News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Spring of ?

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.

Good morning, and happy first official day of spring. The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off today with events running through April 14. Break out the cherry blossom flower crowns for Petalpalooza at the Wharf or run in the cherry blossom race (if you’re anything like me, you’ll be relieved to know there is an option to walk the course). This year’s peak bloom is predicted to take place between April 3-6. Want to see the trees but hate those pesky crowds? Visit the Tidal Basin—I’m talking sunrise or right before, early—and take in the vista at dawn. At most you’ll bump into a few joggers and runners. I’m partial to taking a water taxi either from the Wharf or Georgetown waterfront area toward Northern Virginia—avoid crowds and catch the view from afar.

The Mod Couple: Washington Post reporter Ben Terris wrote about the marriage of Beto O’Rourke and Amy O’Rourke, a union he refers to as “at once the most modern and most traditional of any 2020 candidate.” Revelations include: Amy cried when Beto first mentioned running for Congress and tells him to stop doing push-ups before bed. Despite her hesitance to be thrust into the political spotlight, Amy has appeared in her husband’s Facebook Live streams and played a large role at fundraisers, and she stays with the kids while he is campaigning. Beto recently apologized for making a joke about his wife taking care of the children “sometimes with my help.”

The Odd Couple: The profile is reminiscent of another Terris piece about the marriage of Kellyanne Conway and George Conway. On Monday night, George, a frequent Trump critic, tweeted excerpts from the DSM-5 to suggest the President has narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders. Surprise! The President responded by calling his advisor’s husband “a total loser”; his campaign manager, Brad Parscale said Trump barely knew him. George then gave an interview to the Washington Post outlining his many interactions with Trump over the years. This morning, Trump called George a “husband from hell.” (Can an employer openly mock an employee’s spouse? Is that behavior in accordance with West Wing Human Resources guidelines?)

Jack doesn’t quite hit the road: The DC Council unanimously voted to reprimand Jack Evans, the Ward 2 councilmember currently under federal investigation. In addition to the formal rebuke, the council scheduled an April vote to strip Evans of some of his responsibilities as chairman of the finance and revenue committee. According to WAMU’s Martin Austermuhle, Evans spoke at the Tuesday meeting, saying “this is a very difficult time for this Council and for myself. I have brought embarrassment to this Council, to myself and my family. That’s the most painful part of all of this.” Do you think he’ll apply that same contrition to his parking habits?

My name is Brittany Shepherd, and I’m breaking up with sleep and dating coffee now. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Daniella Byck ( contributed to reporting today. Please subscribe to this newsletter.

What’s on my mind: A Texas farmer (or was it aliens?!) created a two-acre “Beto 2020” crop-circle because we live in the weirdest timeline.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

FESTIVAL The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs through April 14; peak bloom is expected to be April 3-6, but there are plenty of other events throughout the festival’s four-week run. This weekend, the festivities kick off with the Pink Tie Party, which celebrates DC’s culinary scene at the Ronald Reagan Building. Other events include the Blossom Kite Festival (3/30) at the National Mall, the Blossom Bash at the Anthem, headlined by Meghan Trainor (4/5), and Petalpalooza at the Wharf (4/6), which features musical acts and fireworks. The festival wraps up with a parade on April 13 led by Grand Marshal Anthony Anderson (of ABC’s black-ish) with floats and giant balloons Plus, don’t miss the Anacostia River Festival (4/14), celebrating the 100th anniversary of Anacostia Park with boating and hands-on art projects. If all these events require too much advanced planning, check out over 100 free dance and music performances at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area and ANA Stage. Through April 15. Pink Tie Party (3/22): $225, 7 PM. Blossom Kite Festival (3/30): Free, 10 AM. Petalpalooza (4/6): Free, 12 PM. Blossom Bash (4/5): $55-95, 7:30 PM. Parade (4/13): $20-$27, 10 AM. Anacostia River Festival (4/14): Free, 1 PM.

Good reads:

Shen Yun has a history that is a little more complicated than the dance troupe’s omnipresent advertisements divulge, Jia Tolentino reports. (The New Yorker)

Seamus Hughes makes the case that PACER is a “judicially approved scam.” (Politico)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Do you really love the drip coffee from Swings? Adore the sweets at District Doughnut? Our annual readers poll is now live–take it and let us know your favorite things in Washington. You could win two tickets to our fabulous Best of Washington party in June.

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.