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Melania Still Undecided On Her Inauguration Look

It's been a while since we've checked in with Melania Trump's world, so I was thrilled to see this WWD interview with the First Lady-elect's longtime makeup artist, Nicole Bryl.
5 days ago

What the White House is Talking About:

8 days.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

Not much. A skeleton crew at the briefings this week. Nothing official on President Obama's schedule again today.

Sasha Obama's Test, Two Ways:

Here's how Josh Earnest yesterday explained Sasha Obama's absence from the Chicago farewell speech due to an exam the next day: “Her parents concluded that her performance on the test would not have been enhanced by returning to the White House at 2:15 in the morning.”

And here's how Michelle Obama explained it last night on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”: “She had a final. You know the Obamas, girl. Sorry. You can say goodbye later.”

West Wing Packing Status:

Earnest also confirmed yesterday at the briefing that packing up has begun—for some more than others. Those who are behind in boxing up their offices, like the press secretary, will likely take the upcoming three-day weekend to catch up.

Dress Like the First Lady:

On Fallon, Michelle Obama wore this Givenchy zippered number—$2,295.

Image credit:

She did the regular “thank you note” sketch, saying thanks to her husband for being her “silver fox,” which was kind of ew, sort of like watching your parents kiss.

Image credit: “The Tonight Show”/Screenshot

POTUS to do *Another* Exit Interview:

“60 Minutes” will dedicate an entire hour to Obama's interview with Steve Croft, which he did earlier this week. “60 Minutes” is calling it the last “network” TV appearance with the president, so, guys, that tells me it's still not the last, last, actual last one. #thelongestgoodbye

Image credit: CBS News

Our Daily Melania:

It's been a while since we've checked in with Melania Trump's world, so I was thrilled to see this WWD interview with the First Lady-elect's longtime makeup artist, Nicole Bryl. Here's a shot of the two of them from Bryl's skincare line's website:

Image credit: NicoleBrylSkincare

In the interview, Bryl says she's been doing Mrs. Trump's makeup for 11 years. She also reveals she's in the process of coming up with Inauguration looks, but nothing has been determined because “Melania's creative team meets next week” to go over her wardrobe for all of the events. Dying.

Donald Trump Jr., With the Yuks:

“Well, I made the cut!!”

Well I made the cut!!! I guess I'll see you in DC next Friday. #inauguration #maga #trump #45

A photo posted by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr) on

Image credit: @donaldjtrumpjr / Instagram

At least we got a peek at the formal invitation to the Inauguration.

What The Beltway is Talking About:

President-elect Trump tweeted this morning about Linda Bean, the granddaughter of L.L. Bean. Her family's company has come under fire for her support of Trump, but in a statement earlier this week, the L.L. Bean executive chairman Shawn Gorman said the company does not take political positions.

What America is Talking About:

Those photos of Selena Gomez and the Weeknd making out behind a dumpster.

Today's Confirmation Hearings:

This morning, hearings began for Ret. Gen. James Mattis, for secretary of Defense; Mike Pompeo, for CIA director; and Ben Carson, for HUD secretary.

Show Me The Money:

Trump yesterday at his press conference: “The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters.”

60% of the American people: Hold up, actually, I care.

Image credit: Pew

A Pew poll released this week found 38% of Repubs and 79% of Dems believe Trump has a responsibility to release his tax returns. You'll remember Trump blames an audit on why he has not yet released them. Fun fact: the president of the United States is audited every year.

Kellyanne “Anonymous Source” Conway:

Yesterday on CNN, Conway criticized media's use of anonymous sources. Following the interview, Carl Bernstein said this: “One of the great anonymous sources of our era is Kellyanne Conway. She does it every day. She has been an anonymous source for the last 10 months particularly during this campaign when it suits her.” Oh snap.

Do Not Come For SENATOR Tim Scott:


Image credit: @SenatorTimScott / Twitter

Unsurprisingly, @Simonalisa, the account that tweeted that at Scott (R-South Carolina) has been deleted.

Conservatives Are Better Looking:

A study by the Journal of Public Economics found conservative politicians in the U.S., Australia, and Europe are more likely to be beautiful. One theory the study offered for why: beautiful people are more likely to earn more money and be treated better, so they are more likely to see the world as a just place and be opposed to redistributive policies.

Throwback Thursday:

As I've been prepping for the 20th, I've brushed up on Inauguration trivia (The first Inaugural address ever reprinted in a newspaper was Thomas Jefferson in 1801, the first one ever broadcast over radio was Calvin Coolidge in 1925, the first one ever televised was Harry Truman in 1949, the first one ever livestreamed online was Bill Clinton in 1997, per the Smithsonian).

My fav piece of trivia is that John F. Kennedy was the last man to wear a top hat to his Inauguration, in 1961.

Image credit: Keystone / Getty Images

Robert Krulwich wrote for NPR in 2012 that his father (who was a hat designer) had a theory for not only why presidents no longer wear hats to Inaugurations but why the popularity of hats for men declined in the 20th century.

He wrote: “Before Eisenhower, many more people used public transportation. After Eisenhower, they used a car. That, my father thinks, created the critical Head-To-Roof Difference.” Men riding on buses or trains had “roughly, three feet between the top of his head and the roof,” while men driving cars had much less space, and would often remove their hats to drive.

Cars, folks. Cars killed the hat.

I'm just hoping the 45th president decides to end the more than half-century top hat drought, or if that's too much, I hope he has one of his USA 45 baseball hats. —H.S.

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Sunny Obama Bites White House Visitor

A family friend of the Obamas has a bloody encounter with the first family's dog, Sunny.
5 days ago

A White House visit turned ugly on Monday, when a family friend of the Obamas was bitten on the face by Sunny Obama, the four-year-old Portuguese Water Dog who is the pet of the first family. TMZ reports the victim, an 18-year-old woman, bent down to pet and kiss Sunny, and was bitten in the area below her eye. The bite was severe enough to draw blood.

The Physician to the President, Dr. Ronny Jackson, who has an office in the West Wing area of the White House, checked out the woman, who has not been identified, and determined that she needed stitches for the bite, according to TMZ. The woman apparently put images of her injury, and of Sunny, on her social media accounts.

So far, no comment from the White House. Sunny, and older sister, Bo, 8, are common fixtures at the White House. They are often walked by one of two handlers—most often on leashes.

As recently as a couple of weeks ago, First Lady Michelle Obama took Sunny and Bo to visit sick children at Children's National Medical Center in Washington:

Image Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The dogs also travel with the first family. Here they are boarding a military helicopter to be transported to the family's summer vacation last year:

Image Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The press and visitors also catch glimpses, and pet the dogs, from time to time.

Presidential dog Sunny is petted by April D. Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks as other members of the White House Press Crops look on outside the White House Press Room. Image Credit: Alex Wong/Gety Images.

Sunny joined the Obama family in August of 2013. So far, no comment from the White House on the biting incident.

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Former President, Seeking Golf Club

We have it from several very solid sources that Obama wants to join Woodmont Country Club when he leaves office.

What the White House is Talking About:

9 days.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

President Obama's farewell speech last night, and how it's playing today with all the other news.


Lots of people got emotional, including a bunch of journalists. Also, Sasha had an exam, that's why she wasn't there, according to the White House. Sidwell Friends is no joke.

Crunch Time:

Here's a Pete Souza shot of Obama's chief speechwriter, Cody Keenan, working on a final draft of the president's address on Air Force One:

Cody checking the speech one last time aboard Air Force One.

A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Image Credit: @PeteSouza / Instagram

Can We Get Some Dimensions on This?:

Because that was the biggest Presidential Seal, ever.

Image Credit: Nicholas Kamm / Getty Images

Also the Last Trip for Michelle Obama's GlamSquad:

This Chicago trip was it on Air Force One for the three people rarely far from the first lady's side: her wardrobe stylist, her makeup artist, and her hairstylist. Yesterday on his Snapchat account, I noticed Mrs. Obama's hair guru, Johnny Wright, posing with the “Trifecta,” Meredith Koop, her longtime stylist, and Carl Ray, her longtime makeup artist:

Image Credit: @JohnnyWright220 / Snapchat

The threesome also had prime seating two rows behind the first family at last night's speech. Afterwards, they linked up with Mrs. Obama to be on-hand for her appearance in New York today at the taping of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” which airs tonight.

Former President, Seeking Golf Club:

I have it from several very solid sources that Obama wants to join Woodmont Country Club when he leaves office; the Rockville club is quiet, exclusive, and has two of the best golf courses in the region. (Full disclosure: my family has been members for years.)

The New York Post today has a story that Obama's chances of getting in are now compromised because of his vote (or lack thereof) on Israel last month at the UN, coupled with his administration's frosty relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu. The story says there's now a “major uproar” about Obama's “complimentary” membership at Woodmont, which is made up of mostly Jewish members. I'm hearing the Post story is bogus. The president has several good friends who will likely make sure his membership is a shoo-in.

Jeweler Ann Hand Releases Official Donald Trump Collection:

Venerable Washington jeweler Ann Hand has released her Trump Inaugural Collection. Hand, you might recall, is the maker of the Liberty Eagle Pin, which political lady types like Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton tend to wear. She's been designing jewelry for heads of state for more than three decades. Here are the official Ann Hand Trump Inaugural cufflinks ($150) and pin ($75).

Image Credit:

How Do You Ask a President to Be a Groomsman?:

What was that conversation like between Marvin Nicholson and Obama? I missed this yesterday, but it still blows my mind today.

What The Beltway is Talking About:

*breathes in deeply*

How much time you got? Between President Obama's farewell speech, day two of confirmation hearings, the report Russia collected compromising material on President-elect Trump's finances and personal life, which Trump denied, and Trump's press conference this morning, Washington's got a lot to dish on today.

What America is Talking About:

Obama's speech and the report about Trump.

“I Think It Was Russia”:

Trump changed his tune on the campaign hacking at the press conference this morning, his first since July.

Image Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

At the press conference, it was announced all profits at Trump hotels from foreign entities will be donated to the U.S. Treasury.


Tiffany was Trump's only adult child not at the press conference.

Today's Confirmation Hearings:

Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, for secretary of state, and former Labor secretary Elaine Chao, for secretary of transportation, both began this morning.

Tillerson said during his hearing, “Russia today poses a danger” and “does not think like we do,” their invasion of Crimea was “taking territory that was not theirs,” and said it was “fair assumption” that Putin ordered the Russian hacking during the campaign. “We aren’t likely to ever be friends,” he said.

T-Rex Protest Rex-T:

If you're going to protest on the second day of hearings, you better be original, because just wearing pink boas again isn't going to cut it. So these guys in those dinosaur outfits that popped up in all those viral videos last year make the cut.

Image Credit: Tipster

Delete Your Account:

64% of American voters (and a plurality of Republicans) think Trump should close his Twitter account, per a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday.

The poll also found only 37% approve the way he's handling his job as president-elect, and he's viewed more negatively on a range of questions about his personal traits than he was in a Quinnipiac poll taken two weeks after the election:

Image Credit: Quinnipiac

Who Are You Wearing, First Lady Edition:

Last night, Michelle Obama closed out one of her last major public appearances in a custom, navy blue, lace Jason Wu dress:

Image Credit: Joshua Lott / Getty Images

Some people are commenting that it felt too funereal, but I thought it was nice. A little serious, but nice. She also likes to bookend her fashion, so it made sense to go with Wu, who designed both of Mrs. Obama's inaugural gowns.

The speech dress is sort of a composite of various Wu looks from his fall and spring collections. It has an under-shell like this yellow dress, but it has the same color and lace overlay like this one.

As for finding one exactly like FLOTUS wore, that probably won't happen, because it's custom. But here's a Wu with a first-lady-like silhouette and some of the lace detail—it's $2,695.

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President Obama Played the Role of Groomsman at Aide's Weekend Wedding

What if you were getting married and the President of the United States was your groomsman? It actually happened.
7 days ago

If the President of the United States agrees to stand up for you at your wedding, you know you have a good relationship with your boss.

That's the case for Marvin Nicholson, one of President Obama's top aides—and his most frequent golfing buddy. Nicholson, also the White House travel director, plays with Obama most Saturdays, but not this past one, because that was the day Nicholson married his girlfriend, Helen Pajcic, and the president was his groomsman.

Image Credit: Facebook/WJTX4/The Local Station/News4JAX

Obama flew to the Jacksonville, Florida, wedding location from Washington on Saturday afternoon, making it in time to stand in at the early evening ceremony, which was held at a private home

Someone else who made it for the nuptials? The man who was Nicholson's boss before Obama: Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry's role was even more important than that of POTUS.

He officiated the wedding.

Image Credit: Facebook/WJTX4/The Local Station/News4JAX

Nicholson was a former aide to Kerry more than a decade ago, having first met him when he was just a young golf caddy at a course in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where then-Senator Kerry used to play. Now the 6'8" Nicholson plays with the Commander-in-Chief; out of the approximately 330 times Obama has played golf as president, Nicholson has reportedly been there for more than 125 of those games. In 2014, Obama told the New York Times that when he's with Nicholson, he can just chill.

“Every president needs a space where he can be quiet and let loose and feel normal. And when I’m with Marvin, we can talk the same way we would if we were just a couple of guys having a beer and whacking a ball around.”

Here, they are playing together during Obama's vacation on Martha's Vineyard three summers ago:

Image Credit: Vincent DeWitt-Pool/Getty Images

Nicholson and Pajcic, who worked on Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, might have been the bride and groom, but, let's face it, they were upstaged by their wedding party.


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President Obama To Take One Last Ride Out of Town Aboard 'Air Force One'

President Obama gets one last flight out of town aboard his private jumbo jet—and then it's goodbye, Air Force One.
8 days ago

It's (literally) one of the biggest perks of being President of the United States: Air Force One.

US Secret Service Uniformed Division vehicles pass in front of Air Force One after US President Barack Obama boarded his motorcade upon return on December 6, 2016. Image Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Today, the White House announced President Obama's Tuesday trip to Chicago for his farewell speech, and the subsequent return to Washington, will be his final flights on AF1 as POTUS.

But he gets one more complimentary trip after January 20th, as press secretary Josh Earnest told the White House press corps Monday afternoon:

“It is obviously tradition for the former president to take one last flight aboard the Presidential aircraft at the conclusion of the Inauguration.”

Here's President George W. Bush departing Washington on Marine One, on his way to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, after Barack Obama was sworn-in as President on Inauguration Day, January 2009:

Former President George W. Bush looks out over the U.S. Capitol as his helicopter departs January 20, 2009 in Washington. Image Credit: Eric Draper/The White House via Getty Images

Obama, too, will get a lift on Marine One to Air Force One on that final day of his presidency, but, unlike the Bush family, who were transported to their ranch in Texas, the Obamas are headed for vacation.

President Obama walks from Marine One to board Air Force One. October 25, 2016. Image Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Said Earnest:

“That's certainly what I would anticipate, yes. The president and first lady will be leaving town shortly after the Inaugural Ceremony. But they will return, of course, to their rented house in Washington, D.C.”

No official word where exactly the former first couple will be headed, but Obama told Oprah Winfrey during an interview last month that he was going to take Michelle Obama on a trip to a less wintry locale.

“We're going someplace warm. See ya.”

And he'll get to take Air Force One, a Boeing 747-200B series airplane, a massive, customized plane with more than 4,000 square feet of space and three levels. There are two galleys; one medical “office,” which can also be transformed into an operating room, if necessary; a full conference room; and specialized communications and anti-aircraft weaponry systems. It can also be refueled in mid-air, which means it can stay up as long as need be, in the case of emergency.

President Obama boards Air Force One as he departs Germany following talks with European leaders on November 18, 2016. Obama is on his last trip to Europe as U.S. President. Image Credit: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

In June, Obama told a group of Air Force Academy graduates that he'd really miss flying on his private plane.

He also said the same to Ellen DeGeneres when he went on her show last February:

“I don't miss flying commercial, taking your shoes off and all that.”

Might want to get used to it; come January 21st, it's back to life as an everyday citizen.

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Hollywood Was Tired From All The White House Partying

And maybe that's why they were so boring and cranky at last night's Golden Globes.

What the White House is Talking About:

11 days.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

No events on President Obama's schedule, assuming he's planning for tomorrow's farewell speech.

But First, Farewell Interviews:

In what's shaping up to be the longest goodbye, the president did another interview, this time with NBC's George Stephanopoulos, where he said some stuff about President-elect Donald Trump—and also that he thinks you have to be crazy to be POTUS. “[Trump] is somebody who is not lacking in confidence. It's probably a prerequisite for the job. Or at least you have to have enough craziness to think you can do the job.”

Obama said he thinks Obamacare will survive after he's left office, and that he did not underestimate Vladimir Putin. So, back to that whole confidence thing. I liked the part where he talks about Sasha and Malia because he's *such* a dad. “They still have sleepovers and they go to other folk's houses, and when the parents say, oh, you know, Malia, she's just so sweet, or, Sasha helped to pick up the dishes.”

Obama also said that they started to complain about Secret Service hanging around when they became teenagers, and, really, who wouldn't?

The Obama of the Future:

In the short term, he's going to write a book; in the long term, he's going to try to hold on to his legacy, writes Isaac Dovere today in Politico. Obama's keeping some of his White House staff close at hand as he transitions to private citizen to accomplish those goals—including David Simas, who moves from the White House to CEO of the Obama Foundation, Ben Rhodes, and Anita Decker Breckenridge.

Guys, It's Cold:

Pete Souza, White House chief photographer, caught this very cool shot of a snowy Marine One takeoff from the South Lawn on Saturday:

Marine One yesterday.

A photo posted by Pete Souza (@petesouza) on

Image Credit: @PeteSouza/Instagram

Obama was heading to the Florida wedding of his aide, and most frequent golf partner, Marvin Nicholson. Of the 333 rounds of golf Obama has played as POTUS, Nicholson's been there for almost half. Here's Nicholson and his now-bride, Helen Pajcic, attending the March State Dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Image Credit: Getty Images/Pool

Hollywood Was Tired:

And maybe that's why they were so boring and cranky at last night's Golden Globes, which is usually the most fun/rollicking show of awards season. After all, about 25% of the Globe A-listers had to hustle back to Hollywood from Obama's farewell party at the White House on Friday night. I mean, they probably had to, like, share private planes home. Ew.

Kerry Washington was there; she said on E!'s pre-show that POTUS was still on the dance floor when she and her husband made for the exit at 3:30 AM, long after chicken and waffles, sliders, and ice cream made its way to the revelers for sustenance.

Image Credit: @kerrywashington/Instagram

In case you're wondering, Meryl Streep was at the party, too. She's been in the news today.

The party was good times, according to some people I know who were there. Pharrell Williams (also at the Globes) sang “Happy” and Barack and Michelle danced to it, and all the stars danced around them.

Jerry Seinfeld and the fam made a whole weekend out of it, taking a private White House tour, even going to eat at Obama favorite, Le Diplomate.

Image Credit: @jessseinfeld/ Instagram

As part of the normal celebrity goodbye ritual, a lot of them made a video for their BFF, Obama, so they could get through the emotional trauma of his departure. I really hope they're OK.

But We Dig Celebrities, Too:

IJR shot this image of Kendall Jenner as Rosie the Riveter and it made it into the new February issue of InStyle.

Image Credit: Kate Bennett/screenshot

Inaugural Fashion Alert:

From WaPo's Robin Givhan. As I've previously reported, Neiman Marcus has also upped its orders for fur coats and other fur items, the hope being a Trump administration means more locals will splurge on (and not care about) wearing fur.

Image Credit:@RobinGivhan/Twitter

What The Beltway is Talking About:

Confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump's Cabinet picks begins this week. The Office of Government Ethics, in a letter to Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), wrote that the schedule for the hearings for some of the nominees who have yet to complete the ethics review process was “of great concern.”

What America is Talking About:

Meryl Streep's Golden Globe speech. ICYMI, she called Trump's flailing on stage when discussing Serge F. Kovaleski, a New York Times reporter who is disabled, “one performance this year that stunned me.”

“It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life,” she said.

Trump responded this morning, tweeting he “never 'mocked' a disabled reporter.”

My Personal Fav Golden Globe Moment:

When President Selina Meyer, AKA Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pretended to be the DJ.

Image credit: NBC

The Intel Report is Out:

In case you ditched work early Friday, the declassified intelligence report by the CIA, FBI, and NSA on foreign meddling in the election was released. The report said with a “high confidence” they believe Russia’s goals were:

1. “Undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process”

2. “Denigrate Secretary Clinton”

3. “Harm her electability and potential presidency”

The report also said “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

Trump himself seemed to acknowledge the hacking was done by Russia (after months of denial, suggesting it could have been anyone, from a 14-year-old to a 400-pound man) in a statement, but noted the report said there was no influence Russia hacked actual vote tallies.

A Reminder: D.C. Isn't All Bad:

The beleaguered WMATA is out with an ad attempting to repair its strained relationship with Washingtonians, but it also does a good job reminding you for as much grief as this town gets, its still full of a lot of earnest people who love their country and want to serve.

Image Credit: WMATA

Inauguration Metro Cards:

Speaking of WMATA, they're now selling commemorative Inauguration cards that come with unlimited rides on Inauguration Day. Here's what they look like:

Image credit: WMATA

Missing from the card is the actual guy who's going to be inaugurated, but he is on the sleeve. WMATA said it asked the Trump transition team for an image of the president-elect for the card, but never heard back. Both the 2009 and 2013 cards featured President Obama, who is smiling. Trump is scowling.

Image Credits: WMATA

Pepe Watch:

Russia's UK Embassy tweeted this today from their English language account:

Image Credit: @RussianEmbassy / Twitter

Their Russian language account, @RussianEmbassyR, did not, however.

Also worth spinning this week:

MUNA “I Know A Place”; the xx “Say Something Loving”; and Day Lupa “Thinking 'Bout You.”  —HS

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What Twitter Handle Will President Trump Use?

Will he stick with @realDonaldTrump, use the official (but hand-me-down) @POTUS ?

What the White House is Talking About:

14 days. And all the celebrities heading there tonight for the farewell party. I heard about a Jon Hamm sighting last night at Fiola Mare—eyes akimbo, ladies.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

President-elect Donald Trump gets the big intelligence briefing today. We'll get some note-comparing between what President Obama heard yesterday and how PEOTUS hears it today.

Practicing What He Preaches:

Also today, Obama will do what he told Democrats on the Hill to do: put your public relations pants on and start talking Affordable Care Act. The president sat down for an interview at Blair House with Vox's Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff to discuss Obamacare.

Performers Tonight:

I hear Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Chance the Rapper, and Jordin Sparks will all take the stage at the #ObamaFarewellParty. And before you all freak out, this is a private party, so the Obamas pay for it out of their own pocket, like they've done for Michelle Obama's birthday party a couple of times.


Trump today meets with Graydon Carter (and Anna Wintour and David Remnick), which will be fun/weird because this is the cover of the new Vanity Fair:

First Lady Does Last Public Event:

Michelle Obama will go on Jimmy Fallon's show next week (1/11) for her final-final late-night TV appearance as first lady, but today she gives her final-final speech at the White House, honoring the School Counselor of the Year—Terri Tchorzynski of Battle Creek, Michigan. “Principal Taylor,” (Connie Britton!) will also be in attendance.

Jobs Report:

In this morning, the economy added 156,000 jobs in December, down from 204,000 in November—and fewer than the 175,000 jobs experts had predicted. On the bright side, unemployment held steady at 4.7% and wages are up.

Town & Country's Hottest Bachelors are a Lot of Politicians:

There are some seriously sexy, suave, and monied guys on the new list of Town & Country's 50 most eligible bachelors of 2017, but for some reason, the top 5 are from Capitol Hill. I don't see it, but I live here, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

No. 1? Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois):

Image credit: Town & Country

Followed closely by Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Massachusetts), Patrick Murphy (who lost his Senate bid to Marco Rubio), and Jack Schlossberg, who, ok, isn't Capitol Hill, but as the son of Caroline Kennedy, and a guy with political aspirations, he will be at some point. Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) comes in at No. 6.

Trump's Like, “See Ya', Ambassadors!”:

Twitter was in a ruckus last night at Julie Davis' scoop that Trump wants to get rid of all political envoys on January 20th, no exceptions. I guess that includes James Costos, the former HBO executive and mega-Obama donor-turned U.S. Ambassador to Spain. Should be noted that Costos' husband is the Obama family's interior decorator. Also, he's in town for the party tonight, this morning enjoying room service breakfast with a balcony view from what appears to be a room at the Hay-Adams:

keeping an eye on things over breakfast this morning...

A photo posted by James Costos (@theserranopost) on

Image credit: @theserranopost / Instagram

What The Beltway is Talking About:

Communication obtained by the U.S. showing senior government officials from Russia celebrating President-elect Trump's victory “as a geopolitical win for Moscow,” according to the Washington Post.

What America is Talking About:

That Taco Bell is the healthiest fast-food restaurant.

The CIA's Highly Partisan Approval Rating:

Democrats now have a higher favorable view of the CIA than Republicans for the first time since an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll began tracking in 2002.

Image credit: NBC News

The bipartisan high-point for the CIA was 2011, following the death of Osama bin Laden.

What Twitter Handle Will President Trump Use?:

Will he stick with @realDonaldTrump, use the official (but hand-me-down) @POTUS the Obama administration will pass on, or will he get something new (@PrezTrump45? @POTUSDJT? @realPresidentTrump?)?

In this week's episode of The Political Edit podcast (which you can download and subscribe to here), Kate and I discuss and talk about Trump's tweeting habits ahead of taking office. Here are few things I've noticed this week:

1. He has regularly tweeted between 6 and 7:30 in the morning.

It's a smart strategy, setting the news cycle for the day with his thoughts on car companies, Obamacare, and the “dishonest” media (below are the times of his first tweet for each day this week):

1/3 - 7:30 a.m.

1/4 7:22 a.m.

1/5 - 6:57 a.m.

1/6 - 6:19 a.m.

2. If he misspells something, he deletes the tweet and sends the tweet again, corrected.

From this morning, he tweeted “for the sake if speed” and six minutes later, corrected it to (“for sake of speed)”:

Image credit: Hunter Schwarz / Independent Journal Review

Then Wednesday, he wrote “Julian Assange” as “Julian Assuage,” but corrected itseven minutes later:

Image credit: Hunter Schwarz / Independent Journal Review

Everybody misspells (especially me when tweeting), but it makes me wonder what happens when these misspelled deleted tweets are ~Official Statements From The President Of The United States~. Will they be archived? The Obama administration recently made every social media post from more than 100 accounts [email protected], the White House Facebook page, and accounts for the first lady and vice president available on a searchable archive.

3. He sometimes makes you wait a while before getting to read the rest of his thoughts.

Trump has posted a few tweets ending in ellipsis, and didn't post the follow-up for several minutes. This morning, for example, he tweeted: “Wow, the ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got ”swamped“ (or destroyed) by comparison to the ratings machine, DJT. So much for....” and eight minutes later finished it off “being a movie star-and that was season 1 compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season 1. But who cares, he supported Kasich & Hillary.”

There are a couple other examples of that this week, and mostly, it just makes me wonder what's happening in those minutes between.

America's Fav Netflix Shows, By State:

This map showing the top Netflix show according to Google Trends made by a company that created it so you'd click on their site and maybe consider their services, is pretty cool. A little disappointed Virginia and Colorado are the only states for “House of Cards.”

Image credit:

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If You're Willing to Pay Thousands of Dollars, You Too Can Rent Obama's Hawaiian Vacation Home

Look inside the multi-million dollar vacation home President Obama rents for his Hawaiian getaways.
12 days ago

The sprawling beachside estate in Kailua, Hawaii, where President Obama and his family have spent several winter vacations—including one just a couple of weeks ago—is available to rent. This is what the “Plantation Estate at Paradise Point” looks like:

Image credit: Paradise Point Estates

The house is a six-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom house, that boasts a great room (combo living room/dining room), gourmet kitchen, and lagoon-style pool.

Image credit: Paradise Point Estates

The website for the real estate company putting the place up for rent describes it this way:

“Paradise Point Estates is a luxury beachfront rental built for security, comfort and elegance on Oahu’s Kailua Beach. An Obama presidential vacation destination, the Plantation Estate is a rare jewel that comes fully appointed with plantation style finishes and furnishings from around the world. The perfect setting for island romance, wake to a spectacular Kailua Beach sunrise from the master suite and bath, which features a soothing spa bathtub.”

There's even a special page on the site, dedicated to the history Obama has with the house, and with Hawaii in general:

Image credit: Paradise Point Estates

Obama, along with Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and other various family members and friends, just spent the Christmas holidays, their last of the Obama administration, enjoying views from the house like this one from the main living room:

Image credit: Paradise Point Estates

But if you want privacy, there's also this view from the master bathroom:

Image credit: Paradise Point Estates

Celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Micheal J. Fox have rented the home, leaving testimonials for the website. Obama has one on there too:

“My family and staff have grown very fond of our time at Paradise Point Estates.”

Of course, all this luxury comes at a cost. Rates reportedly start at $3,500 per night. If the price is shocking, maybe seeing a video of the place will help?

And if it's still too steep, there's a Holiday Inn Express just a couple of miles away, with rates about $200 per night.

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Don't Talk Smack Unless You Can Back It Up on the Billboard 200

Trump tweeted yesterday that album sales for Jackie Evancho, the teenage "America's Got Talent" contestant performing at his inauguration, are "skyrocketing," but...

What the White House is Talking About:

15 days.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

President Obama today received the U.S. intelligence officials' report on hacking. President-elect Trump is supposed to get it tomorrow. DNI director James Clapper says Congress will get a turn to see it next week.

The Curious Part:

This sentence in the AP's announcement of news Obama had gotten the report: U.S. intelligence officials have delivered the classified report on Russian *and other foreign meddling* in American elections to the White House.

Also Happening:

The White House Correspondents' Association meets today with incoming Trump press secretary Sean Spicer and other members of the next administration's communications team.


The eagle eyes of Mark Knoller spotted something missing at the White House yesterday:

Knoller asked a White House official what happened to it and was told that the playset was offered to the Trumps, in case Barron or the grandkids would want it, but they turned it down. So it was taken away and given to a local charity.

The World's Longest Exit Interview?:

Now extended to the Cabinet. I'm sorry, but I feel like every two seconds there's another Obama speech, or story, or analysis, or something about all that he has accomplished.

Today, there's one more: a letter directly from Obama (with graphics!) outlining the past eight years, with links to “exit interviews” he asked members of his Cabinet to write, as well. Have at it. And here's another that came out today, in the Harvard Law Review, written by the president on the topic of all he's done in the area of criminal justice reform.

No One is Safe:

Someone got into the Wikipedia again and changed the name of Bo Obama's successor to “Newty the Pig-dog.” Guys, that's funny. The name linked to Newt Gingrich's wiki page; it's already been changed back.

Image Credit: @annalecta / Twitter


“Got the memo about wearing color for the photo? OK then, let's do this, ladies!” That's what I imagine happened before the 65 Democratic women of the new 115th Congress took this class photo yesterday.

Image Credit: @nancypelosi / Instagram


What's wrong with this picture? Email me if you see it: [email protected]

Image Credit: / Express

We Partied with Google & Congress:

Big thanks to the folks at Google and the Smithsonian on a fantastic partnership for last night's bash welcoming the members of the 115th United States Congress. The IJR and Google event was hosted at the Smithsonian's gorgeous, newly renovated Arts & Industries Building.

We saw lots of members (Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Reps. Charlie Dent, Darrell Issa, Mark Sanford, Billy Long, Andy Barr, Will Hurd, Marsha Blackburn, Vicky Hartzler, Carolyn Maloney, Sens. Jon Tester, Bob Casey, James Inhofe, and more than 50 others), media (Kristen Soltis Anderson, Greta Van Susteren, Steve Clemons, Zeke Miller, Julia Ioffe, Paul Kane, Jake Sherman, Daniel Lippman, Bubba Atkinson, Amy Walter) and notable D.C. types (Boris Epshteyn, Susan Molinari, Charmaine and Jack Yoest, Tammy Haddad, Grover Norquist, Ana Navarro, Alex Conant, Becca Rutkoff). Our politics team had fun with the 360-degree camera that was set up for guests.

Image Credit: @camdenstuebe / Instagram

What The Beltway is Talking About:

Intelligence, Russia, and Julian Assange.

This morning on Capitol Hill, officials including National Intelligence Director James Clapper testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized the recent election-focused data thefts and disclosures,” Clapper said.

Image Credit: Screenshot / C-SPAN

In addition, more Republicans have come out in support of the U.S. intelligence community over Assange,

President-elect Trump (who has not received regular intelligence briefings and denies the intelligence community's assessment that Russia was behind the hacks) tweeted that he is actually “a big fan” of intelligence and the media is lying about his position. BuzzFeed also reported that the FBI never asked for access to the DNC computer servers.

What America is Talking About:

The disturbing Facebook Live video from Chicago of four people, who are black, attacking a disabled man, who is white and tied up in a corner. During the livestream, someone can be heard saying, “f*** Donald Trump” and “f*** white people.” Chicago police said charges are expected soon, per the Chicago Tribune.

When They Go Low, We Get High:

Marijuana advocates will be handing out 4,200 joints on the west side of Dupont Circle on Inauguration morning and then lighting up four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump's speech on the National Mall.


As seen in Scott Circle, a sign advertising this non-pot Inauguration Day protest.

Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz / Independent Journal Review

Don't Talk Smack Unless You Can Back it up on the Billboard 200:

Trump tweeted yesterday that album sales for Jackie Evancho, the teenage “America's Got Talent” contestant performing at his Inauguration, are “skyrocketing.” If there's one thing you should know about me, it's don't come for me with chart facts unless you can back it up. I've read “Billboard Book of No. 1s” cover-to-cover and follow the charts like some people follow sports.

Image Credit: Billboard 

Here are the facts: Evancho's only album currently charting on the Billboard 200, “Someday At Christmas,” is actually plummeting, from No. 93 to No. 134. In all fairness, though, Christmas is over, so shoutout to her for still charting in January. What I assume Trump was referring to, however, was the genre-specific Billboard Classical chart, where the album was No. 1 for five weeks and was last week's greatest gainer on that chart.

The New York Times' Maggie Haberman called Trump's tweet about Evancho “a distillation of [his] worldview”: that he “he sees himself as commodity that can help others.” It's also pure “Art of the Deal” Trump, a primer on how he operates. Hone in on the most flattering nugget (sales are skyrocketing!), disregard everything less convenient (*cough*on the Billboard Classical chart, not the flagship, all-genre Billboard 200*cough*) and sell, sell, sell. It's a smart sales strategy, but it's also now a political strategy, and one we'll see a lot more of in the next four years.

MoTab Inauguration Warm Up:

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed at a less controversial Inauguration yesterday, for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. The setlist included “Climb Every Mountain,” from “The Sound of Music,” and “They The Builders of the Nation,” a hymn about the Mormon pioneers written by Ida Romney Alldredge, Mitt Romney's great-aunt.

Image Credit: @GovHerbert / Twitter

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Donald Trump Said Music Sales of His Inauguration Performer Have "Skyrocketed." The Charts Say Otherwise.

Album sales for Jackie Evancho's only album on the Billboard 200 are actually down.

President-elect Trump tweeted Wednesday that album sales are up for Jackie Evancho, a teenage former “America's Got Talent” runner-up performing at his Inauguration later this month.

But that's actually not true, according to the most recent Billboard 200 album chart.

A single Christmas album by Evancho is currently charting, currently at No. 134, down from No. 93 last week.

There are also no charting albums or songs from Evancho currently on the top charts for iTunes or Amazon music.

Evancho's Someday At  Christmas was, however, No. 1 for five weeks on Billboard's Classical Albums chart, and was the Billboard Classical Chart greatest gainer last week.

So skyrocketing? Maybe when compared with fellow Classical chart artists Lindsey Stirling and Celtic Woman featuring the Orchestra of Ireland, but overall, Evancho is still being outsold handily by artists Beyonce, Green Day, and the cast of Hamilton.

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Friendly Times at 1600 Penn

Today, Kellyanne Conway lunches with Valerie Jarrett at the White House.

What the White House is Talking About:

16 days.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

President Obama went to Capitol Hill and warned Dems not to “rescue” Republicans on Obamacare.

“[Republicans] are like the dog who caught the bus,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) after the meeting with the president. “They can repeal, but they have nothing to replace.” Schumer added Obama was “very inspiring.”

Obama ignored shouted questions from the press on his way out, but he did take a picture with the pages.

“I want to take a picture with the Senate Pages,” he said. “They are the next generation.”

Image Credit: @markknoller / Twitter

POTUS Upstaged By Plaid Ensemble:

I mean, he kind of was. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Florida) is probably the only person who would wear a plaid suit and shiny cowboy hat to a meeting with the president. Do you, Congresswoman.

Image Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images

Friendly Times at 1600 Penn:

Today, Kellyanne Conway lunches with Valerie Jarrett at the White House. According to Conway, who chatted about the date on CNBC yesterday, it was Jarrett who issued the invitation. “We'll be talking about a number of different things there,” said Conway.

Yesterday afternoon, it was Josh Earnest's turn to play host. He and Jen Psaki had an “hours-long huddle” with Sean Spicer, incoming WH press secretary. According to Politico, Spicer got a tour, saw the best spots for interviews, and a “refresher” on logistics. He also apparently got an earful about how the WH press corps functions with the WH comms team. “They certainly gave me a lot to think about,” Spicer said.

As I Said, They're Going to Party:

Remember yesterday when I teased the whole “Obama's last shindig” happening thing? It's happening. On Friday night, the White House will be lit: celebs, food, drinks, music. I hear Beyoncé and Jay Z are going to perform.

Ivanka Trump Can Walk to Obama's House in Three Minutes:

Google timed it out for me. Here's her new house, and here's Obama's:

The houses are basically around the corner from one another in Kalorama. Washingtonian yesterday afternoon broke the news of Ivanka's new digs—a six-bedroom, $5.5 million mansion, pictured on the left, which is basically around the corner from the Obama's, pictured on the right.

Also a neighbor? Donald Trump's Secretary of State pick Rex Tillerson, who I hear is living in a house at the corner of Tracy Place (Ivanka's new street), and 24th Street. It's all a little too cozy, isn't it?

Tillerson yesterday cashed out of Exxon Mobil, to the tune of $180 million, and headed to... the grocery store, where he splurged on what looks to me like Raisin Bran, milk, and baby carrots.

Image Credit: @SanhoTree / Twitter

Much ado is being made of Tillerson shopping at what locals dub the “Soviet Safeway,” the Dupont Circle location known for its lack of provisions and shabby deli staffing. So bask in that wonky irony the way so many D.C. Twitter nerds are doing since this photo came to light yesterday evening.

Obama Golf Partner Buys Restaurant:

Tony Kornheiser has other jobs, like hosting his podcast, but he's a member of the frequent POTUS golf club. Now Kornheiser can add restaurateur to his resume, because apparently he, former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams, and Maury “You *are* the father!” Povich have purchased Chad's in Friendship Heights. I wonder if they know everyone who goes there for last-call calls it Sad's. The trio plan to turn it into a happening restaurant. Best of luck.

Uncle Joe:

Of all the memes from yesterday, this one is my favorite.

What The Beltway is Talking About:

Megyn Kelly's announcement she's leaving Fox News for NBC.

What America is Talking About:

Kim Kardashian, who yesterday posted on Instagram for the first time since she was robbed in Paris in October.

Image Credit: @kimkardashian / Instagram

Welcome Back:

The first day of the 115th Congress yesterday was full of ceremony, Speaker Ryan was re-elected as speaker, and House Republicans backed down on their plan to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. It was also Vice President Biden's final time swearing in senators (RIP, the C-SPAN Biden opening day kiss cam).

Image Credit: @LoopEmma / Twitter

Shoutout to Cal Marshall, the son of Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), who dabbed while Ryan swore in his father. Ryan had no idea what was going on.

Image Credit: @BostonGlobe / Twitter

Rep. Marshall tweeted that his son is now grounded.

First Order of Business:

Vice President-elect Pence said this morning at a press conference on Capitol Hill that “the first order of business” in the new Congress under the Trump administration will be “to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Congress is Mostly Christian:

Pew Research Center is out with data on the religious makeup of the 115th Congress. It's 90.7% Christian.

Image Credit: Pew

Here's the breakdown among Christian members: Protestants of various denominations make up 55.9% (Baptists the largest, at 13.5%), Catholics 31.4%, and Mormons 2.4%. Jews make up 5.6%, and all other faiths are less than 1%.

Who Do You Trust:

We now live in a time when a Republican saying he trusts U.S. intelligence over WikiLeaks' Jullian Assange puts him at odds with the Republican president.

Sen. Tom Cotton (Arkansas) was asked today on MSNBC about President-elect Trump's tweet this morning about how Assange said a “14-year-old” could be behind the hacking of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, despite U.S. intelligence sources saying it was Russia. Cotton chose his words carefully, but said, “I have a lot more faith in our intelligence officers ... than I do in people like Julian Assange.”

Pence was asked about the same tweet this morning and he said Trump was expressing “his very sincere and healthy skepticism” of U.S. intelligence, and they would be briefed by intelligence officials Friday.

Must Follow:

This weekend I tweeted this photo of a woman posing in front of cheese on its tenth anniversary. It started to rack up some retweets, but then it got retweeted by a new account called @kalesalad that says it retweets “all the viral tweets the meme accounts steal,” and it blew up (currently at 21,000 RTs)

Image credit: @hunterschwarz / Twitter

I [email protected] to find out who it was and how it became so popular in one week, and wrote about it here. Pro-tip: if you spend any amount of time on politics Twitter, [email protected]; it will make your life better. It's all the best tweets straight from the people who tweeted them, no parody or meme aggregator accounts to serve as middle man.

Speaking of Twitter Memes:

@Wendys tweeted a Pepe this morning. It has since been deleted (“Our community manager was unaware of the recent evolution of the Pepe meme's meaning and this tweet was promptly deleted,” the account tweeted).

Image Credit: @kylegriffin1 / Twitter

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How @kalesalad Became an Overnight Meme Parody Account Slayer

"The meme accounts have created a new economy."

It can be hard online to know who was the first to make a joke or post a photo. The best stuff often gets ripped off and reposted by parody and meme aggregator accounts— without the original creator's username. It often gets more retweets, reblogs, or likes, too. The most you can do to credit the original creator sometimes is tweet “who did this?” (followed, of course, by a crying laughing emoji 😂😂😂).

But @kalesalad is trying to change that.

The account very rarely tweets itself, but instead retweets the original source for the most viral stuff on Twitter. And users are interested. Last week, @kalesalad had less than 100 followers. Today it has more than 24,000.

The man behind @kalesalad is Samir Mezrahi, aka @samir, head of social at The Dodo. He's someone who's crafted his share of viral tweets, and seen some of those plagiarized (disclosure: Mezrahi and I previously worked together at BuzzFeed).

“I always wanted to do this thing,” he told IJR. “I've been on Instagram for a while doing the same thing, giving credit, tagging the users if I can find them, and that kind of picked up over the last few months.”

The @kalesalad Instagram account now has more than 118,000 followers, and the early response to the Twitter account indicates it could also build a large audience.

Its feed is currently a mix of New Year's jokes, feel-good tweets, and lots of pet photos...

...cats and dogs alike.

“I was surprised at the reaction,” Mezrahi said. While content creators aren't fond of parody and meme aggregator accounts, many users don't seem to mind, not necessarily caring where something came from, as long as they get to laugh.

“The meme accounts have created a new economy,” he said. “They were good at aggregating the best of Twitter for that day.”

But @kalesalad, a username Mezrahi picked “over a year ago, when it was trendy,” represents a pushback against that meme economy, rewarding people for good tweets and collecting them all in one place.

Users have reached out to him with tweets of their own that were stolen, making his DMs a viral tip box. “They wanted redemption,” he said.

But perhaps nothing proves @kalesalad is working more than how the parody accounts are reacting. He's gotten plagiarized by @Dory...

...and blocked by @girlposts.

“It's interesting to see how many people do care about the source,” Mezrahi said.

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Hillary (and Bill) Clinton Will Be Front And Center at Trump's Inauguration

After her loss to Trump, Hillary Clinton will be in the crowd to watch her old nemesis be sworn-in as President.
14 days ago

In perhaps a shocking twist to President-elect Donald Trump's Inaugural festivities, it was reported today that Hillary and Bill Clinton will be among the VIP guests attending the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Donald Trump.

According to a story in New York magazine, the Clintons mulled over attending, and ultimately decided it would be best to support Trump in a show of solidarity:

“She and President Clinton, the sources said, decided to do so out of a sense of duty and respect for the American democratic process.”

Both Clintons have laid low since the election, with rare sightings of Hillary Clinton hiking in the woods near her New York home. She was most recently spotted having breakfast alone at a restaurant.

Typically, former presidents and their spouses are seated nearby the new president as he is sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Inauguration Day. It's an exercise Hillary Clinton has been through before, also on the losing side, as she was in 2013, when President Obama was sworn-in as President following his win over her.

President Barack Obama takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, January 21, 2013. Hillary Clinton is next to Bill Clinton, to the right, but obstructed from view. Image Credit: Scott Andrews/AFP/Getty Images
Former US President Biil Clinton(C) and US Secretary Hillary Clinton(R) are seated as US President Barack Obama takes the oath of office. Image Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

George W. Bush and Laura Bush also announced Tuesday that they will attend Trump's Inauguration.

All eyes will be on Washington in just 17 days, when Trump takes the oath of office.

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NEW: Here's the House Ivanka Trump and Her Family Have Reportedly Purchased in Washington

You won't believe who Ivanka Trump's new neighbor in Washington, D.C. will be...President Obama.
14 days ago

While rumors of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's pending move to Washington, D.C., have been swirling for the past several weeks, there was no solid confirmation on their status until today, when Washingtonian reported the couple has decided on this home in the city's swanky Kalorama neighborhood.

Image credit: @MRIS/

According to records, it was sold on December 22nd for $5.5 million. Washingtonian says it is not yet clear if the Trump-Kushners are the actual buyers, or if they will rent from another owner. But a real estate agent involved in the transaction told a reporter that Ivanka Trump has “completed a deal.”

Ironically, the six-bedroom house is only a couple of blocks from the home President Obama and his family are renting for the next couple of years, post-White House. Google says it's a three-minute walk.

Image credit: Google Maps

The Islamic Center of Washington, the Embassy of Oman, and the Embassy of Turkey are also close by. That said, the presence of the United States Secret Service will be strong in the neighborhood, owing to the homes of the former first family and, it would seem now, the current first family. Additionally, wherever there are embassies and diplomats in Washington, no matter the country, Secret Service is close at hand.

Here's a recent post on Ivanka Trump's Instagram page of her family celebrating Hanukkah:

New Year's Eve + Last Night of Chanukah

A photo posted by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on

Shots from the real estate website show the family's reported new house looks decidedly modern, with a sleek kitchen and vast living space:

Image credit: @MRIS/
Image credit: @MRIS/

Both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are likely to play roles, either officially or unofficially, in the Trump administration.

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Get to the Choppa

I missed "The Bachelor" season premiere to watch "The New Celebrity Apprentice" last night with Arnold Schwarzenegger for you.

What the White House is Talking About:

17 days.

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:

Back from a two-week vacation, President Obama has essentially two more weeks to shore up help for the survival of the Affordable Care Act.

Also, That Farewell Speech:

Obama said in an email to America yesterday that he has yet to write his speech, but he's delivering it on January 10th in Chicago. CNN's Brian Stelter reported last night that the White House has asked the major TV networks for airtime that evening.

How He Spent His Vacation:

Basically, golf, beach, gym, bilateral with Japan's leader, snorkel, shave ice, luau, golf. Mark Knoller with the tale of the tape.

How I Spent My Vacation:

Basically, eat, sleep, Solidcore, drink, drink, sleep, eat, Solidcore, eat.

Michelle Obama's Stylist Has a Look Back:

Meredith Koop, the very behind-the-scenes stylist and special aide to Michelle Obama, posted a cool video on her Instagram of all of FLOTUS' best outfits of 2016. Koop says her inspiration word for the year was “fresh.”

Image Credit: @meredithkoop / Instagram

'Guantanamo in the Twilight of the Obama Administration': 

Per usual, the Miami Herald had the best coverage of Guantanamo Bay this year, closing with this photo gallery of images of what it looks like as 2016 came to a close.

Final Celebrity Bash?:

Hearing word of one last Obama-hosted party at the White House, scheduled for this week. There's no comment from the White House, but I am getting buzz celebrities are descending on D.C. mid-week...

Fear Not, The Trump Koozies Are Here: 

There are a lot of beer-centric (official) Trump Inauguration items up on the site this week, including a six-pack of beer koozies for $20. So make the beer cold again, guys.

Furniture Dorks, Unite!:

I am one. And I noticed that the chairs in PEOTUS' office in Trump Tower appear to be by Warren Platner, a famous mid-century modern furniture designer. Platner's metal chairs, like the ones in Trump's office, can retail for several thousand dollars each. (I snagged a couple years ago in my parents' divorce and I annoyingly don't let anyone sit on them. Hi, I'm Kate.)

Image Credit: @nowthised / Twitter

Not sure if this is a clue as to how Trump intends to decorate the White House, but I'm down with mid-century for sure. This weekend CNN had a cool story on what goes into the move—notably that Obama insisted on “a special rain shower head for his bathroom,” according to the chief White House usher.

Our Daily Melania:

Add Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana to the list of designers happy and willing to dress Melania Trump. He instagrammed his pleasure seeing the future First Lady wearing the label's black dress on New Year's Eve in Palm Beach. You can buy the jewel-embellished black number at for $2,295.

Melania Trump #DGwoman ❤❤❤❤❤ thank you 🇺🇸 #madeinitaly🇮🇹

A photo posted by stefanogabbana (@stefanogabbana) on

Image Credit: @stefanogabbana / Instagram

What The Beltway is Talking About:

It's the first day of the 115th Congress, and House Republicans voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, a move opposed by Republican leaders, including President-elect Trump (well, he at least opposes the timing of it, tweeting this morning weakening OCE is not as important as other priorities right now), Speaker Paul Ryan, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

What America is Talking About:

Back to that grind after the holidays.


Rent is due.

Bring Out The Gavel:

Fun fact: the gavel used to “gavel in” the new Congress is used only for that purpose, and the same one has been used since 1999, per the House Office of Art & Archives.

Image Credit: House of Representatives Office of Art & Archives

Liberals on the Rise:

Conservatives outnumber moderates and liberals, and have since Gallup began tracking in 1992, but their latest poll found the percentage of Americans who self-identify as liberal is the highest it's been, at 25%. Conservatives make up 36% and moderates 34%.

Image Credit: Gallup

Two Americas: One “Modern Family,” the Other, “Duck Dynasty”:

The New York Times is out with maps that shows the geographical divide of certain television shows, some which do a better job showing our political divide than past electoral results. Here's their map of “Duck Dynasty,” which is most popular in Trump-voting rural areas:

Image credit: New York Times

And here's the map for “Modern Family,” which is most popular in Clinton-voting metropolitan areas:

Image Credit: New York Times 

MoTab Drama:

Former Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Jan Chamberlin announced last week she was resigning from the choir over their scheduled performance at the Inauguration. In a Facebook post, she wrote, “Tyranny is now on our doorstep” and compared Trump's tactics to Hilter's, by “finding a scapegoat target to blame, and stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear.”

The performance is voluntary for MoTab members, and only a limited number will be performing. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spokesman Eric Hawkins told me in an email that response to the performance “has been mixed, with people expressing both opposition and support.”

“The Choir’s participation continues its long tradition of performing for U.S. presidents of both parties at Inaugurations and in other settings, and is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics,” he wrote. “It is a demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power.”

Get To The Choppa:

I missed “The Bachelor” season premiere to watch “The New Celebrity Apprentice” last night with Arnold Schwarzeneger for you. Episode 1 pitted male and female teams against each other to sell Tyra Banks beauty products and Trident gum. Schwarzenegger's firing catchphrase was, “You're terminated. Get to the choppa,” and there was no mention of Trump until the end, when his name appeared briefly on screen as executive producer.

Image Credit: Screenshot / NBC

And you can't make this up, but the show immediately after was a new game show called “The Wall” lol.

Image Credit: My TV

Watching made me think of how “The Apprentice,” which at one point was just a reality show that never won an Emmy and would probably be forgotten about soon enough, has now become one of the most important reality shows of our time, the launching pad for a presidency.

Happy New Year's:

I can't tell you guys how much I missed you over the holidays. There were so many times something came up and I was like, “that would make the perfect 'What America is Talking About'” (Mariah Carey, that viral video about why Millennials are bad, Hollyweed). Hope everyone made some good resolutions, and if you're looking for a good workout plan, might I suggest my go-to:'s free Find A Plan library, which has different workouts based on your goals, and videos in case you don't know how to do a particular lift.

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Here's the Moment Donald Trump's Name Appeared on Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'The New Celebrity Apprentice'

Trump said in December he had a "big stake" in the show but would devote no time to it.

“The New Celebrity Apprentice” starring former Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger premiered on NBC Monday. In the past year, the franchise has gone from a footnote in future documentaries about reality television of the 21st century to perhaps the most historical reality show ever for launching the presidency of Donald Trump.

But Trump was absent from the show for all but a brief moment when his name appeared as executive producer:

Image credit: Screenshot/NBC

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said in December that Trump would remain an executive producer on the show and suggested he would be involved in it in his “spare time,” similar to how other presidents golf. But Trump himself tweeted later that month that although he had a “big stake” in the show, he would devote no time to it.

In Monday's “The New Celebrity Apprentice” episode, contestants, split into male and female teams, sold products for Tyra Banks' beauty line and for Trident gum. Other than Schwarzenegger being referred to as “governor,” it lacked political references, although Schwarzenegger did joke with contestants who wouldn't say who they thought should be fired that they were “ducking more questions than Congress.”

Trump was known during his time on “The Apprentice” for his catchphrase “You're fired.” Schwarzenegger Monday delivered the line, “You're terminated. Get to the choppa,” references to his films “Terminator” and “Predator.”

And in a you-can't-make-this-up moment, following the premiere, a new game show called “The Wall,” also premiered.

Image Credit: Hunter Schwarz/Independent Journal Review

However, it nothing to do with Trump's proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Another Fashion Designer Jumps to Melania Trump's Defense

Melania Trump's New Year's Eve dress gets another fashion designer on her side.
14 days ago

Melania Trump wore a classic, black cocktail dress to the New Year's Eve party at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. The knee-length dress had a bit of holiday sparkle; two bows with jeweled brooches topped off the look.

President-elect Donald Trump arrives with his wife Melania for a New Year's Eve party December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Image Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

With a handful of fashion designers backing away from dressing Mrs. Trump, on the grounds they do not support her husband's policies, this dress, by Dolce & Gabbana, made it clear she has the support of one of the industry's top fashion houses.

Stefano Gabbana, one half of Dolce & Gabbana, proudly posted an image of Trump on his Instagram feed, calling her a #DGWoman, and decorating the caption with hearts and flags of both the United States and Italy:

Melania Trump #DGwoman ❤❤❤❤❤ thank you 🇺🇸 #madeinitaly🇮🇹

A photo posted by stefanogabbana (@stefanogabbana) on

Yet, almost as soon as he had posted, several of Gabbana's commenters turned on him, saying he should be ashamed of dressing Trump. Gabbana wasn't having it.

He challenged the haters, wading into the comments section to defend Mrs. Trump, at one point calling his criticizers “ignorant.”

“How many stupid and ignorant people r on instagram!!!! .... Please if you dont like my post unfollow me ... thank u ❤”

(L) Stefano Gabbana and (R) Domenico Dolce attend the Dolce&Gabbana Boutique Opening Event during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017 on September 25, 2016 in Milan, Italy. Image Credit: Venturelli/Getty Images

Gabbana's remarks put him in the column of those designers who have come out in support of dressing Mrs. Trump, including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Carolina Herrera, the venerable American designer who has several times been worn by Michelle Obama. In an interview last month, Herrera said of designing for Mrs. Trump:

"Of course I will, as the first lady of this country I will. Of course. It is an honor to dress the first ladies of the country and it’s something to do for the United States. It’s not for myself. It’s for the public.”

Michelle Obama most notably wore Herrera's $2,300 blue dress to meet the Pope during his U.S. tour last year.

September 22, 2015, on the start of a 3-day trip to Washington. Image Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

But back to Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian duo known for their sexy, curve-hugging designs, often favored by celebrities—coming to the defense of Melania Trump might make them a favorable choice for the future first lady's wardrobe. She's worn them before, including to the Academy Awards in 2011:

Donald Trump and wife Melania Trump arrive at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. Image Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images

And if you really liked the black dress she wore the other night for the New Year's Eve bash, you can always buy it — for $2,995.

Image credit:

It's available online at Saks Fifth Avenue, and it's already selling out in several sizes.

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Obama's Lengthy Swan Song: A "Farewell" Speech Now Planned for Chicago

One last "farewell" from Obama is scheduled for next week in an American city plagued by extreme violence.
15 days ago

In a series of self-congratulatory New Year's Day tweets, President Obama listed the ways he feels his administration accomplished its goals. For example:

His opponents disagreed, and also took umbrage with the tone of the president's tweets. All that credit-taking was grating for the likes of Bill Kristol:

It has felt like a particularly lengthy swan song, with the president has giving several interviews as he heads out of office, many outlining all of the things he feels he succeeded at doing during his tenure.

And today, he sent out an email to supporters, announcing yet one more — final — speech.

“On Tuesday, January 10, I’ll go home to Chicago to say my grateful farewell to you, even if you can’t be there in person.

I’m just beginning to write my remarks. But I’m thinking about them as a chance to say thank you for this amazing journey, to celebrate the ways you’ve changed this country for the better these past eight years, and to offer some thoughts on where we all go from here.

Since 2009, we’ve faced our fair share of challenges, and come through them stronger. That’s because we have never let go of a belief that has guided us ever since our founding — our conviction that, together, we can change this country for the better.

So I hope you’ll join me one last time. Because, for me, it’s always been about you.”

The speech will be held at McCormick Place Center in Chicago; tickets are first-come, first-serve and will be handed out on Saturday, January 7th, at McCormick.

Of course, not only is Chicago Obama's hometown, it's also a city plagued by violence, under the leadership of former Obama aide, Mayor Rahm Emanuel. People are calling on the president to not overlook the skyrocketing murder rate in the city.

The numbers are astounding:

However, the bulk of the president's speech will likely be a last-ditch effort to outline (again) the legacy components he doesn't want President-elect Donald Trump to dismantle. One in particular, the Affordable Care Act, is at the top of the list. Obama heads to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to work with top Democrats in the hopes of saving his signature “Obamacare” legislation.

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White House Shows Lots of Obama 'Playtime' with Best of 2016 Photos

The White House's chief official photographer released his favorite Obama photos of the year...remember when he did the wave?
17 days ago

For the final time of the Obama presidency, chief official White House photographer Pete Souza has released a list of his favorite photos of the year. Many of them showcase the president's “playtime,” more so than his “work time.” But that's what Souza says was his objective:

“Yes, there are some historic moments included but mostly I was looking for behind-the-scenes moments that give people a more personal look at the President and First Lady. And I’ve included a few that I thought were just cool photos.”

To be honest, Obama had a good deal of play this year. Here he is in a shot from Souza's list, grabbing a quick putt with his aides after the Asian nations summit in California:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

But that wasn't the only sports image in the Souza look-back list.

Remember that time Obama did the wave at a baseball game in Cuba? Sitting next to Fidel Castro's brother, Raul? Yeah. He liked that:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

...and when he used the Oval Office to get in a couple of putts with comedian Bill Murray in October?

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

Obama enjoys spending time with celebrities; that was clear in 2016. After inviting George Clooney to the White House for a meeting, they played some basketball. This image was also on Souza's list:

Just last month, Obama shook hands with Bruce Springsteen in the Blue Room, after he gave him the Medal of Freedom.

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

Obama was also big with children in 2016—Souza's images of the president playing spawned their own hashtag: #obamaandkids. Here's one in the Oval Office from June:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

...and one more from November:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

But probably the most seen Obama-kid pic from 2016 was the time he went to England and met Prince George, who threw some suspicious shade at POTUS, in the way only a cute three-year-old wearing a monogrammed bathrobe can:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

VP Joe Biden digs kids, too. In June he let a bunch of them super-soak him; this picture also made the list

Official White House photograph/David Lienemann

Obama did other fun stuff, too, as Souza documented... dance:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

...and do yoga:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

...and more dance:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

However, there were some serious moments. Mostly, though, it was a toast to Obama's final year with shots like this:

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

Finally, there was one last look at what 2017 has in store ...

Official White House photograph/Pete Souza

Souza, who was once an official White House photographer for Ronald Reagan, has said he's leaving the White House on January 20th, and won't emain to document President-elect Trump's time in office. In eight years he estimates he took two million photos of Obama—so it might be time for a break. Said Souza in a statement:

“I hope you enjoy this final Year in Photographs of the Obama administration. It’s been the honor of a lifetime to be a witness to history these past eight years.”

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Russian Embassy Blows Off Obama's Retaliation with "Lame Duck" Tweet

Russian embassy laughs off U.S. sanctions by calling President Obama a name.
19 days ago

When the White House this afternoon released a litany of retaliatory punishments against the Russians for the alleged hacking into U.S. email systems and databases—“Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” as the administration called it—the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom tweeted its thoughts on the move:

“President Obama expels 35 [Russian] diplomats in Cold War deja vu. As everybody, including [American] people, will be glad to see the last of this hapless Ad[ministration.]”

One of the measures President Obama announced was the ouster of 35 diplomats living in the United States who have been determined to be involved in counter-intelligence efforts; essentially, the government is saying they're spies. The State Department is giving the diplomats and their families 72-hours to high-tail it out of America.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in the United States, which is based in Washington, D.C., also tweeted strong words, straight from a spokesman for the Russian government:

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in a call with media, added the moves announced by Obama today does little to help the crumbling relationship between the two countries:

“Such steps of the U.S. administration that has three weeks left to work are aimed at two things: to further harm Russian-American ties, which are at a low point as it is, as well as, obviously, deal a blow on the foreign policy plans of the incoming administration of the president-elect.”

Not that the president-elect appears to care all that much. Donald Trump responded to the news of the U.S. sanctions against Russia by saying he thinks we should all just let bygones be bygones—“move on.”

Image credit: Donald J. Trump transition communications

Experts say it's only a matter of time before Russia gets its own list of punishments in order for the United States, a response that's expected in the next couple of days.

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Obama "Escapes" on Christmas Eve in Hawaii

President Obama "escapes" from a live action game...
23 days ago

On Saturday, day eight of his Hawaiian vacation, President Obama skipped golf and the beach, and instead went to Breakout: Waikiki, a “live action escape game.” The company's website describes it this way:


Obama and his daughters, Sasha and Malia, spent about an hour and a half inside the game space and, according to an employee who spoke to Buzzfeed, the visit was a complete surprise.

Although Breakout did throw down a twitter Challenge to Obama a year earlier:

At Breakout, players, each charged between $28-40, pick a room and then have one hour to escape from it — Obama and his daughters made it out with 12 seconds to spare. “They were yelling, screaming, having a blast,” said MacGregor Greenlee to Buzzfeed.

Afterward, Obama celebrated with a visit to Island Snow, for some “shave ice,” a Hawaiian specialty.

US President Obama enjoys shave ice with his daughter Malia and friends at the Island Snow parlor in Kailua, Hawaii, on December 24, 2016. Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

He did the same with last year, also with Malia:

US President Barack Obama has shave ice with his daughter Malia (R) and friends at Island Snow in Kailua on January 1, 2015. Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

And in 2013. The man likes his shave ice:

US President Barack Obama walks with a “shave ice” he bought from Island Snow at Kailua Beach Center in Kailua, Hawaii, on December 31, 2013. Image credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

But, we digress. The main difference with yesterday was the Breakout game, which the Obamas went to after having lunch at Side Street Inn, where, said a local news report, they ate some of everything on the menu, including:

  • Pork chops
  • Fried rice
  • Salad
  • “Lilikoi” baby back ribs

The Christmas Eve outing was something different for the president, although he did spend the morning working out, which he does most days while in Hawaii. Michelle Obama spent her Christmas Eve taking calls from families tracking Santa via NORAD. To one family she shared a weather report — and details on recreation the first family had the day before:

“The weather in Hawaii is beautiful. I'm looking at the sun right now — it's sunny. It rained yesterday, we got soaking wet — we were riding ATVs up in the mountains. But the weather is sunny.”

For Obama, however, there's only one real form of recreation on vacation (and on regular weekends): golf. He has played almost every day since arriving at his Kailua rental home last Friday night.

US President Barack Obama doffs his cap after putting on the 18th green at the Kapolei Golf Club in Kapolei on December 21, 2016. Image credit: Nicholas Kamm/APF/Getty Images

On the 21st, he let the press watch him sink a put, and take a bow after, but otherwise, the media following him on vacation normally has to wait out the hours of golf in a nearby McDonalds or Starbucks while Obama plays.

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Ivanka Trump is Taking a Unique Approach to Moving To Georgetown

Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner have been spotted shopping around for homes in Georgetown. According to our sources, she's also looking at all-day neighborhood hair appointments to prep for Inauguration Day.
a month ago

It's been reported that Ivanka Trump is house-hunting in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Jared Kushner. The couple has apparently decided to focus their search for a family home in Georgetown, a stately neighborhood consisting of multi-million dollar mansions, and block after block of quaint, brick, row houses.

And now, Independent Journal Review has learned that house shopping isn't the only way Ivanka is prepping for her possible move to Washington.

Last weekend, they were apparently spotted checking out options, most within walking distance of Kesher Israel, the Orthodox synagogue at the corner of 28th and N Streets, Northwest, where it is likely the family, who are practicing Orthodox Jews, will attend services.

Last year, Ms. Trump discussed the importance of her religion in an interview with Vogue, explaining that she and her husband observe the Sabbath, which typically means they do not operate vehicles during that time, so being able to walk to temple is essential:

“We don’t eat meat...Or, well, we keep kosher. I always shied away from it being a public conversation because it’s such a personal thing. We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others. I just feel like it’s such an intimate thing for us. It’s been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I’m also a very traditional person, and I think that’s an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity....Yeah, we observe the Sabbath, from Friday to Sunday we don't do anything but change out with one another. We don't make phone calls.”

However, according to a real estate source who discussed the topic exclusively with Independent Journal Review, while news outlets are furiously stalking the homes for sale in the area, of which there are few the size that the Kushner-Trump family would require actually on the market, Ivanka and Jared are apparently looking to rent. A source who asked to remain anonymous said “they're hoping someone in a house they like will be open to an offer to move out, so they can move in.” It's a tactic sometimes used by those in a position of having enough wealth to make the numbers work for whoever's home they wish to occupy.

The key would be that the house is walking distance to Kesher:

ivanka trump georgetown
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, Ms. Trump has been reaching out to Georgetown-area vendors for beauty help during inauguration weekend. A source at a chic salon, also within walking distance of Kesher, told me a member of the soon-to-be first daughter's team got in touch to see about pricing for all-day assistance with hairstyling for the days her father celebrates his inaugural ceremony. The price that was quoted, in the low thousands, was apparently not amenable to what she was looking for, and the booking has, so far, not happened. However, Independent Journal Review did learn that Ms. Trump secured a local makeup artist.

Delicious breakfast courtesy of Arabella!

A photo posted by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on

Missing my monkeys!

A photo posted by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on

Political observers are betting Ivanka and Jared will have some sort of roles in the Trump administration. However, whether hers is formal or informal has yet to be determined. There was a story about her getting space in the First Lady's regular office area in the East Wing, but the Trump transition team shot down the rumor as untrue:

“This is false,” Hope Hicks, Trump's spokeswoman, told Business Insider. “No decisions regarding Ivanka's involvement have been made.”

But Georgetown, where Ms. Trump spent two years attending university before transferring to her father's alma mater, University of Pennsylvania, is by all accounts where the family is hoping to reside. Independent Journal Review reached out to the transition team for comment, however, we did not hear back by deadline.

Editor's note: This story was updated after publication.

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Michelle Obama to Oprah: "We Are Feeling What Not Having Hope Feels Like"

Michelle Obama confesses to Oprah Winfrey, "We are feeling what not having hope feels like."
a month ago

In an interview scheduled to air Monday on CBS, Michelle Obama shares her disappointment about Donald Trump's win with everyone's talk show mom, Oprah Winfrey:

“Now we are feeling what not having hope feels like. Hope is necessary; it’s a necessary concept, and Barack didn't just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe — what else do you have if you don’t have hope? What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?”

During her late-summer and early-fall stump speeches for Hillary Clinton, the first lady had some of the most fiery words for now-President-elect Donald Trump, slamming him for his temperament in one September rant. “A president can't just pop off or lash out irrationally,” Mrs. Obama said. Winfrey tapped into that anger, or, at the very least, the first lady's sense of despair about whats she thinks Trump will bring to the White House, versus what her husband did.

"Having a grown-up in the White House, who can say to you in times of crisis and turmoil, 'hey, it’s going to be ok,' all of this is important for our kids to stay focused and feel like their work isn’t in vain, that their lives aren’t in vain. What do we do if we don’t have hope?”

In October, following the release of the “Access Hollywood” hot-mic incident, Mrs Obama gave another speech, where she emotionally laid into Trump, saying, “this isn't normal,” and that his words had shaken her to her core.

US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on October 27, 2016. Image credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

But, just two days after the November election, the first lady graciously hosted Melania Trump at the White House, meeting her for tea. She didn't allow the press to be there, but her press office released a photo:

Image credit: Chuck Kennedy/The White House

Mrs. Obama also talks to Oprah about her feelings about race relations in America:

“Color, wealth, these things that don’t matter still play too much of a role in how we see one another, and it’s sad because the thing that least defines us as people is the color of our skin."

Image credit: CBS

The full interview will air Monday, December 19th at 8 p.m.., and then on Winfrey's OWN network two nights later at 9 p.m.

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Obama Will Hold Final Press Conference of 2016 ... And Then It's "Aloha" DC

Before he leaves town for Hawaii and a lengthy vacation, Obama has one final thing to do
a month ago

On Friday, President Obama is scheduled to speak to the press in the White House briefing room. It's part of an annual tradition of his presidency: taking questions from the media before he jets off on his Christmas family vacation in Hawaii.

President Barack Obama waves after his year end press conference in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House December 18, 2015 in Washington, DC. Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House on Thursday announced the press conference is scheduled for 2:15 on Friday, just three hours before the Obamas are slated to leave the White House via Marine One, en route to Andrews Air Force Base, to board Air Force One for the overnight flight to Hawaii, and the start of what will likely be a 15-day break.

President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha walk towards Marine One on the South Lawn prior to their departure from the White House December 18, 2015. Image credit: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

At the press conference, look for Obama to be asked about current headlines, everything from Russian hacking to the crisis in Aleppo, the transition to a Donald Trump presidency, his thoughts on the current state of Obamacare, and Trump's Cabinet picks.

And then, with the exception of a scheduled visit to Pearl Harbor with Prime Minister Abe of Japan on December 27th, the president's strictly “Hawaii time,” doing the usual vacation things he did last year.

Like eating shaved ice:

Obama leaves Island Snow with shaved ice after a visit to the beach December 27, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Spending time with his daughters:

US President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia Obama walk during a visit to the Honolulu Zoo January 2, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

And playing (lots and lots of) golf:

President Barack Obama watches his approach to the 18th green at the Mid-Pacific Country Club golf course December 28, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Recently, Judicial Watch reported the 2015 Obama family trip to Hawaii cost a total of $4.8 million.

All told, the Obama's travel expenses, and those of his family, have rung up to a grand total of more than $85 million over the past eight years.

Last year in Hawaii, the Secret Service travel expenses were tallied at $1.2 million, and accounted for costs such as hotel rooms, air travel, and car rentals. Here's the motorcade taking the president to go on a snorkel adventure at a nature preserve last year in Kailua:

Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

And here are members of a Secret Service counter-assault team accompanying Obama on his daily vacation visit to the gym at nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii to workout:

Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Obama's typically stay in a rental house on the island of Oahu. For the past few years, that house has been a 7,000 square foot estate that costs around $3,500 per night, which Obama must pay for himself; only the travel and security bills are footed by the U.S. Government.

Here's a video tour of the house, which is called the Hale Reena Estate:

The president is picking a great time to get away from Washington and hit the sandy shores of Hawaii; a cold front has slammed Washington, D.C., causing temperatures to plummet into the teens and 20s, the coldest it's been all year.

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