WASHINGTON — Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who criticized Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention this summer, was treated to celebrity status at a Politico Magazine party here Tuesday night.
“We’ve haven’t really been following the campaign,” he said with his wife, Ghazala, at his side, in between a flurry of proffered handshakes from guests. “We’re more interested in making political conversation more civil.”
Khan did say he was aware of Hillary Clinton’s health setbacks. “We wish her well.”
The couple is among those included in the magazine’s “Politico 50,” an annual compilation of “thinkers changing American politics.”
Lena Dunham, Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem were added to the list for their fierce advocacy for women’s issues. Dunham was a no-show at the swanky affair, held at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, as were many of the list-makers. But Clinton policy adviser Neera Tanden, another honoree, along with her colleagues Heather Boushey and Ann O’Leary, made her way through the crowd, which included Jesse Jackson, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.).
“We’ve got a few things we’re working on,” said White House Social Secretary Deesha Dyer, hard at work on next month’s State Dinner for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Dyer made the short walk from her office to the museum to pay her respects to her friend, Politico publisher Robert Allbritton, who explained he avoids making list recommendations.
“It’s not about the most influential people, or the most famous people, but people with ideas,” explained Politico editor in chief John Harris, surveying the crowd on his arrival.
Representing the almost famous, but big ideas contingent was Adam Green, the cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, who caught Politico’s attention for coining the phrase “the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.”
Warren, as well as former candidate Bernie Sanders, made the cut for the list, as did Stabenow, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. List-makers on the Trump train are Sen. Jeff Sessions (R. Alabama), and Stephen Miller, Trump’s “wunderkind” speechwriter. They were unable to attend.
Notably absent from the list was perhaps the Trump campaign’s most valuable player, Ivanka Trump. “I’d yield my place on the list for her,” said The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol. “It may endear me to the campaign.” (Kristol was a proponent of the ill-fated #NeverTrump movement during the primaries.)
Other list-makers of note are tech financiers Marc Andreessen, Fred Wilson and Jerry Brito; Sen. Ben Sasse (R. Nebraska); Dmitri Alperovitch, the head of the cybersecurity company CrowdSite, and Republican strategist Katie Packer.