Matthew Walther’s Second Cleveland Diary

2016 Republican National Convention

CLEVELAND, Ohio—I forgot to tell you about one of the most surreal things I have ever seen. Taking a cab back to the Washington Free Beacon Cleveland bureau in the beautiful Tremont neighborhood on Sunday night, I watched about 40 policemen on bicycles troop past in the moonlight.

The Circus Comes to Cleveland

Stop Trump

CLEVELAND, Ohio—It is flattering to be in Cleveland for the GOP convention as a member of the press, because everything that happens here is really for me. Not me specifically, of course, or even primarily for writers at online newspapers—TV stations with large audiences are obviously higher up on the press heap—but the media as a whole, with its ability to broadcast events and to shape public opinion about them, is the whole reason-for-being of this vast, tense pep-rally.

Metro Refugee Endures Commute From Hell


Scene: A couple exhausts its life savings to move to a home in the Huntington section of Alexandria, Va. in order to be within walking distance of the Metro, the Washington, D.C. version of New York’s subway. They close on May 31 and move in June 12. On July 5, Metro shuts down the lines that bring Husband 11 miles to Washington Free Beacon HQ, which is located many floors above THE POLITICO. The Wife is 10 months pregnant.

Downstairs at Eric’s

Eric Ripert

He almost became a waiter. When Eric Ripert was finishing his first year at culinary school in Perpignan, France, his instructors were so impressed by his front-of-the-house skills that they were planning on ending his kitchen studies to have him focus fully on service. But even as a 16-year-old, Ripert knew his passion was cooking, not waiting tables.

Critique of Pure Reason

Reason Rally

For reasons that are still mysterious to me—you might say it’s a holy mystery—I decided to attend this year’s Reason Rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial. In the words of its organizers, the rally is meant to celebrate “secular, atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinking, and nonreligious identities” and “showcase the presence and power of the nonreligious voting bloc, and to demand that reason be put at the forefront of our public and political discourse.”

Bull in a China Shop

David Gurfein

The baseball game was my idea. We were supposed to sit on the first base line, third deck. But instead of seeing the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard strike out Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa to lead off the third, I stand in the Donohue-Cecere Funeral Home in Westbury and watch David “Bull” Gurfein pray over the body of a stranger. He looks at peace there on the kneeler, though he’ll tell me later that he’s uncomfortable at wakes, even the ones he doesn’t crash. He rises, pauses at the casket as if to say a final goodbye to a man he’d never said hello to, then turns to greet the grieving son. I lunge for the kneeler and remove the prayer card from my coat pocket.