Posts tagged with "The Washington Post"

Ex-Pence aide blasts Trump over COVID response, says she’ll vote for Biden

September 21, 2020

In a two-minute video spot released by the group Republican Voters Against Trump on September 17 and posted on YouTube— a former senior adviser and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force lambasted President Donald Trump as a stonewalling, capricious leader with more concern for his reelection than the pandemic—and said she would be voting for his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, in November.

Olivia Troye, a lifelong Republican who worked as an adviser on counterterrorism and homeland security to Vice President Mike Pence before leaving the administration in August, appeared in an ad in which she shared damning anecdotes that portrayed Trump as a debilitating actor in the administration’s efforts to contain the virus, Politico reports. She said Trump was dismissive toward the task force’s efforts to prepare for the outbreak from early in the year, before the virus had made heavy inroads into the United States.

“It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything’s OK when we know that it’s not,” Troye said. “He doesn’t actually care about anyone else but himself.”

Troye also asserted that Trump said during a meeting: “Maybe this COVID thing’s a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands with people. I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people.”

That remark, Troye said, encapsulated the president’s flippant attitude toward a pandemic that has since claimed nearly 200,000 American lives.

The Washington Post first reported Troye’s frustrations with her previous role.

The White House promptly rebuffed the allegations, using its frequent defense against personnel-turned-critics by saying that Troye was a disgruntled and vindictive ex-staffer. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Thursday night a letter by Troye after her departure from the White House. It praised the task force’s work combating the disease.

“I have witnessed firsthand how dedicated and committed all of you have been to doing the right thing,” the letter said.

But Troye’s criticisms were directed at the president specifically, not the administration. In the ad, she said working with the task force was the “opportunity and honor of a lifetime.”

“I put my heart and soul into this role every single day,” she said in the ad. “But at some points I would come home at night, I would look myself in the mirror and say, are you really making a difference? Because no matter how hard you work or what you do, the president is going to do something detrimental to keeping Americans safe.”

Her letter likewise praised her colleagues and her work with Pence, but did not mention Trump.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday evening before departing for a campaign rally in Wisconsin, Trump said that “I have no idea who she is.” He then said Troye was dismissed from her post and “then she wrote a beautiful letter.”

According to Politico, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows later told reporters aboard Air Force One: “It’s the swamp fighting back. It’s, generally speaking, disgruntled employees.”

Asked by a reporter what Troye was disgruntled about and whether she was fired, Meadows responded, “I can’t speak to personnel matters.”

As of Friday afternoon, September 18, the YouTube video already had garnered almost 640,000 views.

Research contact: @politico

Trump admits to ‘downplaying’ COVID-19 to the nation—even, knowing it was ‘deadly stuff’

September 11, 2020

Last March, President Donald Trump personally told top-tier journalist Bob Woodward that he had deliberately and knowingly played down the threat of the coronavirus during his press events, even though he was aware that it had the potential to be—and already had been seen to be—vastly more serious than the seasonal flu.

In fact, he told the journalist that he “liked” playing down the pandemic.

In an attempt to walk back that damaging statement this past week, the president explained his rationale for keeping the truth from the American people: He said he “intentionally played down the deadly nature of the rapidly spreading coronavirus in an attempt to avoid a “frenzy” among voters (and in the financial markets); and as part of an escalating damage-control effort by his top advisers,” The Washington Post reports.

“This is deadly stuff,” Mr. Trump said on February 7 in one of 17 on-the-record  telephone interviews with Woodward over seven months for his coming book, Rage.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” the president told the author in audio recordings made available on The Washington Post website. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”

But three days after those remarks, Trump told the Fox Business anchor Trish Regan: “We’re in very good shape. We have 11 cases. And most of them are getting better very rapidly. I think they will all be better.” A little less than two weeks later, he told reporters on the South Lawn that “we have it very much under control in this country.”

By February 26, the president was publicly dismissing concerns about just how lethal the virus was. “It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for,” he said at a White House news conference. “And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”

And by February 28, The Washington Post reports, at a rally in South Carolina, Mr. Trump denounced Democrats for their concerns about the virus as “their new hoax,” after the Russia

Indeed, according to the Post, Trump was absorbing in real time the information he was given by health and national security experts, he made a conscious choice not only to mislead the public but also to actively pressure governors to reopen states before his own government guidelines said they were ready.

By March, Mr. Trump was straightforward with Woodward about his tactics. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said in an audio recording of an interview on March 19. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

He detailed “the viciousness of the virus,” saying, “You know when it attacks it attacks the lungs. And I don’t know—when people get hit, when they get hit, and now it’s turning out it’s not just old people, Bob.” He went on: “Just today and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It’s not just old, older. Young people too — plenty of young people.”

And yet in an interview broadcast by Fox and Friends on August 5, Trump asserted: “If you look at children, children are almost, and I would say almost definitely, but almost immune from this disease. I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this.”

Two days later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that “children are at risk for severe Covid-19.”

One question swirling in Washington this past week was why the president had given Woodward such extensive access. Woodward—a longtime editor and reporter at The Washington Post who with Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon—has written books on most of Nixon’s successors, many of them critical. Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former top political adviser, noted on Fox News on Wednesday that nearly every president who has cooperated with Woodward has regretted it.

Current White House officials said that Trump opened his door to Woodward in the hope that the eventual book would be positive. The president did not speak to Woodward for his first book on the Trump presidency, “Fear, and the president has maintained that it would have turned out better had he participated.

Officials also said that Trump, who has great faith in his ability to sell people on his version of events, was eager to have Woodward’s seal on his time in office.

Research source: @washingtonpost

A 13-year-old boy delivers his speech with a stutter—and elevates DNC to an emotional high

August 24, 2020

Twenty seconds into his speech on August 20, Brayden Harrington struggled to say his next word, as he undoubtedly knew he would. There was a long pause before the 13-year-old was able to triumphantly say that word: “Stutter.”

It was one of the most moving moments of the night, Vogue reported—and perhaps of the entire Democratic National Convention: a young boy speaking to a national audience about his disability and the 77-year-old man who, drawing on his own experience, was trying to help him overcome it.

Introduced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the evening’s celebrity emcee, Harrington, dressed in a dusky orange tee-shirt and reading his speech on a white sheet of paper he held with both hands, opened by saying, “My name is Brayden Harrington, and I am 13 years old. And without Joe Biden, I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”

He continued, “About a few months ago, I met him in New Hampshire. He told me that we were members of the same club: We”—and then came the long pause before he completed the sentence—“stutter. It was really amazing to hear that someone like me became [the] vice president. He told me about a book of poems by Yeats he would read out loud to practice. He showed me how he marks his addresses to make them easier to say out loud. So I did the same thing today.

“My family often says, ‘When the world feels better,’ before talking about something normal, like going to the movies. We all want the world to feel better. We need the world to feel better. I’m just a regular kid, and in a short amount of time, Joe Biden made me more confident about something that’s bothered me my whole life. Joe Biden cared.

“Imagine what he could do for all of us. Kids like me are counting on you to elect someone we can all look up to, someone who cares, someone who will make our country and the world feel better. We’re counting on you to elect Joe Biden.”

Harrington and Biden had met in February at a campaign event in New Hampshire. After they first spoke on the rope line, the former vice president invited Harrington backstage to continue their conversation and told him about how he had worked to overcome his own stutter.

Biden’s own stutter emerged when he was a child, he told The Atlantic earlier this year. At times, he was tormented for it. He recalled one nun at school calling him “Mr. Buh-Buh-Buh-Biden” and demanding that he repeat a passage from a book, and high-school classmates nicknaming him “Dash”—as in Morse code staccato.

According to the Vogue report, Harrington’s was a stunning opening to a night that would later see Joe Biden accept his party’s nomination for the presidency, and based on the reaction on social media, there were few dry eyes on viewers at home. (According to The Washington Post, a video of Harrington’s address that was shared on Twitter by the Democratic National Convention had been viewed more than 3 million times by Friday morning.)

“I want to say this to Brayden Harrington (the precious young man with a stutter): Young, Sir: You humble me. I am in TOTAL AWE of your courage,” tweeted Pam Keith, the former Navy JAG running for Congress from Florida’s 18th District. “You have a titanic spirit and unshakeable will. You made the worst bully look pathetic, ridiculous, and so very small. I salute you.”

On MSNBC, Claire McCaskill, the former U.S. senator from Missouri, contrasted Biden’s empathetic outreach to this young boy—and then giving him a high-profile speaking slot at the party’s national convention—with Donald Trump’s widely reported mocking of a disabled New York Times reporter during the 2016 campaign. She said his speech might have been, “the most important moment of the night.” (That same point was also made in a tweet by Matthew Miller, a former spokesman for the State Department: “As I watched Brayden Harrington talk about Biden helping him with his stutter, could not stop thinking of the clip of Trump mocking a disabled reporter. What a contrast.”)

And CNN’s Chris Cillizza said, “Holy cow. The Brayden Harrington speech. The courage. My god. I am going to remember that one for a long time.”

But perhaps the most moving tribute came from a woman who herself has struggled to recapture the power of speech. “Speaking is hard for me too, Brayden,” tweeted Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was almost killed during a mass shooting in 2011 and is still recovering from those near-fatal injuries. “But as you know, practice and purpose help. Thank you for your courage and for the great speech!”

Research contact: @voguemagazine

The inflatable pool has become the official symbol of America’s lost summer

July 24, 2020

Many Americans would say that their favorite “watering hole” this summer is above-ground, in the backyard. While the heat ratchets up—and many community pools remain closed for the duration of the pandemic—the symbol for “better than nothing,” has become the inflatable pool

There are plastic pools for every size and breed—doggy pools, kiddy pools, and bigger ones that can fit a whole family—but many already are sold out nationwide, The Washington Post reports.

That was the situation that Aaron Kraus faced, the news outlet says, and his kids are now happily spending the summer splashing around in a pool made for dogs.

“We went on Amazon to look for kiddie pools, and they were sold out until, like, way into the fall,” Kraus, 37, of Rockville, Maryland said in an interview. “We told them it’s a doggie pool. They couldn’t care less.

“It’s very 2020,” he added, meaning the act of “putting together really ad hoc solutions to a dystopian nightmare.”

Some pool-seekers have plunged into something more like farce. Jess Flynn, of Boise, Idaho, told the Post that she bought what she thought was a five-foot doggy pool on eBay. When it arrived, Flynn said, “I just kind of screamed, kind of laughed”: The pool was just large enough to fit a very small hamster.

“ ‘This is so 2020,’ is what I thought as soon as I saw it,” she said. “Like, the promise of something fun. And then the reality of what this year has brought.”

Flynn said she might use it as a water bowl for her and her neighbor’s pets.

The same thing happened to Bill Ribas of Pittsford, New York —same product, same disappointment. Ribas says he was offered a full refund if he would pay to ship the pool back to China. Instead, he has reclaimed it as a foot bath.

Some of those who succeed in acquiring a dog- or even human-sized pool are finding that these inflatable substitutes can become a reminder of how much you miss the real thing.

Carla Green, 28, of Los Angeles, told the Post that it came down to “the balance between how good of a time I had and how much of a pain it is to inflate it,” adding,” And draining it is no simple task, either. When you fill a pool with that much water, it’s really heavy. You can’t just, like, dump it out.” She realized that the hard way when she temporarily flooded her backyard.

Robert Burke, 39, bought a large inflatable pool last summer for his backyard north of Pittsburgh, but his children barely used it because the water was too cold and the bottom got slimy. This summer, as the pandemic stripped away many other entertainment options, Burke saw an opportunity to really do it right.

Thus began a series of Amazon purchases, all side-eyed by his wife: hoses, a pump, a pool skimmer, a chlorine float, various chemicals and test strips, a WiFi-controlled timer for the filter, a weatherproof cabinet to house the pump, an underwater vacuum, valves, clamps and a custom pool cover. His $60 kiddie pool quickly turned into a $560 pool.

If kiddie pools are symbols of compromise, Burke’s project was a symbol of defiant resolve, reports the news outlet. “I’ll always think of it as, like, this manic dumping ground for all the things I wished I was doing,” he said. “And really what we’re talking about is a bunch of water that two kids pee in.” (As for his children: “When they’re in it, they love it,” Burke said, but given that they have the attention spans of a 2- and 4-year-old, they will often climb out and make a beeline for the swings instead.)

“To work all day and just get out of the stale air conditioning and into this nice body of water with my little cocktail and just sit there for 45 minutes and relax,” said Heather Hart, 43, of Minneapolis. “It was lovely. Totally worth $124.” (Even though her dogs are scared of it, and it’s killing some of her grass.)

Makisha Thompson, 46, of Stockbridge, Georgia, was brainstorming with six friends about safe, socially distanced ways to see each other. They realized they could each get their own inflatable pool for $22. “We literally went from Aldi to Aldi,” she said, referring to the supermarket chain, “looking for these pools until we had enough.”

It took hours to fill them all up. The women then separated the pools with tiki torches and arranged them in a circle around a giant watermelon-shaped sprinkler Thompson found at Walmart. Then they settled in for a sunny afternoon drinking boozy punch.

Happiness reigned supreme. “We call ourselves the little backyard beauties,” Thompson said.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Duke scientists: It’s survival of the ‘friendliest’—not fittest

July 21, 2020

British naturalist Charles Darwin got it right—but maybe we got Darwin wrong. Most people assume that Darwin was talking about physical strength when referring to “survival of the fittest,” meaning that a tougher, more resilient species always will win out over its weaker counterparts. But what if he didn’t mean that at all?

Scientists Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, a husband and wife team of researchers at Duke University’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, believe something else has been at work among species that have thrived throughout history, successfully reproducing to sustain themselves, and it has nothing to do with beating up the competition, The Washington Post reports.

Their new book, Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity, published by Random House, posits that friendly partnerships among species and shared humanity have worked throughout centuries to ensure successful evolution. Species endure—humans, other animals, and plants— Hare and Woods say, based on friendliness, partnership, and communication. And they point to many life examples of cooperation and sociability to prove it.

“Survival of fittest, which is what everyone has in mind as evolution and natural selection, has done the most harm of any folk theory that has penetrated society,” Hare says. “People think of it as strong alpha males who deserve to win. That’s not what Darwin suggested, or what has been demonstrated. The most successful strategy in life is friendliness and cooperation, and we see it again and again.”

“Dogs are exhibit A,” he told the Post. “They are the extremely friendly descendants of wolves. They were attracted to humans and became friendly to humans; and changed their behavior, appearance, and developmental makeup. Sadly, their close relative, the wolf, is threatened and endangered in the few places where they live, whereas there are hundreds of millions of dogs. Dogs were the population of wolves that decided to rely on humans — rather than hunting — and that population won big.”

In nature, for example, flowering plants attract animals to spread their pollen, forming a partnership that benefits both. “The plants provide food and energy, while the animals provide transportation for the pollen,” Hare says.

Before focusing on dog studies—Hare founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center—both Hare and Woods studied bonobos, apes that are often confused with chimpanzees. But bonobos actually are quite different from chimps.

Chimps make war — males take charge — and can be quite violent, even killing one another. Bonobos, on the other hand, are governed by females, don’t kill one another and engage in sex to maintain a peaceful collective temperament. Bonobos also are natural sharers. They enjoy sharing food with other bonobos, and never outgrow their willingness to do so, unlike chimpanzees, who become more selfish in adulthood.

“The friendliest male bonobo is more successful than the unfriendliest chimpanzee,” Hare says, referring to reproduction. “The most successful bonobo males have more offspring that the most successful alpha male chimpanzees”

For humans to continue to evolve successfully, he says, “friendliness is the winning strategy. Social problems require social solutions. The secret to our species’ success is the same as it is with dogs and bonobos. We are the friendliest human species that ever evolved, which has allowed us to out-compete other human species that are now extinct. When that mechanism is turned off, we can become unbelievably cruel. When it is turned on, it allows us to win. We win by cooperation and teamwork. Our uniquely human skills for cooperative communication can be used to solve the hardest social problems.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Trump cites game show host Chuck Woolery on pandemic while sabotaging Dr. Anthony Fauci

July 15, 2020

On Monday, July 13, President Donald Trump retweeted a message from Chuck Woolery, a longtime game show host and conservative commentator, which accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of “lying” to the American public about the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported.

The most outrageous lies are the ones about COVID-19,” Woolery said in his tweet, adding, “Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most ,that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”

Trump in recent days has also accused Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and  the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, of making “mistakes,” blasted CDC guidelines for opening schools as “impractical,” and repeatedly undercut public health officials’ recommendations by questioning the efficacy of masks and social distancing.

Taken together, the president’s efforts have led to a lack of clarity and consistency in the national response to the virus, Ben Sommers, a doctor who teaches at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the Post.

“When the president is calling the guidance wrong and endorsing the view that these public health experts are lying, it makes it incredibly difficult for the public to know what to do,” he said. “It erodes the long-term ability of our government to provide one of its basic goals which is to protect the public safety.”

While Trump has played down the virus and dismissed the warnings of public health experts for months, his recent push has come amid a fresh surge in cases and concern over how to safely reopen schools in the coming weeks. Trump primarily has been focused on trying to revitalize the economy, which has been devastated by the pandemic, seeing its revival as key to his reelection chances this fall.

Indeed,  the Post notes,Trump also retweeted a post from Woolery, who hosted “Love Connection” in the 1980s, pointing to “worldwide and overwhelming” scientific evidence that schools should reopen in the fall. Trump and his aides have tried to make the restart of schools a simple choice of opening or not opening. Public health experts have said that while restarting schools should be a top priority, the issue is that without proper safety measures the move could worsen the pandemic.”

 Trump’s aides have amplified his statements promoting a return to normalcy and undermining government health expertise in the middle of a pandemic. White House officials disseminated negative talking points about Fauci to reporters over the weekend after The Washington Post reported that Fauci had been sidelined by Trump in recent weeks.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany used a news briefing Monday to defend those criticisms of Fauci and reinforce the president’s attacks on the government’s health experts. She accused “some rogue individuals” at the CDC of misleading the public and defended Trump’s retweet of Woolery by saying he was calling out scientists for engaging in politics.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Biden to amp up criticism of Trump on coronavirus as cases mount nationwide

July 1, 2020

As states report surging numbers of coronavirus cases—with Texas, Florida, and California documenting more than 5,000 new cases per day—Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Tuesday, June 30, said he planned to escalate his criticism of President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic and detail how he would stem the virus, The Washington Post reported.

More than 2.5 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the CDC, and over 126,000 nationwide have died from the virus. Even worse, there is no end in sight.

Biden said he will tie together a raft of proposals he’s offered since January— including providing free testing and treatment for the disease and guaranteed paid leave for those who must stay home from work while sick—according to a campaign document outlining his themes that was obtained by The Washington Post.

The document, in the form of a scorecard that the campaign will push via social media, is intended to hammer home the areas where Biden’s campaign believes that Trump has fallen short. Broad categories include the president’s failure to “level with the American people”; his inability to provide testing and treatment; shortfalls in securing a supply chain for protective equipment; and failures to protect workers, older Americans and small businesses.

Although, the Post says, the presumptive Democratic nominee is not expected to unveil new ideas, his speech will pull together various proposals under a single framework, intending to demonstrate a meaty response to the question of how he would respond to this crisis.

In contrast, the news outlet notes, “Trump has recently tried to push the nation’s focus away from the virus and instead talk about stimulating the economic recovery. He has refused to wear a mask in public and has held two large rallies — both circumstances that run counter to the advice of health officials, including those in his administration.

The president also has offered unproven and at times dangerous ideas on how to address the coronavirus, including promoting a drug now believed to be ineffective and suggesting that the virus could be treated via “an injection inside” the body with a disinfectant.”

Trump also said at a his May 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma,  that he had instructed officials to “slow the testing down” as a way to keep the country’s official data on infections lower.

What’s more, in March the president said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for lagging coronavirus testing in the United States.

Biden last week hit Trump for his administration’s decision to ask the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, saying the action risked the lives of Americans who rely on the insurance.

Biden will make the point that “Trump has called himself a wartime president but is surrendering to the virus,” according to a campaign official who provided a brief preview of the candidate’s remarks on the condition of anonymity. The official said Biden will stress that lives would have been saved if Trump had acted sooner.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Mutiny on the bounties: Trump balks at briefing House members on Russian perfidy

June 30, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for the Trump Administration to brief all House members immediately about allegations that surfaced on June 27–detailing that Russians have been paying Afghan militants to assassinate U.S. soldiers, Politico reports.

Most recently, President Donald Trump has claimed that he knows nothing about the disclosures—and that he and Vice President Mike Pence never have been briefed on the matter by U.S. intelligence agencies. He has not said that he intends to follow up on the accusations against Russia and, by extension, against President Vladimir Putin—which he does not believe to be credible.

However, The New York Times has countered that story, saying that senior White House and intelligence officials knew about the bounty allegations since at least March but took no action.

Indeed, the Times has reported that Trump was briefed on the matter and that it was included in his Presidential Daily Brief, but Trump denied ever learning of the intelligence and late Sunday said his leaders in the intelligence community told him it wasn’t credible.

“The questions that arise are: Was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed? Congress and the country need answers now,” Pelosi wrote in her letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel. “I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

Since the news reports emerged, Politico reports, Democrats and some Republicans have been demanding details from the Administration. Early Monday, congressional aides indicated no briefing had been set up for the House intelligence, armed services or foreign affairs committee. It’s unclear if the Gang of Eight—the leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the intelligence committee—will be briefed, but as of Monday morning there was no meeting scheduled, per a congressional source.

The new allegations —which The New York Times and The Washington Post reported may have led to the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan—have once again brought Trump’s relationship with Russia under scrutiny.

Senior House Democrats were furious with the reports, which first surfaced Saturday. Pelosi told ABC ‘s ‘This Week” on Sunday: “This is as bad as it gets.”

“If reports are true that Russia offered a bounty on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Trump wasn’t briefed, that’s a problem,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) tweeted Sunday. “What will it take to get Trump to abandon the fiction that Putin is our friend?”

“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump said. “Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”

Democrats, however, hammered the president over the bounties.

“It’s sickening that American soldiers have been killed as a result of Russian bounties on their heads, and the Commander in Chief didn’t do a thing to stop it,” Representatuve Max Rose (D-N.Y.), a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, told Politico.

Research contact: @politico

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

Trump offers dubious conspiracy theory about elderly protester shoved off his feet by Buffalo cops

June 10, 2020

President Donald Trump advanced an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory on Tuesday, June 9, about the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo who suffered head injuries after he was pushed to the ground by police and hit his head on the sidewalk, USA Today reports.

“75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment,” Trump said in a morning tweet.

Citing a report on conservative news network OANN, Trump said: “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” He also said Gugino “could be” an anarchist “provocateur,” but provided no evidence for that assertion.

Two suspended Buffalo police officers have been charged with assault and accused of intentionally pushing Gugino, who was seen bleeding from the back of the head after he hit the sidewalk.

Gugino, described by a friends as a man of peace seeking justice, was in serious but stable condition following the incident on Thursday.

Kelly Zarcone, Gugino’s attorney, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Gugino has always been a peaceful protester who loves his family, and “no one from law enforcement has suggested otherwise.

“So we’re at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation against him,” she added.

Critics expressed outrage over Trump’s tweet.

Trump sent the tweet just hours before the funeral of George Floyd, the man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police triggered protests nationwide, including massive demonstrations in cities like Washington, D.C., and Buffalo.

Research contact: @USATODAY