News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Merry Blossoms!

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. The National Park Service expects peak bloom at the Tidal Basin’s cherry blossom trees today. Read about 5 ways to avoid the crowds, the trees’ surprisingly calamitous history, and see if you agree with one of our editors, who argues the cherry blossoms here are overrated.

Joe of hands: Former Vice President Joe Biden issued a statement on Twitter responding to allegations of misconduct from former Nevada state assemblywoman Lucy Flores. On Friday, Flores published an essay in the Cut reflecting on an “awkward” encounter she’d had with Biden while she ran for lieutenant governor of Nevada in 2014. “The vice-president of the United States of America had just touched me in an intimate way reserved for close fries, family, or romantic partners,” she wrote, “and I felt powerless to do anything about it.” In his statement, Biden denied the allegations, writing that he “may not recall these moments the same way,” and that he “will remain the strongest advocate” for women’s rights.

There’s an often-circulated photo of Biden with his hands on Stephanie Carter‘s shoulders when her husband was sworn in as secretary of defense, one that’s been touted as a prime example of Biden’s “creepy” behavior. But in an essay published Sunday, Carter says Biden was offering her welcome support that day. “The Joe Biden in my picture is a close friend helping someone get through a big day, for which I will always be grateful,” Carter writes. “So, as the sole owner of my story, it is high time that I reclaim it — from strangers, Twitter, the pundits and the late-night hosts.”

Keeping up with the Conways: What’s going on with the Conways? Rep. Brian Schatz says Kellyanne and George Conway are “involving us in their family disagreement” to distract from President Trump’s renewed attempts to repeal Obamacare. Mark Leibovich strikes a similar note (and mentions he saw George Conway at the National Zoo). “[I]t is also impossible not to wonder whether their joint memoir is being written in real time,” he writes. One thing is for sure: that book advance would bring in bookoo bucks.

Happy Monday. I’m your author, Brittany Shepherd. Email me at and follow me on Twitter. Kaila Philo ( contributed reporting today. If you subscribe to this newsletter, I promise to shield you from the umpteenth Tidal Basin photo on your timelines. Except for today’s newsletter picture, which is really good.

Jungle love: A week after 20-year-old Mei Xiang started showing signs that she’s ready to breed, scientists at the National Zoo have artificially inseminated the giant panda with her partner Tian Tian’s semen. If it takes, the couple could soon have their fourth (and maybe last) cub together, after Bao Bao, Tai Shan, and Bei Bei. The results won’t be in for another three to six months, so now we wait. What should the panda baby’s name be? (You think Britt Britt is out of the running?)

High note: The Wammies were back this weekend after financial troubles led to a two-year hiatus. Steve Kiviat tweeted some highlights from last night’s awards ceremony.   

What’s on my mindYesterday was the International Transgender Day of Visibility; here are DC-area transgender support groups

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

  • Karl Racine may be the public official who finally gets his hands on Trump’s tax returns. Ben Wofford profiles the DC attorney general.
  • Navy Yard is getting even more pizza. At this point—with spots like All Purpose, Declaration, Oath, and Wise Guys—we should simply call it the “pie district.”
  • Rinse aid (yes, the stuff you put in dishwashers) is among one of the several best things our staff bought this month.
  • This Baltimore couple ditched the cake cutting and bouquet toss in order to have more fun wedding time. Sounds like my kind of party.
  • Need a free workout this week? Head to yoga at The Potter’s House.
  • Ukranian professor Ararat Osipian escaped the war. Now he’s doing research at George Mason.
  • HBO’s fake-but-also-real Selina Meyer memoir slams The Hill, the White House, and DC life. We pulled our favorite, most biting bits.

Our picks for things to do around town:

DISCUSSION Sixth & I has been (ahem) the room where it happens for 15 years, and the venue is celebrating this anniversary with a series of events, starting with a visit by Hamilton star Daveed Diggs on Monday night. In addition to his time on Broadway, the Tony and Grammy award-winning actor is also a member of the hip-hop group clipping.; he’ll be in conversation with All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro to talk about his career, Jewish heritage, and creative endeavors. Sixth & I’s 15th anniversary celebrations continue with a home repair service project on April 14 and a post-Passover pop-up featuring Call Your Mother bagels on April 28. Daveed Diggs (4/1): $150-$1,000, 7:30 PM. Service project (4/14): $36, 9:30 AM. Brunch (4/28): Free to attend (food prices vary), 11 AM.

Good reads:

Los Angeles Magazine collected California’s rejected vanity plates—if you need a laugh, you have to take a look. (LA Mag)

A retired engineer spent 30 years investigating the last documented lynching in Virginia. (The 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.