No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Trump administration thought they'd be memorialized in statues for doing such a great job negotiating with China
  • Former Obama official Rich Hass recounted early transition meetings with the Trump administration in 2016.
  • A member of Trump's circle told Hass the US was in "an existential struggle" with China, and it was imperative they won.
  • When they did, the Trump official continued, there would be "statues erected in our honor."
"We got about five minutes into explaining how we'd gotten to where we were when the person across the table just put his hand up and said, 'We got it. We've heard enough. We know what we need to know. The problem with you Obama guys is you don't understand the United States and China are locked in an existential struggle that if the United States doesn't win there may not be a United States in 50 or a hundred years. And we have to do everything we can to prevail, and when we do there will be statues built in our honor.'"

Trump pushed a trade war with China in the early months and years of his presidency, levying high tariffs on Chinese goods and advancing a series of restrictions and sanctions on China through the State and Justice departments.

Beijing retaliated by imposing sanctions on more than two dozen Trump officials and allies, including Mike Pompeo, Steve Bannon, and John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser.

Later, as the coronavirus pandemic spread in early 2020, the president attempted to blame the virus outbreak on China.

"While there are no statues to be found, the Trump administration did succeed in erecting barriers to an Asia-Pacific strategy that can best achieve the US' strategic objectives of economic fairness and human rights, addressing transnational challenges such as climate change and pandemics while mitigating risks of conflict," Steven Okun, a senior advisor at McLarty Associates, and the host of the book launch, told Insider.

Hass said he was shocked by the official's claim that China would erect statues in honor of the Trump administration.

The comment, he said, "provided an early indication that there would be a change in the way the United States would approach China."
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Biden economy and stock market have defied Trump predictions of doom
During the 2020 campaign, Trump repeatedly claimed electing President Biden would trigger a depression. That hasn't happened. Republicans warned of a stock market collapse under Biden — instead, the Dow Jones rose more after Biden's election win than it did after Trump's. And Republican attacks on the $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package have resonated little beyond the GOP base.

Throughout last year’s campaign, President Donald Trump issued a series of increasingly dark predictions about what would happen if Joe Biden were elected.

“If he gets in, you will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen. Your 401(k)s will go to hell and it’ll be a very, very sad day for this country,” Trump said in the Oct. 22 candidate debate.

Instead, the rebounding economy is headed for its best year since 1984, according to the International Monetary Fund. The U.S. economy likely expanded in the first quarter at an annual rate of 6 percent and should accelerate in the months ahead, economist Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics told clients this week. More than 1.3 million jobs have been added since the election.

By Trump’s preferred metric — the stock market — Biden is outperforming his predecessor at this stage of his presidency. Last summer, the Republican said stock values would “collapse” under Biden. But through Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average was up nearly 17 percent since Nov. 7, when the Democrat was declared the apparent election winner, compared with a 10.5 percent gain over a similar period following Trump’s election.

“There wasn’t much behind President Trump’s predictions other than aspirations that he’d be reelected,” said economist Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute.
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Amazon and Google spent $7.5 million lobbying politicians in the first 3 months of 2021 (GOOGL, AMZN)
  • Amazon spent just shy of $5 million lobbying politicians in the first three months of 2021.
  • Google similarly splashed out on lobbying, to the tune of nearly $3 million.
  • In both cases, the companies set new personal records for lobbying expenditures.
Amazon and Google broke personal records for lobbying payouts in the first three months of 2021: The two American conglomerates collectively spent $7.5 million on federal lobbying between January 1 and March 31.

Amazon was the heavier spender of the two, according to a Bloomberg report, with $4.8 million spent in the first quarter, while Google spent $2.7 million in the same time.

Both companies are facing increased scrutiny from legislators on a variety of issues.

In Amazon's case, it's getting pushback on everything from labor practices to anticompetitive behavior. With Google, legislators have raised a variety of criticisms — from anticompetitive behavior to its business interests in China.
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We watched 11 hours of old Florida House hearings when Matt Gaetz pushed sexual predator legislation. He wanted 'scorched earth' penalties.
  • Matt Gaetz helped enact Florida legislation to toughen penalties for sex offenses against children.
  • He said in 2014 that sex offenders who prey on children are "simply wired differently."
  • Gaetz is now the subject of a sex trafficking investigation reportedly involving a 17-year-old.
In 2014, long before becoming the subject of a federal sex trafficking investigation, Matt Gaetz pushed Florida to enact what he called a "scorched earth" policy toward sexual predators.

Gaetz, then 31 years old, served as chairman of the Florida House of Representatives' Criminal Justice subcommittee. He cosponsored legislation that increased the mandatory prison time for convicted sexual offenders, calling it some of the most important work his subcommittee would do.

Now that Gaetz himself is under federal investigation, his record is getting renewed attention.

... Gaetz told his colleagues at a January 2014 hearing that their effort to revise laws pertaining to sexually violent predators "will be some of the most serious work we do." Gaetz said the bills the committee was working on would "put our state in a better posture and make our citizens more safe."

Gaetz cosponsored legislation that year that would increase Florida's mandatory minimum sentence for violent sexual offenders to 50 years.

The bill also broadened the definition of "sexual activity" that could qualify as a second-degree felony for a person 24 or older who engages in sexual activity with a 16-year-old or a 17-year-old, according to a staff analysis of the bill.

"If we've learned anything from the evidence, it's that many of these individuals who specifically go out and target the very most vulnerable among us are simply wired differently, and I would like to see them behind bars for 50 years minimum," Gaetz said of violent sexual offenders as the subcommittee was considering the legislation.

After a lobbyist criticized the legislation as an attempt to throw the "kitchen sink" at the issue in an attempt to keep sex offenders locked up for as long as possible, Gaetz agreed.

"One thing is correct, we're throwing the kitchen sink at violent sexual predators," Gaetz said in March 2014. "I think there's a debate going on in the country right now about whether these individuals can be cured, and I don't really know if they ever can."
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Biden will allow US embassies worldwide to fly Pride flag, reversing a Trump administration decision
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken has given US embassies the greenlight to fly the Pride flag.
  • This reverses a decision from the Trump administration, which rejected requests to fly the flag.
  • The Biden administration is not making this mandatory, but allowing diplomats to decide.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has authorized US embassies to fly the Pride flag, according to a State Department cable first reported by Foreign Policy.

Blinken gave US diplomatic outposts the greenlight to fly the rainbow flag before May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and to keep it on display through Pride Month in June. But the top US diplomat in the cable also said that this was not mandatory, leaving it up to diplomats to "determine that such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions," per the New York Times, which also reviewed the cable.

This move reverses a decision from the Trump administration, which rejected requests from US embassies to fly the Pride flag. Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who publicly opposed same-sex marriage, said only the US flag should appear on the flagpole at US embassies.

Vice President Mike Pence, who's espoused anti-gay views and supported anti-LGBTQ legislation, in a 2019 NBC News interview backed the Trump administration decision to prohibit embassies from flying the Pride flag. "When it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, having one American flag fly, I think is the right decision," Pence said at the time.

Some embassies sought to circumvent the Trump administration's directive by displaying the Pride flag on the building rather than the flag pole, such as the US Embassy in South Korea. But the embassy in Seoul ultimately took the Pride banner down as the Trump administration simultaneously ordered it to remove a Black Lives Matter banner also hanging on the building's facade.

The Biden administration's stance toward the LGBTQ community has shifted drastically from its predecessor.

During his confirmation hearing in January, Blinken pledged to defend the rights of LGBTQ people and said he would allow US embassies to fly the Pride flag.

"We've seen violence directed against LGBTQI people around the world increase. We've seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of color, that we've seen ever," Blinken said. "And so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something that the Department is going to take on and take on immediately."
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30% of 18- to 29-year-olds say history will judge Trump as 'the worst president ever'
  • Thirty percent of Americans between 18 and 29 years old believe history will judge Trump as the "worst president ever," according to a new Harvard poll.
  • 56% of young people said history will judge Trump as "bad," "terrible," or the "worst president ever."
  • Just 56% of young Republicans said they want Trump to "play a key role in the future of Republican politics."
Young Americans overwhelmingly dislike former President Donald Trump. And, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll, 30% of Americans between 18 and 29 years old believe history will judge Trump as the "worst" president in US history.

Just about a quarter of young people — 26% — assessed the former president positively, while 56% said history will view him as "bad," "terrible," or the "worst president ever." Eleven percent said he'll be seen as an "average" president.

Even young Republicans are divided on whether Trump should play a central role in politics going forward. Just 56% said they want Trump to "play a key role in the future of Republican politics." And when asked to choose between the GOP and Trump, 42% of young Republicans said they are supporters of the Republican Party over the former president. About a quarter said they're primarily Trump supporters and another quarter said they support both the GOP and Trump.

The majority of these young conservatives are sympathetic or subscribe to Trump and his allies' false claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

Two-thirds of young people believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, but just about a quarter of young Republicans think Biden was legitimately elected. Twenty percent of young GOP-ers believe Trump won reelection against Biden — and this number leaps to 35% among young Republicans who live in rural areas.

At the same time, Biden has attracted historic support from young Americans. The 78-year-old former vice president has the highest approval rating among young people of any first-term US president since the poll was first conducted 20 years ago.

The Harvard poll surveyed 2,513 US residents between 18 and 29 years old from March 9 to March 22, 2021. The margin of error is 2.6%.
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Trump's campaign still hasn't paid the $211,000 it owes the city of Albuquerque. Now debt collectors are calling Mar-a-Lago, mayor says.
  • The city of Albuquerque is still trying to get the Trump campaign to pay a $211,000 bill from 2019.
  • Officials sent the bill to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort and referred it to a debt collections agency.
  • At least 15 cities have struggled to get the Trump campaign to pay its bills.
City officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are still chasing down a $211,175.94 bill incurred by former president Donald Trump's campaign nearly two years ago.

After a campaign event in the city in 2019, the Trump campaign was billed for increased police services and the use of a municipal building.

"The President's campaign stop in the Albuquerque area cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, including over 1500 hours of police overtime that was required by the campaign," Tim Keller, Albuquerque's mayor, said in a statement to The Hill at the time.

But the debt has yet to paid, prompting city officials to try new tactics. The bill, which was initially sent to Donald J. Trump for President Inc. in New York, has since been resent to Trump's Mar-a-Lago Resort, a city spokesperson told the Albuquerque Journal.

The city has also hired a collections agency to pursue payment of the debt, Keller said during a recent interview with "The Daily Show."

The Democratic mayor said Trump "should be getting these annoying voicemails that, like, we get usually from scam companies where it's like 'You owe debts.'"

"I think Mar-a-Lago is now getting those calls," he said.

... At least 15 cities have struggled to get the Trump campaign to pay bills for policing and public safety during rallies, Insider's Dave Levinthal reported in December. At the time, the Trump campaign had nearly $2 million in unpaid bills from cities for Trump's rallies.

In November, the city of El Paso, Texas, lawyered up to pursue an unpaid bill for $570,000 from the Trump campaign.
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or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.