News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Foggy Bottom Breakdown

Photograph by Evy Mages

Rough & blue: The George Washington University Student Association elections once again mimic the scandal and intrigue of national elections. OK, maybe that’s a tad dramatic, but it seems that the Foggy Bottom folks have once again delivered on the drama. Let me break it down for you: As the start of this week, student elections were business as usual. But at the last minute, freshman Justin Diamond announced his candidacy on the university’s storied Facebook meme page. His platform: abolishing the very student government he was running to lead. The strategy caught on: The meme page renamed itself “GW Memes for pro-Justin Diamond Teens.” And guess what? It worked, at least enough to force a runoff (I cannot believe I just typed “runoff” about a college student election), since no candidate reached the mandated threshold of 40 percent. 27 percent of the voters backed Diamond, and 25 percent voted for junior SJ Matthews. Two current members of the Student Association were knocked out. Are you getting 2016 flashbacks? I’m getting nervous. I can feel that New York Times needle. Here’s the GW Hatchet‘s report on the entire ordeal.

KenCen gets HuckedPresident Trump appointed Mike Huckabee to the Kennedy Center’s board of trustees Thursday, DCist reports. Huckabee, a bassist, has previously argued in favor of federal arts funding. “I’m for cutting waste and killing worthless programs,” he wrote. “I’m not for cutting and killing the hope and help that come from creativity.” Other appointees include Jon Voight and big Trump donor Carl Linder III. Current trustees Shonda Rhimes and Rose Kennedy Schlossberg are nearing the end of their terms, DCist reports.

Power lunch: CNN’s Greg Krieg first reported that presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren ate lunch with Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez yesterday. Where did they dine? A source tells Washingtonian that the pair went to Olivia, a new Mediterranean spot in Penn Quarter. Warren has been spotted there before, lunching with Obama alumna Valerie Jarrett.

Happy Friday. I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Adia Robinson ( contributed reporting today. Please subscribe to this newsletter.

Wage cleft: Maryland will move toward a $15 minimum wage after the state’s legislature voted Thursday to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto, the Washington Post reports. The bill requires businesses with staffs larger than 15 people to pay employees at least $15 an hour by 2025. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees have until 2026 to meet the minimum. According to the Post, Hogan argued for a more modest increase—from $10.10 an hour to $12.10 an hour by 2020—and according to WAMU, some Maryland businesses say they have considered relocating or cutting benefits to meet pay requirements. The wage increase in Maryland comes three years after DC passed the Fair Shot Minimum Wage Amendment Act, which calls for a $15 minimum wage in the District by 2020. In DC, the minimum wage is currently $13.25 an hour and will increase to $14 an hour on July 1 this year. In Virginia, where a $15 minimum wage bill was killed earlier this year, the minimum wage has been the federally mandated minimum of $7.25 since 2009.

And now for something completely different: George Conway does not think Trump has seen “Schoolhouse Rock.”

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our picks for things to do around town:


FILM The year 2019 popped up a few times in 1980s films, and AFI Silver Theatre is showing these throughout the next month in its “The Future is Now: 2019 on Screen” series. Watch the present day through a 1980s lens with Blade Runner, The Running Man, and Akira, and see how filmmakers of the past depicted modern-day artificial intelligence and culture. Through April 28. $13 per film.


BEER Beer fans know to line up at Aslin’s Herndon location on Saturday mornings for their epic can and bottle releases. But the release is moving elsewhere this weekend for Aslin’s first mobile can sale, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Elder Scrolls video games. In collaboration with Bethesda Game Studios, Aslin has brewed three Elder Scrolls-themed beers, which will be on sale at Dominion Wine & Beer(Falls Church) and Downtown Crown Wine And Beer (Gaithersburg). One of these canned beers is a “Night Mother’s Blood” gose (brewed with raspberries and dragon fruit); in addition to the can sales, 20 Aslin beers will be on draft at each location. 10 AM (but the line will likely form before that).


MUSIC Robin Bell’s exhibit “Open” closes on Sunday at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University, and the closing evening includes a special performance by local guitar ensemble Boat Burning, whose leader Andras Fekete passed away in December. Free, 6 PM.

Good reads:

People are doing it at WeWorks, and it’s presenting some unique challenges for desk-renters. (GQ)

Sarah Parvini and Ellis Simani explore how the census “race box” has become increasingly complicated for Southwest Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African Americans. (Los Angeles Times)

Big events from Washingtonian:

Our food critic Ann Limpert can help guide you through all the food options at Nationals Park during her weekly chat today at 11 AM. You can start leaving her questions RIGHT NOW. (Hey Ann—what’s the booziest frozen thing I can find at the ballpark? Asking for a friend.)

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.