Hollywood on the Potomac

Women of Broad Influence

December 5, 2016

Congratulations to Jay Newton-Small, winner of the National Press Foundation’s 2016 Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress created in 1980 in honor of the late Republican Senator from Illinois. The award is intended to recognize U.S.-based journalists whose work shows thoughtful appraisal and insight into the workings of the U.S. Congress and represents the highest standards of journalism.  Newton-Small’s reporting on the women in the U.S. Senate and their ability to work around the Capitol’s gridlock was published in ELLE Magazine. She is also a contributor to Time magazine. The NPF judges said: “Jay Newton-Small’s story showed originality and reminded us that Congress, or this female subset, can actually get things done. In 2014, women senators produced and passed 75 percent of the legislation. How? The women senators have regular bipartisan dinners. They go to each other’s homes and visit each other’s states. Newton-Small’s reporting shows that personal relationships can help dissolve the rancor in Congress and break the gridlock.”

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Trump vs. Trump

November 30, 2016

“Whatever the cost of protection, it’s nothing compared to the blow to this country if an assassination occurs,” best selling author Ron Kessler told Hollywood on the Potomac regarding the escalating costs of  the President-Elect’s Secret Service detail that now includes Trump Tower in NYC and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. With news that the future First Lady Melania Trump and son Barron will remain in NYC until he finishes his school year, their home in New York will require around the clock protection by taking over several floors of the Trump building which could cost as much as $3 million. “The Secret Service will do whatever it thinks is necessary to protect the President-Elect [no matter] where he wants to reside.”


Although the author is friends with Trump, he wasn’t called during the campaign to offer SS advice.”I’ve been friends with him ever since Pam and I flew down with him on his Boeing 727-100, since upgraded to a Boeing 757, almost twenty years ago for my book on Palm Beach: The Season: The Secret Life of Palm Beach and America’s Richest Society. We spent the weekend with him at Mar-a-Lago. Ever since we’ve been in touch with him and we see him in Palm Beach. I did talk to him on the phone periodically. In terms of advice, I think that anybody who thinks they’re actually going to give Donald advice is crazy. I think that Donald marches to the beat of his own drummer. I’ve interviewed his people. I really have a good idea of what he’s all about; that is, behind the scenes. He’s very savvy. He’s very reasonable. He’s very meticulous, which is just the opposite of the provocative comments that he makes on TV.  On the way down on the plane to Palm Beach, he imitated the nasal-constricted sounds of the old guard – the WASP Society – that condemned his club at Mar-a-Lago because it admits blacks and Jews. To this day, some clubs in Palm Beach still do not admit blacks and Jews, so I could not be a member. My friend Juan Williams could not be a member. This is just a little peek at what Donald is really like. He’s not prejudiced. He’s not a nut.”

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By The Spoon

November 27, 2016

By the time Hollywood on the Potomac showed up for a tour of Trump International Hotel DC, less than a mile from the White House and set in the Old Post Office, Executive Pastry Chef Fabrice Benezit had already been there for six and a half hours. “We do everything the day before,” he explained. “We make the croissant dough, we shape the croissants and all the pastries because we have to proof them overnight and when I come back in the morning, I bake them.” Expect to see him there until 7 PM and later if he has a banquet or a VIP dinner.


Life starts at Trump Hotel with a power breakfast at 6:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast table-side with croissants, coffee, orange juice and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. At eleven o’clock it turns into charcuterie and cheese table-side for when you come in for a working lunch. The champagne flows and it all comes together, not what you would expect in a hotel lobby. Bringing back table-side service brings a big element of fine dining when you arrive; it’s an innovative part of breakfast. They call it The Godfather of service: Think old European elegance – think Palace Hotel in Madrid.

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