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The annual Garden Brunch returns, shining a light on the press and military

Washington socialites, journalists and politicians gathered for the annual White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch after two years of a pandemic-dampened social scene in Washington, D.C., hours before the association’s dinner.

The Beall Washington House in Georgetown — publisher Katharine Graham’s former estate — was bursting at the seams with guests, including honorees Bob and Lee Woodruff, the co-founders of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and Lt. General Donna Martin, the first woman to serve as inspector general of the Army.

Some members of the Biden administration also made an appearance, including Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who presented the awards, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

And Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, attended despite skipping out on the dinner because of his “individual assessment” of his personal risk in catching COVID-19, according to The New York Times.

Partnering with Dog Tag Bakery and Blue Star Families, the brunch highlights the press and military veterans. The fact that journalists around the globe are currently covering the war in Ukraine — a number of whom have been injured or killed amid the conflict — lent an added poignance to the event.

“This year we have additional context in regard to Ukraine in that it is a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism and if Putin wins, it is a victory for authoritarianism and defeat for the freedom of the press,” retired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who fled Ukraine at age 3, told The Hill. 

Longtime television commentator Greta van Susteren recently visited Ukraine and previously covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, among other wars. She said the journalists covering Ukraine, including many who are D.C.-based, are not being forgotten amid the festivities.

“All of us who have been there and all of us who are here appreciate the work that’s being done,” van Susteren told The Hill. “It’s probably the best work you’ll ever see from journalists when we cover war but it’s terrible that we have to cover it.”

The brunch had an array of hosts: Tammy Haddad, Mark and Sally Ein, Kevin Sheekey, Stephanie Ruhle, Yamiche Alcindor, Craig Minassian, Teresa Carlson and Franco Nuschese.

Other guests spotted among the crowd included White House press secretary Jen Psaki; journalists Dana Bash, Kaitlan Collins, Wolf Blitzer, Eva McKend, Steve Clemons, Stephanie Ruhle, Kasie Hunt, Jonathan Swan, Betsy Woodruff Swan, Gayle King, Juan Williams, Ryan Lizza, Olivia Nuzzi, Andrea Mitchell; Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.); and actors Brooke Shields, Henry Hamlin, Danny Strong and Lynda Carter.

Updated: 8:45 p.m.

Tags Alejandro Mayorkas Alejandro Mayorkas Alexander Vindman Alexander Vindman Anthony Fauci Brendan Boyle Greta Van Susteren Greta Van Susteren Jen Psaki Jen Psaki Kevin Sheekey Military Pete Buttigieg Pete Buttigieg Sean Patrick Maloney Stephanie Ruhle White House Correspondents' Association Yamiche Alcindor

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