NEW YORK — Grammy-winning Bronx native Cardi B pledged Wednesday to cover the funeral costs of all 17 victims of a high-rise building fire in her home borough. The hip-hop star’s commitment includes the expenses to return some of the dead for burial in their native Gambia, and Cardi B expressed her continuing support for the families still reeling from the city’s deadliest fire in more than 30 years. “I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will...
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Kellyanne Conway's forthcoming memoir accuses her husband, George, of having an affair with a social media site, People Magazine reported on Thursday.
While some couples might feel their partner spends too much time on the internet, Conway went to the extreme.
"Heading into the school year in the fall of 2018, all four Conway children were thriving," the senior Trump adviser wrote in the book. "They were with me full-time in D.C. My mom had moved in with us to help with my Core Four. George was spending chunks of time in New York at the firm, where he voluntarily went from partner to an of-counsel role, spending his nights alone at our house in Alpine, New Jersey, 240 miles away from D.C. The numbers don't lie. During this time, the frequency and ferocity of his tweets accelerated. Clearly, he was cheating by tweeting. I was having a hard time competing with his new fling."
Instead of blaming Conway for being 240 miles away from her and the family, she says that his public disagreements with the president is what appears to have damaged their marriage.
"Don't assume that the things he says and does are part of a rational plan or strategy, because they seldom are," Mr. Conway wrote of Trump in 2019. "Consider them as a product of his pathologies, and they make perfect sense."
Mrs. Conway refused to address it when asked by the media, but the president was eager to do so on her behalf.
"George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife's success & angry that I, with her help, didn't give him the job he so desperately wanted," Trump responded, threatening Mr. Conway's manliness by calling him Mr. Kellyanne Conway. "I barely know him."
"I had already said publicly what I'd said privately to George," wrote Mrs. Conway in the book. "That his daily deluge of insults-by-tweet against my boss—or, as he put it sometimes, 'the people in the White House'—violated our marriage vows to 'love, honor, and cherish' each other. Those vows, of course, do not mean we must agree about politics or policies or even the president. In our democracy, as in our marriage, George was free to disagree, even if it meant a complete 180 from his active support for Trump-Pence–My Wife–2016 and a whiplash change in character from privately brilliant to publicly bombastic."
She implies that something significant happened in 2018 to change her husband's attitude so much toward the president that it was enough he switch sides.
"Whoop-de-do, George!" Mrs. Conway told him. "You are one of millions of people who don't like the president. Congrats."
"If I had a nickel for everybody in Washington who disagreed with their spouse about something that happens in this town, I wouldn't be on this podcast. I'd be probably on a beach somewhere," Mr. Conway said about his regular disagreements with the president in an extended Skullduggery podcast in 2018. "I don't think she likes it. But I've told her, I don't like the administration. So it's even."
Critics of Mr. Conway harken back to his desperation for a job with the Trump administration. But he has said that top Justice Department gig wasn't something he wanted after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.
"If I get this door prize, I'm going to be in the middle of a department he's at war with," Conway recalled thinking at the time. "Why would anybody want to do this?"
He went on to brag about his wife and that she was the one who got Trump elected. Prior to her, "he was in the crapper."
By the end of 2018, Conway said he was so disgusted with the Republican Party that he was quitting.
"I don't feel comfortable being a Republican anymore," he said. "I think the Republican Party has become something of a personality cult."
All of it circulated around Trump's treatment of the Justice Department and the justice system. Mr. Conway said he was "appalled" when Trump tried to go after federal prosecutors for indicting GOP members of Congress before an election.
"To criticize the attorney general for permitting justice to be done without regard to political party is very disturbing," he said.
Thus began the internal marriage war of the Conways.
Appealing to Trump (and his base) might have worked in Pennsylvania primaries – but it won’t play so well in the midterms
The Pennsylvania primaries of May 17, 2022, proved a good night for Donald Trump, a better one for “Trumpism” and a problem for moderates hoping for a candidate primed to capture the center in the upcoming midterms.
Trump’s officially endorsed Senate candidate, Mehmet Oz, is currently in a tight race with main GOP rival David McCormick – with the balloting set for a recount.
Both ran their primary campaign as Trumpist candidates and vied for the former president’s nod. Meanwhile, third place in the GOP race went to Kathy Barnette, a Fox News commentator who touts herself as more MAGA than Trump.
The fact that all three leading GOP candidates had the DNA of Trumpism in them suggests a couple of things. First, it indicates that echoing the policies, rhetorical style and personality of the former president can be an effective tool for Republican candidates seeking to appeal to the party base. And this is especially important in a closed-primary state such as Pennsylvania, in which only party members have a say in who gets to run for Senate.
And second, it raises a question about the tried-and-tested plan of candidates’ appealing to the party base in the primary before pivoting closer to the center in the general election: Will that post-primary transformation be possible for Republicans in Pennsylvania – and elsewhere – in 2022?
All local politics is national
The Pennsylvania primary proved that the adage that “all politics is local” has to some degree been inverted: Local and state elections are now run on national issues and are influenced by national figures.
But whereas a Trump endorsement in the recent Ohio primary resulted in an immediate surge for his anointed candidate, J.D. Vance, Pennsylvania didn’t quite play out the same way.
Oz’s chance of winning was certainly not harmed by getting Trump’s stamp of approval. But he didn’t seem to take many votes off McCormick or Barnette in the process. In fact, some see Barnette faring better than expected because Trump supporters decided to vote for her as “the more Trump” candidate, over Oz as the “official” Trump candidate.
Meanwhile, Trump’s endorsement actually meant very little for Doug Mastriano, who won the state’s GOP primary for governor. Mastriano – an avidly Trumpian candidate who repeats the former president’s election conspiracy theories – was already pulling ahead by the time Trump made a late nod of approval in his favor.
The point is, whether these Republican candidates are seen as being faithful to Trump’s signature MAGA cause is what matters when it comes to winning in these primaries.
But here’s the rub for Republicans. That may work well enough in firing up the base during primary season, but it complicates the pivot to running against Democrats – and appealing to more moderate voters – in the midterm election. A candidate like Mastriano will have to defend positions like a total ban on abortion, reversal of support for mail-in voting and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
Pennsylvania is seen as a toss-up state when it comes to the Senate vote. In such circumstances, appealing to the center becomes more important – party faithful tend to be locked in; swing voters are up for grabs.
Any GOP candidate who hitches his or her wagon to Trumpian policies and rhetoric may find it harder to appeal to centrists – and may actually alienate some moderate Republicans.
Circling back to the center
A similar dynamic played out in Pennsylvania in the Democratic primary race for Senate, but with success found by positioning policies to the left of the center. One of the more progressive candidates, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, prevailed against the moderate Rep. Conor Lamb.
But even so, Fetterman has, I believe, more room to maneuver come the general election. Fetterman has experience running for – and winning – a statewide office before. Moreover, he has carefully cultivated an “everyman” image, which could play well against either Oz or hedge fund CEO McCormick. Even so, he will have to defend more progressive positions that could also turn off moderate Republicans.
Success in the Pennsylvania primaries came to those candidates able to position themselves away from the center and more in line with the party’s ideological extreme. But it is the Republican candidate, in vying against others for Trump’s blessing as well as his base, who might find it more difficult to circle back to the center during the midterms.
Second most-powerful Senate Republican says bill to fight domestic terrorism after Buffalo is too ‘partisan’ to pass
Senate Republican Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota immediately poured cold water on a just-passed House bill to help fight rising domestic terrorism, in the wake of his past weekend's massacre of ten Black people in Buffalo by a self-avowed white nationalist and antisemite and a California church shooting deemed a "politically motivated hate incident" by local law enforcement.
The House bill passed with all Democrats and just one Republican voting for it. 203 Republicans voted against the legislation that would establish new offices across three federal agencies to help identify and combat domestic terrorism. Three of the Republicans who voted against the legislation are original co-sponsors of the bill, and many who voted for a very similar bill two years ago voted against this bill Wednesday. The final tally was 222-203.
CNN's Manu Raju reports Senator Thune, the second-most-powerful Senate Republican, is "skeptical the domestic terrorism bill that passed the House will get 10 GOP senators," which it would need to pass, assuming all 50 Democrats vote for it.
"He noted that it was a 'pretty party-line vote.' Said he had not studied the details of the bill yet but noted the outcome in the House makes him think it is 'largely a partisan bill.'"
Republicans have a long history of blocking any attempt to curtail or get out in front of preventing domestic terrorism, despite – or because of – the vast majority of extremist-related murders are committed by right-wing extremists.
Republicans' opposition to addressing right-wing extremism and domestic terrorism goes back at least as far as 2009, when, as Wired reported, "an analyst at the Department of Homeland Security focusing on far-right extremist groups" published this report about the danger of right-wing extremism. Outrage was so dramatic DHS was forced to retract it.
In 2016 Politico reported Congressional Republicans also in 2009 "succeeded in pushing to shut" down a DHS program, an intelligence unit "called the Extremism and Radicalization Branch." Its mission? "Studying and monitoring sub-sections of the population for potential signs of ideological and political radicalization."