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Who are the highest-paid people in President Biden’s White House?That question was answered on Thursday with the release of an annual report with staffers’ salaries, which max out at $180,000.Twenty-two White House employees make the maximum yearly salary. That list includes White House press secretary Jen Psaki, chief of staff Ron Klain and Neera Tanden, who is now senior adviser to the president after her nomination for Office of Management and Budget director was withdrawn.BIDEN WHITE HOUSE POWERED BY FAMILY CONNECTIONSOther familiar names who make the maximum salary include national security adviser Jake Sullivan, senior adviser to the president Cedric Richmond, domestic policy adviser Susan Rice, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield, National Economic Council head Brian Deese and national climate adviser Gina McCarthy.Rounding out the list are AnnMarie Tomasini, director of Oval Office operations; Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall, Homeland Security adviser and deputy national security adviser; Cathy Russell, director of the Office of Presidential Personnel; Steve Ricchetti, counselor to the president; Julissa Reynoso, chief of staff to the first lady; Dana A. Remus, White House counsel; Jonathan J. Finer, principal deputy national security adviser; Anne E. Filipic, director of management and administration and director of the Office of Administration; Mike Donilon, senior adviser to the president; Jen O’Malley Dillon, deputy chief of staff; Anthony Bernal, assistant to the president and adviser to the first lady; and Louisa Terrell, director of the Office of Legislative Affairs.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 21, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
During her time as an an executive at tobacco giant Philip Morris in the mid-1990s, Vice President Kamala Harris’ chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, worked to “kill” efforts to hold tobacco companies accountable for public health costs resulting from their products, documents reviewed by Fox News show. Flournoy’s portfolio at Philip Morris included working to “kill” Medicaid liability bills as states sued tobacco companies for Medicaid costs incurred by patients who smoked cigarettes. Today, tobacco companies must pay $9 billion to state governments each year due to a 1998 legal settlement over the costs of tobacco-related ailments. KAMALA HARRIS STAFF CONTENDING WITH LOW MORALE, INTERNAL TENSIONS A 1996 memo from Flournoy, which is featured in the University of California, San Francisco’s Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, laid out her “goals for 1996.””Work with USA to kill medicaid liability bills as they arise – at the moment, dealing with one in MD. Work with USA to prevent additional medicaid liability suits from being filed,” Flournoy wrote. “Work with the [Washington Relations Office] to continue to work on [legislation] at the federal level to fix the medicaid liability problem.” Another goal: repealing a 1994 Florida law that cleared the way for the state to sue tobacco companies.
Tina Flournoy, Vice President Harris’ chief of staff, worked to “kill” Medicaid liability bills while she was an executive at Philip Morris.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Her memo also noted her goals of strengthening relationships between Phillip Morris and Democratic Party leaders. “Assist in planning the 96 Democratic convention. Maintain and strengthen relationships with Democratic party leaders and organizations,” Flournoy wrote.Flournoy also focused on tort reform at the federal level to restrict consumer rights and helped Philip Morris coordinate with the Product Liability Coordinating Council and American Tort Reform Association (ATRA). “It was determined that a large component of the federal tort effort – as it is with the state tort effort – would be the communication plan. That plan will be orchestrated, in large part, through ATRA,” Flournoy wrote in a 1995 memo, which is also preserved in the UCSF library. The vice president’s office didn’t return an email asking if Harris was aware of the nature of Flournoy’s Philip Morris work when she offered her the chief of staff position. Groups, including the National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco Prevention and National Tribal Tobacco Prevention Network, accused Philip Morris of targeting minority communities, including by funding groups like the NAACP, in a 2005 amicus curiae brief that cited a letter from the NAACP’s Elaine Jones to Flournoy.”The Defendants also acted to win over African American organizations by giving them hundreds of thousands of dollars of tobacco money each year. The tobacco industry funded the fortieth anniversary gala of The United Negro College Fund as well as events by the NAACP, the Urban League and other organizations,” the brief reads.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP .”We are very grateful for the help we have received from Philip Morris Companies over the years. It is because of companies like Philip Morris that we have been able to continue meeting the challenges to civil rights in the courts and in the communities across the country,” Jones wrote to Flournoy in the 1994 letter.Jones asked for $50,000 for the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, endorsed Arizona governor candidate Matt Salmon for being a “proven conservative” on Wednesday.”I’m proud to stand with my friend and proven conservative, Matt Salmon,” Cruz sad in a statement. “As governor, Matt will make the safety and security of all Arizonans his top priority. He will fight to protect Arizona from the Biden Administration’s socialist policies. And Matt will continue the work, which started when he was in Congress, to defend Arizona from all threats, including those increasingly from foreign and state actors, while standing unapologetically on conservative principle. I ask fellow conservatives in Arizona to join me in supporting Matt’s campaign for governor.”ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE KATIE HOBBS ANNOUNCES BID FOR GOVERNORSalmon has represented Arizona in two separate stints in Congress, the first from 1995 to 2001 and the second from 2013 to 2017, according to Ballotpedia. Salmon was the Republican nominee for Arizona governor in 2002 but lost to Democrat Janet Napolitano. He is currently a lobbyist for Arizona State University, according to the Arizona Mirror.”Senator Cruz is a conservative stalwart who has always put America first. His pursuit of freedom and opportunity is only matched by his fidelity to the Constitution,” Salmon said in a statement, “I’m honored and thankful for his endorsement.”
In this Jan. 9, 2015 file photo, Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(AP)Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s second term ends in 2023, and Salmon is far from the only candidate in the race. Other Republicans include former news anchor Kari Lake, businesswoman Karrin Taylor Robson and Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, according to Ballotpedia.Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, tossed her hat in the ring earlier in June.FORMER REP. MATT SALMON ENTERS ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL RACE WITH CLUB FOR GROWTH ENDORSEMENT”The other side isn’t offering policies to make our lives better. They’re offering conspiracies that only make our lives worse. We did our job. They refuse to do theirs. … That’s why I’m running for governor,” Hobbs said in her launch video.”In 2020, against all odds, in the middle of a pandemic, we proved that democracy works. It’s been my job and life’s work to make government work for the people of Arizona,” she said.The focus on Arizona’s 2020 presidential election results raised Hobbs’ profile as she appeared on cable news to take issue with state Republicans.”We’ve got this state government being run by conspiracy theorists right now. They are out of touch with everyday Arizonans and that’s holding us back as a state,” she told the Arizona Republic.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPHobbs is not the only Democrat in the race. Former Nogales, Ariz., Mayor Marco Lopez is also running.Arizona hasn’t had a Democratic governor since 2009. Ducey won reelection in 2018 by roughly 15 points.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is unable to run for reelection because of term limits, quipped at a Tuesday news conference that he may consider a second act in comedy, but his joke fell painfully flat.NEW YORK CITY MAYOR DE BLASIO MOCKED FOR TWEET ON ‘BRIGHT’ FUTURE OF BIG APPLEDe Blasio’s awkward punchline came as he announced the return of the New York Comedy Festival alongside Caroline Hirsch, founder of comedy club Carolines on Broadway. “I just want to volunteer, I have an incredible new act where I just eat food live. … It’s kind of like modern art and comedy together,” De Blasio said.”Will you give me an audition? I really think I’ve figured out my next act. Get it? Get it? That was funny, wasn’t it?” he said, prompting laughter from Hirsch only.”See what I did there?” De Blasio insisted as other people in the room seemingly forced laughter.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is getting dragged on Twitter for bragging about enjoying the Big Apple’s summer weather as violent crime soars and residents are moving out in droves. (NYC Mayor’s Office)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has become a lightning rod for frenzied, often factually-challenged attacks from Democrats and liberal journalists as he gears up for his 2022 reelection bid, amid speculation that he’ll run for president in 2024. The attacks have spawned a new term: “DeSantis Derangement Syndrome.” Most recently, some in the media faced backlash after politicizing the tragic residential building collapse in Surfside, Florida. Scores of people are feared to have died. WAPO REPORTER ACCUSED OF PEDDLING FALSE INFORMATION ON DESANTIS’ FEMA RESPONSEWashington Post reporter Hannah Dreier was accused of misleading people about DeSantis’ response to the crisis.On Saturday, Dreier posted an account of FEMA’s response to the building collapse. From FEMA’s statement, she concluded that DeSantis had waited more than 24 hours to provide emergency relief for victims.”There’s a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours,” she tweeted. “FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn’t get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day.” The misleading tweet garnered tens of thousands of “likes” on the platformOn Sunday, DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw responded to the tweet, noting that Dreier left out crucial details from her tweets.”This is missing important context, @hannahdreier never asked me for comment,” Pushaw tweeted. “[E]mergency response started within minutes of the disaster led by Miami Dade County, amazing first responders. County mayor signed local emergency [declaration] 4:40 [and] @GovRonDeSantis signed [executive order] less than 1hr later.”Pushaw also posted a document proving that the Miami-Dade County state of emergency was not signed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Danielle Levine Cava, a Democrat, until 4:33 p.m. ET, over twelve hours after the initial collapse. DeSantis signed an emergency order at approximately 5:32 p.m. ET, less than one hour later.Moreover, local emergency response teams were deployed immediately. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat and former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, was sharply critical of Dreier’s tweet. “As the former director in FL who voted for Biden this tweet below is 100% Malarkey. FEMA would have deployed the federally funded USAR teams, which are located in @MiamiDadeCounty. They were already there,” Moskowitz wrote.Others appeared to accuse DeSantis of causing the building’s collapse, despite there being no known link between any of the governor’s actions and the building’s deterioration. Some reports have indicated that the condo towers developers were once accused of paying off local officials for permits.”Let’s hear it for deregulation, folks!” The Intercept journalist Ken Klippenstein wrote on Twitter after calling attention to a “Florida Deregathon” DeSantis promoted in 2019. There is no known link between any of the regulations DeSantis lifted and the building’s collapse. For DeSantis’ defenders, it was just the latest example of “DeSantis Derangement Syndrome.” There’s even a “DeSantis Derangement Syndrome” Twitter account, which documents attacks on the governor, that has nearly 40,000 followers. Earlier in June, activists sought to blame DeSantis after a fatal truck crash at a Pride event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While some including Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis were quick to describe the incident as a terrorist attack, it turned out to be an unfortunate accident. Peter Schorsch, the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, appeared to blame DeSantis for the incident because of his anti-riot bill and his recent bills regarding transgender athletes in girls’ sports. He later deleted his tweet. The hashtag #DeathSantis also trended on Twitter as users falsely linked DeSantis to the accident. “As we now know, last night’s tragic incident at the Wilton Manors #Pride parade wasn’t domestic terrorism. But the toxic environment created by the laws of a bigot like @GovRonDeSantis [and] the encouragement of Trump’s terror fueled Turd Reich regime [and] #GQP made it entirely plausible,” columnist Lesley Abravanel wrote on Twitter on June 20.Earlier this year, “60 Minutes” delivered a heavily criticized report on DeSantis that implicitly accused the governor of giving Florida grocery store chain Publix lucrative rights to vaccine distribution in exchange for a $100,000 campaign donation. Democrats including Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner pushed back against the report.”The reporting was not just based on bad information – it was intentionally false,” Kerner said in a statement in April. “I know this because I offered to provide my insight into Palm Beach County’s vaccination efforts and ’60 Minutes’ declined. They know that the governor came to Palm Beach County and met with me and the county administrator and we asked to expand the state’s partnership with Publix to Palm Beach County.”DeSantis blasted “corporate media operatives” in response to the story.”They know that they got caught, so they never even addressed that, they just issued these mealy-mouthed statements, but what I would say to ’60 Minutes’ and the American people, they have so much contempt for their viewers to try to gaslight them like this,” DeSantis told “Fox & Friends.” “You know what, admit that it was false. That’s the responsible thing to do.”ROAD TO WHITE HOUSE: DESANTIS TOPS EARLY 2024 STRAW POLLDeSantis already has two high-profile Democratic opponents ahead of his re-election bid, former Gov. Charlie Crist and current Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Fried has lionized former Florida state health official Rebekah Jones, who used cable news and social media to push accusations that she was pressured by the DeSantis administration to alter the state’s coronavirus data, though her claims have largely failed to hold up to scrutiny.”Thank you Rebekah Jones, for not being afraid to speak out. @GovRonDeSantis and [the Florida Department of Health] will have to answer for this,” Fried wrote on Twitter in May 2020.Jones quickly became a media darling through her criticism of DeSantis, but since then, her claims have come crashing down. A former Democratic official recently accused her of “running a disinformation campaign” and implored the media to stop giving oxygen to her claims. Jones is facing felony cybercrime charges for allegedly hacking a state messaging service, though she has maintained her innocence. She received whistleblower status in late May. Other DeSantis opponents pushed unsupported claims – boosted by a heavily-criticized Yahoo News article – that Florida’s COVID death toll is actually higher than reported, as a way of criticizing the governor’s stance against lockdowns. But even the Washington Post noted that that narrative simply isn’t supported by the facts. “The fact that corporate media activists make up lies and conspiracy theories to attack Governor DeSantis just shows that they have no real criticisms of his leadership. At the end of the day, the numbers speak for themselves: Florida’s economy is doing better than it was before the pandemic, Florida’s COVID death rate is lower than the national average, and about 900 Americans per day move to Florida — the oasis of freedom,” Pushaw, the DeSantis press secretary, told Fox News. “DeSantis deserves credit for all of this, but because he proved the so-called ‘experts’ wrong, the establishment media set out to destroy him. But these baseless political attacks always backfire, because the facts are on DeSantis’ side. Each new, ridiculous example of DeSantis Derangement Syndrome further diminishes Americans’ trust in the media, which is already at a historic low.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe governor has also drawn personal attacks from celebrities looking ahead to a potential 2024 campaign. “Governor Ron Desantis, please eat s–t. You’re one of the worst governors in Florida history and they had Jeb Bush and Nosferatu. We, as a country, cannot handle a more competent Trump. So let’s make sure DeSantis 2024 doesn’t happen,” television host Samantha Bee wrote on Twitter on June 23.”Trump was their Great White Dope. Now they are thinking DeSantis. The Great White Nope,” actor George Takei wrote on Twitter on Sunday.DeSantis’ name has repeatedly appeared at or near the top of lists of potential Republicans 2024 presidential nominees. The results of a straw poll of conservative voters earlier in June spotlighted DeSantis’ appeal. DeSantis came out on top of a 2024 straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit, narrowly edging former President Donald Trump, according to organizers of the conference.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center left, and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez, center right, arrive for a news conference near the scene where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed, Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki accused Republicans of being the party of defunding the police on Monday — after “Defund the Police” became a rallying cry of progressive activists in 2020 and damaged Democrats’ appeal with moderate voters.Republicans voted against President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was signed in March, even though it included $350 billion for state and local governments that could be used for local police.MEGHAN MCCAIN: ‘DEFUND THE POLICE … WAS THE STUPIDEST THING I EVER HEARD'”Something one of the advisers said this weekend, Cedric Richmond, he said Republicans defunded the police by not supporting the American Rescue Plan,” Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Psaki on Monday. “But how is it that that is an argument to be made when the president never mentioned needing money for police to stop a crime wave when he was selling the American Rescue Plan?””Well, the president did mention that the American Rescue Plan, the state and local funding, something that was supported by the president, a lot of Democrats who supported and voted for the bill, could help ensure local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country. As you know, [it] didn’t receive a single Republican vote. That funding has been used to keep cops on the beat,” Psaki said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who is now the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, advocated for disclosing donors to political organizations but said his group is not revealing its donors anytime soon during a congressional hearing on Thursday.”I do think that there needs to be transparency with regard to who is making donations to political organizations, and that would be good for our democracy,” Holder told the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections during Wednesday’s hearing.LIBERAL DARK MONEY GROUP 1630 FUND’S ELECTION WISHLIST BOOSTED BY SWISS BILLIONAIRE”Will you disclose the donors to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee for the record today?” asked Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., ranking member of the House Committee on Administration.”Well, what we do is follow the law as it exists. I’m not going to unilaterally disarm. When Republicans will do the same thing, I will do that and we will certainly follow the law, but I stand for the disclosure obligations that are contained in the bills that are being considered before Congress,” Holder responded.Holder’s group can be traced to megadonor Hansjorg Wyss. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s 501(c)(4) arm, the National Redistricting Action Fund, received $3 million from a group connected to Wyss between 2018 and 2020.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York, Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
(AP)The Wyss Foundation’s Berger Action Fund provided 40% of the National Redistricting Action Fund’s budget in 2017 and 2018 despite Holder’s stated opposition to foreign dollars in U.S. politics, the Washington Free Beacon reported.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPAs of 2014, Wyss said he did not hold American citizenship, although money from his Washington, D.C.-based foundation appears to have trickled down into efforts to restore felons’ voting rights in Florida, mandate automatic voter registration in Nevada, redraw districts in Michigan and more.Holder served as the U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015 under President Barack Obama.