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NYPD to reduce security around Trump Tower, says Mayor de Blasio



NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

After years of guarding Trump Tower like a fortress on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, the New York Police Department (NYPD) will begin to scale back its security presence around the skyscraper now that Donald Trump‘s time as president has come to an end, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, according to The New York Post.

“It’s still obviously a sensitive site, but it’s going to be a much lower security profile,” the New York City mayor said during a press conference. “A lot more of the space around it is going to be opened up, which is a good thing for the people of that neighborhood and for the city.”

De Blasio’s announcement comes one day after President Joe Biden was sworn in. Trump opted not to attend his successor’s inauguration, instead trading Washington’s winter winds for Florida’s sunny skies at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. While Trump has a residence high up in the tower, the former president has moved to Florida for the time being, though the frustration of Palm Beach locals has thrown his living situation into the air.

Throughout Trump’s tenure as commander-in-chief, the NYPD and federal agents have operated a strict security zone around the skyscraper on Fifth Avenue between East 56th and 57th streets.

With New York City and many areas in its orbit having voted overwhelmingly against Trump, Trump Tower has become a major spot for protests in the nation’s largest city over the past few years, rivaling historical protest spaces like Washington Square Park and Union Square. On top of that, Fifth Avenue has become the most popular route for marches and protests, with the final stop along the northbound route often being Trump Tower.

Amid last summer’s racial justice protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in May, de Blasio ordered that the section of Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower be renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and that the phrase “Black Lives Matter” be painted across that stretch of road.

According to The Post, the NYPD had previously mentioned that it would “re-evaluate” security around Trump Tower following Inauguration Day, with sources telling the publication that the section of East 56th Street immediately south of the tower is expected to re-open to vehicular traffic.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz Confronts Speaker McCarthy in Fiery House GOP Meeting



matt gaetz

In a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Thursday morning, tensions flared as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confronted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), accusing him and his allies of orchestrating an online campaign against him with the help of “MAGA influencers.”

According to reports from Fox News, the exchange was marked by what was described as “fireworks.” Gaetz directly addressed McCarthy, alleging that “MAGA influencers” had been paid to attack him on social media. McCarthy promptly denied the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims.

Speaker McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s allegations, indicating that he had no intention of engaging in such activities. In the same meeting, another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s commitment to the GOP’s goals, pointing out that he was personally dedicating his efforts to allocate $5 million to support GOP candidates and members with the aim of strengthening their majority in the near future. McCarthy’s remark seemed to challenge Gaetz regarding his contributions toward achieving a stronger Republican majority.

In response to Gaetz’s allegations, some members of the GOP caucus expressed frustration. According to a second source, one lawmaker told Gaetz to “f— off,” while another referred to him as a “scumbag,” according to reports.

Gaetz confirmed the confrontation to reporters as he exited the meeting, explaining, “I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online.” He also confirmed McCarthy’s response, saying, “Yeah, that is what he said.”

When asked about his feelings toward McCarthy during and after the exchange, Gaetz remarked, “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”

A spokesperson for Speaker McCarthy categorically denied any involvement in the alleged online campaign, attributing it to a Democrat-backed entity. In support of this claim, Fox News Digital reportedly obtained a screenshot of a cease-and-desist email sent by McCarthy’s outside lawyer to the individuals allegedly behind the campaign.

Furthermore, the email asserted that the campaign falsely claimed to act on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and his affiliated entities and warned of legal consequences if the actions continued.

The exchange in the House GOP meeting underscores the ongoing tension between Gaetz and McCarthy. Gaetz has been threatening to force a House-wide vote on McCarthy’s speakership, alleging violations of a deal struck to secure McCarthy’s election as Speaker in January.

Under the terms of that compromise, McCarthy agreed to allow any lawmaker to trigger a vote on his removal, known as a “motion to vacate.” While Gaetz had hinted at pursuing such a motion earlier in the week, he sidestepped questions on the matter during the recent meeting with reporters.

In the midst of this contentious atmosphere, Gaetz emphasized his current focus on advancing single-subject spending bills, deflecting inquiries regarding the motion to vacate and maintaining his dedication to legislative efforts.

The confrontation between Gaetz and McCarthy underscores the complex dynamics within the Republican caucus as it navigates internal divisions and confronts ongoing challenges on Capitol Hill.

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