Washington D.C. Concerned About Image With Trump In White House
Mr. Obama’s arrival in 2009 coincided with an urban renaissance. Economic development, federal and private investment, and an influx of highly educated young, gay and diverse professionals gentrified neighborhoods, leading to an explosion in restaurants, bars and cafes. And the Obama family — African-American, youthful, attractive and urbane — were archetypes of a modern city on the upswing.
What the effect on Washington will be when Donald J. Trump moves into the White House is hard to predict. But many Washingtonians fear the worst. Among them is Vincent Gray, the city’s mayor during much of the Obama administration.
“I’m worried about people not wanting to come here because of the image they have of the Trump administration,” Mr. Gray said.
Now a member of the City Council, Mr. Gray said the engagement of Mr. Obama and his family with the city has been “tremendously uplifting.”
“Their presence in the city brought a level of dynamism that just wasn’t there before,” he said.
D.C. is going to take a really hard hit, culturally, socially, everything. We were really finding our footing; we weren’t second to New York,” said Jazmine Johnson, a graphic designer who said she now planned to move to New York.
Others around town signed up for free tension-relieving sessions at yoga studios, or meditated on emails from their progressive rabbis reminding them of the Jewish mantra “Od lo avda tikvateinu,” or, “We have not yet lost our hope.” Reports abounded of federal workers and nonprofit employees crying at their desks, scanning the web for out-of-town rentals or accepting the free hugs on offer in Farragut Square.
“The world has definitely shifted on its axis, and we’ve taken a step into the abyss,” said Michael Steel, an establishment Republican by virtue of having worked for former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and departed House Speaker John Boehner, and a frequent critic of Mr. Trump.
Jen Psaki, the White House communications director, had her engagement party at Cork, Mrs. Obama dropped in, and Jill Biden became a regular there. Ms. Gross said she hoped that Washington, despite its reputation as a transitory place, had reached a cultural critical mass that would prevent Trump-induced hemorrhaging of the young, fashionable and talented.