NEW YORK — New York City is terminating its contracts with the Trump Organization because of the mob riot at the US Capitol, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. The contracts are for two ice-skating rinks at Central Park, the Central Park Carousel, and the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, a city-owned golf course in the Bronx.
“Inciting an insurrection against the US government clearly constitutes criminal activity,” de Blasio said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday. “The City of New York will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization.”
While the city has considered canceling the Trump Organization’s contracts before, de Blasio said the violence in Washington last week qualified as criminal activity under which New York City had the right to sever ties with a company.
De Blasio, a Democrat with roughly a year left in office, said he expected the Trump Organization to challenge the city’s decision in court. “We’re on strong legal ground,” the mayor said.
Many companies and institutions have moved to sever ties with Trump and his family after the riot, including the 2022 PGA Championship, which will no longer be held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
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Airbnb blocks reservations during inauguration week
Airbnb will cancel and block all reservations in the Washington metro area during inauguration week after finding accounts for “numerous individuals who are either associated with known hate groups or otherwise involved in the criminal activity at the Capitol building,” the platform announced Wednesday.
The announcement cited Tuesday reports “regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration” and warnings by the region’s leaders that visitors should refrain from traveling to the District over the next week.
The company said it will refund guests and reimburse hosts for canceled bookings. Airbnb has also banned from the platform all people associated with hate groups or involved in last week’s abortive insurrection at the Capitol.
The announcement comes two days after Airbnb released a seven-step plan to keep its hosts and neighborhood residents safe, which included canceling the reservations of any guests associated with hate groups.
It is the latest effort to keep people away from the nation’s capital as threats of armed marches mount and thousands of law enforcement officials descend on downtown Washington.
Tom Hanks to headline TV inauguration show
Actor Tom Hanks will headline a prime-time television event to celebrate the Biden inauguration next Wednesday as the Biden team looks to replace the traditional balls with at-home entertainment.
Performing will be singers Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons, and Jon Bon Jovi, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced.
The 90-minute special, called “Celebrating America,” will air on major broadcast networks and streaming services beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 20.
It replaces the inaugural balls that have been a fixture in Washington’s social scene since President James Madison’s inauguration in 1809.
Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee canceled those events because of the coronavirus pandemic, and security concerns are also a factor in downsizing inaugural events following last week’s deadly riot at the Capitol.
Google suspends all political advertising
Google has suspended political advertising, trying to tamp down the risk of inciting violence and promoting hatred in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The policy will be in effect from Thursday to at least Jan. 21, the day after Biden becomes president, Google said Wednesday in a letter to advertisers. There are no exceptions for news or merchandise advertisers. Axios reported the move earlier.
“Given the events of the past week, we will expand our Sensitive Event policy enforcement to temporarily pause all political ads in addition to any ads referencing impeachment, the inauguration, or protests at the US Capitol,” a spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail.
“We regularly pause ads over unpredictable, ‘sensitive’ events when ads can be used to exploit the event or amplify misleading information,” she added. “Beyond this, we have longstanding policies blocking content that incites violence or promotes hate and we will be extremely vigilant about enforcing on any ads that cross this line.”
Companies yank donations from GOP group
Three companies are suspending donations and another is seeking a refund from a Republican attorneys general group after an offshoot participated in last week’s march on the US Capitol that turned into a violent raid, a newsletter reported.
Facebook, Lyft, and DoorDash are suspending their contributions to the Republican Attorneys General Association, the Popular Information newsletter said. The University of Phoenix, which donated over $50,000 to the group in 2020, is demanding its money back, the report said.
The newsletter from Judd Legum said it contacted 63 corporations that made large donations to the association last year and asked if they would continue to support the group in light of recent events. Several firms said they were reviewing their contributions or expressed concerns about the association’s activities, without saying if they would continue making donations.
YouTube suspended President Trump from uploading new videos to his official account for at least a week, making the decision days after fellow social media giants Twitter and Facebook shut the president out of his accounts because of concerns his posts will incite violence.
The Google-owned video site was the last of the major social media networks to suspend Trump after the attack on the US Capitol. It said it removed a video uploaded Tuesday for violating its policies and ’'in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence.’'
YouTube wouldn’t confirm which video broke its rules, but a review of archived versions of its site suggests it was a clip from a news conference Trump gave to reporters where he said his comments to supporters before the Capitol attack were ’'totally appropriate.’'
In the same clip, which is available on C-SPAN, Trump said social media companies were making a ’'catastrophic mistake’' and doing a ’'horrible thing for our country’' by penalizing him.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Biden names Power to lead USAID
President-elect Joe Biden named former ambassador Samantha Power to head the US Agency for International Development. Biden also announced he would make the post part of the National Security Council, a signal his administration will emphasize the role of development in maintaining security around the world.
In addition to Power, Biden added three other people to the NSC. He restored some roles and established a new position of deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, which will be filled by Anne Neuberger. She currently leads National Security Agency’s cybersecurity mission.
In her tenure as US ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration, Power marshaled efforts to fight an Ebola epidemic and mitigate climate change.
“I know firsthand the unparalleled knowledge and tireless commitment to principled American engagement she brings to the table, and her expertise and perspective will be essential as our country reasserts its role as a leader on the world stage,” Biden said in a statement.
Power is an immigrant from Ireland who began her career as a journalist reporting from Bosnia and other war-torn countries.
The Biden transition also announced that Elizabeth D. Sherwood-Randall will be Homeland Security adviser and deputy national security adviser. She previously served as deputy secretary at the Department of Energy.
In addition, Biden named Russ Travers as deputy Homeland Security adviser. He is the acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center.