President Trump on Tuesday defended his slogan “Make America Great Again” when asked by a black undecided voter at an ABC News town hall event if the term wasn’t “tone deaf.”
Trump highlighted his black supporters and touted statistics that reflect economic improvement for black Americans before the coronavirus pandemic caused a spike in joblessness in March.
Addressing specifically when things were “great” for black people, Trump said: “If you go back and you want to look over many years, you could just go back six or seven months from now, that was the best single moment in the history of the African-American people in this country.”
The president’s questioner, Pastor Carl Day of Philadelphia, who leads the Culture Changing Christians nonprofit, was identified as someone who voted for Green Party candidate Jill Stein in 2016.
Day bluntly presented his inquiry to Trump.
“When has America been great for African Americans in the ghetto of America? Are you aware of how tone deaf that comes off to the African American community?” Day said.
“Well, I can say this, we have tremendous African-American support. You’ve probably seen it in the polls. We’re doing extremely well with African-American, Hispanic-American at levels that you’ve rarely seen a Republican have,” Trump said.
“You look just prior to this horrible situation coming in from China, when the virus came in, that was the — probably the highest point, home ownership for the black community, home ownership, lower crime, the best jobs they’ve ever had, highest income, the best employment numbers they’ve ever had.”
Trump’s questioner persisted, saying he hadn’t seen improvement for black people under many administrations.
“We have not been seeing a change, quite frankly under your administration, under the Obama administration, under the Bush, under the Clinton, the very same thing happening, the very same system, the cycles continue to ensue,” Day said.
Day said Trump hadn’t acknowledge there was a “race problem” in America.
“Well, I hope there’s not a race problem,” Trump told the questioner. “I have great respect for all races, for everybody. This country is great because of it.”
“But when you go back six months and you take a look at what was happening, you can’t even compare that with past administrations,” Trump said. “When you look at income levels — and a lot of things, because of the job situation, where they had the lowest income — the best unemployment numbers they’ve ever had, the black community by far. And that was solving a lot of problems. And you know what else? It was bringing people together.”
During the extended dialogue, the questioner noted that there’s income inequality impacting black people and “an $8 an hour job does not mean that they can necessarily afford to live where they have to live.”
Trump said that “the income inequality — which, I agree with you, is a problem, I always agreed with that. But if you look under President Obama and Biden the income inequality was phenomenal. It was — it was record setting.”
Trump said if not for COVID-19, there would be less inequality.
“I think, income inequality would be different. It was really getting there. We were really driving it down.”
FBI investigates ballots for Trump found in Pennsylvania garbage
The Justice Department on Thursday said the FBI has opened an investigation into nine absentee ballots — seven cast for President Trump — that were found in the garbage near Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Trump routinely expresses doubt about the reliability of mail-in voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the investigation quickly became national news.
“At this point we can confirm that a small number of military ballots were discarded,” US Attorney David Freed said in a statement.
“Investigators have recovered nine ballots at this time. Some of those ballots can be attributed to specific voters and some cannot. Of the nine ballots that were discarded and then recovered, 7 were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump,” Freed said.
“Two of the discarded ballots had been resealed inside their appropriate envelopes by Luzerne elections staff prior to recovery by the FBI and the contents of those 2 ballots are unknown.”
An initial statement from Freed incorrectly said, “All nine ballots were cast for presidential candidate Donald Trump.”
Freed said the probe began Monday at the request of Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.
“Since Monday, FBI personnel working together with the Pennsylvania State Police have conducted numerous interviews and recovered and reviewed certain physical evidence. Election officials in Luzerne County have been cooperative,” Freed said.
Trump condemned the discovery as he departed the White House on Thursday for a trip to North Carolina and Florida.
“They found, I understand, eight ballots in a wastepaper basket in some location,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn.
The ballots “had the Trump name on it, and they were thrown into a wastepaper basket,” he said.
“We want to make sure the election is honest and I’m not sure that it can be. I don’t know that it can be with this whole situation — unsolicited ballots, they are unsolicited, millions being sent to everybody.”
Trump spoke after affirming in a Thursday morning interview that he will voluntarily leave office if he loses to Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He said he believes the Supreme Court will decide the election as the result of disputes over mail-in ballots.
Democrats generally say mail-in ballots are not vulnerable to widespread fraud and said Trump’s apparent refusal to confirm he would leave office — during a Wednesday night press briefing — is an indication he would cling to power.
Freed, the US attorney for the middle district of Pennsylvania, said “we expect later today to share our up to date findings with officials in Luzerne County. It is the vital duty of government to ensure that every properly cast vote is counted.”
Nine states and Washington, DC, will mail ballots to all registered voters due to the coronavirus pandemic. Swing-state Pennsylvania will not send ballots to all voters.
Ballots are being mass-mailed in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington state.
Firefighters find hidden cash while battling NYC home blaze
Forget the stock market, this is the hottest place to stash your cash.
A team of firefighters in Brooklyn thought they had found mana from heaven when they cut through a ceiling while battling a house blaze Thursday and bundles of hidden cash started raining down on them, sources said.
“It was buried treasure basically,” the FDNY source, who’d been briefed on the unexpected bounty, gushed.
“It just kept falling out.”
The smoke eaters had arrived at the home on E. 57th Street in Old Mill Basin just after 2 a.m. to put out the fire, which had started on the first floor of the 3-story brick row house, the FDNY said.
When the FDNY members discovered that the flames had snaked their way into the ceiling of the home, they decided to cut through the overhead sheetrock to stamp it out, the source said.
That’s when the sudden cash windfall started landing on their heads.
“It was a ton of cash, it just fell right out of the ceiling, pretty cool,” the source said. “It was in bundles, it wasn’t like in one solid brick, it just kept falling out.”
The cash, wrapped in plastic bags and tinfoil, could be as much as $1 million dollars, said the source, who was told it came from a resident’s deceased husband’s life insurance policy, the source said.
The bundles were all filled with new hundred-dollar bills, the source said.
Firefighters gave the money to the police, who then gave it back to a woman who lived in the building, a source said.
The NYPD could not immediately confirm the sum of the money.
When reached by phone, a relative of the resident said there was “like $20k in tinfoil” found in the ceiling but then insisted there was no money at all.
“Whatever they think they found, if they found money and they want to give it to us, give it to us,” the relative insisted.
“If you find anything, give it to us! Call me!”
Jim Jordan wants to know if FBI is investigating Hunter Biden
A leading Republican congressman demanded Thursday that the FBI reveal whether it’s investigating allegations of “potential criminal activity” by the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
In a two-page letter, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to write back regarding what he called the “explosive report” released by Republican senators on Wednesday.
“Among other findings, the report documented ‘potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh, and Chinese nationals,’ ” he wrote.
Jordan also said the 87-page report from Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) “shows that the FBI has been aware of some alleged misconduct for years.”
“The FBI suffered from a pattern of misconduct and politicization at the highest levels of the FBI during the Obama-Biden Administration,” he wrote.
“The new revelations in Chairman Johnson’s and Chairman Grassley’s report only add more concern about the FBI’s actions.”
Jordan asked whether the bureau was investigating Hunter Biden’s alleged “receipt of $3.5 million from the wife of the former mayor of Moscow” and his alleged “payment of ‘thousands of dollars to individuals involved in human trafficking and prostitution,” among other things.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden on Wednesday told the Washington Post that Hunter Biden had no financial interest in, and was “not a co-founder of,” the Rosemont Seneca Thornton investment firm that allegedly received the wire transfer from Elena Baturina, Russia’s richest woman.
Lawyer George Mesires did not return a request for comment from The Post regarding the report’s allegation that his client “sent funds” to women who then wired money to people in Russia and Ukraine who “are linked to what ‘appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.’”
The FBI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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