Here at DC Refined, we aim to be a place where readers can come and know they will be informed of the latest local entertainment and lifestyle news. Of course, in D.C., political news is as much our entertainment as the latest Kardashian drama. So, we've launched a new weekly series, Hill Happenings, intended to present the week’s current events from a bipartisan view, without commentary for your perusal. After all, you want to be as informed as possible before you hit up happy hour, don’t you?
Here’s what everyone is chatting about this week:
1. Ronny Jackson Withdraws VA Secretary Nomination: After facing a series of accusations regarding his ethics and workplace conduct (including that he prescribed pills like candy and crashed government property while intoxicated), Navy Admiral and White House physician Ronny Jackson withdrew from consideration to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary. The White House released a statement from Jackson on Thursday April 26 claiming that Jackson "did not expect to have to dignify baseless and anonymous attacks on my character and integrity."
2. Mike Pompeo confirmed as new Secretary of State: Outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo was confirmed by a Senate vote of 57-42 to be the next Secretary of State. Other than Trump's last Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, it's the narrowest margin of approval for the job since the Carter administration; Tillerson received 56 "yes" votes. He was sworn in as the 70th US Secretary of State within hours of the vote, and is expected to leave for Europe for his first official business trip right away. "I'm delighted to be secretary of state and completely humbled by the responsibility," said Pompeo in a statement relayed by Spokeswoman Heather Nauert. "I'm looking forward to serving the American people and getting to work right away."
3. EPA chief Scott Pruitt testifies to Congress: Pruitt was grilled for several hours as he testified before both the House Energy and Commerce Committee and then the House Appropriations Committee regarding spending and ethics scandals. "I don't mean to be too harsh, but you can't just go around acting like a big shot, and you can't go around seeing how close you can come to the line, and you can't go around disrespecting taxpayer dollars,"said Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana. "It shouldn't be tolerated. That's part of the swamp that we're trying to clean up."
4. Trump hosts first WH state dinner as president: President Trump and the White House hosted French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron on Tuesday April 24. FLOTUS oversaw the details of the event including managing the guest list of 120. The two first couples also went on a double date to Mount Vernon and Macron spoke before a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday discussing the "special bond" of U.S.-French relations.
5. Senate passes bill to protect Robert Mueller's job: With a 14-7 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation which would give Robert Mueller, or any special counsel, a "10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of his or her firing" and would require that special counsel only be fired "with good cause." Four Republicans supported the bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he would not allow the bill to reach the Senate floor for a vote.
6. Trump doesn't get Melania a birthday present: First Lady Melania Trump is turning 48 today, but she might not be getting much in the way of a gift from her hubby. In a telephone interview with "Fox & Friends," he was asked what he got his wife for her birthday and responded "maybe I didn't get her so much ... you know, I'm very busy to be running out looking for presents." He quickly added that she would be getting a beautiful card and flowers, and thanked her for her efforts in hosting the French president and his wife at the White House this week.
7. Kanye West Tweets Off About Politics and Trump: In a series of tweets that spanned nearly all day on April 25, Kanye West sounded off on political thoughts ranging from "Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed" to showing off his signed MAGA hat, calling Trump his brother and saying they are "both dragon energy." Trump responded to the tweets twice.