Inaugural brunch brings out ultra-VIP crowd in Georgetown

Georgetown see-and-be-seen staple Café Milano became a virtual game of who’s-who in Washington on Sunday. Celebrities, D.C. power players, lawmakers and journalists packed the eatery to capacity for a bipartisan Inaugural brunch hosted by Tina Brown, The Daily Beast and Credit Suisse.

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“Desperate Housewives” star and President Obama fundraiser Eva Longoria donned a bipartisan color for the occasion, wearing a fitted purple dress and dark purple heels. Longoria made the rounds at the gathering, greeting former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with a smile and handshake, saying, “Madam Secretary, so nice to meet you.”

The entertainer shrieked, “Grover!” upon eyeing Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, before giving him a big hug. The apparent odd coupling wasn’t totally out of the blue — Norquist later told ITK the two had “hung out” at an awards show in Los Angeles and had “spent some time talking about immigration issues.”

Longoria’s warm embrace of Norquist didn’t seem to bother his wife, Samah Alrayyes Norquist, who had just celebrated her birthday a day before. Her spouse explained that they had posed for a photo with Longoria to send to Alrayyes’s sisters as a gift.


Grover Norquist, Samah Alrayyes Norquist and Eva Longoria pose for a photo.
While speaking to the room of high-profile Washingtonians, host Tina Brown quipped, "Washington simply reflects America: We have a female House Democratic leader, a Mormon Senate majority leader, an Irish vice president, a black president and orange Speaker of the House."

Harvey Weinstein, wearing a gray zippered jacket, joked during remarks to the crowd, “I haven’t seen this many Republicans since my bar mitzvah.” The movie executive was later seen patting Motion Picture Association of America head and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on the shoulder as the two chatted.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) got a rock star-like welcome as he strolled in with wife Teresa Heinz Kerry toward the end of the mid-afternoon soiree. The senator and Secretary of State nominee spent time talking with newly crowned Miss America Mallory Hagan. The New Yorker said of her convo with Kerry, “He was just so kind. He said that he watched me on Saturday night, he was keeping up with the pageant, and that he was very impressed.”


Harvey Weinstein and Gayle King

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell declined to conduct interviews at the brunch, citing his No. 1 priority: the food. Powell could be seen making a beeline for the buffet, filled with pasta, shrimp cocktail and a variety of cheeses.

The brunch was a family affair for Valerie Jarrett; Obama’s senior adviser brought both her mother and her recently married daughter to the event.

Others spotted among the VIP-filled gathering: “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), former Defense Secretary William Cohen and his wife, Janet Langhart, David and Susan Axelrod, actress Kerry Washington, Darren Criss of “Glee” fame, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, actress Rosario Dawson, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D), CNN’s Piers Morgan, Laura Ingraham, CBS’s Norah O’Donnell, Global Philanthropy Group President Trevor Neilson, Heather Podesta, Bob Barnett, C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, Star Jones, Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, Arianna Huffington, Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart, Tony Podesta, Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, Bob Woodward, Constance Milstein and Republican strategist Mark McKinnon.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) was in attendance. 

This story was updated at 8:20 p.m.