Posts tagged with "First Lady Melania Trump"

Trump makes it public he’s tested positive for COVID, as pandemic refuses to ‘just go away’

October 5, 2020

President Donald Trump— who called the coronavirus “a hoax” in its early stages ,and predicted that it would “just go away,” instead of taking substantial measures to counteract it—has now become the world’s highest-profile patient of a disease that has killed more than one million people, Politico reports.

His wife, FLOTUS Melania Trump also has tested positive.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows revealed on October 2 that Trump was experiencing “mild symptoms” after contracting the coronavirus; and refused to say whether he intentionally withheld information about Hope Hicks, a top aide to the president also testing positive in recent days.

The remarks from the president’s most senior staffer came after Trump announced on Twitter early on Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had become infected 32 days ahead of the November election.

“The president does have mild symptoms. And as we look to try to make sure that not only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the American people,” Meadows told a pool of reporters October 2 outside the White House.

The president and the first lady “remain in good spirits,” Meadows said, and Trump is “very energetic.” Physicians with the White House medical unit “continue to monitor both his health and the health of the first lady,” Meadows said.

Trump had tweeted early Friday that he and the first lady “will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.” Physician to the president Sean Conley wrote in a memo that the president and the first lady were “both well,” and that Trump would “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”

Conley did not mention whether Trump was exhibiting any symptoms, but a person familiar with the situation said the president was not showing symptoms yet on Thursday.

Still, Vice President Mike Pence may need to step in for some tasks if Trump is confined to the White House grounds, the person said. Pence’s office said Friday that he and second lady Karen Pence had tested negative for COVID-19.

According to Politico, “The president’s positive test threatens to transform the final month of a volatile campaign that Trump had long intended to frame around a message of success in defeating the virus—despite surging case counts in parts of the country, shuttered schools and businesses and widespread division about the seriousness of the threat.

“I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country,” Trump said Thursday evening in a videotaped message to the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

Compounding the uncertainty surrounding the final stretch of the campaign, the Republican National Committee announced Friday that its chair, Ronna McDaniel, also had tested positive for COVID-19.

McDaniel’s diagnosis means that not only Republicans’ presidential nominee, but also their top party official could be constrained to a limited schedule in the coming weeks.

Trump’s announcement raised a slew of questions about whether the 74-year-old’s existing health conditions — his latest physician’s report recorded him as just over the line between overweight and obese — will put him at an increased risk of developing serious complications from the coronavirus.

Melania Trump, 50, also falls within an age range with high risk of complications. The virus can have wide-ranging impact on different people, even at advanced age, from relatively mild symptoms to devastating breathing problems.

Hicks showed symptoms and got her test result early Thursday, but few people in the White House knew about it until later in the afternoon, according to the person familiar with the situation.

Hicks was seen traveling Tuesday on Air Force One without a mask. She also traveled with the president during his rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Still, business at the White House continued as usual, Politico said. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a briefing in the late morning, and in the afternoon the president flew to his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a fundraising roundtable and reception with high-dollar donors.

Pressed Friday on when he found out about Hicks testing positive—and whether he sat on the news of her diagnosis until after Trump’s fundraiser—Meadows told reporters he was “not going to get into the tick-tock” of events.

“I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks we discovered that right as Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows said. “We actually pulled some of the people that had been traveling and in close contact.”

Biden has now tested negative, as has his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. At this week’s debate, Trump even mocked Biden for wearing masks so often. “I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from ‘em and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Trump stood only feet away from Biden at the Tuesday debate—where multiple members of Trump’s entourage declined to wear masks, despite requests from the staff hosting the event.

 

Research contact: @politico

 

Amid U.S. vaping clampdown, Juul enters China, the world’s largest tobacco market

September 13, 2019

Holy smokes! No sooner did U.S. e-cigarette maker Juul Labs come under scrutiny for its flavored products at home than it surfaced in China, Reuters reports—with online storefronts on e-commerce sites owned by Alibaba Group and JD.com, geared to tap into the world’s largest market of smokers.

Following a press conference on September 11, during which President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump voiced concern about the health effects of vaping—noting that their 13-year-old son, Barron, is in the age group most likely to be captivated by the tasty, new smokes—the U.S. government announced plans to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves.

Juul, in which tobacco giant Altria Group owns a 35% stake, has been launching its products in international markets such as South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines, Reuters says.

The move comes as U.S. health officials are investigating a handful of deaths and potentially hundreds of lung illnesses tied to contaminants in vaping products—among them, E acetate, THC, cutting agents/diluents, pesticides, opioids and other toxins.

China, which is the world’s largest single market for tobacco consumption with over 300 million smokers, represents a market with both opportunity and risk for the company.

It is already home to dozens of Chinese competitors with names such as Relx, Yooz, and SNOW+ that have taken tens of millions of dollars in venture capital funding from high-profile investors.

Research source: @Reuters

Three more administration officials head toward Trump’s losers’ circle

November 15, 2018

Insiders at the White House might be humming Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next,” as—just a week after requesting the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—the president prepares once again to reconfigure his cabinet and West Wing staff.

First on the list of goners is almost certainly Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security. She has long been a target of Trump’s tirades, three people close to the president told The New York Times for a November 13 report. Indeed, the POTUS had floated the idea of dismissing Nielsen ahead of his trip to Paris for World War I commemoration ceremonies.

And if Nielsen goes, one of her strong supporters may be ousted, too. Internally at the White House, the Times said, removing Nielsen is perceived as a way for President Trump to push out White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, without directly firing him.

Although, the news outlet said, Trump and Kelly supposedly arrived at a plan earlier this year for the chief of staff to stay through the 2020 election, the POTUS privately has hinted that he would not bet on Kelly remaining in his job that long.

Kelly’s likely successor already is in the queue: Nick Ayers, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, long has been seen as a prospective replacement for Kelly, if and when he makes his exit—and is favored by the president’s family members, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Trump.

Finally, another administration official who is at or near the departures gate, following a run-in with First Lady Melania Trump, is Mira Ricardel, who serves as a deputy to National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Ricardel, who previously worked at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, had disparaged two members of the East Wing staff during the FLOTUS’s trip to Africa last month, a Times source said. She also is rumored to have tangled with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on issues of policy and Pentagon personnel.

The rift with Melania Trump hit the headlines this week when—in a highly unusual statement about West Wing personnel matters—a spokesperson for the first lady, Stephanie Grisham, addressed Ricardel’s status. “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Grisham said.

Since the president hates interpersonal confrontation, he often delays dismissals and then delegates them to Kelly. How these next staff changes will be handled is anybody’s guess.

Research contact: @maggieNYT

Editor’s update (11/15): Mira Ricardel now has been removed from her national security job in the White House and will continue to serve the administration in another role.

Has Melania bolted to New York City?

May 31, 2018

The most popular member of the Trump family, Melania, seems to have hightailed it back to New York City—at least, for the summer, if not for the indefinite future— along with 12-year-old son Barron.

The 48-year-old First Lady reportedly entered Walter Reed Military Hospital on May 14 for treatment of a benign kidney condition. She is said to have been released from the medical facility on May 20, returning to the White House for a short recuperation. She did not appear at the Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery with her husband and no official explanation was provided for her absence.

But now comes word from the Inquisitr that the popular anti-Trump Twitter commentator, “Tea Pain,” has reported that Melania Trump has switched the location status on her personal Twitter account to New York City. This is fueling  speculation that she has moved out of the White House.

According to the Inquisitr report, despite a recent claim by Donald Trump that his wife Melania could be seen in a White House window, the first lady has not appeared in public since May 10, when she accompanied the President to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to welcome three  who had been held captive in North Korea back to the United States.

Rumor has is that she has settled back into Trump Tower in New York City, where she had lived since her marriage to Trump in 2005.Indeed, she waited until the end of Barron’s school year in New York to move to the U.S. capital formally five months following the POTUS’s inauguration.

Following the recent surge in publicity about Trump’s affair with porn star Stormy Daniels , his wife may feel less embarrassed when she is out of the Washington spotlight.

During Melania Trump’s stay at Trump Tower in the period between January 20 and June 10 of last year, she received Secret Service security protection that Business Insider said had cost taxpayers more than $100,000 per day—a cost that would presumably now need to go back into effect if the rumor proves accurate and she actually has moved out of the White House

According to the Inquistr, earlier this month, shortly before her disappearance from public view, a separate rumor circulated in Washington, D.C., circles, claiming that Melania was not living at the White House with her husband, but instead was residing with her parents and her son in a separate residence at another location in the city. However, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that rumor as “1,000 percent false.”

Based on findings of a You.Gov poll released in January Melania Trump has an overall 48% popularity rating—higher than her husband’s, which came in at 36%; and seven percentage points up on Ivanka Trump.

Research contact: kfrankovic@yahoo.com

America finds a soft spot for Melania

December 18, 2017

First Lady Melania Trump‘s favorability rating has risen 17 percentage points since last January—up to 54%— as she has become better known in her role as first lady, Gallup reported on December 15.

By contrast, the polling organization said, only 41% of American voters say they like her husband; and that’s a stretch: Many other pollsters have the POTUS’s rating in the mid- and low 30s.

In early January, before the president took office, 37% of Americans viewed Melania Trump unfavorably—matching her favorability score—while 26% did not yet have an opinion of her.

Now, in Gallup’s first measure of the First Lady, the percentage with no opinion of her is down to 13%, while her favorability rating is up and her unfavorable rating has dipped slightly to 33%.

Melania Trump’s favorability advantage over Donald Trump in the Dec. 4-11 Gallup poll is consistent with Gallup’s findings that recent first ladies are, on average, more popular than their husbands. This is likely, the pollster said, because a first lady’s role is more ceremonial and, generally, much less divisive than that of the president.

Michelle Obama and Laura Bush outpaced their husbands, holding an average 12-point and 17-point edge in favorability, respectively, over their spouses. Melania Trump’s current 13-point favorability advantage over her husband is roughly in line with those of the last two first ladies. (Hillary Clinton averaged one point lower in favorability than Bill Clinton over the course of his presidency.)

Although Melania Trump’s rating has improved, she still rates behind other first ladies at roughly comparable points in time. Michelle Obama (61%), Laura Bush (77%) and Hillary Clinton (58%) all had higher favorability ratings in the fall of their husband’s first year in office than Melania Trump has now.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted between December 4 and December 11, among a random sample of 1,049 adults, living in all 50 U.S. states.

Research contact:  datainquiry@gallup.com