The Hill, Washington celebrate the First Amendment in style
© The Hill

The Hill kicked off White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) dinner weekend in elegant style on Friday — as some of Washington’s biggest movers and shakers gathered to celebrate the First Amendment.

Hundreds of bipartisan political VIPs came together at the National Portrait Gallery for The Hill’s “Politics Without Prejudice: A Toast to Freedom of the Press.”

The exclusive soiree sponsored by the National Retail Federation and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association helped to launch a flurry of correspondents’ dinner-related shindigs ahead of the Saturday event.


James Finkelstein, chairman of The Hill, played host to a virtual who’s who of Washington, with guests including President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, Fox News reporter Ed Henry and The Hill's newly named editor-at-large Steve Clemons joining in on the pre-WHCA dinner festivities.

"This party is a tribute to the freedom of the press and the First Amendment," Finkelstein told ITK. "We are thrilled to host newsmakers on both sides of the aisle and the media at tonight's event."

Revelers chowed down on sliders and a raw bar and sipped a pair of specialty drinks — the gin and ginger liqueur “The Hill” cocktail and the “Free Press,” a rum libation made with almond and maple syrup.

Former "House of Cards" star Michael Kelly was eyed chatting with CNN's Dana Bash, while just steps away, Giuliani held court at a table surrounded by reporters.

Grammy Award-winning musician and “Tonight Show” musical director Questlove had typically buttoned-up D.C. letting loose, as he DJed a special performance, playing Motown, soul and classic hip-hop beats for the crowd.

One guest was heard strategizing her WHCA weekend party-hopping game plan — for her feet. "I'm having my masseuse come to the house before the dinner to focus on these," she said, pointing to her heeled feet.

The shindig came just days after the president made headlines when the White House announced it was directing administration officials not to attend the annual WHCA dinner at the Washington Hilton.

Trump — who’s called the “fake news media” the “enemy of the people” — had already bucked tradition by saying he would skip the dinner for the third year in a row, opting instead to hold a political rally in Wisconsin on Saturday.

Also among those eyed at The Hill’s bash on Friday night: Richard Beckman, president of The Hill; Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The Hill; and others including Michael Steele, Philip Rucker, Jonathan Lemire, Ali Velshi, Howard Kurtz, Mark Ein, Doug Heye, Paul Kane, Armstrong Williams, Rick Harrison, Ashley Parker, Molly Ball, Michael Bender and Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the United States.