Posts tagged with "The Daily Beast"

All in the family: It’s hard to find a Trump who hasn’t voted by mail

June 24, 2020

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday morning, June 22, to rant about the threat he believes mail-in ballots pose to the integrity of U.S. elections—but his family seems to have never gotten the message, according to a report by The Daily Beast.

The POTUS  fired off another social media fusillade against the practice of submitting ballots through the USPS, which he has previously labeled as “horrible,” “terrible,” and “corrupt,” as well as “dangerous,” “fraudulent,” and for “cheaters.”

The Daily Beast opined, “The tweet on Monday, like his prior statements, reflected his fears over the expansion of vote-by-mail policies in several states amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ”

 “RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!” Trump tweeted in all-capital letters.

But such fears apparently have not deterred either Trump, himself, or members of his immediate family from entrusting their ballots to the U.S. mail.

In fact, the Beast reports, the White House has acknowledged that the president mailed in ballots in New York in 2018 and in Florida this year—and the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has reported that First Lady Melania Trump recently also has taken advantage of the Sunshine State’s remote voting program.

On reviewing records from the Manhattan Board of Elections, The Daily Beast discovered that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and the First Lady all had ballots mailed to them in Washington, D.C., as recently as the 2018 election cycle, and have done so since decamping to the capital three years ago. Eric Trump, who remains in New York, similarly exercised his franchise via envelope and stamp in 2017. 

Various errors—from the First Lady’s forgetting to sign the crucial affidavit, to the First Daughter’s sending her ballot back too late, to Kushner’s failure to mail it back at all—prevented the Washington-based wing of the family’s votes from counting in 2017. But the Board of Elections documents show they all successfully returned their votes in the most recent election cycle.

Neither Eric Trump nor the White House immediately provided an on-the-record response. The president and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who. the Tampa Bay Times found has voted by mail 11 times in the past decade, have sought to distinguish between absentee voting and “mass mail-in voting.”

But experts assert there is little difference between the two processes, which are both already widespread. Records show nearly 67,000 people besides the Trumps sent in absentee ballots in the 2018 general election in New York City, while the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 33 million people voted by mail in the 2016 presidential race.

The president’s spokeswoman and immediate family aren’t the only executive branch staff taking advantage of the system: Business Insider reports that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife voted via mail as recently as April. 

Monday’s rant marked the first time that the president has warned that hostile nations might dabble in the American mail stream. In the past, he has largely warned that blue states might refuse to send ballots to GOP-controlled districts, and claimed that U.S.-based fraudsters resort to outright robbery, The Daily Beast notes..

“They steal them, they hold up mailmen, they take them out of mailboxes, they print them fraudulently,” the president told radio host Michael Savage earlier this month.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

‘Of course not’: Fauci says he won’t attend Trump rallies; advises Americans to avoid big crowds

June 18, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—and the top expert on COVID-19 in America— says he would not personally attend any upcoming rallies that President Donald Trump plans to hold for his 2020 re-election campaign because the coronavirus is still spreading.

“I’m in a high-risk category. Personally, I would not. Of course not,” Fauci, who’s 79, said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Tuesday, June 16.

He added about Trump campaign rallies, “outside is better than inside, no crowd is better than crowd” and “crowd is better than big crowd.”

Trump is scheduled to host his first campaign rally in months on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, inside of the city’s BOK Center, which can hold more than 19,000 people, NBC News reports. The president claimed on Monday, June 15, that 1 million people had requested tickets to the event.

Senior officials said Monday that hand sanitizer and face masks will be offered to all attendees, although they are not required to use them. They also will have their temperatures taken before entering the arena.

Some Tulsa officials have been warning Trump that the rally could worsen a current spike in coronavirus cases and local newspaper, NBC notes. Tulsa World published an editorial titled, “This is the wrong time and Tulsa is the wrong place for the Trump rally.”

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, is expected to visit the White House this week, ahead of the rally, to discuss reopening the economy.

Conversely, Dr. Fauci told The Daily Beast that he’s still worried about the uptick in COVID-19 cases in some states across the country. “We are seeing infections to a greater degree than they had previously seen in certain states, including states in the southwest and in the south,” he said.

A key member of the president’s coronavirus task force, Fauci also said in an interview Tuesday with NPR’s “1A” on WAMU in Washington, D.C., that he hasn’t spoken with Trump in two weeks. He said that he spoke with him “two weeks ago” and the conversation was about “vaccine development efforts.”

Asked for a response to Fauci’s latest interviews, the White House defended the current phased reopenings that it has been pushing without addressing Fauci directly.

“As the president has said, the cure cannot be worse than the disease and that is why all 50 states have begun the process of a phased reopening,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. “As this continues, the American people will use what they have learned about COVID-19 and take the appropriate precautions, such as social distancing, facial coverings, and regularly washing hands, to protect the public health and return us to a growing economy.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Revealed: A family member has turned on Trump

June 16, 2020

Every family has its secrets—and the Trumps are no exception. Now, the president’s niece, his deceased older brother Fred’s daughter, is set to publish a tell-all book this summer that will reveal “harrowing and salacious” stories about Donald just weeks ahead of the Republican National Convention, The Daily Beast reports.

Mary Trump, 55, the daughter of Fred Trump Jr. and the eldest grandchild of Fred Trump Sr., is scheduled to release Too Much And Never Enough on August 11.

One of the most explosive revelations Mary will detail in the book, according to people familiar with the matter, The Daily Beast says, is how she played a critical role helping The New York Times print startling revelations about Trump’s taxes—including how he was involved in “fraudulent” tax schemes and had received more than $400 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire.

As she is set to outline in her book, Mary was a primary source for the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, supplying Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns and other highly confidential family financial documentation to the paper. 

Details of the book are being closely guarded by its publisher, Simon & Schuster, but The Daily Beast has learned that Mary plans to include conversations with Trump’s sister, retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, that contain intimate and damning thoughts about her brother, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Mary Trump has kept out of the public eye and has not spoken publicly in decades—but in 2000, amidst a bitter family court battle over Fred Trump Sr.’s will, she told the New York Daily News, “Given this family, it would be utterly naive to say it has nothing to do with money. But for both me and my brother, it has much more to do with that our father [Fred Jr.] be recognized,” she said.

Fred Trump Jr., the firstborn son and once the heir apparent to his father’s real estate empire, worked for Trans World Airlines after turning his back on the family business.

He died in 1981, aged just 42, from a heart attack owing to complications from his alcoholism; leaving behind a son, Fred the 3rd, and daughter Mary, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. The circumstances of Fred Trump Jr.’s descent into alcoholism also are detailed in the book, with allegations that Donald and Fred Trump Sr. contributed to his death and neglected him at critical stages of his addiction.

In a 2019 interview, Donald Trump admitted to pressuring his brother over his career choices but said he had come to regret it. “I do regret having put pressure on him,” Trump told The Washington Post. Discussing his brother and the family business Trump said it “was just something he was never going to want” to do.

After Fred Jr.’s children brought their messy court case against the family—contesting their grandfather’s will and alleging it was “procured by fraud and undue influence” on the part of Donald and his siblings—they highlighted Donald’s callous treatment of family members as he, along with siblings Maryanne and Robert, cut off the medical benefits to his nephew’s sick child William, who was born with cerebral palsy. The move, the family said at the time, was payback for Mary and Fred the 3rd’s challenge to the will.

That court case produced a treasure trove of confidential and highly sensitive Trump family financial documents, including Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns, which almost two decades later would fall into the hands of The New York Times and form the basis for one of the most “stunning pieces” of journalism in recent years, The Daily Beast notes.

In the upcoming book, Mary Trump will out herself as a source for the Times and detail her involvement in cracking the story, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

This is the first time a Trump family member has written a tell-all that is highly critical of the president.

“My aunt and uncles should be ashamed of themselves,” Mary Trump said about Donald Trump and his siblings in a rare 2000 interview, which provides a preview of the tone of her book. “I’m sure they are not.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Isn’t it rich? Offspring of opulent NYC families set to study at Avenues outpost in Hamptons; avoid pandemic

June 15, 2020

Avenues—the Manhattan-based K-12 private day school where the children of tycoons, rock stars, and actors learn their ABCs for $56,000 a year—is setting up a 3,500-square-foot campus in New York’s exclusive Hamptons enclave to enroll the offspring of parents who have fled the city for the hygienic comfort of their beachside homes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Daily Beast reports.

The for-profit school, established in 2012 by a group of private investors, reportedly seeking a space in East Hampton to operate as a new “studio” campus, the East Hampton Star reports. Fees for students attending the new Hamptons campus will be $48,000, a bit lower than in the city,  due partly to lack of extracurricular and sports activities.

The campus currently is accepting students for the fifth through 11th grades.

In addition, Avenues is launching a new service called Avenues@HOME, which will offer five hours of in-home, in-person instruction for around $65,000 a year. The in-home service is being aimed at very young pupils, who can struggle with online learning, The Daily Beast notes.

School officials say they could hire between 75 and 100 teachers for the at-home option over the next several weeks as wealthy New Yorkers seek to optimize the privilege of their offspring.

“There are a number of families that have previously lived in the city and attended Avenues before relocating to the Hamptons,” Maggie Wollner, who will head the new campus, told the East Hampton Star, which first reported on the news.

“They have been hoping to find a way for them to continue schooling with us.” The pandemic had caused many parents to consider spending “all or part of next school year” in the Hamptons, she added.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Dorsey says Trump is the ‘twit’ for trying to control social media platforms

May 29, 2020

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey doesn’t scare easily—even when confronted by a raging U.S. president who is threatening to sign a vindictive executive order—meant to hobble Dorsey’s ability to monitor his own platform and correct deceptive posts.

Twitter became the target of the president’s fury after the social media site added a disclaimer to two tweets riddled with inaccuracies that were written and posted by @realDonaldTrump on his feed early last week, The Daily Beast reports.

The first reaction of the POTUS, according to the news outlet, was to try to bully the site by threatening to close down social-media companies that he thinks “show bias” against conservatives—and it was reported late Wednesday, May 27, that he planned to sign  an executive order intended to remove important legal protections from sites like Twitter and Facebook.

In a series of tweets, Dorsey wrote that Twitter will “continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”

He added: “This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

Despite his new intention to fight disinformation, this week Dorsey denied a widower’s request to remove Trump tweets that baselessly suggested Lori Klausutis was murdered in 2001 by her boss, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Dr. Fauci re-emerges from media blackout; says we’ll be ‘seeing more’ of him

May 25, 2020

He’s back! After a deafening silence that persisted for more than two weeks, top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci re-emerged on the national stage on Thursday, May 21—appearing on CNN’s coronavirus town hall to mark his first major television interview since May 4.

While Fauci has recently been on a “modified quarantine” due to possible exposure to the White House staffers who have tested positive for COVID-19, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) chief has continued to participate in the White House coronavirus task force and testified before the Senate last week via remote, The Daily Beast reported.

Fauci, who has been targeted by pro-Trump figures after appearing to contradict some of the president’s comments on the virus, has been conspicuously absent from TV as the White House pushes for a robust reopening of the economy, as CNN’s Oliver Darcy reported earlier this week. Other public health experts on the task force, such as Dr. Deborah Birx, also have been been noticeably absent.

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper immediately greeted Dr. Fauci on Thursday night by asking why the American public has heard so little from the task force and medical experts in recent weeks.

“And if they aren’t going to have daily briefings about facts and science, can you or the NIH or can the CDC have their own daily briefings with top scientists? There are a lot of Americans out there who still want to hear from scientists every day,” Cooper added.

“That’s a good point,” Fauci reacted. “I think you’re probably going to be seeing a little bit more of me and my colleagues. There was a period of time, there was a little bit of a lull of our being out there with the press.”

“I believe that’s going to change. We’ve been talking with the communications people and they realize we need to get some of this information out, particularly some of the scientific issues for which I’m predominantly responsible for. So hopefully we’ll be seeing more of us,” he continued.

The Daily Beast noted, Fauci would go on to say that the task force has “changed a bit” and that he’s in a subgroup with other public health leaders “talking about some of the scientific issues.” He further noted that the task force as a whole is more focused on reopening the economy and the economic impact of the pandemic.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Blood, sweat, and tears: Reopening gyms is tearing a South Florida city apart

May 21, 2020

Gym rats in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, are earning a reputation as municipal pests, now that their patience is running out and they want to get back to the athletic club, The Daily Beast reports.

For two months, Ken Averett Clark couldn’t lift weights at his local gym in Fort Lauderdale—the city with the third-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida. But by late Monday, May 18, the buff 55-year-old was closing in fast on pumping iron in public once again.

“For me, going to the gym is one of the pillars of my mental and physical health,” Clark told The Daily Beast. “I really feel like there is something missing in my life. I understand some people see it as a luxury that I can do without, and could do a home exercise regimen. For me, it’s not the same.” 

On Friday, May 15, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis decided that exercise junkies like Clark could return to their workout spaces—announcing that commercial health clubs were among the nonessential businesses that would reopen this week with new safety precautions.

But there was one major problem, The Daily Beast notes: Trantalis’s move to reopen gyms came in spite of officials in Broward County—which includes the city—insisting gyms remain closed, at least for now.

At a Monday afternoon press conference in a hotel lobby attended by more than two dozen people, Trantalis asserted that Florida Governor. Ron DeSantis’ executive order allowing gyms to reopen trumped Broward’s directive. “It is our position that gyms can be opened,” Trantalis told reporters. “There is a dispute between the county and the city with regard to that order. As far as we are concerned, we should be able to resolve it by tomorrow.”

When asked if Fort Lauderdale gym owners who moved forward with reopening should be concerned about being shut down or arrested by county law enforcement, Trantalis replied, “No one is going to be arrested.”

But Broward Vice Mayor Steve Geller told The Daily Beast it was “possible” Broward code enforcers and sheriff’s deputies would go to Fort Lauderdale to make sure gyms remain closed until the county says otherwise. County Commissioners voted to send the city a warning letter on Tuesday. “We don’t need to have a confrontation,” Geller said. “I am sure we can work it out. This requires compromise from both parties and not just the county giving in.”

In the Sunshine State, working on one’s summer body is the stuff of obsession. Last week, more than two dozen people performed squats and push-ups sans face masks outside a courthouse in Clearwater, a city in central Florida, as part of a reopening protest. The gym crowd, in other words, is starting to get fed up, and health experts worry that could turn gyms into high-risk contamination zones even as the state’s COVID-19 outlook remains murky at best.

Still, there are Floridians who prefer safety to squatting. Stephanie Lavender, a 56-year-old artist and designer, told The Daily Beast that she was shocked and disappointed Trantalis was moving to reopen gyms ahead of the county’s timeline. “When this first started, the mayor took initiative when others did not,” she told The Daily Beast. “Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach were among the first cities to do stay-at-home orders and then required masks. I felt safe.” 

She also questioned how gyms would be able to keep equipment clean after every use. “Gyms have the most touch points, even more than a restaurant or bar,” Lavender said. “And people are breathing hard. It’s a strong exhale. I know we have to get back to normal, but this doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the reopening.”

Meanwhile, between May 16 and May 19, Fort Lauderdale recorded 22 new coronavirus cases—bringing the city’s total to 1,465. Overall, Broward saw its total number of cases jump by 121 over the same three-day period. Those are relatively modest totals, but the city’s proximity to the state’s number one hot zone—in Dade County, currently beginning its own reopening process—was not exactly cause for reassurance.

Clark, who is a member of Powerhouse Gym, said he would likely wait a week until after his health club reopened to resume his workout routine. A realtor and a professional actor, Clark said he polled people on his Facebook page about gyms reopening. “I got about 60 responses and almost every single one of them was no,” he said. “I was surprised.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Access denied: President blocks Alex Azar and Seema Verma from testifying before ‘Trump haters’ in House

May 6, 2020

The White House told House Democrats on May 4, that their requests for testimony from two key members of the Trump Administration’s COVID-19 task force would be denied—a move that adds to the list of officials who have been blocked from speaking under oath about the federal response (or lack therof) to the pandemic, The Daily Beast reported.

And that only expands the number of White House aides and federal-level officials whom the White House has prevented from bearing witness during the past three years—stonewalling all attempts by Congress to investigate or obtain firsthand evidence on the Administration’s obscure or covert activities.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee had asked the administration for testimony from Alex Azar, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; and from Seema Verma, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Two sources, including a Democratic spokesperson for the committee, confirmed to The Daily Beast that their requests were rejected on Monday.

Indeed, according to the Daily Beast, last week, the White House blocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) the administration’s foremost infectious disease expert, from testifying before House Democrats, although Fauci still is set to appear before a Senate panel run by Republicans.

The White House defended the decision by saying it would be “counterproductive” to have officials involved in the COVID-19 response to appear at congressional hearings because they are too lengthy.

A senior administration official told The Daily Beast that the task force has been working “non-stop” since the beginning of the outbreak and has conducted numerous public briefings. “I don’t think anyone can reasonably say we aren’t being transparent,” the official said.

President Trump himself had a different explanation. “The House is a set up,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning from the White House lawn en route to Arizona. “The House is a bunch of Trump haters.”

That outlook was formalized in a new White House policy that began circulating among officials on May 4. It instructed members of the coronavirus task force that they would not be permitted to testify in Congress without the approval of White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. 

On Monday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said that the White House’s move was “business as usual” from the Trump administration and said that lawmakers needed the latest information from task force officials to inform their legislative response to the virus.

 “The fact is that we need to allocate resources for this,” said Pelosi. “In order to do that, any appropriations bill must begin in the House. And we have to have the information to act upon.”

Azar, the embattled chief of HHS, has faced criticism over missteps in the agency’s COVID response, particularly the lack of testing availability early on in the outbreak. He has not testified publicly since March 12. Verma, who oversees the government’s two biggest and most expensive healthcare programs, has not testified publicly since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Meghan blabs: Tells friends she found royal life ‘toxic’ and ‘soul-crushing’

January 20, 2020

Life with the Windsors was simply a royal pain, as Meghan Markie is telling friends now—and it was “a matter of life or death” to escape the UK with Harry and baby Archie, The Daily Beast reported at the end of last week.

A friend told DailyMail on January 16 that Meghan felt that living within the royal confines was “soul crushing” and that she didn’t want Archie growing up within such a “toxic environment ….”

According to both newspaper reports, the Duchess of Sussex told her friends that “her soul was being crushed and that the decision to leave was a matter of life or death. Meaning the death of her spirit. She felt she couldn’t be the best mother to Archie if she wasn’t being her true, authentic self. She didn’t want Archie picking up on her stress and anxiety. She felt like it was a toxic environment for him because there was too much tension.”

The Mail also reported that staff at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, are being let go from those positions and reassigned to other jobs within the royal household. Palace sources told the Mail that Meghan will never return to live in Britain in “a meaningful way.”

However, The Daily Beast said, cracks are now appearing in the couple’s delicate plans to move to Canada, amid signs that the royals might have overestimated the willingness of the Canadians to have an unemployed prince and his wife on their hands.

Indeed, The Globe and Mail, billed as Canada’s national newspaper, has spoken out against the Duke and Duchess settling in Canada if they remain tied to the Royal Family professionally. The publisher claimed Canada was not a “halfway house” for the Royals while they “work out their own personal issues”.

In an article posted online, the publisher said: “The Canadian monarchy is virtual; it neither rules nor resides. Our roys don’t live here. They reign from a distance. Close to our hearts, far from our hearths.”

What’s more, findings of a poll conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute found that a stunning 73% of respondents said they would prefer Canada not to pitch in as much as a red cent to the cost of keeping the Sussexes safe.

Michael Behiels, an emeritus professor of political and constitutional history at the University of Ottawa and fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, said the Sussexes’ decision to move could end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

He told The Times of London: “They can visit Canada on behalf of the Queen but they can’t take on any other royal family responsibilities or live in Canada permanently or part-time. I hope that [the] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet fully respect the nature and scope of Canada’s Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982.”

Trudeau tweeted before Christmas that Harry, Meghan, and eight-month-old Archie “were among friends, and always welcome here,” but he may live to regret the open invitation.

Research contact: @dailybeast

Behar: It’s ‘good news’ that white nationalists are bashing Trump over Soleimani assassination

January 9, 2020

On January 8, Joy Behar of ABC-TV’s talkfest, The View, celebrated noxious white supremacist Richard Spencer’s disavowal of President Donald Trump over escalating tensions with Iran— calling Spencer’s slam of Trump “some good news, The Daily Beast reported.

Following Iran’s missile attacks on two Iraqi military bases at which American troops were deployed on Tuesday evening, Spencer—who helped organize the toxic and savage Neo-Nazi Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville—took to Twitter to declare: “I deeply regret voting for and promoting Donald Trump in 2016.”

Moments before Trump told the nation that Americans should be “extremely grateful” that Iran “appears to be standing down, the hosts of  The View  discussed public reactions to Iran’s air strikes, which that nation said were in retaliation for the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

“There’s one small thing,” Behar said, adding that it was “some good news,” according to The Daily Beast.

“This is a tiny thing that I noticed,” she continued. “Do you remember Richard Spencer? He’s basically the organizer of Unite the Right, the white-nationalist group that was marching in Charlottesville and [he] was all-in for Trump. Not anymore!”

“Wow!” Behar exclaimed after reading Spencer’s Trump-bashing tweet, prompting the crowd to applaud. “That’s interesting!”

Asked why she thought Spencer was splitting from Trump, the fervent Trump critic replied: “It’s like I said yesterday, Trump ran on not invading and being a warmonger. These people, they’re the ones who are going to go.”

Co-host Sunny Hostin, meanwhile, noted that racists like Spencer were dropping their support for the president “because they’re nationalists.”

Of course, The Daily Beast noted, what Behar seemed to miss is that even if Spencer et. al. stop supporting Trump, they will still be avowed disciples of a dangerous white-nationalist ideology.

Research contact: @thedailybeast