Those visiting Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Park on Sunday might have noticed something unusual hanging in Main Street, U.S.A. – a banner calling for President Donald Trump's re-election in 2020.
Dion Cini, 49, of New York, said he unfurled the banner and briefly hung it from a balcony overlooking the park's Town Square with the help of a bystander to garner attention for Trump's re-election campaign.
Cini told WFTV that the stunt cost him his annual pass, which he has had for 24 years, but he said it was well worth the free advertising.
Video showed a park employee approaching Cini.
"Sir, please remove the banner immediately," the worker said.
Cini said he took the banner into a restroom, packed it up and changed his hat so no one would recognize him.
He said he has performed similar stunts for the past two years and will continue doing so.
Hours after Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis cruised to an easy win in the race to become his party's nominee for Florida governor, he found himself facing criticism for one of his remarks.
DeSantis, who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, will face Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a progressive Democrat, in the November election. According to CNN, Gillum, who was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is Florida’s first African-American gubernatorial nominee.
"He is an articulate spokesman for those far-left views, and he's a charismatic candidate," DeSantis said. "You know, I watched those Democrat debates. None of that was my cup of tea, but, I mean, he performed better than the other people there. So we've got to work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction. Let's build off the success that we've had on Gov. [Rick] Scott. The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda."
Some slammed DeSantis' word choice, saying his "monkey this up" comment had racial undertones.
Gillum accused DeSantis of "taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump."
"But I think he's got another thing coming to him if he thinks that in today's day and age ... Florida voters are going to respond to that level of derision and division," Gillum told Fox News. "They're sick of it."
A spokesman for DeSantis issued a clarification to Fox News on Wednesday afternoon:
"Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses," the statement said. "To characterize it as anything else is absurd."
Political analysts had former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham as the frontrunner over Gillum and a crowded field of Democratic candidates in Tuesday's primary. During the campaign, Gillum spent only $6.5 million, compared with Graham, who spent $16 million, and other candidates Jeff Greene, who spent $38 million, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who spent about $29 million.
During his victory speech Tuesday night, Gillum said he wants to go across the state and help unite people.
“This is not my moment; this is our moment.” Gillum said.
In the speech, he mentioned possible plans for education, wage increases for workers, environmental protections, expanding Medicaid and criminal justice reform.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who endorsed Gillum during the campaign, released a statement congratulating him on his win.
"No one person can take on the economic and political elites on their own," Sanders tweeted. "Tonight, Floridians joined Andrew in standing up and demanding change in their community. That’s what the political revolution is all about and Andrew Gillum is helping to lead it."
On the other side of the political aisle, DeSantis gave a victory speech Tuesday night thanking Trump for his endorsement and praising federal policy areas.
“We have 4.1 percent GDP growth, we’ve got 20-year low unemployment, we have Gorsuch on the U.S. Supreme Court, and we’re going to add Brett Kavanaugh next," he said. "The Iran deal is dead, our embassy in Israel is now in Jerusalem where it belongs, we have our hostages back from North Korea, our taxes have been cut, and the red tape has been reduced. I’d say that’s pretty good work for a year and a half, so let’s keep it going."
DeSantis added that he wants to build on the work done by current Gov. Rick Scott. He said he wants to attract a wider variety of high-paying jobs, keep taxes low and maintain "reasonable" regulations.
He also spoke about wanting more vocational and technical training in high schools, better water quality, a prohibition on sanctuary cities in Florida and an end to judicial activism.
“I believe there’s no limit to what we can accomplish here, as long as you have the courage to lead," he said. "And I pledge to you, as governor, I will work my butt off to accomplish great things for this state."
Trump took to Twitter to congratulate DeSantis on his primary win.
Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, posted an emotional tribute to her father Saturday night following his death from brain cancer.
"I love you forever - my beloved father @SenJohnMcCain," the co-host of "The View" tweeted along with a statement praising the former prisoner of war, longtime senator, political "maverick" and Republican presidential candidate, who died Saturday at age 81 in his Arizona home.
"All that I am is thanks to him," she wrote. "Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love."
She called her father "a great fire who burned bright."
"We know that his flame lives on, in each of us," she wrote. "The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad – but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us."
She ended with words of comfort for those in mourning.
"John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth," she wrote. "Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things: 'The dream is ended: this is the morning.'"
Read her full statement here:
"My father, United States Senator John Sidney McCain III, departed this life today.
"I was with my father at his end, as he was with me at my beginning. In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me, and supported me in all things. He loved me, and I loved him. He taught me how to live. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman – and he showed me what it is to be a man.
"All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love.
"My father's passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters. He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long. We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad – but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us.
"Your prayers, for his soul and for our family, are sincerely appreciated.
"My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth. Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things:
"'The dream is ended: this is the morning.'"
President Donald Trump discussed former personal attorney Michael Cohen's guilty plea on charges of tax evasion and a campaign finance violation, ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort's fraud conviction, the slaying of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts and illegal immigration in a prerecorded interview airing Thursday morning on Fox News.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 7:53 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: When asked if he considers the press to be the enemy of the people, Trump said: “No, not at all, but the fake news is, and the fake news is comprised of ... it’s a lot; it’s a big chunk.”
He added that “fake news” outlets made up about 80 percent of the media and complained that some outlets, such as the New York Times and CNN, criticize him no matter what he does. He pointed out critical coverage of his meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin as examples.
When Trump was asked what grade he’d give himself so far, he responded: “I would honestly give myself an A-plus.”
Update 7:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Trump weighed in on whether he believes Democrats will try to impeach him.
“You know, I guess it says something like high crimes and all,” he said. “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job.”
He added: “I’ll tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor. ... You would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe.”
Update 7:17 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: When asked if he’d consider pardoning Manafort, Trump never clearly answered the question but appeared to have sympathy for his former campaign chairman.
“I have great respect for what he’s done in terms of what he’s going through,” he responded. “You know, he worked for Ronald Reagan for years. He worked for Bob Dole. He worked – I guess his firm worked for McCain. He worked for many, many people many, many years, and I would say what he did, some of the charges they threw against him, every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does.”
Trump added: “If you look at Hillary Clinton’s person, you take a look at the people that work for Hillary Clinton, and look at the crimes that Clinton did with the emails and she deletes 33,000 emails after she gets a subpoena from Congress, and this Justice Department does nothing about it and all of the other crimes that they’ve done.”
He continued: “I will stay uninvolved, and maybe that’s the best thing to do.”
Update 6:40 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Trump slammed Jeff Sessions in the interview, saying the attorney general “never took control of the Justice Department.”
“What kind of a man is this?” Trump said, referring to Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. “By the way, the only reason I gave him the job, I felt loyalty. He was an original supporter.”
Update 6:17 a.m. EDT Aug. 23: Trump described Cohen as a lawyer who worked on “small deals” for him and was “not somebody that was with me that much.”
“I don’t know if he’s a fixer,” Trump said in the interview. “I don’t know where that term came from.”
He referred to Cohen’s recent guilty plea as “flipping.”
“It's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal. ... They go from 10 years to they're a national hero,” Trump said. “They have a statue erected in their honor. It's not a fair thing."
Trump added: “One of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so much is he went through that trial.”
Trump claimed that so-called “hush money” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal did not come from campaign funds and “weren’t even crimes.”
Original report: President Donald Trump discussed former personal attorney Michael Cohen's guilty plea on charges of tax evasion and a campaign finance violation, ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort's fraud conviction, the slaying of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts and illegal immigration in a prerecorded interview with Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt.
The interview, recorded Wednesday, is set to air from 6 to 9 a.m. EDT Thursday on "Fox and Friends," the network said.
In one clip released Wednesday, the president responded to Cohen's claim that Trump knew about so-called "hush money" payments made just prior to the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.
“Later on I knew. Later on. What (Cohen) did — and they weren’t taken out of the campaign finance, that’s the big thing," Trump said in the clip. "That’s a much bigger thing. Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.”
Trump also mentioned pardoning Manafort, Earhardt told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.
Please return for more updates from the interview as it airs this morning.
A Vermont Democrat has become the first transgender gubernatorial nominee for a major political party in the United States.
According to The Associated Press and state election returns, Christine Hallquist, 62, of Hyde Park, won the nomination with 48.3 percent of votes and will face Republican Gov. Phil Scott in November.
Here's what we know about Hallquist:
1. She is a former utility executive. Hallquist was chief executive officer of the Vermont Electric Co-op from 2005 to early 2018, according to her campaign website and LinkedIn profile. She started working for the co-op as an engineering and technology consultant in 1998, then became engineering and operations manager two years later.
2. She ran on a progressive platform. Hallquist supports efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, institute paid family and medical leave, and "ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons," Vermont Public Radio reported. Another one of Hallquist's goals is to "work with like-minded states to lay the groundwork for a universal health care system," her campaign website says. She also wants to "connect every home and business in Vermont with fiber-optic cable" so everyone has access to high-speed internet, according to the site. Learn more here or here.
3. Hallquist is married and has three children. According to Politico, she was formerly known as Dave and grew up in upstate New York. In 1976, she moved to Vermont, "first living in Essex Junction, and then settling with her spouse Pat in 1984 in Hyde Park next to the Green River Reservoir," her campaign website says.
4. She transitioned three years ago as her son, Derek, was filming a documentary about her. "While in the process of filming 'Denial' in 2015, Christine made the decision, after years of holding it inside, to come out as her true self, a transgender woman, becoming the first business leader in the country to transition while in office," Hallquist's campaign website says. Learn more about the documentary here.
5. Prominent progressives, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, tweeted their support for Hallquist after her victory Tuesday night. See some of their tweets below:
President Donald Trump slammed former White House aide and “Apprentice” alum Omarosa Manigault Newman on Monday after she released audio clips that she claims were recorded during interactions with President Donald Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 9:55 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: According to the Associated Press, Trump said he received a phone call from Mark Burnett, the producer of “The Apprentice” assuring him that no tapes exist of him using the N-word, as former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman claims.
Manigault Newman writes in her new memoir that she’d heard such tapes existed. She now says she listened to one after the book closed.
Update 10:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 13: Trump took to Twitter Monday morning to blame the media for his attacks on Manigault Newman, writing that “the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible.”
Manigault Newman served as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison until January, when reports surfaced that she was "physically dragged" from the White House. Secret Service officials later denied Manigault Newman was physically removed from the premises.
She was one of Trump's most prominent African-American supporters. The president thanked her in February during an event for African-American History Month, saying that she was "very special."
"I want to thank my television star over here," Trump said at the Feb. 1 event, referencing Manigault Newman's time on his reality show competition, "The Apprentice."
Update 10 a.m. EDT Aug. 13: Trump slammed “Wacky Omarosa” Monday morning after the former White House aide released audio clips of calls she said were made with Trump and Kelly.
“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time,” the president said Monday in a tweet. “She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things.”
Update 7:28 a.m. EDT Aug. 13: “Apprentice” alum Omarosa Manigault Newman has released an audio clip that she says was taken during a phone call with President Donald Trump the day after she was fired from her White House job in December.
According to NBC News, the recording seems to indicate that Trump did not know White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had fired Newman the day before.
“Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving. What happened?” a man, purportedly Trump, says in the clip.
He later adds: “Nobody even told me about it. You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. [Expletive] it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”
>> Listen to the clip here (WARNING: Audio includes profanity.)
Original report: "Apprentice" alum Omarosa Manigault Newman claims that she taped the moment she was fired from her job as an adviser to President Donald Trump – and released the audio to NBC's "Meet the Press."
On Sunday, the news show aired the clips, which Newman said were taken in the White House Situation Room as Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her in December.
"It's come to my attention over the last few months that there's been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues," a man, purportedly Kelly, can be heard saying in the recording.
He later adds: "I think it's important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure ... you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation, and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation."
Newman told "Meet the Press" that she believed the latter was a threat.
"He goes on to say that 'things can get ugly for you,'" said Newman, whose book, "Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House," hits stores Tuesday. "The chief of staff of the United States, under the direction of the president of the United States, threatening me on damage to my reputation and things getting ugly for me – that's downright criminal."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Sunday night condemning Newman's actions.
"The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security – and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee," Sanders said.
CNN reported that electronic devices such as cellphones are not allowed in the Situation Room.
White House officials are exploring "legal options" to prevent Newman from sharing more audio, ABC News reported Sunday evening.
The Associated Press contributed to these reports
A heated political race in Florida is coming down to a question of degrees.
Melissa Howard, a candidate for the Florida Legislature, has been accused of lying about graduating from college and then producing a fake diploma, the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota reported.
Howard, a businesswoman running against Tommy Gregory in the Aug. 28 Republican primary for state House District 73, on Friday answered accusations from a conservative-based website about her college graduation by distributing photographs of what she claimed was her diploma from Miami University in Ohio. According to the Herald-Tribune, she also posted photographs of what she claimed was her transcript on Facebook, writing that “The truth shall set you free!”
“It only took a night of flying back to my old stomping grounds to catch my opponent in yet another lie!” Howard wrote in her post.
However, the Herald-Tribune cited an email from Miami University general counsel Robin Parker, who said Howard never graduated.
Howard, whose maiden name was Fox when she attended the Ohio university, did not receive a bachelor of science degree in marketing in December 1996 as she claimed, the Herald-Tribune reported, citing Parker’s email.
“We have no such record of a degree,” Parker wrote, noting that the university did not offer a degree in marketing..
“Miami University’s degree for Marketing majors then, as it is now, was a Bachelor of Science in Business,” Parker wrote, adding that Howard’s major, according to university records, was retail. “The picture of the diploma that was posted on the HowardforHouse73 Facebook page does not appear to be an accurate Miami University diploma.
The website Florida News Online, which calls itself “The conservative choice for Florida news & politics.” questioned Howard’s academic credentials in a story on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t deal with this,” Howard told the Herald-Tribune on Friday.
Howard told the website that the story was “a lie,” and Florida News Online retracted the story and apologized after Howard distributed the photo of her holding a framed diploma, the Herald-Tribune reported. However, the site reposted its story after Parker told them Howard did not graduate, Florida News Online reported.
Howard could not be reached for comment Saturday, the Herald-Tribune reported.
Her campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, said in a text message to the newspaper that Howard’s husband, Ian Howard, had a “cardiac event” Friday and is in the hospital.
“Melissa is focused on her family — not fake news this morning,” Pedicini wrote Saturday.
Gregory said in a text to the Herald-Tribune that “voters deserve nothing less than truth and integrity from their elected officials.”
“Unfortunately, it seems that Melissa Howard has failed that test,” he said in his text.
A Florida state senator running for reelection called police Thursday afternoon on a reporter she claimed was making threats against her, The Miami Herald reported.
Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Democrat running in District 38 in South Florida, called police at 1:24 p.m. after an appearance at a North Miami Beach restaurant, the newspaper reported.
A North Miami Beach officer who responded to the call and declined to give his name said Campbell called about threats made by a woman in a floral dress -- the attire of Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey, the Herald reported.
No arrests were made.
Dennis Stubbolo, president of the Social Citizens of South Florida that hosted the event, said the incident was surprising.
“I did not see anything go wrong. I was there,” he told the Herald. “I don’t know where that came from.”
Campbell made the call after a question-and-answer session. When Blaskey asked for an interview, Campbell refused and told the reporter to email her questions, the Herald reported.
When Blaskey continued to listen to Campbell’s conversations with voters, the senator walked to another table and called police, the newspaper reported.
Campbell’s attorney, James Jean-Francois, said he was unaware of the incident and could not comment. Campbell has accused the newspaper of racism and bias in favor of her Democratic primary opponent, Jason Pizzo, the Herald reported.
“You guys keep on harassing her all the time and she’s tired of you guys,” said a man who answered Campbell’s cellphone and declined to give his name, the newspaper reported.
Miami Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch said that “Asking a public official questions in a public place is perfectly appropriate.”
Earlier this year, Campbell called Miami Shores Police because Rise News reporter Rich Robinson was filming her in public, The Miami New Times reported. Miami Shores Police found that Robinson had done nothing wrong.
Actor Steven Seagal has a new role, but this one isn't in a movie.
According to The Associated Press, the action star is taking on the real-life job of Russia’s special envoy for humanitarian ties with the U.S.
Russia's Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that it had named Seagal to the position, writing on Facebook that the actor would "facilitate relations between Russia and the United States in the humanitarian field, including cooperation in culture, arts, public and youth exchanges," the AP reported.
Seagal, a frequent ally and defender of Russian President Vladimir Putin, became a Russian citizen two years ago and recently was banned from entering Ukraine because of national security concerns, the AP reported.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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