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February 8 2019

Esquire Magazine's Portrait of Salons in Resistance Mode

by Charlotte Hays

I don't know whether Esquire magazine has a large following in the precincts of the America that used their voting rights to send Donald Trump to drain the swamp.

But if it does, the new Esquire, which features Ryan Lizza's article "A Swamp Divided: How Trump's Arrival Turned D.C. Nightlife Upside Down," is making them say, Uh, yeah, now I remember why I wanted to drain that danged swamp.  

Yes, Washington Society has joined The Resistance. Washington society used to take its cue from the occupant of the White House. Georgetown dinners, where policy was legendarily made after hours, were popular in the Kennedy years, while LBJ brought barbecues.

I urge you to read Lizza's article--it is actually rather run and highly revealing. Lizza introduces us stay-at-homes to those Washington salons that are forced to gamely soldier on, making do with Never Trumpers as guests because real Trumpers are just so socially unacceptable.

Lizza reveals a Washington society that is insular, lives in the past, and is--sorry, there is no other word--nasty.

When Rex Tillerson and Wilbur Ross dared to set foot in Cafe Milano (dubbed the "Rick's Cafe" of Washington society, after the gathering spot in Casablanca), Sally Quinn recalled, "Someone said to me, ‘It’s our place, it’s not their place!’ ”

Here is another reality-inducing vignette:

Rima Al-Sabah, the wife of Kuwaiti ambassador Salem Al-Sabah, is credited with being among the most aggressive and agile party throwers in smoothly segueing from the Obama to the Trump administration. Rima hosts an annual gala on behalf of the Kuwait-­America Foundation, which promotes ties between the two countries, and in the Obama years it attracted members of the administration. After the election, the ambassador’s annual Kuwait Day event moved to the Trump International Hotel, and the Trumps attended. (In 2017, Melania was—without irony—awarded the Kuwait-America Foundation’s Humanitarian Award.)

In the catty world of D. C. hostesses, the changeover has come with some cost. “Now she hangs with Ivanka and Kellyanne and Jared,” said the prominent D.C. hostess. “I think she thought she was enhancing her reputation. And instead everyone thought she’s not the person we thought she was.”

So in the catty world of Washington society, foreign countries send ambassadors to Washington not to deal with the government in power but as emissaries to Washington hostesses (such as they are in these forlorn days).

The Trump campaign should ensure wide distribution of Lizza's informative article.

 

 

 





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