Donald Trump’s reckless return met with a dramatically changed White House



a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building


© Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


President Donald Trump may be eagerly seeking a return to normal after three nights in the hospital. But the White House he arrived home to Monday with dramatic and reckless flourish has changed drastically since he was airlifted off the South Lawn at the end of last week.

Instead of a bustling hive of pre-election activity, the West Wing has become a breeding ground for viral contagion. At least 11 of the President’s aides or allies have either contracted the virus or — in the case of his daughter Ivanka — are working from home. Entire suites of offices sit vacant as Trump’s aides work to isolate him in the residence and out of the West Wing.

A new aura of mistrust was settling in as several aides raised questions about whether they had been recklessly put in harm’s way over the past week. Accusations of mismanagement — directed mainly at White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — have flown amid one of the gravest presidential crises in a generation. An absence of robust contact tracing efforts caused ripples of concern as testing and mask-wearing norms were being second-guessed.

None of that anxiety was allayed when Trump arrived back to the White House Monday. His first act after striding up the South Portico steps was to rip off his mask and stuff it into his pocket — even though he remains infected with coronavirus and could potentially infect those nearby. He was then seen going back out onto the balcony and re-entering so a camera crew could shoot his entrance.

“We’re going back. We’re going back to work. We’re gonna be out front,” Trump said in a video-taped upon his return. “As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it.”

Though four hours earlier his doctors conceded he was not yet “out of the woods” in his fight against Covid-19, Trump framed the disease as in the past: “Now I’m better and maybe I’m immune? I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives.”

In the White House residence where he was speaking without a mask, an already slimmed-down staff has been reduced even further after the President and first lady both came down with coronavirus. At least one residence staffer in direct contact with the President tested positive over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the matter.

As Trump returned home, a supply of medical gowns, goggles and respirator masks had been secured for use by his health and security teams — and potentially residence staffers — should they need to come into close proximity to the President.

In the hours after he arrived, a White House employee was seen sanitizing the press briefing room wearing a full white suit with a hood, gloves and protective eyewear.

And a temporary suite of offices had been arranged on the ground floor of the executive mansion, adjacent to the White House

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Trump’s reckless return met with a dramatically changed White House



a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building


© Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images


President Donald Trump may be eagerly seeking a return to normal after three nights in the hospital. But the White House he arrived home to Monday with dramatic and reckless flourish has changed drastically since he was airlifted off the South Lawn at the end of last week.

Instead of a bustling hive of pre-election activity, the West Wing has become a breeding ground for viral contagion. At least 11 of the President’s aides or allies have either contracted the virus or — in the case of his daughter Ivanka — are working from home. Entire suites of offices sit vacant as Trump’s aides work to isolate him in the residence and out of the West Wing.

A new aura of mistrust was settling in as several aides raised questions about whether they had been recklessly put in harm’s way over the past week. Accusations of mismanagement — directed mainly at White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — have flown amid one of the gravest presidential crises in a generation. An absence of robust contact tracing efforts caused ripples of concern as testing and mask-wearing norms were being second-guessed.

None of that anxiety was allayed when Trump arrived back to the White House Monday. His first act after striding up the South Portico steps was to rip off his mask and stuff it into his pocket — even though he remains infected with coronavirus and could potentially infect those nearby. He was then seen going back out onto the balcony and re-entering so a camera crew could shoot his entrance.

“We’re going back. We’re going back to work. We’re gonna be out front,” Trump said in a video-taped upon his return. “As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it.”

Though four hours earlier his doctors conceded he was not yet “out of the woods” in his fight against Covid-19, Trump framed the disease as in the past: “Now I’m better and maybe I’m immune? I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives.”

In the White House residence where he was speaking without a mask, an already slimmed-down staff has been reduced even further after the President and first lady both came down with coronavirus. At least one residence staffer in direct contact with the President tested positive over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the matter.

As Trump returned home, a supply of medical gowns, goggles and respirator masks had been secured for use by his health and security teams — and potentially residence staffers — should they need to come into close proximity to the President.

In the hours after he arrived, a White House employee was seen sanitizing the press briefing room wearing a full white suit with a hood, gloves and protective eyewear.

And a temporary suite of offices had been arranged on the ground floor of the executive mansion, adjacent to the White House

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4 Ways COVID Has Changed Home Design

There’s no place like home. 

The phrase has always been true, but especially in the last six months. What used to be a place to return to after a long day now serves multiple purposes to people all day, every day. The home is now an office, school, restaurant, gym, playroom and more. 

And with most people around the world spending significantly more time in their homes than ever before, change has inevitably occurred. 

Spending so much time at home leaves people to look at their homes and want to make changes. Research has found that 70% of Americans have completed a home improvement project during the pandemic, with more projects planned for 2021. Consequently, sales and stock prices for companies like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sherwin Williams have seen tremendous growth in recent months. 

Home design changes and improvements have long been linked to pandemics. In fact, the design of the modern bathroom is largely due to infectious diseases. A cholera outbreak in London served as a catalyst to replace thick carpet and heavy drapes in bathrooms with tile and smooth materials that are easier to clean. It was during the 1918 flu pandemic that homeowners started installing small bathrooms on the main levels of their homes so guests could wash up without traipsing through the entire house. Powder rooms or main level guest bathrooms are a common design practice today. 

With homeowners spending more time at home and investing in home improvement projects, styles and trends are also changing. Just like how past outbreaks have changed home design, so too will the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here are four ways home design has changed because of COVID-19. 

1 . Focus On Cleanliness And Health

One of the biggest priorities for homeowners is health and safety. Instead of choosing materials and items because they fit their personal style, many people are prioritizing materials that are antimicrobial and easy to clean. 

Materials like copper, brass and bronze, which have natural antimicrobial properties, are seeing a boost in popularity. These materials are commonly used in doorknobs or kitchen cabinet handles and kill germs and bacteria on their own without the need to constantly use chemical sprays and wipes. 

Smart homes are also adapting with touch-free technology to curb the spread of germs. Hands-free sinks and toilets, smart thermostats, automated lights and voice-controlled smart devices allow people to stay comfortable while also limiting what they touch around the house. 

2 . New Colors And Quality

COVID-19 has introduced new decorative style trends. People are opting for calm colors to create a tranquil space at home. Softer fabrics, lighter colors and more natural light have become popular to create a serene atmosphere amidst the uncertainty and chaos outside. 

At the other end of the spectrum, bold designs like dark accent walls and patterned wallpaper are also having a moment. In lieu of travelling or spending time at events, bold colors allow homeowners to celebrate new ideas and cultures from the comfort of their home.

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How Kitchen Trends Have Changed in the Pandemic

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All that banana bread baking has finally taken its toll. Designers across the country have seen an uptick in the number of clients who, after a few months on lockdown and learning how their home functions (or doesn’t), are ready to renovate. But perhaps no space has been more overworked and under scrutiny than the kitchen, the universal command center: a place to drop the mail, supervise homework, make a video call…oh, and also cook three meals a day.

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Pedro Nekoi

For many people, this time spent at home has dramatically changed the list of kitchen demands. Only a few months ago, a “connected” kitchen would have signaled the latest in tech and smart appliances. But with human contact at a premium, our desire for connection has broadened beyond that. “The kitchen needs to be connected to other spaces, but it also needs to be a destination in and of itself,” says Seattle designer Andy Beers. “People want to hunker down and hang out.” Here are the steps industry pros are taking these days:

Creating a Better Flow

“All of our clients bring us the same 10 photos [of organized cupboards] from Pinterest and ask, ‘Can you do this?’ ” says Phoenix designer Jaimee Rose. “Those images represent this fantasy we have of a really smoothly run life.” Her clients fill out a detailed kitchen worksheet during the design process; mapping out where they want to store supplies has made Rose more laser focused than ever on a client’s kitchen workflow. Though that practical thinking on a designer’s part isn’t new, bringing the client into the conversation and customizing the layout around their preferences is. “You look at traffic patterns,” Beers says. “Space planning still starts from a perspective of cooking, but I think people are more flexible.”

business of home

Pedro Nekoi

Modern kitchens may be fully tricked out, but a key element of planning space is finding ways to tuck appliances of all sizes out of view. Making storage melt into the bones of a room is a process Beers sometimes thinks of as “thickening” the walls. Houston designer Meg Lonergan says she’s covering up most of her clients’ appliances with cabinetry these days—a tactic to make them disappear, and also to make the space itself feel less utilitarian.

The kitchen has become a sacred space.

Finding Comfort

“We’re seeing a trend toward clients asking for what we call a ‘living room kitchen,’ ” says Beers. A hallmark of such a space is a big, unencumbered work surface flanked by comfortable seating. “Whether it’s at table height or counter height, this is a table to congregate around, do work around, and connect around,” he says.

Nicole White, a Florida-based designer, has received requests for larger islands—so big, in fact, that she’s having to develop creative work-arounds, like decorative inlay to disguise seams where slabs meet. Sure, the trend may be tied to the fact that more cooking demands more prep space, but she suspects the trend is more often linked to

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Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. has changed the targets executives must meet to collect bonuses due to its spinoff and the pandemic

“Shareholders oppose ‘one-way executive pay-for-performance’: When performance is good, everyone gets paid well, and when performance is bad, boards adjust awards to protect the downside,” Semler Brossy wrote in a report last month. “They are appropriately wary of that philosophy taking hold.

There are signs that philosophy is taking hold. Some companies suffering big drops in earnings or revenue have decided to swap out those metrics for more favorable ones when tallying up bonuses.

For example, Nike’s board decided to stop basing certain payouts on earnings or revenue after profits fell by 37% last fiscal year. It instead will award those payouts on how well the company’s stock price does over three years. The shift is intended to “ensure sustained engagement and drive key business results during a dynamic and unprecedented period,” the apparel giant said in a regulatory filing.

Others are lowering bonuses to conserve cash.

Hess, the Manhattan-based energy company, changed its bonus plan because turmoil in the oil market led to an adjusted first-half net loss of a half billion dollars. Hess reduced the maximum payout allowed from 200% of “target” to 50%. It said the revised plan would continue to serve as a “performance driver” with “rigorous but obtainable goals.”

MSG Sports said its bonus plan is based on executives reaching internal goals for revenue and adjusted operating income. The company said its board “seeks to make target goals ambitious, requiring meaningful growth over the performance period, while threshold goals are expected to be achievable.”

MSG Sports reported negative revenue of $7 million and a $79 million loss from continuing operations for the quarter ending June 30. That was down from positive revenue of $68 million and a $37 million loss from continuing operations in the year-earlier period. Last month the company laid off 53 people, according to a filing with the state, or about 15% of its staff.

One goal, MSG Sports officials say, is to restore the lost jobs.

“As our business returns to normal operations, we would look to bring back many of these positions,” Chief Executive Andrew Lustgarten said.

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The Game Has Changed for Madison Square Garden, but Don’t Count It Out Yet

I honestly don’t know if New York City returns to its former glory or not; I’ll leave that to folks like James Altucher and Jerry Seinfeld who had a very public difference of opinion on the matter, as well as Real Money contributor Jim Collins. All of them have lived there, know the issues first hand, and are better equipped to opine than I am.

What I do believe, however, is that New York City real estate has lost its luster, at least into the foreseeable future. I’ve always been enamored with real estate owned by publicly traded companies, and have owned names over the years, such as Saks and the former Madison Square Garden company (now Madison Square Garden Sports (MSGS) , which spun off Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp (MSGE) this past April) due in part to their New York real estate holdings.

But the game has changed as folks flee the city due to a combination of factors such as crime, high taxes, the pandemic and uncertainty. You’ve also got to wonder whether commercial real estate will recover, now that many have learned that they can indeed do their jobs from home. The companies realize that too, and what a way to cut overhead for businesses that lend themselves to work from home.

Despite my growing skepticism over certain areas of real estate, I was still somewhat surprised to see Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp pop up in my screen for triple-nets, or companies trading at between 2x and 3x net current asset value or NCAV. I actually did not believe my own eyes, and realized that it may have been a data lag (current market cap coupled with older fundamental data). Sure enough, the company’s 10K just came out, data that was indeed not reflected. However, I crunched the numbers anyway, and as of Tuesday, MSGE does indeed trade at about 3.13x NCAV, very close to triple-net territory. That is quite shocking.

Not surprisingly, the company is not currently profitable due to pandemic-related shutdown of venues, the crown jewel of which is the Madison Square Garden complex. Fourth-quarter revenue and full-year revenue were down 96% and 27%, respectively, and the company lost $4.74 per share for its latest quarter. Yet, the stock price has held up fairly well since the spinoff, closing at $88.51 on its first day of trading (it opened at $100) on April 9, and closing at $77.64 on Tuesday.

It’s the current strength of the balance sheet and potential value of the underlying assets that is supporting the share price. The company ended its fiscal year with $1.244 billion, or nearly $52 a share in cash and short-term investments, and $34 million in debt (there’s also $228 million in operating lease liabilities). MSGE currently trades at just 0.64x book value.

The current fiscal year does not look good for the company, with consensus estimates calling for a loss of $13.15 a share, followed by a loss of $3.35 next year. The company

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Slain Cleveland police officer’s funeral changed to Rocket Mortgage Field House

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The funeral for slain Cleveland police Det. James Skernivitz will now take place at Rocket Mortgage Field House instead of The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland.

The start time for the service changed from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the arena that is the home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Skernivitz, a 22-year police veteran, is survived by a wife and three children. Calling hours are from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the A. Ripepi and Sons Funeral Home in Middleburg Heights.

Skervinitz was working undercover on Thursday with informant Scott Dingess. Both sat in Skernivitz’s unmarked police car behind a mostly abandoned strip mall on West 67th Place, near the intersection of West 65th Street and Storer Avenue.

Three people walked up to the car and opened fire, according to police and court records. Both Skernivitz and Dingess died.

Cleveland police wrote in court records that they believe the shooting was part of an attempted robbery.

Skernivitz worked as an undercover detective in the department’s gang unit. Undercover officers wear plain clothes, drive unmarked cars and do not wear body cameras.

Three people — ages 18, 17 and 15 — are charged in connection with the shooting.

Read more from cleveland.com:

Man charged in fatal shooting of Cleveland police officer, informant held on $3 million bond

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on slain Cleveland police officer: ‘He spent more than two decades protecting citizens of Ohio’

Two teens, man charged in fatal shooting of Cleveland police officer, informant

Two more arrested in slaying of Cleveland police officer, informant, sources say

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