Minhaj has made his thoughts on Trump clear in the past, referring to the then-presidential candidate as a "racist Cheeto", and made headlines a year ago for a speech at the Radio and TV Correspondents Association's annual dinner that expertly called out Congress for failing to make progress on gun control. Minhaj is considered one of Trump's most direct critics, particularly with respect to Islamophobic policy and the Muslim ban.
"I was not looking for somebody who was going to roast the president in absentia", Mason said.
On the other hand, Minhaj has a chance to raise his profile at the April 29 event. The White House staff has also said they will not attend the event to show solidarity with their boss.
There's been little interest by celebrities in attending this year's dinner, unlike in years past, when A-listers angled for tickets and the casts of shows like "Scandal" and "Veep" walked the red carpet.
Minhaj, who is from Davis, has been a fixture on "The Daily Show" since Jon Stewart was still running that show.
Jeff Mason, WHCA president and White House correspondent for Reuters said: "I am thrilled that Hasan will serve as our featured entertainer at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner". It seems now that he's been chosen to headline the White House Correspondents' dinner.
Minhaj has some Washington experience - he performed at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner past year.
Trump has had an often-hostile, and at times toxic, relationship with the media - once calling "fake news" the "enemy of the people".
"I was looking for somebody who was amusing and who was entertaining", Mason said Tuesday, but someone who could also "speak to the message" and "strike the right balance".
Trump announced that he will not be attending the dinner on Twitter in February and several news organization - including Vanity Fair, Bloomberg, and The New Yorker - have cancelled their regularly held events to coincide with the dinner to protest. Mason said he thought the comic would entertain, but also "speak to" the dinner's themes of celebrating the first amendment and journalism.