“Crickets. They’re Gone”: Why the Mercers, Trump’s Biggest 2016 Backers, Have Bailed on Him

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To judge from the recent leak of its internal poll numbers, Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign has a lot of ground to make up—and Trump family members have already been sounding alarms that Republican mega donors aren’t stepping up to close the gap. Don Jr. recently called a prominent donor and warned that Trump’s money haul is falling behind where Barack Obama was early in his reelection, while Jared Kushner has privately complained to RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel that Trump’s war chest is not as big as it should be at this point in the cycle.

“Jared doesn’t like what’s going on. He basically believes the RNC should be doing a lot better,” a former West Wing official familiar with the conversations told me. According to this official and another source, Kushner wants to recruit Mike Pence’s former chief of staff, Nick Ayers, back to Washington for a senior position at the RNC to bolster the GOP’s fund-raising. “Jared wants Nick, but Ronna would protest that,” the former West Wing official said. (The White House did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the RNC said the group “has a great working relationship with the team at the White House” and praised McDaniel for “fundraising records month after month.”)

But a large part of the problem is that Trump has lost the financial support of one of his biggest backers in 2016: the Mercers. With their ties to Steve Bannon, Breitbart, and Cambridge Analytica, Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah were superstars last cycle. According to half a dozen sources familiar with the reclusive family’s political activities, the Mercers have drastically curtailed their political donations in recent months and will likely not play a significant role in 2020. “They think that the administration could do so much more. They’ve been very vocal about that to the president,” a person familiar with the Mercers’ thinking told me. “It’s like they’ve disappeared,” the former West Wing official added. “Crickets. They’re gone,” a prominent Republican strategist said.

The numbers tell the story. In 2016, Robert Mercer, the former co-CEO of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, and his wife, Diana, donated $15.5 million to a variety of different organizations to help elect Trump, and they put up another $1 million for the inaugural committee. They also provided substantial support to Breitbart, which at times seemed to function as an extra arm of the Trump campaign. The Washington Post reported they spent more than $49 million on political activities in 2016 and that year’s election cycle. “The Mercers laid the groundwork for the Trump revolution,” Steve Bannon said in 2017. In addition to the millions the Mercers pumped into Trump’s election, they spent $10 million on Breitbart News and millions more on Cambridge Analytica, the data firm cofounded by Robert Mercer in 2013.

But in 2018 the Mercers donated only $400,000 to the pro-Trump Great America PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Their total political spending dropped to $2.9 million last year. Sources said the Mercers cut back their spending because they felt scarred by the press scrutiny that followed their association with Trump. Two sources said Rebekah’s divorce from her husband is also motivating her to keep a low profile. “This whole thing did not end up well for them,” former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg told me. “They’ve been destroyed,” a former West Wing official said. A former Renaissance executive said: “Bob views all his political spending as a bad investment.” (The Mercers did not respond to requests for comment.)

Like Trump, the Mercers exploded onto the national scene from seemingly nowhere. Robert, a painfully shy computer scientist who reportedly prefers cats to people, never gave interviews. When I approached Robert at Trump’s 2016 election-night party at the New York Hilton, he smiled and walked away.

At that time, the Mercers had become so influential with Trump that they successfully installed their handpicked strategists, Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, to run Trump’s campaign in the closing months of 2016. After Trump won, Rebekah served as a senior member of the transition team. And in December 2016, Trump repaid their loyalty by making an appearance at Robert’s annual costume ball held at his Long Island mansion known as the Owl’s Nest.

But the relationship was stress tested from the beginning of Trump’s term. In March 2017, The New Yorker published an embarrassing profile of Robert Mercer, depicting him as an eccentric recluse. Five months later, Trump exiled Bannon, which drove a wedge between Trump and the Mercers, Bannon’s longtime patrons. Around the same time, Mercer’s support for Trump and Breitbart was outraging Renaissance employees and the fund’s investors, sources told me. (The hedge fund’s founder, James Simons, is among the country’s biggest Democratic donors.) In November 2017, Mercer was pushed out of Renaissance and he publicly transferred his stake in Breitbart to his daughters. A month later, the Mercers’ relationship with Bannon reached a breaking point when Bannon was quoted extensively in Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury criticizing the Trump family. Rebekah issued a rare statement distancing herself from Bannon. “My family and I have not communicated with Steve Bannon in many months and have provided no financial support to his political agenda, nor do we support his recent actions and statements,” it read. “Bob and Rebekah both felt so burned by Bannon and the negative publicity,” a person close to the Mercers told me.

Meanwhile, the Mercers’ investment in Cambridge Analytica was putting them in legal jeopardy. A few months after Robert left Renaissance, it was reported that the FBI opened an investigation of Cambridge in the wake of revelations that the firm appropriated private data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles. Last May, the Mercers shut the company down. “The Cambridge investigation really spooked them,” said the prominent Republican strategist.

Another factor driving the Mercers off the national stage is that Trump was never their ideal candidate, despite the millions they spent helping him, sources told me. “They never really liked Trump,” the person close to the Mercers said. During the 2016 Republican primary, the Mercers put all their cards on Ted Cruz. The source recalled that Robert invited Kellyanne Conway, who was then working for a pro-Cruz super PAC, to his Florida mansion and told her to “beat Trump!” What seemed to be most driving the Mercers was a hatred of Hillary Clinton. “Trump was just Bob’s play against Hillary,” the former Renaissance executive said. “Bob said she and her husband were murderers who would destroy the country. He thought she was an evil person and a socialist.”

Without the specter of a Clinton presidency to motivate them, the Mercers are returning to their pre-Trump private existence. Robert didn’t host a costume ball last year. But the family remains active outside of politics. For example, the Mercers’ foundation continues to donate to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, whose cofounder, Arthur Robinson, is a pro-nuclear energy climate change skeptic who does research on slowing down human aging. “They’re still supporting us at levels that are comparable to what they’ve been,” Robinson told me.

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mikenov on Twitter: suspicious death of Mohamed Morsy and portable directed energy weapons – Google Search google.com/search?newwind…

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suspicious death of Mohamed Morsy and portable directed energy weapons – Google Search google.com/search?newwind…


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mikenov on Twitter: PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode June 17, 2019 (Trump News TV from…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/pbsnewsh… pic.twitter.com/hJWbdQJKTo

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mikenov on Twitter: Here comes the House hearing about Donald Trump’s mental unfitness palmerreport.com/analysis/menta… via @PalmerReport

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Here comes the House hearing about Donald Trump’s mental unfitness palmerreport.com/analysis/menta… via @PalmerReport


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5:14 PM 6/17/2019 – How to recognize the Intelligence Operations? M.N.: “You know it when you see it”… | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions

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5:14 PM 6/17/2019 – How to recognize the Intelligence Operations? M.N.: “You know it when you see it”…

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How to recognize the Intelligence Operations?

M.N.: “You know it when you see it”, as it was said about the definition of pornography. 
The next step is to describe and to explain what you see, as the coherent and cohesive concept, the elements of the interpretative, explanatory hypothesis, based on the evidence presented.

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠
How to recognize the Intelligence Operations? M.N.: You know it when you see it. The next step is to describe and to explain what you see, as the coherent and cohesive concept, the elements of the explanatory hypothesis, based on the evidence presented. | There are 15 outside investigations into Trump — and he relishes it – POLITICO 17/06/19 05:03
Michael_Novakhov shared this story from The Trump Investigations Blog by Michael Novakhov – Review Of News And Opinions.

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suspicious death of Mohamed Morsy – Google Search
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Story image for Election of Trump as intelligence operation from Lawfare (blog)

US Cyber Command and the Russian Grid: Proportional …

Lawfare (blog)8 minutes ago
In December 2015, a Russian intelligence unit shut off power to hundreds of … including attempting to influence American elections and democratic political … detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction …
Story image for Election of Trump as intelligence operation from PBS NewsHour

All of the Mueller report’s major findings in less than 30 minutes

PBS NewsHour1 hour ago
They made posters like this one of “Miners for Trump” to promote a rally in Pittsburgh in 2016. … concluding, Russia’s largest foreign intelligence service, known as the GRU, … The report said, “The GRU’s operations extended beyond stealing material, and … Mueller says the Russians directly targeted our election systems.

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mikenov on Twitter: RT @mikenov: #KaiserTrump #MAGATrump #Little #Ugly #MaggotTrump #MuggerTrump #MAAGGATrump #You #are #AbwehrMAAGGATrump: #MakeAbwehrAndG…

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#KaiserTrump
#MAGATrump
#Little #Ugly #MaggotTrump
#MuggerTrump
#MAAGGATrump
#You #are #AbwehrMAAGGATrump:

#MakeAbwehrAndGermanyGreatAgain!

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Posted by

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on Monday, June 10th, 2019 9:05pm
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on Monday, June 17th, 2019 9:10pm

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mikenov on Twitter: How to recognize the #IntelligenceOperations? M.N.: “You know it when you see it”, as it was said about the definition of pornography. The next step is to describe and to explain what you see, as the coherent and cohesive #concept, the evidence based, explanatory hypothesis… pic.twitter.com/3VG0U3NoNw

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How to recognize the #IntelligenceOperations?

M.N.: “You know it when you see it”, as it was said about the definition of pornography.

The next step is to describe and to explain what you see, as the coherent and cohesive #concept, the evidence based, explanatory hypothesis… pic.twitter.com/3VG0U3NoNw



Posted by

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on Monday, June 17th, 2019 9:09pm

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The First Transgender Contestant on ‘Naked and Afraid’ Used it as an Opportunity to Educate: WATCH

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The Discovery Channel featured Quince Mountain, the first transgender contestant on its outdoor survival show Naked and Afraid, in Sunday night’s episode. On the show, two people are dumped into the wilderness with nothing, not even the clothes on their backs, for 21 days.

Mountain took it as an opportunity to educate.

The Reno Gazette Journal reports: “The episode features a tense moment when Mountain tells Owens that his surgical scars are the result of his gender transition. Mountain said producers gave him the option of keeping his gender transition private. But he declined and chose to discuss it openly. He welcomed the chance to be himself and discuss gender identity on his own terms, an opportunity transgender people are often denied.”

Mountain talked about the opportunity on Twitter (and check out the trailer below):

The post The First Transgender Contestant on ‘Naked and Afraid’ Used it as an Opportunity to Educate: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad Gay News.


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Nicholas Sparks apologizes for homophobic emails but forgets to apologize for racist ones

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In a message posted to his official Facebook Page this morning, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks said he’s really, really, really sorry for those homophobic emails that were leaked to the media last week.

It all started when Saul Benjamin, a former headmaster at the Epiphany School, accused Sparks of trying to ban an LGBTQ group from the Epiphany School of Global Studies, a faith-based prep school founded by the author in 2006.

Leaked emails showed that in 2013, a group of students began informally meeting to discuss their sexual orientations, and became the immediate subject of bullying.

When Sparks learned about the group, he ordered Benjamin to ban it, then he threatened at least two teachers with termination for defending the students.

When Benjamin pushed back, telling Sparks that banning the group was discriminatory, the author replied: “Not allowing them to have a club is NOT discrimination.”

In another email, Sparks suggested banning all forms of student protest after two lesbian students planned to come out during chapel services. When Benjamin refused to do so, Sparks accused him of secretly authorizing an “official School LGBT club.”

In another set of emails, Sparks made disparaging comments about African Americans, claiming that the dearth of Black students at his school had less to do with racist policies and more to do with African-Americans being “too poor and can’t do the academic work.”

In another email, he cited the school’s one–yes, one–Jewish student among the 500 person student body as being proof of the institution’s dedication to “diversity.”

Since the emails leaked, Sparks has received a barrage of criticism from LGBTQ activists and allies. Today, he finally addressed that outrage in a statement.

“I regret and apologize that mine have potentially hurt young people and members of the LGBTQ community,” Sparks wrote on Facebook, “including my friends and colleagues in that community.”

Sparks went on to say that he is “an unequivocal supporter of gay marriage, gay adoption, and equal employment rights and would never want to discourage any young person or adult from embracing who they are.”

Sparks then tried to clarify that the dispute surrounding the student group was never about it being an LGBTQ group, but rather how it was being formed.

“My concern was that if a club were to be founded, it be done in a thoughtful, transparent manner with the knowledge of faculty, students and parents,” he explained, “not in secret, and not in a way that felt exceptional. I only wish I had used those exact words.”

Noticeably absent from his apology, however, is any mention of Sparks’ remarks about Black kids being too poor and too dumb to attend his school.

Read the full statement below. Or don’t.

Related: Leaked emails reveal author Nicholas Sparks’ true feelings about LGBTQ people and they’re not nice


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mikenov on Twitter: Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi dies in court while facing trial, state television reports wapo.st/2MVRCDs?tid=ss…

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Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi dies in court while facing trial, state television reports wapo.st/2MVRCDs?tid=ss…


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