Heard on the Hill

Sens. Kennedy and Klobuchar will hit the Gridiron

It’s as if the quote-worthy Republican has always been auditioning for this moment

Sens. John Kennedy, R-La., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., are set to speak at the annual Gridiron Club dinner. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. John Kennedy, known for being one of the more quotable lawmakers on Capitol Hill, will get to strut his stuff at this year’s Gridiron Club and Foundation’s white-tie dinner alongside Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who’s also set to speak.

Capitol Hill reporters know that Kennedy is ready for a comedy routine, because he’s already a pro at workshopping jokes like a standup comedian. He’ll give a folksy quip in the morning, and as a day (or week) progresses, he’ll tweak and tighten it before serving up a perfected version to a crowd of reporters on his way to a vote or on CNN. 

Klobuchar, on the other hand, is reportedly considering a 2020 presidential run in the already crowded Democratic field. So she might try to show off some star quality to a room full of people who decide which candidates are worth dedicating precious reporting resources to. 

The annual dinner is hosted by an invitation-only club of the Washington journalism establishment and attracts media executives, lawmakers and administration officials. Scheduled for March 2, it’s been a sought-after ticket on the D.C. social circuit for over 130 years. The president is traditionally invited, but can expect to get roasted and do some roasting of his own.

Last year, the governing rule behind the roasting comedy was laid out early in the night, to “singe, not burn.” But who knows what’s in store this year.

The club’s president, Wall Street Journal executive Washington editor Jerry Seib, wrote in an email to Gridiron members that Kennedy has “already has established a reputation for wit and good humor, which makes him a natural for the Gridiron.”

Trump attended last year and gave a nearly 30 minute speech packed with jokes about the media, Democrats, his own administration and more. His first year in office, Trump famously turned down two of the most high-profile media hobnobs, rejecting both the Gridiron and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

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