News & Politics

John McLaughlin Out at His Own Annual Celebrity Brunch

The TV host’s name is off annual the White House Correspondents’ weekend event he started two decades ago.

It was always called the McLaughlin Brunch, and for almost two decades it was THE
stop for the Sunday morning after the Saturday night White House Correspondents’ Association
dinner. It was the A-list wrap-up to the weekend of media parties, rivaled by none,
and it filled the rooftop of the Hay-Adams with famous faces and names.
McLaughlin, political pundit and host of the syndicated
McLaughlin Group broadcast, was the center of attention. Then a rival came along several years ago,
a competing brunch hosted by Politico owner
Robert Allbritton, held in his Georgetown mansion and with a “no press allowed” policy. Some would
tell you it knocked out McLaughlin’s brunch with one punch. Now, it appears McLaughlin
is out of the game altogether.

The invitation to this year’s Sunday brunch at the Hay-Adams says the event is hosted
jointly by Thomson Reuters and Yahoo! News, which last year were McLaughlin’s cohosts.
His name is nowhere on the invitation. A spokesperson for Thomson Reuters and Yahoo! said, “Yes this is what was formerly the McLaughlin Brunch, and he is not involved
for 2013.”

The organizer of the annual party,
Janet Donovan, was practically without an explanation. “I have had tons and tons of people asking
me the same. It will be the first time in, yes, about 20 years that I have not done
that with him. I will call him today, hoping he is well,” Donovan wrote in an e-mail.
“I loved that event with him probably more than anything.” She confirmed the party
will go on this year, but without McLaughlin. In his place, the featured attraction
are area cheftestants from Bravo’s hit
Top Chef:
Spike Mendelsohn,
Mike Isabella,
Bart Vandaele, and
Bryan Voltaggio.

While McLaughlin will be missed, if the Hay-Adams can regain the buzz from Politico,
we’ll have a good brunch war going on for the WHCA’s 100th anniversary next year.