News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Tainted Gov

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

Welcome to Monday. After returning from Mar-a-Lago, President Trump has nothing open to the press on his public schedule. Speaking of his schedule, Axios received a sizable leak of Trump’s private agenda records, which indicated that since the November midterm elections he spent 297 hours in unstructured “executive time” reading the paper, watching cable news, and tweeting. For comparison, the president reportedly spent 77 hours in planning and policy meetings. I think the personal takeaway here is that I’ll start blaming my lateness on “editorial time.”

Major players in Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s own party—many of them 2020 hopefuls—are calling on him to resign after photos from his med-school yearbook that depict one person in a KKK costume and another in blackface emerged Friday. His bizarre press conference Saturday, which included a revelation that he once dressed in blackface to imitate Michael Jackson and a question about his moonwalking abilities, surely didn’t help either. Now, Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, who will assume the role of governor if Northam resigns, is fighting against what he calls a “false and unsubstantiated allegation” of sexual assault published by Big League Politics, the same site that originally published Northam’s yearbook photos. According to WUSA, the CBS affiliate alongside the Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch have been aware of the claim for months but could not verify it. Fairfax released a strong statement earlier in the weekend condemning Northam’s actions but tiptoed around directly calling for his resignation. Washington Post opinion writer Norman Leahy argues that Fairfax should be calling Northam out with stronger words—but Atlantic staff writer Adam Serwer puts it nicely: “it’s not actually the job of people of color to save white people from themselves.”

Hello, I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me with comments or questions and follow me on Twitter. Sign up for this newsletter here.

In case you missed it: No, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t bringing Cardi B to the State of the Union. Rather Queens native Ana Maria Archila, the woman who confronted Jeff Flake in a elevator during the Kavanaugh hearings, will join the New York Congresswoman Tuesday evening.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

FOOD Chef José Andrés is celebrating the truffle with ThinkFoodGroup’s third Truffle Festival, where participating restaurants will feature black winter truffles flown directly from Spain on the day they are discovered by special truffle-hunting Labrador Retrievers. Try truffle fries at America Eats Tavern, potato fritters with truffles (Tortitas de Papa con Trufa) at Oyamel, and plenty of other dishes at other TFG restaurants (Jaleo, Zaytinya, China Chilcano, and Fish). Through February 17 (or until the truffles run out). Prices vary.

Good reads:

Black Virginians are fed up. (Washington Post)

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.