Maga First News

Page: 2

[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]

Paul J. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman who is serving a federal prison sentence, had been expected to be transferred to the notorious Rikers Island jail complex this month to await trial on a separate state case.

But last week, Manhattan prosecutors were surprised to receive a letter from the second-highest law enforcement official in the country inquiring about Mr. Manafort’s case. The letter, from Jeffrey A. Rosen, Attorney General William P. Barr’s new top deputy, indicated that he was monitoring where Mr. Manafort would be held in New York.

And then, on Monday, federal prison officials weighed in, telling the Manhattan district attorney’s office that Mr. Manafort, 70, would not be going to Rikers.

Instead, he will await his trial at a federal lockup in Manhattan or at the Pennsylvania federal prison where he is serving a seven-and-a-half-year sentence for wide-ranging financial schemes, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

A senior Justice Department official said that the department believed Mr. Manafort’s treatment was appropriate, but several former and current prosecutors said the decision was highly unusual. Most federal inmates facing state charges are held on Rikers Island.

The intervention of Mr. Rosen was just the latest twist in the case of Mr. Manafort, whose campaign work for Mr. Trump and political consulting in Ukraine put him in the cross hairs of a two-year investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.

He was convicted of financial fraud in two separate federal cases that came out of the investigation, which was led by the former special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

While that might have been the end of his criminal problems, in March, he was indicted on 16 New York state felonies, including mortgage fraud and falsifying records to obtain millions of dollars in loans. The charges, which are based on some of the same actions in the federal cases, were brought by the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Mr. Manafort is expected to be arraigned next week in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

He has been slated to be held on Rikers Island, which has long been plagued by violence and mismanagement, prompting efforts to close it. Officials there had said Mr. Manafort likely would have been held in protective custody for his own safety, isolated from the general population and under heavy guard.

He is now likely to be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal detention center in Lower Manhattan, while he awaits trial. He may also remain at the federal prison in Loretto, Penn., where he is serving his sentence, and brought to New York for hearings, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

The former Justice Department officials and current state prosecutors, who regularly handled the transfer of federal inmates to state custody, said they were surprised that the second-highest official in the Justice Department would take an interest in the case. The decision is usually made by the warden at the prison where the inmate is being held.

Justice Department officials were unable to say who made the decision in Mr. Manafort’s case; the Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Justice Department, did not respond to a request for comment.

Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Mr. Manafort, acknowledged that the involvement of the deputy attorney general and the decision not to hold his client at Rikers was atypical. But he said the case itself was also unusual: Mr. Manafort, he argued, should not be facing state charges for behavior that was the subject of two federal convictions.

“You’ll find no example of someone like Mr. Manafort being prosecuted by the feds and then by the district attorney for exactly the same conduct,” Mr. Blanche said.

As early as last month, Mr. Blanche had objected to his client being held at Rikers. In a May 17 letter, he asked the warden at the federal prison in Pennsylvania not to approve New York’s request that Mr. Manafort be transferred, citing his age and health issues.

In the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The New York Times, Mr. Blanche also criticized the charges against his client, arguing that they were “a blatant violation” of New York’s double jeopardy laws and calling the case “politics at its worst.” The district attorney’s office has said it is confident the charges will stand.

Mr. Blanche also said in his letter that the New York prosecutors were “insisting that Mr. Manafort remain on Rikers Island, likely in solitary confinement, pending trial.” New York prosecutors have said they had taken no position on where Mr. Manafort is held.

While Mr. Blanche’s letter indicated that copies were sent to Mr. Vance by email and registered mail, other correspondence and people with knowledge of the matter indicated Mr. Vance did not receive the letter.

Instead, Mr. Rosen wrote to Mr. Vance last week, asking whether his office was going to respond.

The question of Mr. Manafort’s detention was one of the first high-profile matters to be undertaken by Mr. Rosen, who was confirmed as the deputy attorney general one day before Mr. Manafort’s attorney asked the Bureau of Prisons to keep his client out of Rikers.

A senior Justice Department official said that the Bureau of Prisons had been keeping the Justice Department apprised of Mr. Manafort’s situation, given the high-profile nature of his case. Mr. Rosen sought Mr. Vance’s response largely because of these briefings, the official said.

Mr. Rosen did not ask Mr. Vance about safety at Rikers Island or whether it was suitable for other prisoners, according to a copy of the June 11 letter, which was reviewed by The Times.

Why haven’t efforts to impeach President Trump gained Watergate-style momentum? The lack of energy has created a sense of bafflement and disappointment among some of the president’s most determined adversaries. But there are some simple reasons for it. Here are three:

1.) The facts are different. In Watergate, the underlying crime was a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters, perpetrated by burglars paid by President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign. The scandal proceeded from there. In Trump-Russia, the underlying crime was the hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s emails — a crime committed by Russians in Russia. Special counsel Robert Mueller, who indicted a number of Russians and Russian entities for their actions, spent two years trying to find conspiracy or coordination between the Russians and the Trump campaign. He failed.

That single fact has shaped every other aspect of the Trump-Russia affair. In Watergate, the cover-up flowed from Nixon’s desire to conceal his campaign’s involvement in the break-in and other political dark acts. It formed the bulk of the obstruction of justice case against Nixon, which in turn served as the basis for articles of impeachment. In Trump-Russia, Mueller did not charge, although he clearly suggested, that Trump obstructed the investigation of an event — conspiracy/coordination — that did not happen. That meant the simplest, most plausible motive for obstruction — Trump, knowing he was guilty, tried to cover up his campaign’s conspiracy with Russia — was off the table. Given that, Mueller’s obstruction case veered all over the map. He conceded that Trump had many motives to act as he did — anger at being wrongly accused, concern over his ability to govern, a desire to defend the legitimacy of his election — and that none of them involved covering up conspiracy or coordination with Russia.

That’s a very different set of facts from Watergate. Consider the single most explosive episode of Watergate — the Saturday Night Massacre, in which Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Trump’s opponents say his desire to fire Mueller was Nixonesque. But try to imagine the Saturday Night Massacre with a Trumpian set of facts: What if Nixon told his White House counsel to tell the attorney general to fire Cox, but the counsel ignored the order? Nixon called again, and the counsel ignored him again. Nixon then let the matter drop, and Cox completed his investigation. No Saturday Night Massacre. That alone shows there is simply no comparison between Watergate and Trump-Russia.

2). The press is different. Just as the facts of Trump-Russia are quite unlike Watergate, so the media environment of 2019 is quite unlike what existed in 1974. Back then, there were three 30-minute broadcast network newscasts, CBS, NBC, and ABC. There were two big newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post, and TV network executives sat down each day, within a few blocks of each other in Manhattan, to produce newscasts that basically illustrated the papers’ latest stories. There was no Internet, no cable news, no podcasts, no social media, and no talk radio. Nixon, even if he had had strong defenses, faced a solid wall of media opposition.

Today, the situation is much, much different — and infinitely better. There is far more diversity of opinion in the media writ large, and, importantly, popular access to primary sources. That troubles some media figures who miss the old days of news monopoly. “During the Watergate era … there were three networks,” Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote recently. “Now, cable news, talk radio, thousands of websites and social media create a polluted firehose-blast of information mixed with disinformation.”

“Back then, what was said on those three networks … was largely believed,” Sullivan added. “Much more than now, there was a shared set of facts.”

But it was a limited set of facts — just the ones selected by those network producers in Manhattan. Today’s media diversity, in terms of the Trump-Russia affair, means more facts see the light. And people inclined to support the president, or just be skeptical of the government’s investigative targeting of the Trump campaign, have a way to make their case beyond what anyone had 40-plus years ago.

3.) Congress is different. Differences in the facts of the cases and differences in the media’s ability to report those facts have had a profound effect on lawmakers. They’re better informed, if they want to be, and can make a better defense of the president of their party. And having a significant number of constituents supporting the president makes representatives more likely to support him, too. (Also unlike today, in 1974, opposition party Democrats controlled all of Congress, with 243 seats in the House and 56 in the Senate.)

So, this is a new world. It is perhaps not surprising to hear Democrats wish they could somehow turn today’s Trump-Russia affair into yesterday’s Watergate. If they could just hold televised hearings, they say, that could capture the nation’s attention and give Trump-Russia a Watergate-like urgency. Americans would turn against the president by the millions.

Others believe they just need time. It took Watergate years to grow big enough to oust Nixon, they say. But look at the numbers. The break-in was in June, 1972, and Nixon resigned in August 1974 — a period of two years and two months. In Trump-Russia, the FBI began its investigation nearly three years ago, in July 2016. The Senate began investigating in January 2017. And Mueller took office in May 2017. It’s been a long time.

Trump-Russia could go longer still, and it would not change the basic facts of the case. It is simply a different case in a different world. Try as they might, the president’s opponents can’t make it 1974 again.

Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, is emerging as the top candidate to replace outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, according to sources familiar with the selection process.

Grisham, a former Trump campaign aide who has served in the White House since Trump took office, is known as a shrewd tactician loyal to the first family. But significantly, she meets President Trump’s top criteria: that Sanders’s replacement be a woman.

“When he says he wants a woman, he wants a woman,” a source familiar with the selection process told the Washington Examiner.

A second source, a former Trump aide, said “the president really wants to have a woman fill this role,” adding Trump has mentioned both Grisham and former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as possible successors to Sanders.

Grisham, 42, is a beloved East Wing figure and has many supporters close to Trump. In November, she issued an unusual statement calling for the ouster of Mira Ricardel, a National Security Council official with whom the first lady clashed on a trip to Africa. Ricardel quickly lost her job.

A single mother of two sons, she followed Trump to Washington from Arizona, where she worked for state Republicans including then-Attorney General Tom Horne. In 2012, she was part of GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.

While working as a traveling press secretary on the 2016 Trump campaign, she was so dedicated she did not see her son, Jake — who was then eight — for five and a half months. He older son has now graduated from high school.

A shortlist of four contenders in the aftermath of Sanders’s surprise departure announcement Thursday featured Grisham, Nauert, outgoing Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, and Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.

But Nauert was forced in February to withdraw from a nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reportedly due to employing a foreign nanny. A source said the issue that derailed Nauert is serious enough to keep her out of the running, however.

“The reasons she had to pull out from the U.N. would be the same reasons she couldn’t do it,” said a source close to senior State Department officials.

The first source said of Grisham: “She handles herself well on TV, but the press secretary job has turned more into a comms than a press role. And there are some people who are good on camera but not so good at communications strategy. She’s a killer on both fronts.”

“[Grisham] would be fine in front of the podium, and she would be fine on strategic issues. I don’t think Sarah was as sharp as her. Grisham won’t hesitate to slide that knife into someone’s back, which is what you need. This is the White House.”

Sanders said she plans to leave at the end of June, establishing a short window to pick her replacement.

Grisham, the first source said, may take a sharper approach to “reporters being unfair” and “people in the administration doing things they shouldn’t.” They imagine Grisham “basically being the president’s press and political secret service — if you need to shiv someone, you do it.”

The second source said Sayegh “is awesome and would be the best choice,” but is not a woman, and that “I don’t hear Hogan being discussed as a real option.” They noted that although Trump seems likely to pick a woman, it was possible Trump could end up “thinking way outside the box” and “further redefine the role.”

Sanders has gone nearly 100 days without an official White House briefing, opting instead for informal driveway gaggles. Trump tweeted this year that he asked Sanders to cease briefings because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.” In another break from tradition, Trump has not filled the vacant White House communications director role since the exit of former Fox News executive Bill Shine in March.

A third source, a former White House official, said they heard Grisham has a “good shot” but that there’s “nothing final.” A fourth source, who worked on the Trump campaign, said “I’ve heard is that Stephanie is open to the position.” Several sources say they have not heard Gidley mentioned as a serious contender.

Though Grisham is said to be the front-runner, it’s possible Trump will be tempted to pick a different woman, particularly if the first lady resists losing her top aide. Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman at the State Department, and several Fox News personalities have been floated as theoretical candidates.

Trump may also be tempted by the prospect of naming the first Hispanic American to the job. But CNN commentator Steve Cortes, who reportedly is under consideration, lacks widespread backing and the preferred gender.

“When the president decides he wants a woman in a role, it is difficult to impossible to convince him of anyone other than a woman,” a source said.

Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump, is emerging as the top candidate to replace outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, according to sources familiar with the selection process.

Grisham, a former Trump campaign aide who has served in the White House since Trump took office, is known as a shrewd tactician loyal to the first family. But significantly, she meets President Trump’s top criteria: that Sanders’s replacement be a woman.

“When he says he wants a woman, he wants a woman,” a source familiar with the selection process told the Washington Examiner.

A second source, a former Trump aide, said “the president really wants to have a woman fill this role,” adding Trump has mentioned both Grisham and former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as possible successors to Sanders.

Grisham, 42, is a beloved East Wing figure and has many supporters close to Trump. In November, she issued an unusual statement calling for the ouster of Mira Ricardel, a National Security Council official with whom the first lady clashed on a trip to Africa. Ricardel quickly lost her job.

A single mother of two sons, she followed Trump to Washington from Arizona, where she worked for state Republicans including then-Attorney General Tom Horne. In 2012, she was part of GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.

While working as a traveling press secretary on the 2016 Trump campaign, she was so dedicated she did not see her son, Jake — who was then eight — for five and a half months. He older son has now graduated from high school.

A shortlist of four contenders in the aftermath of Sanders’s surprise departure announcement Thursday featured Grisham, Nauert, outgoing Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh, and Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley.

But Nauert was forced in February to withdraw from a nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reportedly due to employing a foreign nanny. A source said the issue that derailed Nauert is serious enough to keep her out of the running, however.

“The reasons she had to pull out from the U.N. would be the same reasons she couldn’t do it,” said a source close to senior State Department officials.

The first source said of Grisham: “She handles herself well on TV, but the press secretary job has turned more into a comms than a press role. And there are some people who are good on camera but not so good at communications strategy. She’s a killer on both fronts.”

“[Grisham] would be fine in front of the podium, and she would be fine on strategic issues. I don’t think Sarah was as sharp as her. Grisham won’t hesitate to slide that knife into someone’s back, which is what you need. This is the White House.”

Sanders said she plans to leave at the end of June, establishing a short window to pick her replacement.

Grisham, the first source said, may take a sharper approach to “reporters being unfair” and “people in the administration doing things they shouldn’t.” They imagine Grisham “basically being the president’s press and political secret service — if you need to shiv someone, you do it.”

The second source said Sayegh “is awesome and would be the best choice,” but is not a woman, and that “I don’t hear Hogan being discussed as a real option.” They noted that although Trump seems likely to pick a woman, it was possible Trump could end up “thinking way outside the box” and “further redefine the role.”

Sanders has gone nearly 100 days without an official White House briefing, opting instead for informal driveway gaggles. Trump tweeted this year that he asked Sanders to cease briefings because “the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately.” In another break from tradition, Trump has not filled the vacant White House communications director role since the exit of former Fox News executive Bill Shine in March.

A third source, a former White House official, said they heard Grisham has a “good shot” but that there’s “nothing final.” A fourth source, who worked on the Trump campaign, said “I’ve heard is that Stephanie is open to the position.” Several sources say they have not heard Gidley mentioned as a serious contender.

Though Grisham is said to be the front-runner, it’s possible Trump will be tempted to pick a different woman, particularly if the first lady resists losing her top aide. Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman at the State Department, and several Fox News personalities have been floated as theoretical candidates.

Trump may also be tempted by the prospect of naming the first Hispanic American to the job. But CNN commentator Steve Cortes, who reportedly is under consideration, lacks widespread backing and the preferred gender.

“When the president decides he wants a woman in a role, it is difficult to impossible to convince him of anyone other than a woman,” a source said.

Toronto police confirmed they located two victims with serious but non-life-threatening injuries and have two people in custody following reports of a shooting in the Nathan Phillips Square area at Bay St. and Albert St. Monday afternoon.

Toronto Const. David Hopkinson said police don’t believe there’s a threat to public safety right now.

Police tweeted earlier that they had two people in custody and recovered two firearms.

Hopkinson said the shooting situation was dealt with very quickly, and police made two arrests. Two victims were quickly found and are receiving medical attention.

Just before 4 p.m., police tweeted they had received reports of a woman shot near the back of the square and people were running from area.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

The incident happened as huge crowds gathered to celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship win. The city earlier said the square was at capacity.

Andrew Brown-Kerr, 25, of Brampton was in the crowd, standing under the arch at Nathan Phillips Square when he heard popping sounds that he said did not sound like fireworks.

“We tried our best to escape,” he said. “We saw a lady get trampled, a pregnant woman fall. We saw some kids getting trampled and parents trying to protect them.”

He and his friend were unharmed.

The ceremony was delayed briefly as emcee Matt Devlin went on stage to urge the crowd to stay calm as police dealt with what he called an emergency. The ceremony then resumed just before 4 p.m.

Police were also summoned to the Eaton Centre Plaza for reports of at least one stabbing following a fight with a group of men, police said Monday afternoon. Police have not said if the stabbing is connected in any way to the parade.

In a tweet, police said three men were stabbed and that none of the injuries are life-threatening; in a update, police said a stabbing victim in the same area suffered serious injuries and police are investigating, adding its not clear if the stabbings were two separate incidents.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

With files from Wendy Gillis

Sherina Harris is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @sherinaharris

Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF

Toronto police confirmed they located two victims with serious but non-life-threatening injuries and have two people in custody following reports of a shooting in the Nathan Phillips Square area at Bay St. and Albert St. Monday afternoon.

Toronto Const. David Hopkinson said police don’t believe there’s a threat to public safety right now.

Police tweeted earlier that they had two people in custody and recovered two firearms.

Hopkinson said the shooting situation was dealt with very quickly, and police made two arrests. Two victims were quickly found and are receiving medical attention.

Just before 4 p.m., police tweeted they had received reports of a woman shot near the back of the square and people were running from area.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

The incident happened as huge crowds gathered to celebrate the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship win. The city earlier said the square was at capacity.

Andrew Brown-Kerr, 25, of Brampton was in the crowd, standing under the arch at Nathan Phillips Square when he heard popping sounds that he said did not sound like fireworks.

“We tried our best to escape,” he said. “We saw a lady get trampled, a pregnant woman fall. We saw some kids getting trampled and parents trying to protect them.”

He and his friend were unharmed.

The ceremony was delayed briefly as emcee Matt Devlin went on stage to urge the crowd to stay calm as police dealt with what he called an emergency. The ceremony then resumed just before 4 p.m.

Police were also summoned to the Eaton Centre Plaza for reports of at least one stabbing following a fight with a group of men, police said Monday afternoon. Police have not said if the stabbing is connected in any way to the parade.

In a tweet, police said three men were stabbed and that none of the injuries are life-threatening; in a update, police said a stabbing victim in the same area suffered serious injuries and police are investigating, adding its not clear if the stabbings were two separate incidents.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

With files from Wendy Gillis

Sherina Harris is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @sherinaharris

Francine Kopun is a Toronto-based reporter covering city politics. Follow her on Twitter: @KopunF


Why have national Democrats and not national Republicans fallen under the tyranny of the 70-somethings? It seems so contrary to common expectation. Democrats are, as they often remind us, the party of progress and the future. The question seems to rival those enduring, unanswerable mysteries such as “What happens when you die?” and “Why did Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones?”

People in their mid-to-late 70s are thick on the ground nowadays, while in an earlier era, of course, you’d have been more likely to find them under it. This is especially true in the urban centers of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, according to a recent survey of census data by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In particular, the Washington, D.C., area is a leader in “senior labor force participation,” by which the researchers mean the region is loaded with people who have passed the age of retirement yet somehow neglected to retire.

Look no further than the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. For whatever reason—perhaps they’re more easily bored by government work, or perhaps they’re more eager to cash in on government work—Republicans have less of a 70-something problem. House Republicans are relatively youthful, in chronology if not in disposition: They are led by a trio ages 54, 53, and 52. Indeed, the only 70-something among the GOP leadership on the Hill is the 77-year-old Mitch McConnell (I’m omitting the constitutional office of president pro tempore of the Senate, now occupied by the Republican Chuck Grassley, who is 85 but doesn’t look a day over 86.)

Going down the ranks, the public-affairs software firm Quorum reckoned that the average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72, fully 24 years more than the average of the Republican House leadership. Infamously, the three leading Democrats in the House are 79, 78, and 79, for a staggering combined age of 236, making the Democratic leadership team older, in aggregate, than the Constitution itself.

The party’s congressional gerontocracy has now inevitably bled into the field of presidential candidates. The front-runner, Joe Biden, is 76. Second place, according to most polls, belongs to Bernie Sanders, who’s a year older than Biden. They hope to replace the oldest man ever to be elected president. He’s younger than both of them. If either Biden or Sanders gets to the White House and then wins a second term, we will be governed by a man in his early 80s, nearly two decades older than Franklin D. Roosevelt was when, having won his fourth term, he pegged out from overwork. Needless to say, Sanders and Biden are each much spryer than FDR. Imagine Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins Returns clicking his heels in the Oval Office.

To be sure, anyone who criticizes our gerontocracy must insert a “to be sure” paragraph right about now, praising the gumption and resilience of our oldsters, marveling at their energy and their bottomless reservoirs of wisdom. Stipulated! Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Biden, and Sanders—and especially the McDonald’s-loving 72-year-old incumbent—are walking testaments to the advances made by geriatric medicine since the 1950s, when they were teenagers. The idea that with length of days comes wisdom is a commonplace of our patrimony, from Aristotle and Job to Shakespeare and Austen. And all the flattering things we are required to say about old age and the people caught up in it do serve as a much-needed counterbalance to our culture’s childish obsession with youth.

But this traditional picture of old age as the repository of wisdom comes with certain complications. Gerontocracy is rule by people who insist on turning the peak of their career into a plateau. Aristotle and the others acknowledged that it carries hidden and insidious effects, and reveals unflattering qualities in the gerontocrats themselves. We can see this most obviously in the effect it has had on the Democratic Party generationally. There is a huge gap between where the energy and creativity of the party lie, with a group of dynamic activists and House members in their 30s and even their 20s (thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and the ruling class of 70-somethings layered far above like a crumbling porte cochere.

In the farm system that trains and seasons the leaders of tomorrow—assuming tomorrow ever comes—that gap signifies a lost generation. One day, presumably, power within the party will pass, and when it does, if present trends continue, it will leapfrog from seniors born around the time of V-J Day to people who can barely remember 9/11. More likely than not, members of Generation X will never get their turn—an entire cohort condemned to the fate of Prince Charles. After the indignities that Boomers inflicted on Generation X, from disco to postmodern literary theory, this scarcely seems fair.

The situation pushes some Gen Xers to take extreme measures. The far-fetched presidential campaigns of backbenchers such as Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton are best understood as cries for help, as ambitious young politicians try to free themselves from the professional bottleneck created by unbudgeable leadership.

Some 70-somethings are easier to forgive than others. Pelosi and her team are simply aging in place, clinging to a version of the jobs they’ve held for a decade or more; inertia could be as much to blame for their refusal to move along as an unslakable thirst for power and attention. There’s less to forgive in the actions of Biden and Sanders. Three years ago, both were given the chance to leave the field gracefully. But they. Will. Not. Go. Away.

Sanders, holding political positions virtually identical to those of his rivals, offered a less plausible case for his candidacy than Biden did. Biden’s case, which you could strain to make if you were willing to risk a herniated disk, was ideological: He filled a slot that no one else would fill. He was carrying the pragmatic liberalism of an earlier time into a scrum of leftish contenders who believe that pragmatism is for chumps.

That case was dashed last week with Biden’s head-snapping reversal of his 40-year support of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. Far from serving as an alternative to the radicalism of one segment of his party, Biden showed that he is willing to be its slave—if that’s what it takes to win approval for his dream of apotheosis. Such groveling is unlovely enough in people in the robust prime of life; it is doubly so in old people, who, by virtue of their age and experience, are supposed to know their own mind.

The only cure for the desire to be president, a wise politician once said, is embalming fluid. Let’s stipulate to that, too. We all need purpose and meaning in life. The trick for old folks is to adjust their search for purpose and meaning as they follow nature’s course and give way to their juniors. The avenues to self-fulfillment that were open to them as younger men and women are now the rightful territory of a newer generation, and dignity requires them to find other paths of service and satisfaction.

I can easily imagine a host of dignified futures for our 70-something presidential candidates, far from New Hampshire and Iowa. Sanders could work as a tour guide in Nicaragua or a docent on fundraising cruises for The New York Review of Books. Biden, for his part, could take on the once-popular, now-neglected role of “elder statesman,” happy to serve when called to a blue-ribbon panel or as a special envoy to trouble spots here and there, to offer advice when his advice is sought, and otherwise to lead a life of recreation, reading, and contemplation. No one will think less of either of them.

Instead, they have chosen the way of vanity and self-indulgence, to the detriment of the political cause they say they want to advance. Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair. I’m not saying one of them won’t succeed in his quest—though I have my doubts about both—but in a saner world, it would be obvious that the quest itself is unseemly. They do no credit to their peers with their refusal to acknowledge their natural and inevitable station in life. And they do no favors to the younger people—from Pete Buttigieg, age 37; to Kamala Harris, age 54; and even to Elizabeth Warren, age 69—who are eager, as they are entitled to be, to take their shot.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.


Why have national Democrats and not national Republicans fallen under the tyranny of the 70-somethings? It seems so contrary to common expectation. Democrats are, as they often remind us, the party of progress and the future. The question seems to rival those enduring, unanswerable mysteries such as “What happens when you die?” and “Why did Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones?”

People in their mid-to-late 70s are thick on the ground nowadays, while in an earlier era, of course, you’d have been more likely to find them under it. This is especially true in the urban centers of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, according to a recent survey of census data by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. In particular, the Washington, D.C., area is a leader in “senior labor force participation,” by which the researchers mean the region is loaded with people who have passed the age of retirement yet somehow neglected to retire.

Look no further than the Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill. For whatever reason—perhaps they’re more easily bored by government work, or perhaps they’re more eager to cash in on government work—Republicans have less of a 70-something problem. House Republicans are relatively youthful, in chronology if not in disposition: They are led by a trio ages 54, 53, and 52. Indeed, the only 70-something among the GOP leadership on the Hill is the 77-year-old Mitch McConnell (I’m omitting the constitutional office of president pro tempore of the Senate, now occupied by the Republican Chuck Grassley, who is 85 but doesn’t look a day over 86.)

Going down the ranks, the public-affairs software firm Quorum reckoned that the average age of the Democratic House leadership is 72, fully 24 years more than the average of the Republican House leadership. Infamously, the three leading Democrats in the House are 79, 78, and 79, for a staggering combined age of 236, making the Democratic leadership team older, in aggregate, than the Constitution itself.

The party’s congressional gerontocracy has now inevitably bled into the field of presidential candidates. The front-runner, Joe Biden, is 76. Second place, according to most polls, belongs to Bernie Sanders, who’s a year older than Biden. They hope to replace the oldest man ever to be elected president. He’s younger than both of them. If either Biden or Sanders gets to the White House and then wins a second term, we will be governed by a man in his early 80s, nearly two decades older than Franklin D. Roosevelt was when, having won his fourth term, he pegged out from overwork. Needless to say, Sanders and Biden are each much spryer than FDR. Imagine Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins Returns clicking his heels in the Oval Office.

To be sure, anyone who criticizes our gerontocracy must insert a “to be sure” paragraph right about now, praising the gumption and resilience of our oldsters, marveling at their energy and their bottomless reservoirs of wisdom. Stipulated! Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Biden, and Sanders—and especially the McDonald’s-loving 72-year-old incumbent—are walking testaments to the advances made by geriatric medicine since the 1950s, when they were teenagers. The idea that with length of days comes wisdom is a commonplace of our patrimony, from Aristotle and Job to Shakespeare and Austen. And all the flattering things we are required to say about old age and the people caught up in it do serve as a much-needed counterbalance to our culture’s childish obsession with youth.

But this traditional picture of old age as the repository of wisdom comes with certain complications. Gerontocracy is rule by people who insist on turning the peak of their career into a plateau. Aristotle and the others acknowledged that it carries hidden and insidious effects, and reveals unflattering qualities in the gerontocrats themselves. We can see this most obviously in the effect it has had on the Democratic Party generationally. There is a huge gap between where the energy and creativity of the party lie, with a group of dynamic activists and House members in their 30s and even their 20s (thank you, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez), and the ruling class of 70-somethings layered far above like a crumbling porte cochere.

In the farm system that trains and seasons the leaders of tomorrow—assuming tomorrow ever comes—that gap signifies a lost generation. One day, presumably, power within the party will pass, and when it does, if present trends continue, it will leapfrog from seniors born around the time of V-J Day to people who can barely remember 9/11. More likely than not, members of Generation X will never get their turn—an entire cohort condemned to the fate of Prince Charles. After the indignities that Boomers inflicted on Generation X, from disco to postmodern literary theory, this scarcely seems fair.

The situation pushes some Gen Xers to take extreme measures. The far-fetched presidential campaigns of backbenchers such as Tim Ryan and Seth Moulton are best understood as cries for help, as ambitious young politicians try to free themselves from the professional bottleneck created by unbudgeable leadership.

Some 70-somethings are easier to forgive than others. Pelosi and her team are simply aging in place, clinging to a version of the jobs they’ve held for a decade or more; inertia could be as much to blame for their refusal to move along as an unslakable thirst for power and attention. There’s less to forgive in the actions of Biden and Sanders. Three years ago, both were given the chance to leave the field gracefully. But they. Will. Not. Go. Away.

Sanders, holding political positions virtually identical to those of his rivals, offered a less plausible case for his candidacy than Biden did. Biden’s case, which you could strain to make if you were willing to risk a herniated disk, was ideological: He filled a slot that no one else would fill. He was carrying the pragmatic liberalism of an earlier time into a scrum of leftish contenders who believe that pragmatism is for chumps.

That case was dashed last week with Biden’s head-snapping reversal of his 40-year support of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion. Far from serving as an alternative to the radicalism of one segment of his party, Biden showed that he is willing to be its slave—if that’s what it takes to win approval for his dream of apotheosis. Such groveling is unlovely enough in people in the robust prime of life; it is doubly so in old people, who, by virtue of their age and experience, are supposed to know their own mind.

The only cure for the desire to be president, a wise politician once said, is embalming fluid. Let’s stipulate to that, too. We all need purpose and meaning in life. The trick for old folks is to adjust their search for purpose and meaning as they follow nature’s course and give way to their juniors. The avenues to self-fulfillment that were open to them as younger men and women are now the rightful territory of a newer generation, and dignity requires them to find other paths of service and satisfaction.

I can easily imagine a host of dignified futures for our 70-something presidential candidates, far from New Hampshire and Iowa. Sanders could work as a tour guide in Nicaragua or a docent on fundraising cruises for The New York Review of Books. Biden, for his part, could take on the once-popular, now-neglected role of “elder statesman,” happy to serve when called to a blue-ribbon panel or as a special envoy to trouble spots here and there, to offer advice when his advice is sought, and otherwise to lead a life of recreation, reading, and contemplation. No one will think less of either of them.

Instead, they have chosen the way of vanity and self-indulgence, to the detriment of the political cause they say they want to advance. Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair. I’m not saying one of them won’t succeed in his quest—though I have my doubts about both—but in a saner world, it would be obvious that the quest itself is unseemly. They do no credit to their peers with their refusal to acknowledge their natural and inevitable station in life. And they do no favors to the younger people—from Pete Buttigieg, age 37; to Kamala Harris, age 54; and even to Elizabeth Warren, age 69—who are eager, as they are entitled to be, to take their shot.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

A city that was thirsty to celebrate its first major professional sports title in more than a quarter century erupted in joy Monday, with tens of thousands of fans jammed on to the streets of downtown Toronto for the championship parade.

The parade was more than two hours behind schedule as the buses carrying the Raptors were held up by the massive amount of fans on the streets. Just after 2:20 p.m., the national anthem was played at Nathan Phillips Square with the crowd singing O Canada as the wait continued for the Raptors.

It was followed by a flyby from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds demonstration team.

The Raptors finally reached Nathan Phillips Square by 3 p.m., and the ceremony began about 30 minutes later.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

The ceremony was delayed briefly as emcee Matt Devlin went on stage to urge the crowd to stay calm as police dealt with what he called an emergency.

Police tweeted that there were reports of a woman shot near the back of the square and people were running from area. Police later tweeted that they had found two victims with non life-threatening injuries. Two people were in custody and two firearms had been recovered.

The ceremony resumed by 3:55 p.m.

Earlier, Premier Doug Ford was roundly booed as he was introduced on the stage, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mostly received cheers.

The Raptors were introduced one by one during the ceremony, as most people in the square pulled out their smart phones, recording the ceremony on the stage.

Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard came out last, serenaded with chants of “MVP, MVP, MVP!”

The fans then gave a rousing rendition of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” before the politicians began their speeches.

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard holds the NBA Finals trophy at the victory parade Monday.

Mayor John Tory said the city would rename a part of Bremner Blvd. as Raptors Way. Tory also gave the team a key to the city, handing it to Leonard.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

After the delay, the speeches continued from the team, including Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.

“I think it was Bono who said ‘the world needs more Canada,’ ” Nurse said to the crowd. “The world just got it!”

Raptors all-star guard Kyle Lowry was greeted with chants of “Lowry, Lowry.”

“We are now world champs together,” Lowry told the fans. “That’s all that really matters.”

Guard Fred VanVleet referenced the franchise’s past failures in the playoffs.

“You guys killed us when we got swept . . . you better celebrate this . . . all summer,” VanVleet said as the crowd roared.

Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, was introduced by Devlin as the “greatest player in the world.”

“Thank you, enjoy this moment and have fun with this,” said Leonard, who ended his brief remarks with “aha-ha-ha” — presumably mocking his infamous laugh from training camp — which had his teammates bursting with laughter.

Fans responded again by cheering “MVP, MVP, MVP!”

Raptors global ambassador Drake called this one of the most important shows of his life, and urged fans at the square to hug a stranger.

The ceremony wrapped up by about 4:20 p.m.

All day, chants of “Let’s go, Raptors” filled the square and the parade route as a huge crowd gathered to cheer on the team. Aerial footage from the parade showed spectacular shots of people jammed on the streets and in the square, which has a capacity of about 65,000.

The City of Toronto urged fans to head to Yonge-Dundas Square because Nathan Phillips Square was at capacity.

Commuters on public transit were surrounded by fans wearing Raptors gear, with the city swept up in excitement over the team’s NBA championship after defeating the Golden State Warriors last week.

The Burlington Post reported that local GO stations were mobbed as throngs of people commuted to Toronto to attend the parade. The TTC was forced to close Queen, Osgoode, Dundas stations just after 12:30 p.m. due to overcrowding at street level.

The Raptors travelled the parade route, which began at the Princes’ Gate at Exhibition Place, in five open-air double-decker buses. Lowry wore a Damon Stoudamire throwback jersey, a tribute to the franchise’s first superstar.

He was also carrying the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, given to the NBA champions.

Fans held signs urging Leonard, who could leave as a free agent at the end of the month, to stay with the Raptors.

A laughing Lowry led a chant of “five more years” for the fans to direct at Leonard as their bus slowly inched along the parade route, video from Yahoo Sports Canada shows.

One of the most clever signs was one that read “Board Man Gets Parade” a riff of what Leonard used to say in college (Board Man Gets Paid). Another sign read “Started from Bargnani, now we’re here.”

Leonard was smoking a cigar and wearing a shirt that said Board Man Gets Paid — his belief that to get into the NBA, you had to outwork an opponent because rebounds help you win games.

Amid the craziness as the procession headed to the square was a fan dubbed Plant Guy who handed over his “Kawh-actus” to Leonard as the crowd cheered. The plant was meant to be a “housewarming gift” to Leonard, in a video that went viral after the Raptors won.

All the streets near city hall were full of parents and their kids as well as men and women of all ages to celebrate a historic moment.

If you didn’t know Canada has legalized marijuana, you’re learning something in this crowd, the Star’s Laura Armstrong reports.

By noon, Toronto police said all viewing areas along the route of the Raptors parade were close to capacity, and urging fans to stay off the road so that the players and their floats can move along.

As Nathan Phillips Square filled to capacity, Toronto police tweeted that they’d set up a medical post on Bay St., just east of City Hall, for anyone feeling unwell.

Fire district chief Stephan Powell said firefighters were dealing with about a dozen calls for dehydration in the packed Nathan Phillips Square outside city hall.

Screenshot from Google Maps of the road closures due to the Raptors parade.

Toronto police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said several children were separated from their parents during the parade. She said police will bring the children to 52 Division to be reunited with their parents.

Sidhu said there were no reports of unruly fans or arrests.

Toronto police were trying to stop more people from entering the square. Some fans left, saying the crowd was getting rowdy.

Trudeau was with Raptors president Masai Ujiri at the square. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were also spotted in attendance.

Right in front of the stage at the square were three sisters from Hamilton, waiting patiently and anxiously for the celebrations to start at the square. They had been camping out here since 9 p.m. Sunday to ensure they have the best view of the players and celebrities.

“An epic moment,” said Christine Demesa, who along with her sisters Jen and Alexa were waving Raptors flags and donning NBA Champions hats.

“Turn up the music please. Let’s roll.”

Flags from Cameroon (where Pascal Siakam is from) and the Congo (for Serge Ibaka) could be spotted in the sea of people celebrating.

Share your thoughts:

Ronnie Gaffe said he drove in from Brampton and arrived in the city at 4 a.m.

“This is a chance of a lifetime,” he said as he recalled all the ups and downs he and other fans have been through for 25 years.

“I’m 55 and I was literally crying like a baby the night they won. So much emotions right now.”

There were safety concerns at the square as people climbed on to the arches to get a better view. Kids and people suffering from panic attacks were also pulled out of the crowd, the Star’s Bruce Arthur reports.

There were also safety concerns near the parade route, with cars pulled over on the Gardiner Expressway as motorists stopped and got out of their vehicles to watch the parade below on Lake Shore Blvd.

Read more:

Party first, contract later, Raptors’ Gasol says

The road to 16 wins: A series-by-series look at how the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA title

‘This isn’t real!’ Raptors fans camp out for championship parade

The area around the Princes’ Gates was jammed with fans jockeying for position, waiting to get a glimpse of their favourite players and the NBA championship trophy. The parade began there just before 10:30 a.m., and slowly headed to a rally at the square, scheduled to start at about 12:30 p.m.

The Fernandez family said they made the trip from Milton, and stayed at a nearby hotel Sunday night.

“It’s unbelievable,” said fan Aldrin Fernandes, while standing near the Princes’ Gates with his wife Tanya and children, Raphael, 7, and Shawn, 6.

“We couldn’t miss this moment because it could be once in a lifetime.”

Aldrin’s wife, Tanya, said the scene was “fantastic.”

“We’re going to follow the route as far as we can with the kids,” she said. “We’re super excited to get a glimpse of them.”

“I think we’re fans for life,” she added.

Mayor John Tory, who urged employers to give their workers time off to attend the celebrations, declared Monday “We The North Day” in Toronto.

Coronation Park, near Exhibition Place, hosted a viewing party to help relieve congestion.

The parade was scheduled to depart from the Princes’ Gates, heading east on Lake Shore Blvd., then north on York St. and University Ave. to Queen St. W., before ending at Nathan Phillips Square.

Lowry’s bus passed Bathurst St. at 12:10 p.m., so festivities were well behind schedule.

Raptors global ambassador Drake, who partied with the team in Las Vegas, was on one of the buses with Leonard, Lowry and VanVleet.

Another bus had Serge Ibaka, Jodie Meeks and Malcolm Miller.

Danny Green, Norman Powell and Chris Boucher were on another bus.

Bus No. 4 had Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Patrick McCaw.

Bus No. 5 had Marc Gasol, Eric Moreland, Jeremy Lin and Jordan Loyd.

Superfan Nav Bhatia was the honorary parade marshal. Bhatia was at Princes’ Gate, snapping photos with fans as he rode around the grounds on a golf cart.

“It’s good for the city and good for the country,” said Bhatia, who said he was humbled by the outpouring of love for him.

“There is a lot of love flowing through here. This is amazing.”

The last time the city held a sports celebration of this magnitude was after the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1993. That parade saw fans climbing trees and statues on city streets to catch a glimpse of a team that included Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.

Then-premier Bob Rae took part in those celebrations, flashing a sign that read “No speech today — Hooray for the Jays.” Current Premier Doug Ford has said he intends to watch this event with the masses.

His press secretary said Ford wants the day to be about the fans and players, not politicians.

The Golden State Warriors took a full-page ad in the Toronto Star on Monday to congratulate the Raptors on their NBA championship.

With files from The Canadian Press

Jason Miller is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Reach him on email: jasonmiller@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic

Gilbert Ngabo is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @dugilbo


[There are no radio stations in the database]