More stories

  • in

    Blackstone Chief Stephen Schwarzman Says He Will Back Trump

    Stephen A. Schwarzman, the billionaire chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, said he would back former President Donald J. Trump in the 2024 election, a reversal from his call for a “new generation of leaders” after the midterm elections.“The dramatic rise of antisemitism has led me to focus on the consequences of upcoming elections with greater urgency,” Mr. Schwarzman, who is Jewish, said in a statement on Friday.He also said that he was backing Mr. Trump because he believed “our economic, immigration and foreign policies are taking the country in the wrong direction.”Mr. Schwarzman, a lifelong Republican and megadonor to the party, had stuck by Mr. Trump after his defeat in 2020 and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, but turned away from him after many of the candidates Mr. Trump had handpicked lost their midterm races in 2022.Days after the party’s disappointing performance then, Mr. Schwarzman vowed to support a new candidate in the Republican presidential primaries. But ultimately he stayed out of the primaries, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, instead donating to Republican House and Senate candidates and the political committees backing them.On Friday, he noted that he would continue to support “Republican Senate candidates and other Republicans up and down the ticket.”He has donated tens of millions of dollars to Republican political committees in recent election cycles, including those used by Mr. Trump in the 2020 election. More

  • in

    Trump Warms Up to Bringing Haley ‘On Our Team in Some Form’

    Former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday opened the door to bringing Nikki Haley into his circle, another step in what looked to be a thawing of hostilities between the two former rivals.“Well, I think she’s going be on our team because we have a lot of the same ideas, the same thoughts,” Mr. Trump told News 12, the New York area cable outlet, one day after Ms. Haley said that she would vote for him in the November election.That admission from Ms. Haley, his one-time United Nations ambassador-turned-bitter rival for the Republican presidential nomination, was a seemingly requisite first step toward reconciliation between the two.In the interview after his rally in the Bronx on Wednesday, he also engaged in a rare moment of praise for Ms. Haley, calling her “a very capable person.”During the lopsided G.O.P. primary race, which ended in March with Ms. Haley’s withdrawal, Mr. Trump and Ms. Haley exchanged frequent attacks.Mr. Trump repeatedly called Ms. Haley “birdbrain” and insinuated that her husband, a National Guardsmen, left for a deployment in order to escape her.Ms. Haley increasingly clapped back at Mr. Trump and his attempts to push her out of the race, referring to him in late January as “unhinged.”Until recently, the prospects of the two making amends appeared to be uncertain, with Mr. Trump shooting down a report this month that he was considering Ms. Haley as his running mate.Mr. Trump has enlisted several other former G.O.P. opponents in his bid to avenge his defeat in the 2020 election: Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Vivek Ramaswamy, the entrepreneur.Mr. Trump’s “team of rivals mantra,” one made famous by Abraham Lincoln, appears to be a recognition of Ms. Haley’s potential value to his campaign, both in terms of dollars and votes.Despite leaving the G.O.P. nominating contest more than two months ago, Ms. Haley has continued to draw significant numbers of voters in subsequent primaries, chipping away at critical support that Mr. Trump is likely to need in a close election against President Biden. In Wisconsin, she received more than 75,000 votes (nearly 13 percent of ballots cast) in this month’s Republican primary.And then there are Ms. Haley’s connections to donors. In April, she was named the Walter P. Stern chairwoman at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank with a formidable list of high-dollar donors.Jazmine Ulloa More

  • in

    Obama Is a Surprise Guest Among Allies at Biden’s State Dinner for Kenya

    The state dinner was held in honor of the African nation, but it was clear that the night was about keeping Democratic allies close as President Biden heads into the heat of the 2024 campaign season.Yes, Barack Obama was there.State dinners are best known as bear hugs for overseas allies, and Thursday’s honoree was Kenya. But the sixth state dinner of President Biden’s term was designed to clutch domestic allies — not the least of them Mr. Obama, whose father was Kenyan — even tighter as the president makes the long slog toward November.The 500-person event, held on the South Lawn of the White House on a humid May evening, was attended by dozens of influential Kenyans, of course. The list included President William Ruto of Kenya and his wife, Rachel, along with three of his daughters. It also included some of the country’s wealthiest figures, like James Mwangi, the chief executive of the global banking conglomerate Equity Group Holdings Limited.“We share a strong respect for the history that connects us together,” Mr. Biden said to his guests during a toast. He quoted from a speech given by President Jimmy Carter, who honored Kenya with a state dinner in 1980: “Neighbors do not share a border but share beliefs.”But the evening, along with the guest list, was just as notable for what it said about Mr. Biden’s current political obstacles. Aside from Mr. Obama — the former president was not on the initial guest list published by the White House, and he departed before Mr. Biden’s speech — the list name-checked the people Mr. Biden will want to bring closer into the fold in the months ahead. The lineup included elected officials in several battleground states, influential Black political operatives, and powerful philanthropists, like Melinda French Gates.Choosing their guests, the president and Jill Biden, the first lady, mixed supporters of the president’s re-election effort with several Biden family members — granddaughters and Mr. Biden’s son Hunter, who is scheduled to stand trial on gun charges next month. (Hunter Biden’s wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, walked the red carpet alone.) There were few Hollywood types, though one notable attendee was the actor Sean Penn. Mr. Penn was photographed by the gossip website TMZ as he spent time with Hunter Biden, who has been working on a documentary about his life, in California earlier this month.Hunter Biden and the actor Sean Penn listened to President William Ruto of Kenya as he spoke at the dinner.Haiyun Jiang for The New York TimesWe are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

  • in

    G.O.P. and Secret Service Clash Again Over Convention Protest Zone

    The Republican National Committee, alarmed by what it sees as a significantly worsening security threat, asked on Thursday that the director of the Secret Service personally intervene and grant a request to move a designated protest zone farther away from convention participants in Milwaukee this summer.Republicans have demanded for nearly a month that the Secret Service push back the protesters from the convention site. Now, seven weeks before the start of the convention on July 15, a letter from Todd R. Steggerda, a counsel to the R.N.C., has raised the stakes.“Your failure to act now to prevent these unnecessary and certain risks will imperil tens of thousands of convention attendees, inexcusably forcing them into close proximity to the currently planned First Amendment Zone,” Mr. Steggerda wrote to Kimberly A. Cheatle, the director of the Secret Service, referring to a designated protest site at Pere Marquette Park, a small public park on the bank of the Milwaukee River, about a quarter-mile from the arena hosting the convention.In his letter, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Steggerda cited “an increased and untenable risk of violence” from a “rapidly deteriorating security environment,” and demanded that Ms. Cheatle intervene. The Secret Service is tasked with leading security for both major-party conventions this summer.The Republican Party has previously argued that, in the current plan, those attending the convention will be forced to pass by the protesters on their way into the venue, increasing the opportunity for confrontation.The Secret Service responded in a lengthy statement to Mr. Steggerda’s letter, saying that officials had held “multiple meetings” with the R.N.C. chairman, convention staff and concerned senators, but that the agency was “confident in the security plan being developed.”We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

  • in

    At a Trump Rally in the Bronx, Chants of ‘Build the Wall’

    Nearing the end of the criminal trial that has kept him in New York City for much of the last five weeks, former President Donald J. Trump held a rally in the Bronx on Thursday, where he made a litany of promises to improve New York, railed against the Biden administration and made overtures to Black and Latino voters.Speaking to a more diverse crowd than is typical of his rallies, Mr. Trump lamented the surge of migrants across the southern border and criticized President Biden’s economic policies as disproportionately hurting people of color, whose support he is eager to win from Democrats.“African Americans are getting slaughtered. Hispanic Americans are getting slaughtered,” Mr. Trump said to a crowd with large numbers of Black and Hispanic voters.As he has before, he insisted that the migrant influx, which has prompted a crisis in New York, was disproportionately hurting “our Black population and our Hispanic population, who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose.”The Trump rally drew at least a thousand people to Crotona Park in the South Bronx.Hiroko Masuike/The New York TimesMr. Trump’s screeds against those crossing the border illegally and his vow to conduct the “largest deportation operation” in U.S. history — both staples of his campaign rallies — were met with cheers.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

  • in

    Trump Plays Up His Putin Ties in Claiming He Could Get Gershkovich Released

    Former President Donald J. Trump claimed that, if re-elected, he could draw on his relationship with President Vladimir V. Putin to press Russia into releasing Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been detained in a Moscow jail for more than a year.Mr. Trump wrote in a social media post that Mr. Gershkovich would be “released almost immediately after the election, but definitely before I assume office,” suggesting that his securing Mr. Gershkovich’s release was contingent on his defeating President Biden in November.“Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else,” Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, added. Mr. Trump has frequently bragged about his positive relationship with Mr. Putin, whose strongman tendencies he has praised in interviews and on the campaign trail.Asked about Mr. Trump’s post, a spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters that “Putin has no contact with Donald Trump, of course.”Mr. Gershkovich, who was arrested in March last year in Russia and charged with espionage shortly after, has been designated by the White House as “wrongfully detained,” a label signifying that the United States views him as the equivalent of a political hostage and believes the charges against him are fabricated.Russia has not presented any evidence to support the spying charge, which Mr. Gershkovich and The Journal have vociferously rejected. The Biden administration has said it is working to secure his release.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

  • in

    Ohio Elections Official Threatens to Exclude Biden From the Ballot

    The Ohio General Assembly adjourned on Wednesday without addressing an issue that the state’s top elections official said would prevent President Biden from being placed on the ballot there, escalating a partisan clash that could result in the president not being on the ballot in all 50 states in November.Frank LaRose, the Republican secretary of state, has said that he plans to exclude Mr. Biden from the ballot because he will be officially nominated after a deadline for certifying presidential nominees on the ballot. This is usually a minor procedural issue, and states have almost always offered a quick solution to ensure that major presidential candidates remain on the ballot.The Biden campaign is considering suing the state in order to ensure Mr. Biden is on the ballot, while also searching for some other way to resolve the issue without moving the date of the nominating convention, according to a person with knowledge of the deliberations.A legal fight could be expensive and arduous. The Supreme Court recently ruled that states could not bar Mr. Trump from running for another term under a constitutional provision, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, that prohibits insurrectionists from holding office. But it took six months of legal wrangling before the court put that issue to bed.Ohio is not considered a swing state — Mr. Trump won there with an eight-point edge in 2020 — but the Biden campaign could be drawn into a monthslong legal battle to ensure that the president is on the ballot in all 50 states.A legislative fix, which would have pushed back the certification deadline to accommodate the late date of the Democratic National Convention, stalled out this month as Republicans in the Ohio Senate tacked on a partisan measure that would ban foreign donations to state ballot initiatives. Mr. LaRose has previously said that passing the ban is the price that Democrats must pay to ensure that Mr. Biden is on the ballot, and that he would otherwise enforce the law as written.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More

  • in

    Former Trump Official Meets With Arab and Muslim American Leaders

    As President Biden’s support among Arab and Muslim Americans withers over his backing of Israel in the war in Gaza, former President Donald J. Trump is making a long-shot push to take advantage.On Tuesday, Richard Grenell, a former high-ranking official in the Trump administration, met for more than two hours with a group of about 40 Arab and Muslim American leaders at an Italian restaurant outside Detroit. Mr. Grenell was joined by the former president’s son-in-law Michael Boulos, who is married to Tiffany Trump and is Lebanese American, though the Trump campaign said it had not organized the meeting.Many Arab and Muslim American voters have said they are so angry with Mr. Biden over his Israel policy that they will sit out the election, despite supporting him in large numbers in 2020. But Mr. Grenell told the group that it had the chance to exercise extraordinary political power by backing Mr. Trump instead, according to six people who attended the meeting.Mr. Grenell argued that if Muslim and Arab Americans publicly swung their support to the former president — and helped him win Michigan, a key battleground state — they would demonstrate to both Republicans and Democrats that they could not be ignored.“The door is open to start to explore,” said Yahya Basha, a Syrian American radiologist from Royal Oak, Mich., who helped organize the meeting. “Let’s go approach and see what Trump has to offer.”Dr. Basha and others present described the meeting as light on policy details and said they needed to hear more before committing to support Mr. Trump. Several others who attended were already Trump supporters, but some had cast their ballots for Mr. Biden in 2020.We are having trouble retrieving the article content.Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.Thank you for your patience while we verify access.Already a subscriber? Log in.Want all of The Times? Subscribe. More