session of Congress.

Trump plays host to media

In a first, President Trump hosted a dinner Monday at the White House with news reporters from local stations across the country, including Sinclair’s digital partner, Circa.

The dinner came before the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress, and broke with a longtime tradition of presidents meeting only with the major news networks prior to speaking before Congress.

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President Donald Trump, accompanied by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, speaks to members of the media during his meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. Krzanich announced a $7 billion investment in advanced factory in Chandler, Ariz. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The dinner was held in the State Dining Room and was attended by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

Vice President Pence and First Lady Melania Trump also stopped by to greet reporters before the dinner.
Trump answers questions over dinner

Reporters peppered the commander-in-chief with questions on topics ranging from the Russia controversy to replacing Obamacare. Trump said he wanted to reach out to his grassroots supporters, and said hosting local news outlets was the best way to do it.

Foreign policy and national security were also hot topics. Trump discussed the challenges of fighting ISIS, and emphasized that the threat emanating from North Korea cannot be ignored. “It has to be dealt with and it has to be dealt with soon,” he said.

Trump said he is looking forward to delivering his address to the American people, so that he can reiterate his intention to keep his campaign promises on immigration, national security and veterans health care, among others.

Trump said he plans on hosting more White House events with local media in the future. As for the major networks, White House officials said Trump will meet with a number of network correspondents over lunch Tuesday before his speech.

Follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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