Welcome to the pre-inaugural edition of The Washington Mall, my new column at Puck. As some of you may know, I’ll be covering the inside conversation coursing through Washington every week—what people are really talking about in the White House, on the Hill, on K Street, and within the media. You can also sign up to receive this column in your inbox every Thursday evening. Soon enough, I’ll be starting a second edition on Monday nights, too.
I’m thrilled to begin writing and reporting this column for a number of reasons. As we head toward the midterms, there are so many storylines that intrigue me personally, and also, curiously, appear undercovered. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about a number of these topics, many of which D.C. insiders are chewing over privately—which is usually how a kernel of news blossoms in a town that is professionally obsessed with messaging and communication.
I want to bring readers of The Washington Mall closer to the action than they’ve ever been, illuminated by my reporting and analysis of that very inside conversation. For instance, I’ve been fascinated by the current, very sotto voce succession race to replace White House press secretary Jen Psaki. This afternoon, the White House announced that Karine Jean-Pierre, Psaki’s heir apparent, would make history as the first Black L.G.B.T. female at the podium. It’s a fantastic, wonderful achievement, and the Biden administration unveiled the news in typically leak-proof, elegant fashion. But the announcement obscures the fact that there had been some real drama around succession planning.