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Sheila Washington dies at 61; Helped exonerate the Scottsboro boys

Sheila Washington was cleaning her parents’ room at their home in Scottsboro, Alabama in the 1970s when she discovered a paperback book hidden in a pillowcase under the bed.

The book, “Scottsboro Boy” (1950), was a heartbreaking memoir by Haywood Patterson, written with reporter Earl Conrad, on Mr. Patterson’s experience as one of nine black youths who were falsely accused of having raped two white women in 1931 in a notorious miscarriage of justice in the Jim Crow South, which sparked an international outcry at the time.

Ms. Washington, then 17, started reading the book, but her stepfather, who owned it, took it away, saying it was too horrible for the kids. Over time, she read it and the story burned her soul, she said. She vowed to do something about it.

“I said, ‘Someday when I’m older I’m going to find a place and honor the Scottsboro Boys and put this book on a table and burn a candle in their memory,’ ‘she told NPR in 2020.

It took her decades, but she achieved her goal, and more. She became the catalyst for the establishment of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center and went on to win something few thought possible – not only posthumous pardons for the accused, but full exonerations for the history books as well.

Ms Washington was 61 when she died Jan. 29 in a Huntsville hospital. Loretta Tolliver, a cousin and member of the museum’s board, said the cause was a heart attack.

Ms. Washington saw that the story of the Scottsboro Boys helped fuel the civil rights movement decades later, and she was determined to see her recognized.

The nine young men, all under the age of 20, were boarding a Southern Railroad freight train in March 1931, most looking for work in the depths of the Depression and most not knowing each other when they left. brawled with white hoboes who had jumped the same train.

Police arrested the black youth on a minor charge. But when MPs questioned two white women who were on the train, the women accused the boys of raping them. Accounts differ, but the women faced their own accusations of vagrancy and illegal sexual activity stemming from an unrelated incident and apparently thought that by accusing the boys they might avoid being arrested themselves.

The defendants were all tried quickly in separate trials in Scottsboro, a small town on the shores of Lake Guntersville in northeast Alabama, and garnered widespread attention; According to her account, Harper Lee later drew inspiration from the case as the inspiration for “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

All-white juries in Scottsboro sentenced each of the youths, and all but the youngest of the nine were sentenced to death. After appeals, the United States Supreme Court overturned the convictions, leading to more appeals, trials and new trials. Along the way, one of the white women, Ruby Bates, retracted her story, but the defendants remained behind bars.

These cases led to two landmark Supreme Court civil rights judgments – one that opened the door for African Americans to serve on juries, the other ensuring that defendants had the right to adequate legal representation.

Sentences were eventually reduced or dropped entirely, and the accused were released; most of them had been incarcerated from time to time for several years. But they have not been declared innocent and their names have not been erased.

Ms. Washington and others spent years planning how to honor them and decided the best way to tell their story would be through a museum. But they faced strong objections.

“A lot of people didn’t want Scottsboro to be remembered for this tragedy, both in black and white communities, but especially in white communities,” Ms. Tolliver said in an interview. “He tore off the scab from the wound.”

Opponents included a former Scottsboro mayor, who told Ms Washington to stop planning.

“He said, ‘Wait until some of the old people die,’ Ms. Tolliver said. “And she said, ‘Then we’ll die. History dies if we don’t tell it. ”

Over time enough people came on board, including descendants of some who had played central roles in the affair, and the museum began to take shape, in an old church near the train tracks. He recreated the courtroom where the trials took place.

People began to bring artifacts and memorabilia for the exhibits, including the chair on which witnesses had testified. A display case containing the book that inspired Ms. Washington was in the spotlight.

The museum (currently under renovation), opened in 2010 and has been placed on the United States Civil Rights Trail.

Ms Washington’s next goal was to erase the names of the Scottsboro Boys, the last of which, Clarence Norris, died in 1989 at age 76. The museum became the headquarters from which she led this campaign.

With the help of a legal team from the University of Alabama and others, she wanted to go beyond obtaining pardons, which forgive an offense; she asked for exemptions, which are declarations of innocence.

Ms Washington was constantly on the phone with lawmakers, lawyers, community leaders and academics, and kept in touch with all key players.

“She involved people in a very strategic way,” Ellen Griffith Spears, an American studies researcher at the University of Alabama who was part of the campaign, said in a telephone interview.

“And she did it against considerable local opposition and against quite a bit of repression from the people of Scottsboro who did not want to talk about the past,” she added. “Everyone was skeptical except Sheila. She just kept walking.

In 2013, the Alabama Legislature unanimously voted to pave the way for the state parole board to pardon Scottsboro defendants and for the governor to exonerate them. Gov. Robert Bentley, a Republican, signed the measures into law in 2013, during a ceremony at the museum.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Mr. Bentley said at the time. “But it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

More than 80 years after their arrests, the people whose names were cleared were Haywood Patterson, Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Willie Roberson, Andy Wright, Ozie Powell, Eugene Williams, Charles Weems and Roy Wright.

Sheila Edwonna Branford was born January 27, 1960 in Scottsboro to Eugene Branford and Betty (Johnson) Branford; her parents soon divorced. His mother, who became a minister, married James Nicholson, an elder of their church.

After graduating from Scottsboro High School in 1978, she worked at Scottsboro City Hall for 22 years, where she served as secretary to the mayor. She also worked for the Scottsboro Parks and Recreation Department, where she established a youth center; it is now a boys and girls club and activity center with after-school programs.

She married Ferry Washington, a former policeman and factory worker; The marriage ended in divorce. Mrs. Washington is survived by one son, Marques; one daughter, Emily Dowdy; four grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and six sisters.

Ms. Washington continued to bring school groups and others to the museum, educating new generations about the Scottsboro Boys. And last summer, she backed a group that wanted to stage a Black Lives Matter protest in reaction to the police murder of George Floyd last year in Minnesota.

“Sheila said, ‘We have to do this,'” Dr Spears recalled of the march, which was peaceful. “She said, ‘This is Scottsboro, and it’s really important that we have this walk here.’ She understood the significance of Scottsboro’s history in a very deep way.

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Did Washington just have a real weekend?

WASHINGTON – President Biden did nothing this weekend.

Well, let’s rephrase: President Biden did nothing alarming This weekend.

There were exactly eight tweets, each rooted in what can best be described as reality. There was a visit to spend time with a sick friend, Bob Dole, a former Republican senator. And there was a stop at church with the grandchildren.

Since Mr. Biden took office, the weekends have been portraits of domestic life – MarioKart with the kids at Camp David, bagels in Georgetown, and football in Delaware. Passionate about Peloton, he has not even played golf. Mr Biden’s obvious lack of interest in generating bold headlines only underscores how Trump’s waist-hole in Washington has created a sense of free time in all areas of the capital. Psychically, if not literally.

While the workload remains (it’s still Washington, after all), people still get a few hours’ sleep during the period formerly known as weekends.

“It went from working 24/7 to sort of not working at all in the blink of an eye,” said Rep. Ted Lieu, Democrat from California and one of the House directors who sued Donald J. Trump in his second indictment, about his first post. -hours of trial. “And it took a little while for my body and mind to calm down.

Mr. Lieu says he’s already back to work at full speed. Among other things, he is pushing for legislation that he says will be drafted to address loopholes Mr. Trump has exploited, including a bill that would create penalties for failure to respond to subpoenas from Congress. .

But first, watch excessively: On the Sunday after the trial ended, Mr. Lieu spent his first few hours without Trump watching episodes of “Snowpiercer.”

Mr Biden, who is focused on his $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, said he also wants to stop discussing Mr Trump. “I don’t want to talk about him anymore,” the president said last week at a CNN town hall in Wisconsin. The reality is a little different. Mr Biden has repeatedly referred to what he called failures of the Trump administration as he sought to gain public patience with the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

There is a parallel in the news industry, where reporters covering this new version of Washington say they are ready to return to the type of journalism that does not involve deciphering a human mood ring. CNN and MSNBC, whose reporters and personalities have spent years challenging Mr. Trump’s policies, have quietly reduced the number of Trump-focused reporters working under contract in recent months.

Mr. Trump of course predicted that the political news complex would crumble without him. Members of this complex say they have some leeway to breathe and, most importantly, to plan.

“As the host of a weekly show, the glaring absence of presidential scandals on Twitter means that I can plan ahead with the hope that our plan will actually be implemented,” said Brian Stelter, a former New York Times reporter who hosts “Reliable Sources” on CNN. “Informally, we used to leave a five minute gap on my Sunday show, we expected some kind of big news to break out on Saturday night. Now, we no longer assume that will happen.

Other journalists welcome the renewed attention to politics.

“A linear policy-making process is always interesting,” Jake Sherman, a Politico veteran and founder of Punchbowl News, said of the relative return to normalcy brought by the Biden era. “When you’re convinced that a rotating cast of characters won’t change the course of the US government, that’s a heartwarming thought.”

New York magazine Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi said she was reconfiguring her relationship with the White House – in particular, the idea that the current president has little interest in undermining his own press officers and political experts .

This weekend, Ms Nuzzi said, she was also surprised to learn that Mr Biden had quietly gone to church. She realized how much she keeps tabs on Mr. Trump’s every move, just in case he turns the pulse news cycle upside down.

“It becomes clear, every day, how much of what happened during that trimester was related to how he was feeling,” Ms. Nuzzi said, “and how much of our day to day life has focused on trying. to understand how he felt. . “

Outside of the isolated worlds of politics and the news media, there is no normal to return to. Washingtonians who don’t have to hang on to every word from the president still struggle to adjust to life in a city where the Capitol and the White House have been essentially militarized and everyday life has been turned upside down. both by the coronavirus and civil unrest.

Amy Brandwein, chef and owner of Centrolina, watched brunches return to downtown on weekends, but she and other restaurateurs struggled for nearly a year to take over the business lost to the pandemic.

She also fears that the political unrest may continue. Ms Brandwein said her plan to install exterior bubble-shaped structures to provide a socially remote dining option was delayed due to violence at the Capitol on January 6. She estimates that she lost around $ 100,000 in business on the days she had to shut down due to the protests. which attracted the Proud Boys and other extremist groups.

Mr Trump may have left the capital, but she fears his supporters still endanger his employees and his business. “I wonder about the future security of downtown or in general in Washington,” she said, “because the Trump movement is still going on.”

As Washington staggers to its feet, it’s clear Mr. Trump is happy to visit the dreams of anyone who suddenly sleeps more.

He issued press releases through his post-presidential office whose targets included not only the entire Democratic Party but also Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. He has sat for interviews on Fox News, repeating disputed or bogus theories about his electoral loss that allies like Sean Hannity have refused to dispute.

And at Mar-a-Lago, his seaside fortress, Mr. Trump always expects a full crowd on the dinner patio to stand up and cheer, just like he did when he did. was in office.

Other Republicans have filled the void left by Mr. Trump’s diminished profile. Much of the past week has been devoted to Washington’s gossip class gathered around an old-fashioned political scandal as if it were a hot campfire: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas s fled to Cancún – Cancún! – as his constituents suffered in a snowstorm and a power outage. Cruz’s hug was perhaps the most glaring sign of a new political era: Mr. Trump wasn’t there to give Mr. Cruz a cover by instinctively turning the spotlight on himself.

But supporters of the former president expect him to end his relative silence – perhaps with his scheduled speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.

Wayne Allyn Root, radio host and frequent visitor to Mar-a-Lago, said Mr. Trump is indebted to Republican expectations of becoming a “kingmaker” for the party in 2022, if he does not become himself. same candidate for 2024.

“It needs time to heal,” Mr. Root said, “and I think the time is about to end.”

In the meantime, a battered and battered capital has adjusted to life at a calmer pace, with calmer activities and words replacing the obscenities, characters, and gibberish that shaped how the days passed. Bagels on Bannon. Grandchildren at golf. Church on covfefe.

Historian Michael Beschloss said it would take some time to readjust to the idea that presidents typically don’t assess their existence hour by hour on how many headlines they can generate.

“It is human nature that to defend themselves, people locked in a fairing car with a reckless driver will have their eyes wide open and their hearts racing, with a lot of adrenaline flowing,” Mr Beschloss said. . “I hope that for most Americans this car ride has now stopped and we can stagger and catch our breath.”

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A century ago, white Protestant extremism marched on Washington

In the weeks following the attack on Capitol Hill, many Americans questioned whether the violence was a singular event or the result of deeper forces. Voters, Congress and a former president clash over who is to blame.

For Kelly J. Baker, writer and scholar of religion and racial hatred, the attack sounded familiar and made her nervous. Many of the rioters, a predominantly white group, were motivated by religious fervor and saw themselves as participants in some kind of holy war. Some brought Confederate flags, others crosses. Some who invoked the name of Jesus were members of far-right groups like the Proud Boys, whose participants espoused misogynistic and anti-immigrant views. Some were motivated by QAnon’s conspiracy theories and lies as well as their conservative Christian faith.

In many ways, it resembled the culture of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s and the group’s march on Washington in 1925, said Dr Baker, who was previously a professor of religious studies at the University of Tennessee. Many Americans associate the KKK with white hoods, burning crosses, and anti-black racism, but are less familiar with its white Protestant ambitions and antipathy to Catholics and Jews. Dr. Baker explores this story in his book “The Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930,” published by the University Press of Kansas in 2011.

In a long-edited conversation with The New York Times, Dr Baker reflected on how white Protestant Christianity and nationalism have long been intertwined – even a mainstream movement – and how many white churches today do ‘haven’t yet taken white supremacy into account.

I thought I would start with a direct question. Are the links between white Christianity and extremism new?

White Christianity and this white supremacist Trump extremism is certainly not a new combination. I would push back the language of extremism a bit to say that some of these things have been remarkably dominated in American history. I just think what we’re seeing right now is a dramatic form of it.

What did the attack on the Capitol remind you historically?

It reminds me of some of the Klan’s actions of the 1920s, where they marched on Washington in balaclavas and robes and carrying flags and crosses to show their dominance and presence in American life.

It was the largest Klan order in American history, with millions of members in all 48 continental states. Usually the estimates are four to six million. The people were bankers and dentists and lawyers, pastors and politicians. It involved both white men and women. They explicitly represented white supremacy and white Protestantism. Without doubt, it is also an evangelical movement. To become a member, you were supposed to be a white Christian. You had to support nationalism and patriotism. They actively encouraged members to attend church. Their language has been definitely influenced by evangelicalism, the way they speak of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Back then, what was happening with white Christians who were not members?

The Klan was kind of a dramatic example of what many other whites would understand: the importance of Christianity, patriotism, that there was a tacit agreement on white supremacy.

There are people who thwart these white people doing this, but white supremacy was not a controversial topic. The Klan has been very outspoken and honest about the use of this term. So many other white Christians might have the same beliefs as them, but the Klan raised it to 11. These are people who took the hood and the robe to say that America must be saved, immigrants , people of color.

Did this combination start in the 1920s? Where does it start?

One can probably talk about how the combination of Christianity and white supremacy goes to the American foundation, with early people like the Puritans who came forward and claim that they are the nation on a hill and that it is. is now their land and they have dominion over it. It’s not like we can tell the Klan was from the Puritans. But a variety of different movements at different times pick up on the same ideas, rhetoric and practices.

What do you observe from this current period of extremism and Christianity? How does it compare to the waves before?

As a historian you sometimes think, “I don’t know if I can take this moment in history and bring it to the present.” But you can certainly see that if you look at a Klan newspaper from the 1920s, there was similar language about God and similar language about the threat to the nation, from immigrants, Catholics, or Jews. It just sounded so familiar.

Some of the differences are quite interesting. Klan men walked around with balaclavas and robes, so they don’t share their identities. One of the interesting things for me about this movement now is people’s willingness to be so public about their beliefs. I think they were encouraged by Trump’s behavior.

Seems a little different to me than the more polished version the 1920s Klan wanted to have, where they are very careful in their rhetoric and very thoughtful about how they presented their Christianity, and were very inclined to have public relations. fluids. machine to make them respectable. I find it hard to imagine a Klan riot on Capitol Hill.

The Klan wasn’t as apocalyptic as some of the current people, you know, where they think of the end of the world.

What do you think of conservative Christians who condemn violence on Capitol Hill?

Interestingly, there are conservative Christians who support Trump but say the violence is a step too far. I think it is important. But I have this kind of idea that it means they’re okay with everything else. Like, violence is a step too far, but is white supremacy? Does the anti-immigrant impulse? Are they also convinced that something happened with the election and that Trump should have remained president?

Part of the Klan’s downfall of the 1920s is that there were Klan rulers who pushed too far. There have been a few cases involving members of the Klan that involved a whole range of violence. So people started to defect because they didn’t want to be associated. But I think the important thing about this is that the Klansmen and Klanswomen were on board with exclusion. They agree with anti-immigrant sentiment. They are totally there for white supremacy. It’s just that when that violence hit a point, they felt like they had to back down. And it looks similar to me here.

We have also seen a lot of anti-Semitism among Trump extremists. How does this historically correspond to white Christians?

In 1890, there is a push against immigrants, especially Catholic and Jewish immigrants. We definitely had with the Klan of the 1920s that the two groups it was primarily opposed to were Catholics and Jews, again with deep concern that the character of the nation would not change if it were not so dominated by white Christians, Protestant Christians. . They were also worried about the emancipation of blacks, but much of their efforts were directed towards other religious groups.

Is the extremism we see similar to the rise of Islamic extremism? We have made such a distinction between Islam and Islamic extremism. Does this apply to Christianity in the United States?

I don’t think we should flatten out and say Christianity is equal to Christian extremism in the same way we shouldn’t say Islam is only the same as Islamic fundamentalism. But I think we need to understand, what is it about these traditions – and the people who are part of those traditions and have practices and beliefs – that makes extremism a possibility.

How much of a pivotal point is this moment? Are we at the end of something, are we at the beginning of something?

Whether it’s a beginning or an end, I think one of the things that we can’t look away from is this question of how we could get there? I think there is still a lot of “I don’t know how it happened” that is happening at this point. It is a mistake to assume that this is some kind of anomaly that we can just work around. This is a dangerous mistake because I think we have to be very thoughtful about the role of politicians in leading to this stuff, the role of social media.

I am not very optimistic that we are at the end of this kind of violence. I’m not. And I think part of that comes from researching white supremacist movements for over 15 years.

I wonder how much conservative white American Christianity is changing. Are there historical lessons of hope?

There has yet to be an account in white Christian churches on white supremacy. There must be some very careful conversations about it, not like “people are prejudiced” but about “this is the system we all live in”.

There were white Christian leaders in the 1920s who were anti-Klan. We see this happening in some white churches, which have paid a lot of attention to the black life movement and understood that they have a job in this area. There are glimmers of hope.

But I think there has yet to be an account with which churches, leaders, and organizations are involved in something like the events of January 6th. And that is going to require a lot of soul searching and questioning.

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Analysis: The fights against Marjorie Taylor Greene and Liz Cheney have profound implications in post-Trump Washington.

On Wednesday, Democrats rushed to a vote Thursday on the counting committee assignments of Republican Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on comments and social media posts promoting the QAnon conspiracies and anti tropes. -Jews.

Meanwhile, Republicans have gathered to consider ousting Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, from a leadership position, one of the few in her party to risk political peril by berating former President Donald J Trump and voting to remove him.

Both sagas have profound implications for those in power in the post-Trump Washington era. Here are four takeaways.

Minority Leader Representative Kevin McCarthy was seriously weakened. The California House Republican leader had hoped, like so many before him, to straddle Mr. Trump’s popularity without being trampled on by his excesses. If nothing, the horrific and humiliating fights against Ms Greene and Ms Cheney have proven that Mr McCarthy – like much of his party – remains trapped under Mr Trump’s shadow.

Since the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, Mr. McCarthy has sent mixed messages: first to say that Mr. Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack, then to go to Mar-a-Lago to reconcile afterwards. that the former president complained.

The same goes for his treatment of members of his caucus. In a private meeting on Tuesday, he asked Ms Greene to publicly voice his remorse – but he stopped threatening to deprive her of all committee assignments, a step he was prepared to take a short while ago. year against Representative Steve King of Iowa for his remarks on white supremacy. .

In seeking short-term security to avoid a scuffle with the right-wing party, Mr McCarthy is taking risks midway through 2020 – and has signaled that Mr Trump is still running his show.

It’s not that big of a deal for Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The Senate Minority Leader, facing a grim second Trump impeachment trial, genuinely laments Ms. Greene and was keen to describe her (but not by name) as “cancer” in the party.

But the current crisis is not without potential opportunity for the wily Mr. McConnell. Beating Ms. Greene gives besieged Republicans in the Senate a sure way to vent their anger over the riot on Capitol Hill and disapproval of Mr. Trump’s political birth – even if they don’t vote to directly punish him in the trial.

Drawing that line is vital for Mr. McConnell, who has chosen not to publicly rebut Mr. Trump’s dangerous and false claims about a stolen election in the days following the president’s defeat, when his intervention could have made an impact. real difference.

It’s a mixed bag for President Nancy Pelosi of California. Mr McCarthy’s refusal to punish his own member forced the Democratic president to impose her own sanctions – a move she had hoped to avoid to escape accusations she was politically motivated.

The move also allowed several pro-Trump Republicans to counterattack by calling on Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota who has long been a target of Trump, to be removed from her committee positions.

Still, Democrats primarily see political benefits and plan to make Ms Greene and QAnon a centerpiece of their 2022 strategy.

Mrs. Greene will not be silenced no matter what. It’s tempting to attribute Ms Greene’s rapid rise to the advent of viral social media, but there is a long history of new MPs and Senators – including Huey Long – using new forms of communication (flyers and timeshare). antenna paid on radio stations) to bypass and challenge the leadership of their party.

Still, no member of memory made the kind of violent, inflammatory or bizarre statements made by the Georgia freshman.

And while she values ​​her missions on the committee, she seems to value her space in the spotlight, pointed at her by Mr. Trump, even more. This week, in a fundraising email featuring the photo of Mr. Trump, she pledged that “the Democratic crowd can’t cancel me.”

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Video: Snow Blankets Washington, DC

Whether it’s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest styling trends and scientific developments, Times Video reporters deliver an eye-opening and unforgettable view of the world.

Whether it’s reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest styling trends and scientific developments, Times Video reporters deliver an eye-opening and unforgettable view of the world.

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After presidency, Trump Hotel in Washington is a limited edition

WASHINGTON – Congress was in session. The White House has been buzzing with activity for the past few days.

That would normally mean a busy time for the 263-room Trump International Hotel, which is just a few blocks away. But on two evenings this week, the famous lobby that has attracted so many lobbyists, White House officials and Trump supporters over the past four years was largely vacant. The waiters and staff outnumbered the customers.

Part of it, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected hotels and restaurants in Washington and across the country. Current regulations limit indoor dining capacity to 25% in Washington.

Until last Friday, indoor dining had been banned. The hotel lobby, as well as its two restaurants, were closed, although the hotel itself remained open to a very limited number of checking-in customers. The bar was still closed this week.

Tuesday evening, in a section of the lobby with dozens of tables served by the Benjamin Bar and Lounge, there were eight to eleven customers.

“It’s a tough time with Covid,” said one of the many hotel lobby patrons, who was there for a drink. She said she was working on energy related issues in an office across the street. She refused to give her name.

David Burke’s BLT Prime – a steakhouse in the lobby mezzanine – had several tables of customers on Tuesday night. And Sushi Nakazawa, a third hotel restaurant, was to reopen wednesday evening.

Mickael Damelincourt, the hotel manager, was optimistic as he walked the lobby on Tuesday.

“We are doing very well, given the current restrictions,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming many travelers to Washington in the coming months.”

Mr Damelincourt personally greeted what appeared to be the only guest who arrived to check in for more than two hours on Tuesday evening. The elevators on the ground floor of the hotel saw little traffic during this time.

A Brioni Bespoke store, selling bespoke suits for thousands of dollars, was also empty except for the store clerk, who straightened up when a reporter peered inside. Large carts carrying additional supplies from Veuve Clicquot were to the side of the hall, intact.

A financial disclosure report former President Donald J. Trump released last week and covering 2020 showed a 63% drop in revenue at the Trump Hotel in Washington, falling to $ 15.1 million. In an interview last week, Eric Trump, the son of the former president and executive vice president of the Trump organization, attributed the loss of income to the pandemic and the city’s policies forcing the closure of restaurants and the bar.

Across the street from the hotel, Fogo de Chão, a Brazilian steakhouse, was doing a lot more business.

“People were eager to eat Brazilian steak,” said Armando Tello, the manager.

The only significant Trump allies in sight inside the hotel over the past two nights were on large televisions showing Fox News and CNN in the nearly empty lobby.

“Breaking news: Senators are sworn in for Trump’s historic second impeachment trial,” the chyron said on CNN’s screen on Tuesday.

Mr. Trump’s family tried in 2019 to sell the hotel lease in Washington. The historic building – the second tallest in the city – is owned by the federal government and is still known as the Old Post Office, from when it served as the agency’s headquarters. A contract sets the rent for the building at approximately $ 270,000 per month.

There was at least some good news for Mr. Trump last week. The Supreme Court dismissed two lawsuits brought against him early in his tenure as president, claiming that Mr. Trump illegally accepted payments from foreign governments at the hotel and other places he owns, a violation of the clause on the emoluments of the Constitution.

With Mr. Trump now removed from his post, the Supreme Court ruled the prosecution moot.

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After the presidency, the Trump Hotel in Washington is a limited edition.

Congress was in session. The White House has been buzzing with activity for the past few days.

That would normally mean a busy time for the 263-room Trump International Hotel, which is just a few blocks away. But on two recent evenings this week, the famous lobby that has drawn so many lobbyists, White House officials and Trump supporters over the past four years was largely vacant. The waiters and staff outnumbered the customers.

Part of that, of course, is the continuing coronavirus pandemic, which has affected hotels and restaurants in Washington and across the country. Current regulations limit indoor dining capacity to 25% in Washington.

Until Friday, indoor dining had been banned. The hotel lobby, as well as its two restaurants, were closed, although the hotel itself remained open to a very limited number of checking-in customers. The bar was still closed this week.

Tuesday evening, in a section of the lobby with dozens of tables served by the Benjamin Bar and Lounge, there were between eight and 11 customers.

“It’s a tough time with Covid,” said one of the hotel’s many lobby customers, who was there for a drink. She said she was working on energy related issues in an office across the street. She refused to give her name.

David Burke’s BLT Prime – a steakhouse in the lobby mezzanine – had several tables of customers on Tuesday night. And Sushi Nakazawa, a third hotel restaurant, should reopen wednesday evening.

Mickael Damelincourt, the hotel manager, was optimistic as he walked the lobby on Tuesday.

“We are doing very well, given the current restrictions,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming many travelers to Washington in the coming months.”

A Brioni Bespoke store, selling bespoke suits for thousands of dollars, was also empty except for the store clerk, who straightened up when a reporter peered inside. Large carts carrying additional supplies from Veuve Clicquot were to the side of the lobby, intact.

A financial disclosure report Mr. Trump released last week and covering 2020 showed a 63% drop in revenue at the Trump Hotel in Washington, falling to $ 15.1 million. In an interview last week, Eric Trump, the son of the former president and executive vice-president of the Trump Organization, attributed the loss of income to the pandemic and the city’s policies forcing restaurants and bar to close. .

Across the street from the hotel, Fogo De Chão, a Brazilian steakhouse, was doing a lot more business.

Mr. Trump’s family tried in 2019 to sell the hotel lease in Washington. The historic building – the second tallest in the city – is owned by the federal government and is still known as the Old Post Office, from when it served as the agency’s headquarters. A contract sets the rent for the building at approximately $ 270,000 per month.

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Champ and Major go to Washington.

The new residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have arrived: the two German Shepherds of the Biden family, Champ and Major.

The dogs officially joined President Biden and Jill Biden, the first lady, at the White House on Sunday, said Michael LaRosa, a spokesperson for Dr. Biden.

“Champ is enjoying his new dog bed by the fireplace, and Major loved running on the south lawn,” LaRosa said in a statement.

Dr Biden confirmed their arrival on Twitter Monday. “Champ and Major have joined us at the White House!” she wrote.

Their arrival ends the longest period of pet-free presidential residence since President Andrew Johnson’s tenure from 1865 to 1869, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

The Biden family obtained Champ from a breeder in 2008 after Mr. Biden was elected vice president, according to Politico, and they adopted Major in 2018 through the Delaware Humane Association, making him the first dog. rescue to live in the White House.

Mr. Biden has occasionally posted on social media about his pets. “No campaign ruff days when I have a major motivation,” Biden wrote on Instagram in October.

Later in the month he wrote on Twitter: “Some Americans celebrate #NationalCatDay, some celebrate #NationalDogDay – President Trump celebrates neither. That says a lot. It’s time to return a pet to the White House.

The tradition of presidential pet ownership dates back to George Washington’s two terms and has been carried on by 31 of the 46 presidents. Donald J. Trump was the first president in more than a century without a pet. Johnson, the last animal-free president, was known to leave flour for a family of white mice that lived in his room, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

Major and Champ’s predecessors weren’t just cats and dogs: Theodore Roosevelt had horses, dogs, a hyacinth macaw parrot, kangaroo rats, five guinea pigs and a one-legged rooster, as well as a badger. short temper named Josiah and a green garter snake named Emily Spinach. Calvin Coolidge kept a raccoon, named Rebecca, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. Herbert Hoover had several dogs as well as a wild opossum named Billy.

More recent four-legged White House residents include Bo and Sunny, two Portuguese water dogs owned by Barack Obama and his family.

The Bidens have also said they plan to have a cat.

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In Biden’s Washington, Democrats and Republicans are not united on ‘unity’

New White House press secretary Jen Psaki later dismissed the idea that Mr. Biden’s open political initiatives had failed to deliver on his promise of unity, arguing that UI , reopening schools and speeding up vaccine distribution are not partisan issues. She added that Mr. Biden’s commitment is to listen to Republicans and treat them seriously, not necessarily to agree with them on all points.

“They will say that they are not looking for something symbolic,” Ms. Psaki said. “They’re looking to engage, they’re looking to have a conversation, they’re looking to have a dialogue and that’s exactly what he’s going to do.”

Republicans complained about the lack of dialogue before Mr Biden unveiled his immigration bill to provide a path to citizenship for 11 million people in the country illegally while simultaneously stopping numerous evictions and suspending construction of Mr. Trump’s border wall. Civility, they said, was not the same as unity.

“Bipartism is not the tone. It’s a policy, ”said Josh Holmes, Republican strategist and former chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. “And I think he got the tone. But it is not unity. If you do a lot of radically partisan things, Unity is not sure to follow.

Democrats scoffed at Republican loathing given what they see as Mr McConnell’s long history of obstructionism, saying it was also incumbent on Republicans to meet Mr. Biden halfway. Moreover, they said, the unity does not demand the unilateral renunciation of promises made by Mr. Biden during the campaign.

“If they work with him, he will work with them,” said John D. Podesta, former White House chief of staff under Mr. Clinton and an advisor to Mr. Obama. “But that doesn’t mean abandoning your main program. What if he says, “I think you’ve gone too far in cutting taxes for the rich” and they say, “Well, that means you’re not serious about unity,” that is just a joke.

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Coronavirus Tracking in Washington County, Wisconsin

Coronavirus Tracking in Washington County, Wisconsin View the latest charts and maps of coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations in Washington County, Wisconsin By The New York Times