Jan 29, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Condoleezza Rice urges "fellow Republicans" to support Ukraine

Condoleezza Rice speaks at a podium.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks onstage during the George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards on Oct. 26, 2023, in Washington, DC. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had the titans and swells at the 111th annual Alfalfa Club dinner on their feet Saturday night as she played Ukraine's national anthem on an onstage piano — and asked her "fellow Republicans" to support Ukraine.

Why it matters: Rice, director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford, was part of the evening's through-line — protecting democracy.

Of note: Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, was part of the audience.

The big picture: The Alfalfa dinner at the Capital Hilton is a hush-hush black-tie banquet held annually since 1913.

  • It brings together the diplomatic corps; all three branches of government, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo; plus lots of moguls — Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan was inducted as a new member.
  • The menu included poached lobster and medallions of beef.

On a lighter note, Rice said Trump would replace {plays "Hail to the Chief"} with {plays "How Great Thou Art."}

  • Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy joked: "The mob on the outside of the Capitol was nothing compared to the mob on the inside."
The Alfalfa Club after-party at Cafe Milano included (from left): Josh Harris, Mark Ein, Beverly Perry (senior adviser to the mayor), D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

Details: The evening allowed the worlds of federal and local Washington to collide.

  • At the Cafe Milano afterparty (above): New Commanders owners Josh Harris and Mark Ein pose with Mayor Muriel Bowser and her senior adviser Beverly Perry — heavily involved in lobbying Congress for the RFK stadium site — alongside former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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