News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Is Virginia Canceled?

US Representative Elijah Cummings during Wednesday's Michael Cohen hearing. 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.

I think we have to cancel Virginia, right? According to the Washington Post, Pam Northam—who’s married to Governor Ralph Northamhanded out pieces of cotton to two African-American middle-school students on a recent tour of the governor’s mansion. Northam’s office says that no child was singled out and that an entire group were given pieces of cotton and asked to imagine being enslaved and picking the crop. Even if that’s true, the optics are…less than ideal in the wake of her husband’s blackface scandal. Northam has resisted several calls to resign, instead opting for a sort of racial reconciliation tour. Which is going well.

Justice, the male bald eagle who’s been missing for several weeks, has finally returned to his nest. Yet, his long-time mate Liberty—who took a few suitors since Justice went away—was not at the nest lamenting for her Justice to return. She’s flown the coop for now, and we’re not sure if she has any indication of coming back. Did any of you have analogous eagle storyline on your 2019 bingo card? I sure didn’t.

Happy Thursday! I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Subscribe to the newsletter, and I promise I will never testify about you before the House Oversight Committee. Thanks to everyone who came out to the IQ&A event with Brad Jenkins last night! I had an absolute blast meeting so many Washingtonian Today readers, and I was able to reference Lady Gaga‘s “Shallow” and make a Lincoln Chafee joke. I’ll call that a success. 

There’s a new conservative media startup in town, this time founded by a former employee of the National Review and the now-shuttered Weekly Standard. Axios reports that Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes are starting a new unnamed venture together. While conservative in nature, the publication will be “Trump-skeptical”—whatever that means—and possibly live in both online and print iterations.

What’s on my mind: The House of Representatives is likely to pass the  For the People Act next week, a piece of legislation that includes an endorsement for DC statehood. US Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton tweeted Wednesday that this would be the first time any chamber has formally endorsed statehood for Washington, a progression that helps build momentum for Norton’s own statehood bill HR 51.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

DANCE The Washington Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty tells the fairy tale of Princess Aurora and the timeless battle of good against evil—sealed with a true love’s kiss—against the music of Tchaikovsky. Through March 3 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre. $25-$160.

Good reads:

New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer is a force to be reckoned with. This Molly Langmuir profile shows why. (Elle)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Food critic Ann Limpert can tell you the very best places around DC to eat a salad with a comb. Ask her a question now and she’ll answer as many as she can during her chat Friday at 11 AM.

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.