February 8, 2023

After the Gridiron Dinner, a coward erupts among Washington A-list guests

As it has been for the past 137 years, this should be an evening of mild political satire and bilateral friendship between the elite crowd of politicians, journalists and public officials.

Instead, the annual Gridiron dinner in Washington on Saturday seems likely. Corona virus Explosion among its A-list guests.

As of Wednesday morning, delegates Adam P. Schiff (D-California) and Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) And Secretary of Commerce Gina Raymondo After attending a dinner at the Downtown Renaissance Washington Hotel, he announced that he had received positive results in the corona virus tests. Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he also did a positive test.

In addition, about half a dozen journalists and members of the White House and National Security Council staff said they had tested positive after the event. Their names are withheld because they do not declare their status publicly.

Many White House aides who did a positive test did so after traveling to Poland with President Biden last week and before the Gridron dinner. White House spokeswoman Jen Zhaki, who attended the Gridron party, reiterated on Wednesday that all White House staffers approaching Biden would continue to be screened.

Biden did not attend the dinner, but appeared via video.

At the Gridiron banquet, a Republican governor roasted Trump

Tom Defrank, a contributor to the National Journal and president of the Gridron Club, said in a statement that guests coming to dinner should show proof of vaccination, but “a small number of our guests have reported positive tests since then.”

“We want them to recover quickly,” he said.

The white-tie and gown dinner was attended by about 630 guests, including members of Congress, cabinet, embassy, ​​military and business.

Among those in attendance, Anthony S. Fouzi, the country’s leading epidemiologist and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rossel Walenski.

Sense in other guests. Susan Collins (R-Mine), Edward J. Marquee (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Min.), Kirsten Gillibrand (DNY) and Roy Blunt (R.-Missouri); Representatives. Jamie P. Ruskin (D-Md.) And Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.); Secretary of Agriculture Tom Wilsack and Special Presidential Ambassador John F. Kerry; Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell; Governments Larry Hogan (R) of Maryland and Chris Sununu (R) of New Hampshire; And New York Mayor Eric Adams (D).

The Senate vote to confirm Biden’s Supreme Court candidate, Gotanji Brown Jackson, is likely to be delayed by senators at the dinner party. A vote may come this weekend; No delays were reported.

Former NFL best Emmit Smith was also on the dinner guest list; NBA Commissioner Adam Silver; CBS presenter Jane Polly and his wife, “Toonsbury” cartoonist Gary Trudeau; Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova; “Face the Nation” presenter Margaret Brennan, PBS NewsHour presenter Judy Woodruff; ABC Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Carl and Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan and Editor Sally Pussby.

After an advance cocktail reception, guests sat together for several hours at long narrow tables and watched the satire and songs performed by the members. At the end of the event, guests joined in the traditional song “Auld Lang Syne”.

Dinner will reflect a return to normal after being canceled for the past two years due to infection. Attendees reported that some guests wore masks or observed social space. Only the serving staff wore masks throughout the evening.

According to one guest, when organizers asked participants to show their vaccine cards at the door, there was no need to test.

The evening paintings, performed by senior Washington journalists, parodied people from both parties, despite former Republicans such as former President Donald Trump, deputies Marjorie Taylor Green (Co.), and Lauren Bobert (Col.). And Paul A. Kosher (Ariz.), Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Florida Governor Ron Desantis, and Sense. Ted Cruz (Tex.) And Tom Cotton (Ark.) – came in for a sharp jab. None of those figures attended.

At one point, an artist dressed as Fauzy sang from the stage to the real Fossie: “Doctor, Doctor, give me some clues, we’re got a bad case of Covit Blues.”

Gridron Dinner is a small, elite precursor to the well-known White House Reporters’ Association meeting in late April. Steven Portnoy, the organization’s chairman, said earlier this week that 2,600 guests at dinner would be required to show a negative corona virus test on the same day, which they could upload to the app.

The president usually attends the WHCA banquet, although Trump has never attended the White House in years. Biden has not yet announced his plans.

The Gridiron Club dinner appears to have been held in accordance with the latest official guidelines for the protection of the Govt.

The CDC updated its guidelines on February 25 to facilitate mask recommendations for the majority of the country’s population, and all 50 states have lifted their mask mandate in recent weeks. More than 95 percent of the country, including DC, is classified by the CDC as having a low disease load, meaning the company does not recommend the mask order.

But some experts have warned that the new CDC guidelines could leave the country unprepared in the event of another wave. B.A. Variation 2 has caused a sharp rise in cases in Europe and has become a dominant strain in the United States, although cases have not yet begun to rise nationally. Some parts of the country, including the Northeast, are beginning to experience a moderate increase in epidemics.

Abrid Karan, an epidemiologist at Stanford University, said the eruption of events such as the Gridron dinner could be imminent. “These big explosions will start slowly and then you will notice them. I am not surprised that this big explosion happened in a crowd that people were testing later,” Karan said.

“We are constantly checking the boundaries. Everyone is checking the boundaries little by little. We are trying to see what the tolerable risk level is, but if you have a big explosion, it suspends everyone,” Karan said.

Amash Atalja, an epidemiologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Health Security Center, said there was no action without the risk of Kovit-19 – or any other respiratory illness.

“Things like this are going to happen, whatever it is, it’s a community meeting like Govt-19, influenza, norovirus – there’s always that kind of risk, and it’s surprising not to see things like that. The thing is happening, ”Atalja said. “For some, it’s an acceptable risk; for others, it may not be, that’s where we want to go.

Fauci, who said he did not have a positive test, said he would follow CDC guidelines when deciding to attend dinner. He said he made the personal decision that the risk of attending was low for three reasons: he was vaccinated and encouraged, needed proof of the vaccine to enter dinner, and was classified as having low DC disease load. Measurements of the CDC. That classification means that individuals can go without the mask on internal systems.

Fassi said he wore the mask during the reception but took it off to eat.

“We are in a situation where, as a population, we have to make a decision based on the data, as well as our own choice to take any level of risk that you make,” Fauzi said. “I have followed the CDC’s guidelines, which say it’s okay to be indoors without a mask.

It’s a breaking story and will be updated.

Personnel writer Tyler Pager contributed to this report.