Though the annual Alfalfa Club dinner is closed to the press, details invariably leak

By Sean Neumann
January 27, 2020 02:40 PM
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What do Bill Gates and Mitt Romney and Ben Stiller and Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump all have in common?

Despite their political differences, they all attended the same exclusive Washington, D.C., event on Saturday, according to reports. The occasion was the Alfalfa Club dinner, an annual party — and the club’s sole purpose — in which some of the country’s leading figures gather for a night of food, drinks, networking and self-deprecating jokes.

Or, as The Washington Post put it in 2015, “that bulwark of old-school schmoozing, forever impervious to modern conventions, such as selfies or business-casual dress codes.”

Though the event is closed to the press, details invariably leak each year.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is reportedly a member of the Alfalfa Club, hosted an after-party this year, according to Politico.

The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, took photos of some of the attendees at Bezos’ party on Saturday night, including Gates, Kushner and Trump. (Bezos’ girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, was also in attendance, according to Politico.)

Stiller was Sen. Romney’s guest at the club dinner, where Romney was the outgoing president, per Politico.

The eclectic gathering reflects the Alfalfa’s bipartisan history and focus on exclusivity above all.

Other members, according to the Post, have included Mike Bloomberg and Warren Buffett; Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; and former Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

The 200-or-so members are by invite only, according to the Post. Openings are created by a member’s death.

While previous presidents have attended the dinner in the past, Donald Trump reportedly has not.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner (center, from left) in 2019
Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty
Jeff Bezos
Leigh Vogel/Getty

Outside the confines of the Alfalfa Club, President Trump has long been critical of Bezos, primarily around the fact that Bezos owns the Post.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the paper for its sometimes critical coverage — as he has attacked numerous other media outlets.

“Washington Post employees want to go on strike because Bezos isn’t paying them enough,” Trump tweeted in 2018. “I think a really long strike would be a great idea. Employees would get more money and we would get rid of Fake News for an extended period of time! Is @WaPo a registered lobbyist?”

Bezos has taken a more neutral tone in response to the president’s anger.

“My ownership of the Washington Post is a complexifier for me,” he wrote last year. “It’s unavoidable that certain powerful people who experience Washington Post news coverage will wrongly conclude I am their enemy. President Trump is one of those people, obvious by his many tweets.”