Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie was asked at a New Hampshire forum Monday if he ever thinks the District should be granted statehood and a full congressional delegation. According to reports out of the forum, the New Jersey governor says he doesn't really think about the issue that much, but if he did, he'd probably oppose it.
"I don't think adding another person to Congress is gonna help," Christie said, according to the Wall Street Journal's Ted Mann. The person who asked Christie about statehood is a DC resident, Mann added.
But Christie had an addendum to his fleeting statehood-denying thoughts: "We may [have] the only capital who was created just to be a seat of government," he said, MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin reports.
John Lennon would have turned 75 today, a birthday milestone you can celebrate in the District by attending the Hamilton's tribute concert on Saturday or staging your own human peace sign on the Mall. But today is also a good opportunity to remember one of Lennon's lesser-known connections to Washingon: the Senate's Watergate hearings in 1973, during which Lennon and Yoko Ono actually sat in the gallery.
Lennon and Ono had reason to enjoy the show. The Nixon Administration actually started keeping tabs on Lennon and Ono, whom the White House viewed as destructive iconoclasts for their anti-Vietnam War protests and other countercultural demonstrations. Nixon's people were exhaustive in their observations of Lennon, hoping they'd find an excuse to deport the ex-Beatle, who by then was living in New York. A 2006 New York Times story recalled FBI informants traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a 1971 rally—organized to help free a man who was given a ten-year prison sentence for possessing two marijuana cigarettes—that he Lennon performing at.
Lennon decided he had enough in 1973 and sued the government for wiretapping his phone. The FBI denied the claim, and despite discovering the attempt to link him with militants supposedly plotting against the 1972 Republican Convention, there were no wiretapping logs found in his surveillance documents. A compromise of sorts ensued—the inquiry spooked Lennon enough to tone down his Nixon-bashing, and by 1976, he received his green card to stay in the United States.
Ohio Governor John Kasich is taking criticism for a joke he made during an event Monday at the University of Richmond in support of his sagging campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. The student on the receiving end says that not only was Kasich's remark insulting politically, it also was off-base culturally.
"I’m sorry, I don’t have any tickets for Taylor Swift," Kasich said in response to the raised hand of Kayla Solsbak, an 18-year-old sophomore who was trying to ask a question about immigration policy.
Kasich, whose remarks were first reported by the University of Richmond Collegian, also appeared to start invoking the band Linkin Park, but cut himself off to allow Solsbak to ask him about his approach toward undocumented immigrants.
With Washington's NFL team off to a 1-2 start and losing key players to injuries, the team is once again pivoting from football squad to political cudgel. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush was asked in an interview with SiriusXM's POTUS channel if he thinks the team should change its name, which is widely considered a racial slur against Native Americans.
"I don’t think it should change it," Bush said. "But again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive."
The interview will air Friday as part of The Arena, a new show hosted by ABC News's Rick Klein and ESPN's Andy Katz that will focus on the cultural intersection of politics and sports.
The big news out of Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards is that Kanye West announced his (serious?) intention to run for President in 2020. Assuming that West would win easily, above is a sneak preview of the cover of the January 2021 issue of Washingtonian, welcoming the new President and First Lady.
Add noisy developer Donald Trump to the list of high-profile individuals who apparently support granting the District status equal with that of the 50 states, following an interview he gave Sunday to Meet the Press. During the 37-minute interview, the frontrunner for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination said he is for "whatever's best" for DC residents, up to and including full statehood.
Trump gave the answer in response to a viewer-submitted question selected by host Chuck Todd. Though before arriving at his "whatever's best" position, Trump was as mealymouthed on the District as he has been on other issues during his unusual campaign. But he also didn't miss an opportunity to plug his company's renovation of the Old Post Office building into a luxury hotel.
"How should DC residents be treated?" Todd asked.
"I have a conflict of interest because I'm building the greatest—you know, I'm building at the Old Post Office I think what will be maybe one of the great hotels in the world," Trump said. "And, by the way, unlike our government, we're under budget and ahead of schedule. Isn't that a nice thing to hear? You don't hear that. Just like the wall will be under budget and ahead of schedule."
Political action committees are filing their quarterly reports with the Federal Elections Commission, and an early glance at the first batch of statements reveals that many of Washington's right-leaning, bold-faced names have made their presidential preferences, and perhaps none bigger than the owner of the local NFL franchise.
Dan Snyder donated $100,000 to Right to Rise PAC, which is aligned with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, according to FEC reports filed Friday. The donation not surprising considering Snyder's past political giving, which has tended to favor Republicans. In 2012, he gave $5,000 to Republican nominee Mitt Romney, $10,000 to the Virginia GOP, and $5,000 to former Senator (and friend-of-the-team) George Allen, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He also gave $5,200 to Democratic Senator Mark Warner's 2014 re-election campaign.
Snyder is the only local sports baron who's contributed to any of the PACs that have filed so far, but he joins many local cash cows in contributing to Right to Rise, which reports raising $103 million in the first half of 2015. Real-estate developer Joseph B. Gildenhorn (you may be able to figure out which firm) put in $25,000, former Solicitor General Ted Olson gave $25,000, car-dealership magnate Robert Ourisman contributed $15,000, and defense attorney Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. gave $2,500.
While Right to Rise's total haul dwarfs those of PACs supporting other Republican candidates, its receipts also show that, at least within the Washington area, Bush is far ahead of any of his rivals. Organizations backing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie each had a few DC-area contributions, but none with the kind of wattage as many of Bush's backers.
Washington tends to volley between golf and tennis as its pastime, led by the Oval Office occupant. After eight years with Obama as First Duffer, does the trend now favor a Bush? Here’s a short history of White House tennis since Theodore Roosevelt had a court built for $2,000 in 1903.
This article appears in our August 2015 issue of Washingtonian.
By inviting only the ten top-polling candidates in the crowded GOP field to participate in the first Republican primary debate, Fox News has made the August 6 event, cohosted with Facebook, controversial before it starts (ten is the most candidates ever onstage, but the Republican field now numbers 16). We asked Fox anchor Bret Baier, who is moderating along with Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly, about his debate prep.
Can a gay Republican with a jawbreaking name win the US Senate seat being vacated by Maryland’s liberal stalwart Barbara Mikulski? What were the odds, answers Chrysovalantis Kefalas, the polysyllabic candidate in question, that a doughy conservative businessman could become governor of the nation’s bluest state?
“Larry Hogan showed us the path forward,” Kefalas—who goes by Chrys—tells Washingtonian. “You need a different type of Republican to win in a blue state like Maryland.”