Behind-the-Scenes Beefing at White House Correspondents’ Bash

·3 min read
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters?Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters?Getty

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The 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend saw the usual hefty doses of star power, smarm, and sycophancy, but it also featured a series of peculiar episodes that had attendees buzzing well into Monday.

Confider and our spy-witnesses had a front-row seat to some of the antics. One of the most talked-about incidents was the beefing between Kellyanne Conway and Molly Jong-Fast, who counts the Trump pal’s soon-to-be-ex-husband George Conway among her close friends.

According to witnesses, Kellyanne shot daggers on multiple occasions at Jong-Fast and openly trash-talked the liberal podcaster to her friends, which Conway denies.

“Without thinking of anyone in particular, of course, it seemed that the most awkward and miserable people all weekend are the ones who live on social media. The Island of Misfit Toys believes their own circular-bullshit-self-praise and are painfully out of place in my beloved D.C. when they are forced to clean up, converse and connect offline,” Kellyanne wrote to Confider, deploying the alternative fact that she has “never” had a “conversation” with Jong-Fast as a way to spin her way out of the drama.

Elsewhere, the freshly fired Don Lemon seemed to attempt to be a man about town despite some, um, recent setbacks. The ex-CNN anchor was widely rumored to have been uninvited from an Axios bash Friday night at the National Building Museum—a claim Axios boss Mike Allen denied.

But Lemon was spotted at United Talent Agency’s “off-the-record” party at the ritzy Fiola Mare seafood joint, where he managed to avoid a messy run-in with CNN boss Chris Licht, who was front and center for much of the weekend’s festivities.

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Speaking of which, CNN’s big brunch on Sunday morning was an odd one. Climate change protesters stormed The Line Hotel to stage a sit-in, chanting “Climate News Network,” much to the bemusement of guests. “This is the end result of a culture that defends law enforcement,” one guest remarked as security guards removed demonstrators and a CNN employee used his foot to nudge them on their way out. After the breach, one of the event’s organizers was overheard telling security, “I want a fucking discount!”

The surreal shindig was inexplicably headlined by Tiësto, who performed from a booth overlooking the room full of journalists nursing hangovers. The Dutch celebrity DJ did the set in exchange for a free seat at CNN’s WHCD table, said Confider’s favorite schmoozer Licht.

On Saturday evening, Axel Springer’s giant CEO Mathias Döpfner towered over everyone at Semafor CEO Justin Smith’s posh Kalorama home, mentioning to a circle of guests how he had projected his U.S. businesses to perform better than his German ones. But when asked by Confider how his American portfolio would continue to respond to a declining market, Döpfner admitted he’d continue to focus on efforts that might include more cost-cutting measures.

And in a true testament to the weekend’s unhinged marriage of politics and celebrity: At NBC's Saturday night after-party, Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw was seen crouched on the ground next to Lisa Vanderpump telling her how much he loves her show.

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