Posts tagged with "Twitter"

Larry David uses MAGA hat as ‘people repellent’ in Curb Your Enthusiasm season premiere

January 21, 2020

As if Larry David’s noggin weren’t famous enough already, now he has found a new and original use for it: In the season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO on January 19, David covered his bald pate with one of Donald Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) caps—and the move was the exact opposite of an endorsement for the president’s reelection.

Instead, David referred to the cap  as a “great people repellent”—a way to discourage unwanted encounters with friends and fans; and put a quick stop to conversations, HuffPost reports.

He was so pleased with the results, he said, “It’s really coming in handy.”

Fans loved the gambit. On Twitter, one viewer said, “This episode was a master class in political humor. Not preachy or accusatory, but hilarious fan that both sides should be able to laugh at. I know I did. #CurbYourEnthusiasm”

This episode was a master class in political humor. Not preachy or accusatory, but hilarious fun that both sides should be able to laugh at. I know I did. #CurbYourEnthusiasm

Another said, “Larry wearing a MAGA hat as a way to make someone cancel all future involvement with him has got me sucked right back into #CurbYourEnthusiasm

Research contact: @HuffPost

Republicans abandon outright dismissal of impeachment charges

January 15, 2020

Despite President Donald Trump’s best efforts to attain an immediate dismissal of both articles of impeachment, the stage has been set in the U.S. Capitol for a tribunal—and the leading players for the House and the Senate will be chosen this week.

Indeed, according to a report by The New York Times , rank-and-file senators and party leaders made clear on Monday, January 13, that even if they wanted to pursue dismissal of the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the votes simply were not there to succeed—at least not at the outset of the trial.

Senate Republicans indicated that they would not seek to summarily dismiss the impeachment charges against President Trump, proceeding instead to a trial with arguments and the possibility of calling witnesses that could begin as soon as Wednesday, the Times said.

Dismissal was always a long shot given Republicans’ narrow control of the Senate, but it was the subject of renewed discussion after Trump said on Sunday that he liked the idea put forward by some conservatives as a way to deny the House’s case the legitimacy of a trial.

 “Our members generally are not interested in a motion to dismiss,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a top Republican leader, told the Times. “They think both sides need to be heard. They believe the president needs to be heard for the first time in a fair setting.”

In the House on Monday, Democrats leaving meetings with Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated that the chamber was most likely to vote on Wednesday to name lawmakers to prosecute the case and to send its two impeachment charges to the Senate.

Behind the scenes, aides in the House and Senate were carefully choreographing the next steps, and some Democrats in the House cautioned that a vote could still slip to Thursday, as the Senate seeks to deal with a pending War Powers Resolution and President Trump’s new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

In any case, a trial would not be expected to start in earnest, with opening oral arguments, until next week.

As the trial has approached, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, has seemed increasingly keen to keep it as tightly controlled and speedy as possible. According to the Times, “He is wary of what could happen if Democrats succeed in picking off moderate Republican senators to form a majority able to call witnesses and prolong the proceeding.”

But he also wants to ensure that those same moderate senators—several of whom are up this fall for re-election in swing states—can credibly claim to voters that they took their constitutional duties seriously.

However, on Twitter, the president warned that holding a full trial “gives the partisan Democrat Witch Hunt credibility that it otherwise does not have.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Trump campaign refuses to issue press credentials to Bloomberg News reporters

December 4, 2019

Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign has announced that it no longer will approve credentials for Bloomberg News reporters after the financial media company said it wouldn’t cover Democratic presidential candidatesonly reporting on  Republican and Independent candidates—while its owner and founder, Mike Bloomberg, is out on the trail seeking the party’s nomination.

It’s anybody’s guess what effect the newly restrictive Trump campaign policy might have without a similar decision by the White House, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Bloomberg News occupies one of a handful of permanent seats in the White House press corps travel pool, which means a Bloomberg News reporter currently is with the president wherever he travels, including campaign events.

A White House spokesman declined to comment, but the POTUS weighed in on Twitter on Monday evening.

“Mini Mike Bloomberg has instructed his third rate news organization not to investigate him or any Democrat, but to go after President Trump, only,” @realDonaldTrump tweeted, adding it was “not O.K.!”

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale commented that continuing to investigate President Trump, whom all of the Democratic presidential contenders are attempting to unseat, was an unfair reporting practice.

“The decision by Bloomberg News to formalize preferential reporting policies is troubling and wrong,” Parscale said in a statement obtained by the Journal. The campaign will engage with Bloomberg News reporters only on a “case-by-case basis,” he said.

“Since they have declared their bias openly, the Trump campaign will no longer credential representatives of Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events,” Parscale added.

John Micklethwait, editor in chief of Bloomberg News, said Parscale’s accusations “couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“We have covered Donald Trump fairly and in an unbiased way since he became a candidate in 2015 and will continue to do so despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump campaign,” he said in a statement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “It is unusual for major-party presidential candidates to ban news outlets from events, but not for Trump. During his 2016 campaign he barred several media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed News, from his campaign events for certain periods.”

Research contact:@WSJ

Hear no evil? NSC official who heard July 25 Ukraine call testifies Trump undermined US security

October 30, 2019

A senior White House official who currently oversees Ukraine policy—and who previously served 20 years as an active-duty U.S. military officer and a diplomat—told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he believes President Donald Trump undermined U.S. national security when he appealed to Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rivals, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by Politico.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, told investigators, referring to Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce probes into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Vindman, who became the first White House official to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry, also said he reported Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky to the NSC’s top lawyer after listening in on the conversation from the White House situation room alongside other U.S. national security officials.

Politico revealed, this was the second time Vindman had raised concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel about a campaign by Trump, his associates, and some U.S. officials to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations intended to benefit Trump politically.

“I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and [Ukrainian gas company] Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained,” Vindman said.

“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” Vindman added. “Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.”

In his appearance before House investigators on October 29, Vindman became the first official who listened in directly on Trump’s phone call with Zelensky to speak with investigators, providing a firsthand account of what House Democrats have said is a blatant abuse of power by the president. His opening statement leans heavily on his military service and a “sense of duty” to his country.

“I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country, irrespective of party or politics,” Vindman wrote in his opening statement.

“As an active duty military officer, the command structure is extremely important to me,” Vindman said, defending his decisions to express his concerns about Trump to his higher-ups. “On many occasions I have been told I should express my views and share my concerns with my chain of command and proper authorities.”

Ahead of Vindman’s testimony, Trump railed against the senior official on Twitter, calling him a “Never Trumper” and saying he “never even heard of” Vindman.

The Trump-Zelensky phone call is at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, Politico noted. Investigators have gathered evidence that Trump sought to withhold nearly $400 million of critical military aid to Ukraine and refuse a White House meeting with Zelensky until the Ukrainian leader publicly stated his intention to launch Trump’s desired investigations.

Research contact: @politico

Investor who made smutty comments at summit loses $600 million contract in backlash

October 15, 2019

A financial executive who was crude and lewd at an industry conference has lost a major contract as a result, The Washington Post reports.

Specifically, the news outlet said, last week the State of Michigan pulled fully $600 million of its pension fund from wealth management firm Fisher Investments after the company’s founder and chairman, Ken Fisher, made boorish and sexually explicit comments during a fireside chat at the Tiburon CEO Summit, October 7-9 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.

In a letter obtained by the Post on October 10, Michigan Chief Investment Officer Jon Braeutigam informed the state’s investment board that its Bureau of Investments, housed under the state Treasury Department, had terminated its relationship with Fisher Investments because of CEO Ken Fisher’s “completely unacceptable comments.”

During a moderated keynote discussion on October 8. Fisher allegedly compared his wealth management strategy to picking up women for sex, according to summit attendees who recounted what they heard in interviews with The Washington Post.

He spoke of doing acid and his belief that charities are immoral. He also made crude comments about genitalia, attendees said, and mentioned financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges earlier this year before dying by suicide in prison.

Despite a Tiburon policy that requires summit attendees to keep private what they hear and discuss there, three CEOs publicly shared their accounts of what Fisher said in the interest of exposing his behavior and holding the self-proclaimed “self-made multibillionaire” accountable.

Alex Chalekian, founder and chief executive of Lake Avenue Financial , came forward first, posting a video to Twitter hours after Fisher’s remarks. Chalekian called the fireside chat a “true debacle” and said Fisher’s words were “absolutely horrifying,” the Post reported.

Rachel Robasciotti, founder and CEO  of wealth management firm Robasciotti and Philipson, and Sonya Dreizler, a speaker and consultant to financial services firms, publicly confirmed Chalekian’s account online and in media reports.

“When you have power and you get onstage to share your worldview, and when your worldview includes women as sexual objects … that is irresponsible,” Robasciotti said in an interview with The Washington Post. “You’re peddling your worldview, and people are adopting it.”

Amid the backlash, Fisher was initially defiant in an interview with Bloomberg, defending his remarks by saying he had “given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response.” He also claimed attendees had mischaracterized what he said and were being unfair.

Fisher, 68, later issued a formal apology. He has been barred from attending future Tiburon summits.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Air Force does pricey refuels in Scotland and crews layover at TrumpTurnberry—all on US voters’ dime

September 11, 2019

The Trump Organization and President Donald Trump, himself, were directly involved in developing a partnership between his Turnberry golf resort on the southwest coast of Scotland and Glasgow Prestwick Airport, The New York Times first reported this week.

The partnership, which began a year before Trump’s presidential campaign kicked off, worked to add TrumpTurnberry to a list of hotels used by the airport’s aircrew on stopovers— despite the fact that it is significantly farther away from the airport than other hotels used in a similar manner and has higher advertised prices, according to the Times.

What’s more, the president has arranged with the U.S. Air Force to refuel American aircraft—paying consumer prices for the fuel—at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, a military maneuver that has not been approved by the Scottish government.

And the Air Force pilots and crew for those planes also are staying at the Trump Turnberry–on the dime of U.S. voters.

“We provide a full handling service for customers and routinely arrange overnight accommodation for visiting aircrew when requested,” the Prestwick airport said in a statement on Monday.

“We use over a dozen local hotels, including TrumpTurnberry, which accounts for a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make,” it added.

The report comes amid controversy over U.S. military personnel staying at the resort while traveling through the airport in March, The Hill reported..

Trump has repeatedly denied involvement in the move, tweeting Monday, “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!) NOTHING TO DO WITH ME”

However, Air Force plane stops at Prestwick have increased from 180 in 2017 to 257 in 2018—and 259 so far, including 220 overnight stays, in 2019. That means lots of money is being made–both by the Trump resort and the airport.

Air Force officials could not tell the Times how many times crews had been sent to TrumpTurnberry specifically but said they are combing through vouchers to determine the exact count.

According to Natasha Bertrand, a reporter for Politico and an MSNBC contributor, the House Oversight committee has begun an investigation into whether U.S. military expenditures have been propping up TrumpTurnberry.

She says, “A peculiar refueling stop in Glasgow by a U.S. Air Force crew, who stayed overnight at the resort—there&back—tipped them off.’

What’s more, she tweeted, “One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel—markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to—that he texted someone close to him and said the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Research contact: @TrumpTurnberry

 

 

Fat cat finds foster family

September 3, 2019

There’s just more of him to love. Mr. B., a 26-pound cat who was surrendered to the Morris Animal Refuge in Philadelphia, finally has found a foster home.

The shelter received more than 3,000 adoption applications after it posted Mr. B’s plight on social media—tweeting, “OMG, big boi…is a chonk of a chonk. He redefines the term. …Can you give him a home?”

In fact, MSN reports, the tweet was shared more 14,000 times and became the subject of numerous headlines as people fell hard for the chunky Mr. B.

After the two-year-old feline was placed in a loving home, the shelter sent its thanks on August 22, tweeting, “Sweet chunky Mr. B’s amazed by the huge outpawing of interest in him.”

The shelter said on its website that it will continue to work with Mr. B’s new foster family to help resolve the cat’s health and behavioral issues so that they might eventually offer him a permanent home.

“While the goal is to make this Mr. B’s forever home, the family will be able to provide him with a safe and comfortable environment while we learn more about him and his needs,” the Morris Animal Refuge website said.

The shelter also revealed that Mr. B’s viral post helped bring in over $1,800 in donations and the shelter has sold more than 400 Mr. B CHONK shirts.

Morris Animal Refuge has not divulged either the name or location of the foster family, in order to allow them some privacy and the opportunity to bond with Mr. B.

Research contact: @MorrisAnimal

Trump aides see personal malice, not political strategy, in Twitter attacks on Baltimore, Cummings

August 2, 2019

After a week during which President Donald Trump was labeled a “racist” and a “white supremacist” for his affronts to “The Squad” of women of color in the House, the activist Reverend Al Sharpton, CNN anchor Don Lemon, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland—and the latter’s home district, Baltimore, which Trump described as “rat-infested and  a “living hell”— the POTUS was asked by the media to explain his strategy.

“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy,” he told reporters on July 30. “It’s very simple.”

However, most political pundits believe that he did have two underlying reasons for the attacks. First, he believes that his denigration of Puerto Ricans, immigrants, blacks, and others of color builds the loyalty of his largely white base nationwide.

Second, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal,  Trump was “set off by last week’s decision by the House Oversight Committee,” which Cummings chairs, to subpoena top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, for its probe into official emails and texts sent from personal accounts.

The news outlet also pointed to Cummings’ remarks at a news conference last week, at which he suggested further action against the administration was imminent. “There comes a point when silence becomes betrayal,” Cummings said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.

“People know this is the president. He’s going to fight back,” said one campaign adviser. “It’s not a surprise to anyone as much as it was before.”

Cummings responded on Twitter: “I will continue to do every day what I am duty-bounded to do—help my constituents to live their best lives and serve as a check on the Executive Branch.”

While Trump’s supporters have not come out in defense of the president’s remarks, they also have not criticized him to any great degree. Indeed, the Journal reports, Trump campaign officials do not view the gibes against Cummings as damaging to the president’s odds of re-election. The campaign sees the president’s polling numbers as most vulnerable when voters perceive the White House to be in chaos, when Mr. Trump’s base of supporters dislike legislation he signs, and when the president is perceived as “punching down,” one adviser told the news outlet.

In direct opposition to what he, himself, has said publicly, the president repeatedly has  bragged about his record on behalf of African-Americans. On Tuesday, he said African-Americans had “been calling the White House” and were “happy as hell.”

Research contact: Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

Virginia State Dems and Black Caucus boycott Trump speech at Jamestown ceremony

July 31, 2019

In a speech interrupted by a Muslim lawmaker who heckled him—and boycotted by the Virginia State Democratic legislative caucus, as well as the Black Legislative Caucus—President Donald Trump commemorated the 400th anniversary of American democracy in Jamestown, Virginia, on July 30.

Indeed, as Trump delivered a text intended to celebrate America’s self-rule and to dispel his own image as a racist—following a week in which he had disparaged legislators and activists of color, including The Squad of four progressive female lawmakers in the House; Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), and the Reverend Al Sharpton—a lone protestor rose from the audience to take him to task.

Ibraheem Samirah, a Democrat serving the state’s 86th District in Virginia’s General Assembly—and a son of Palestinian refugees who was separated from his father in middle school when the senior Samirah was not allowed to return to the United States—stood and held up signs that read “deport hate” and “reunite my family.”

A third message said “go back to your corrupted home,” the Washington Times reported.

Although he was escorted out of the venue, Samirah said in a statement that he was confident his constituents would rather have him protest than “passively accept” Trump’s presence.

Other lawmakers had voiced their disapproval before the speech. The Black Legislative Caucus announced on July 29 that its members would not attend the celebration, saying that Trump’s participation is “antithetical to the principles” for which the group stands. Caucus members instead planned alternative commemorative events in Richmond.

“Surely there’s a better voice for such an occasion,” Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-74th District-Virginia)  –who heads the Black Caucus– wrote on Twitter.  

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney resigned from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s steering committee for the commemoration event, writing in his resignation letter that Trump “denigrates our democracy” and has no place at the event, the Times reported.

“We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance,” the Virginia House Democrats said on Twitter. “The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world.

According to a report on the event by The New York Times, as he took questions for over ten minutes following his speech, President Donald Trump appeared not to know that a boycott was in place, saying he would be “shocked” if opponents of color were declining to attend the event.

“If that’s the case, they’re fighting against their people,” Trump said, repeating an unverified claim that his administration had been receiving calls nonstop praising his comments on Baltimore as a vermin- and rat-infested city. “The African-American people have been calling the White House. They have never been so happy about what a president has done.”

“I think I’m helping myself,” Trump said. “These people are living in hell in Baltimore.”

Research contact: @WashTimes

America may settle for nuclear freeze with North Korea

July 2, 2019

It was a shot seen around the world: Creating just the kind of global drama that he craves, U.S. President Donald Trump took a step into the Demilitarized Zone to shake hands with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un on June 30, amid a swirl of Eastern and Western cameramen and security staff.

But for weeks before the meeting—which started as a Twitter offer by the president to Kim to drop by and “say hello”—a real idea has been taking shape inside the Trump administration that officials hope might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations, The New York Times reports.

No longer would America negotiate for North Korean denuclearization. The new “ask,” according to the Times, would be for a nuclear freeze—one that would essentially preserve the status quo; and, in doing so, recognize and accept the North as a nuclear state.

And while such an agreement would fall far short of President Trump’s original intention to disarm Korea, it might provide him with a retort to campaign-season critics—who say that Kim has been playing the American president brilliantly by giving him the visuals he craves while holding back on real concessions.

The administration still insists in public and in private that its goals remain full denuclearization; however it is willing to concede to a freeze as a limited first step.

American negotiators would seek to expand on Kim’s offer in Hanoi in February to give up the country’s main nuclear-fuel production site, at Yongbyon, in return for the most onerous sanctions against the country being lifted. Trump, under pressure from And it certainly would look like progress, after three personal meetings—in Singapore, in Hanoi, and now in the DMZ Zone—have accomplished little but smiles and handshakes.

However, according to the Times, on Sunday evening, the State Department’s envoy to North Korea, Stephen E. Biegun, said that this account of the ideas being generated in the administration was “pure speculation” and that his team was “not preparing any new proposal currently.”

“What is accurate is not new, and what is new is not accurate,” he said.

Research contact: @nytimes