WASHINGTON, D.C.—While most Americans look forward to Friday afternoon as marking the end of their workweek with the promise of a relaxing weekend ahead, many Washington insiders—from interns to Congressional committee chairs—have come to dread that time when major announcements are made just minutes before the Capitol closes down for the week.
Unpopular policies, legal rulings, presidential appointments, embarrassing disclosures, sex scandals, resignations, terminations, and all other sorts of otherwise shocking developments that would normally dominate the news cycle are simply dumped on whoever is left answering the phones in newsrooms while high-profile journalists are still walking out to their cars—all in the hopes that it will blow over before Monday morning.
Politicians in particular regard the approach of the last day of the business week with growing trepidation. “It really starts on Friday morning,” said one Washington insider who asked not to be named while his own legal appeal is pending. “There is this growing sense that something big is coming down—heads are going to roll, reputations will be ruined, careers will abruptly end.”
While many companies across the country are enjoying “Casual Friday,” dressing down in khakis and polos, sharing potluck lunches and even setting up margaritas machines, Beltway employees gather in break rooms and around water coolers, exchanging furtive glances and speculating on which executive order or felony arrest would be disclosed before 5 p.m.
“Every Friday is ‘Black Friday’ in this town,” complained one Congressman who asked not to be identified while jury selection for his case was underway.
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