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Melania Trump slams historian, who said her rose garden renovation erased ‘decades of American history’

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By Jenny Goldsberry

A year after then First Lady Melania Trump announced the Rose Garden’s renovation, PBS historian Michael Beschloss is slamming her for “the grim result.”

Trump’s original plan included electrical upgrades, a new walkway and new flowers and shrubs. The plan also replaced crab apple trees with white rose shrubs and added new drainage systems. A new assortment of white “J.F.K.” and pale pink “peace” roses were also planted.

At the time she called the renovation an “act of expressing hope and optimism for the future.”

“Our country has seen difficult times before, but the White House and the Rose Garden have always stood as a symbol of our strength, resilience and continuity,” the First Lady said during the announcement.

However Beschloss was not happy with the results and let his opinion be known on Twitter Sunday.

“Evisceration of White House Rose Garden was completed a year ago this month,” he tweeted. “And here was the grim result—decades of American history made to disappear.”

As a result, the Office of Melania Trump responded on Twitter. They tweeted that Beschloss isn’t a “professional historian.”

“[He] has proven his ignorance by showing a picture of the Rose Garden in its infancy,” the tweet read. “The Rose Garden is graced with a healthy and colorful blossoming of roses. His misleading information is dishonorable and he should never be trusted as a professional historian.”

First to tend the garden was Ellen Axson Wilson, first wife of President Woodrow Wilson. She introduced the rose garden in 1913.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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