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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 11)

Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen

Westlake Legal Group trump-threatens-to-cut-funding-if-schools-do-not-fully-reopen Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Budgets and Budgeting

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday pressured the government’s top public health experts to water down recommendations for how the nation’s schools could reopen safely this fall and threatened to cut federal funding for districts that defied his demand to resume classes in person.

Once again rejecting the advice of the specialists who work for him, Mr. Trump dismissed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “very tough & expensive guidelines,” which he said asked schools “to do very impractical things.” Within hours, the White House announced that the agency would issue new recommendations in the days to come.

The president’s criticisms, in a barrage of Twitter threats, inflamed a difficult debate that has challenged educators and parents across the country as they seek ways to safely resume teaching American children by September. Even as the coronavirus is spreading faster than ever in the United States, Mr. Trump expressed no concern about the health implications of reopening in person and no support for compromise plans that many districts are considering.

His all-or-nothing stance left him at odds with the nation’s two largest school districts. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced shortly after Mr. Trump’s tweets that schools would not fully reopen in September, with students attending classes in person only one to three days a week to accommodate social distancing. The chief public health officer in Los Angeles County told school officials on Tuesday to be prepared to continue learning entirely from home given the surge of infections in California.

But Mr. Trump’s attack on the C.D.C. underscored his growing impatience with public health experts he considers obstacles to his ambitions of reopening the country after months of lockdown. As he significantly trails his Democratic challenger in most polls, the president has brushed off warnings and pushed states to reopen businesses in hopes of reviving the crippled economy before the election on Nov. 3, a goal that would be hamstrung if parents had to remain at home with their children this fall.

“I disagree with @CDCgov,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, a day after hosting a series of calls and events to pressure schools to reopen fully. “While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them!!!”

During a coronavirus task force briefing later Wednesday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the C.D.C. would issue new recommendations next week, saying the guidelines should not be a reason for schools to stay closed. “We just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” he said, promising “five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_171513666_cf91ee01-7256-4a85-9c3f-8b6ea0f5291f-articleLarge Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Budgets and Budgeting
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The agency has recommended for weeks that schools that remain open modify layouts to maintain social distancing, install physical barriers where that is not possible, increase disinfection and cleaning of facilities, avoid serving communal meals in cafeterias, discourage sharing objects and ensure ventilation systems are up-to-date. If a school has a confirmed case, the guidance says, students and “most staff” members should be dismissed for two to five days while local health officials consider what to do next.

An administration official, who discussed internal deliberations on condition of anonymity, said the new guidance had been in development for weeks but had yet to be cleared by top C.D.C. or task force officials. The guidelines would address how schools can reopen and whether parents should send children, most likely including a checklist for making that decision. The official denied that Mr. Trump or other White House officials had pressured the agency to ease the existing guidelines for schools, which were updated in April.

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Updated 2020-07-09T00:26:39.977Z

Another official said that some in the White House had learned of the C.D.C.’s plans to distribute new guidance only on Tuesday, when Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the agency’s director, told governors about it in a call led by Mr. Pence. Dr. Redfield said on Wednesday that Americans should not interpret C.D.C. guidelines as requirements.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and one of the coronavirus task force’s most prominent members, did not attend the briefing on Wednesday, an absence that drew attention. Dr. Fauci later said in a brief telephone conversation that he was part of a small group of officials asked to call in from the White House Situation Room to a meeting the task force held before the briefing. Dr. Fauci said the officials who called in were less relevant to the topics discussed in the briefing.

In taking on defiant educators, Mr. Trump invoked the one lever he had — federal funding — to impose his will on schools, which are traditionally run by localities and states.

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but it is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

In reality, it may be a hollow threat. The president has no control over about 90 percent of school district budgets, which are generally financed by local property and sales taxes. And he has little control over federal funding already appropriated by Congress.

“Trump has no legal authority to withhold funds,” Arne Duncan, the secretary of education under President Barack Obama, said during a briefing with reporters on Wednesday. “Threatening people, bullying them, lying doesn’t stop the virus from spreading.”

He added: “It’s ludicrous. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad.”

The School Superintendents Association objected to Washington dictating such decisions, citing Mr. Trump’s past support for local control of schools. “You don’t support local decision making if its conditional on only making choices you support,” the organization said in a statement.

As unemployment reaches levels not seen since the Great Depression, the nation’s public schools face severe state budget cuts and mass layoffs, even as children’s academic and social support needs grow.

But Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, signaled that Mr. Trump’s threat was serious and that the department was “looking at all of our options” to determine how it could be carried out.

“As the secretary has said, the investment in education is a promise made to students and families,” Ms. Hill said. “If schools are not going to keep that promise, why would they get the money? Why shouldn’t that money go directly to parents to find an option for their student if the school they are assigned to refuses to open?”

Mr. Pence also indicated that the administration would seek “a strong incentive” for states to fully reopen when Congress takes up the next round of emergency relief funding this month.



‘We’re Prepared to Work With Each School,’ Redfield Says

Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Dr. Robert R. Redfield of the C.D.C. and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, addressed plans to reopen schools.

“It’s absolutely essential that we get our kids back into classrooms for in-person learning. We can’t let our kids fall behind academically, but it’s important that the American people remember that for children that have mental health issues, for special needs children, for nutrition, for children in communities facing persistent poverty, the school is the place where they receive all those services.” “It would fail America’s students, and it would fail taxpayers who pay high taxes for their education. Ultimately it’s not a matter of if schools should reopen, it’s simply a matter of how. They must fully open and they must be fully operational, and how that happens is best left to education and community leaders.” “I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of C.D.C.’s guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed. We’re prepared to work with each school, each jurisdiction, to help them use the different strategies that we propose that help do this safely so they come up with the optimal strategy for those schools.” “We are worried now that as cases spread, that it’s getting to the older parents and the grandparents. And I call on again, every multigenerational household: Get tested and protect those in the household. And we do know that there are children with vulnerability.”

Westlake Legal Group merlin_174358911_aa6ab372-197c-4e0e-923e-2553d9ccbffc-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Threatens to Cut Funding if Schools Do Not Fully Reopen United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Budgets and Budgeting
Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Dr. Robert R. Redfield of the C.D.C. and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, addressed plans to reopen schools.CreditCredit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times

The Education Department may be able to reroute or withhold some emergency coronavirus relief funding that school districts say they desperately need to fund staff, programming and the public health measures recommended by the C.D.C. And the president could veto additional funds that schools want from Congress this summer.

On Wednesday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Trump would seek to “substantially bump up money for education” in the next coronavirus relief package, but “this money should go to students.”

A senior House Democratic aide said lawmakers would most likely push to limit the president’s authority to withhold school funds in a next round of relief.

Many parents, educators and doctors believe that the social, educational and psychological costs of a prolonged shutdown or online learning now outweigh the risk of the virus itself, a position expressed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. But how schools reopen safely is a matter of serious discussion.

Joining the briefing with Mr. Duncan and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former C.D.C. director, said schools should reopen, but safely.

“Here’s the bottom line,” he said. “The single most important thing we can do to keep our schools safe has nothing to do with what happens in schools. It’s how well we control Covid in the community.”

In citing European countries, Mr. Trump was making an apples-and-oranges comparison. Germany and the other nations he cited have all gained control over the pandemic, while cases are rising significantly in the United States. While the United States recorded 54,000 new cases on Tuesday alone, Sweden logged just 283, Germany reported 279, Norway had 11 and Denmark just 10. Even accounting for population differences, those countries are in significantly better condition than the United States.

Credit…Ina Fassbender/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

So far, there has been little evidence that school reopenings in Europe have resulted in widespread increases in coronavirus cases. Most countries took steps like wearing masks, reducing class sizes and keeping children in small groups at recess and lunchtime, measures that Mr. Trump is resisting.

But scientists do not know to what degree children spread the virus to others. There is some evidence that children are less likely than adults to transmit the virus, and that younger children transmit it less frequently than teenagers do. This may suggest that the risk of spread in preschools is lower than in high schools, which would be a welcome finding for many working parents and for early childhood educators, who cannot teach as effectively online as high school teachers can.

While children have proved less susceptible to the disease, teachers are more vulnerable because of their age. Many have expressed concern about returning to work in buildings that were never intended to keep children six feet apart or otherwise prevent the spread of a deadly virus.

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said the mortality rate for those 25 and younger was less than a tenth of a percent, though she cautioned there was much to learn. “Until we know how many have been infected, we have no evidence that there is significant mortality in children without coexisting diseases,” she said.

But she added that children might be a threat to relatives in multigenerational homes. “Americans have done a great job in keeping infection rates low in children in the sheltering time,” she said. “We are worried now that as cases spread that it is getting to the older parents and the grandparents.”

Pam Belluck contributed reporting from New York.

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What Will Trump’s Rally in New Hampshire Be Like? It’s Anyone’s Guess

Three days before President Trump’s latest rally, in a state that Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016, the only thing that seems clear is that the president’s team has no idea what to expect.

Mr. Trump’s campaign is planning an event at an airport hangar in Portsmouth, N.H. But the state’s governor, Chris Sununu, a Republican, has said he will not be attending. It isn’t clear how many other Republican elected officials will come. The number of attendees could be low, or it could be expansive. There could be lots of people drifting in from Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts.

Campaign officials believe they will be able to prevent the kind of ticket prank that helped turn Mr. Trump’s rally last month in Tulsa, Okla., into a far smaller event than expected — but they still cannot say for sure. And most significantly, there is the looming threat of the coronavirus spreading in a crowd where attendees will be in relatively close quarters, despite being mostly outdoors.

“It’s not what we need right now in terms of Covid,” said Tom Rath, a Republican former New Hampshire attorney general. “We have been very, very fortunate — our number of deaths are quite small.”

Mr. Sununu, in particular, is threading a needle in a year when he is up for re-election in a swing state, and has gotten praise for how he has handled the coronavirus crisis, Mr. Rath said.

In an interview with CNN on Tuesday night, Mr. Sununu said he might have a chance to see Mr. Trump during his swing through the state, but it would not be at the rally on Saturday.

“I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people, if that’s your question specifically,” Mr. Sununu said.

The Trump campaign is attempting a reboot of the reboot that fizzled out just a few weeks ago — the June 20 rally in Tulsa that the president and his team bragged had spurred nearly one million ticket requests. In the end, it drew only about 6,200 people to the 19,000-seat arena.

Since then, campaign officials and the White House have discussed ways to allow Mr. Trump to hit the stump the way he wants to — at big rallies — without endangering people. On Wednesday, a leading health official in Tulsa said that Mr. Trump’s rally probably contributed to a drastic increase in coronavirus cases there.

Also on Wednesday, Max Miller, the head of the advance team at the White House, was announced as the deputy campaign manager for presidential operations. Mr. Trump asked Mr. Miller to assume the role after Brad Parscale, the campaign manager, suggested that Mr. Trump choose a person with whom he has a personal relationship to help oversee the rallies.

For now, the campaign is treating the Saturday evening rally as a potential prototype for future events. Some requests from the president have not yet come to pass, according to a person familiar with the planning, such as his interest in adorning his rally with statues of founding fathers. Preserving statues of historical figures, including from the Confederacy, has become a cause for the president in recent weeks.

And Trump campaign officials dismissed the impact of the teenage TikTok users who claimed responsibility for sabotaging the president’s rally in Tulsa last month. Those ticket requests were counted when Mr. Parscale hyped the rally online, officials said. But they weeded out those requests and still thought that they could fill an arena as well as a space reserved for an overflow crowd with the president’s supporters in a red state that he won by more than 36 points four years ago.

Still, contact information from ticket registration for the New Hampshire rally was being cross-referenced with data in previous lists of supporters, in an effort to better protect themselves from online tricksters.

The more visible problem with the Tulsa event, officials conceded, was that they grossly underestimated how frightened their own supporters would be to attend an indoor rally at all. It was not clear whether they would face the same problem for the event at an airfield in New Hampshire.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_171536526_278e8724-5db9-4ada-9298-bf985fd8ac7f-articleLarge What Will Trump’s Rally in New Hampshire Be Like? It’s Anyone’s Guess Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Parscale, Brad (1976- ) New Hampshire Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Credit…Steven Senne/Associated Press

The campaign this time selected a mostly outdoor venue, and has been “strongly” encouraging attendees to wear face masks, all in the hopes of easing health concerns as officials try to stage large social gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. But officials say they are aware that they cannot force people out of their homes and into the venue — and there was a chance that the rally crowd would be thinner than expected, again.

Mr. Parscale, chastened by last month’s experience, was not hyping any crowd numbers ahead of the weekend rally.

The difficulty in giving Mr. Trump the kind of adoring rallies that he seeks has been growing more and more apparent to White House officials and campaign advisers. The campaign last month canceled a planned rally in Mobile, Ala., where the president was expected to campaign for Tommy Tuberville in his Senate runoff on Tuesday against Jeff Sessions.

In the past, when Mr. Trump has held rallies in Mobile, he has had to move his event to the Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which seats 43,000 people, because of high demand. But officials say the days of filling stadiums with that kind of capacity were behind them, for now.

Tulsa was not the first time the Trump campaign had been flooded with bogus ticket sign-ups online. Officials say they comb through all of the sign-ups and look to see whether the person requesting a ticket is a registered Republican, or has any history of voting for a Republican candidate at all. If they don’t, those requests are often discarded.

“Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVP’d with a cellphone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers,” Tim Murtaugh, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “These phony ticket requests never factor into our thinking. What makes this lame attempt at hacking our events even more foolish is the fact that every rally is general admission — entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and prior registration is not required.”

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Alexander Vindman to Retire After Clashes With Trump

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-vindman-facebookJumbo Alexander Vindman to Retire After Clashes With Trump Vindman, Alexander S United States Defense and Military Forces United States Army Trump, Donald J National Security Council impeachment Esper, Mark T Defense Department Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — An Army officer who was a prominent witness during the impeachment inquiry into President Trump last year said on Wednesday that he had decided to retire after what his lawyer called a campaign of White House intimidation and retaliation.

The incident is the latest in what Pentagon and congressional officials say could be another flash point between the president and the military.

The witness, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran who served on the staff of the White House National Security Council, is among scores of officers who have been picked to be promoted to full colonel this year. Typically, such promotions are backed by Army and Pentagon officials before moving to the White House for final approval, and then to the Senate for a confirmation vote.

But the White House had made clear to officials in the Pentagon’s office of personnel and readiness, which handles such matters, that Mr. Trump did not want to see Colonel Vindman promoted, officials said.

Mr. Trump’s allies at the White House asked Pentagon officials to find instances of misconduct by Colonel Vindman that would justify blocking his promotion, administration officials said on Wednesday.

On multiple occasions, including this week, the White House pressed the Pentagon to seek witnesses who would come forward and say that Colonel Vindman acted improperly, the officials said.

But Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy have been unable to produce such evidence, largely because it does not exist, according to one administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

With that hurdle cleared, Mr. Esper on Monday approved the promotion list, including Colonel Vindman, and it was expected to be delivered to the White House by Friday, a second administration official said.

Senior Army leaders were caught off guard by Colonel Vindman’s decision on Wednesday. Mr. McCarthy was expected to have a general officer contact Colonel Vindman to discuss his options, an administration official said.

But people familiar with Colonel Vindman’s decision said he felt increasingly pessimistic that he had a meaningful future in the Army. He announced his decision in a short Twitter message on Wednesday morning.

“Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love,” he said. “My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives.”

Colonel Vindman’s lawyer, David Pressman, said in a statement that the officer was the victim of campaign of “bullying” and “intimidation” by the White House.

“Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation, the president of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a president,” Mr. Pressman said. “Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers.”

Mr. Pressman added, “Vindman did what the law compelled him to do; and for that he was bullied by the president and his proxies.”

The White House declined to comment.

In his role as a Ukraine expert on the National Security Council staff, Colonel Vindman was on Mr. Trump’s phone call on July 25 with Ukraine’s president that later was a central element of the impeachment inquiry. Colonel Vindman testified in the House impeachment hearings that it was “improper for the president” to coerce a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.

Hours before Colonel Vindman was marched out of the White House in February by security guards, Mr. Trump foreshadowed his fate when asked if he would be pushed out. “Well, I’m not happy with him,” the president told reporters. “You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not.”

A person familiar with Colonel Vindman’s decision said he decided to retire after more than 21 years in the Army when it became apparent he would not be able to serve in a useful capacity in his area of specialty, Eurasia affairs. He had been scheduled to start a term at the Army War College later this summer.

Colonel Vindman’s retirement, which still must be approved by the Army, comes despite promises from Mr. Esper and other senior military leaders to protect from retribution members of the armed services who return to military duties after serving tours at the White House.

Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, said last week that she would block Senate confirmation of 1,123 military personnel promotions until she received assurances that Colonel Vindman’s promotion would not be blocked.

“Lt. Col. Vindman’s decision to retire puts the spotlight on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s failure to protect a decorated combat veteran against a vindictive commander in chief,” Ms. Duckworth said in a statement on Wednesday.

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The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Book

For most of her life, Mary L. Trump was shunted aside by her own family.

Her uncle, President Trump, for years looked down on her father — his own brother, Fred Trump Jr., an alcoholic who died when she was a teen.

Her grandfather, Fred Trump Sr., hated her mother, whom he blamed for Fred Trump Jr.’s drinking, court papers say. Her aunt, the president’s sister, once accused Ms. Trump and her brother in a legal deposition of being “absentee grandchildren.”

Even when Ms. Trump shared Christmas with her family, her grandfather was often annoyed by what he took to be her disrespectful nature. Her crime, court papers say: She showed up wearing a baggy sweater.

Ms. Trump’s status as an outcast culminated in 1999 when Fred Trump Sr. died, and she discovered that she and her brother had been cut out of his will, depriving them of what they believed was their rightful share of untold millions. A dispute over the will devolved into a court fight, its details shielded by a confidentiality agreement that Ms. Trump has adhered to for nearly 20 years.

Now, however, the story of that fight — and other new allegations — has been thrust into the spotlight with the publication of Ms. Trump’s memoir, a copy of which The New York Times obtained on Tuesday. The book, along with a number of court documents that have never been reported, sheds new light on a decades-long saga of greed, betrayal and internecine squabbles, laying out what Ms. Trump has described as her family’s legacy of darkness and dysfunction.

Her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” which is set to be released next week, has ended up in court itself: The Trump family has sought to stop its publication. Ms. Trump has countered that the secrecy provision that has kept her silent until now is unenforceable and based on financial fraud.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_174147219_07230a5e-d641-4e2e-8b34-f01a98b4d41b-articleLarge The Inside Story of Why Mary Trump Wrote a Tell-All Book Wills and Estates United States Politics and Government Trump, Mary L Trump, Fred C Trump, Donald J Books and Literature Barry, Maryanne Trump
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The book makes a number of allegations that Ms. Trump depicts as family secrets, among them a claim that a young Donald Trump paid someone to take his SAT, the standardized test used for college admissions. It also alleges that Mr. Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge, considered him “a clown” who had “no principles” and that the Trump family left Fred Trump Jr. unattended at a hospital on the night that he died.

In her book, Ms. Trump seeks to explain how Donald Trump’s position in one of New York’s wealthiest and most infamous real-estate empires helped him acquire what Ms. Trump has referred to as “twisted behaviors” — attributes like seeing other people in “monetary terms” and practicing “cheating as a way of life.”

Ms. Trump, a clinical psychologist, calls her grandfather — the president’s father, Fred Trump Sr. — a “sociopath” who damaged his children. His father’s behavior, she concludes, led the president to adopt bullying and other aggressive behaviors to mask his own insecurities.

While several close associates of Mr. Trump have published exposés of him and his time in office, Mary Trump, who is 55 and lives on Long Island in New York, is the first member of the family to have broken ranks by writing a book.

Sarah Matthews, a White House spokeswoman, said Tuesday that the book was in Ms. Trump’s “own financial self-interest.” She said the president has described his relationship with his father in warm terms and called the allegation about the SAT “completely false.”

A lawyer for Mr. Trump’s family, Charles Harder, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

John Barrengos, one of Ms. Trump’s oldest friends, said that he believed the book was her response to a family that she feels tried to silence her and an attempt to shed light on her uncle, whose politics she strongly opposes.

“I think trying to tell the story as she sees it is a way of again claiming her voice not just in the construct of the family, but in the context of what our country is going through,” Mr. Barrengos said.

The seeds of Ms. Trump’s alienation began before she was born, with her father’s relationship to his family, and continued through her childhood before bursting open when her grandfather died, according to her book and court documents, some of which remain under seal.

Ms. Trump and her younger brother, Fred Trump III, were the only children of Fred Trump Jr., the oldest sibling of Donald Trump, and Linda Clapp Trump, a onetime flight attendant who did not win her father-in-law’s approval. The couple had their son in 1962. Mary Trump was born three years later.

Fred Trump Jr. was not inclined to the family real-estate business, so Donald Trump stepped into the role of his father’s successor. The eldest Trump sibling became a pilot and struggled with alcoholism.

In her book, Ms. Trump writes that her uncle Donald watched her grandfather mock her father, learned from the ridicule to become Fred Sr.’s favorite son and joined in it. Donald Trump told his brother, referring to his career as a pilot: “Dad’s right about you: You’re nothing but a glorified bus driver.”

Credit…Ron Galella Collection, via Getty Images

For a child of one of New York’s most successful families, Ms. Trump had a turbulent upbringing. Her father was clashing with his own father and younger brother, she writes, drinking and smoking heavily. They lived in a drafty apartment in Highlander Hall, a Trump building in Queens, and at one point she was hospitalized with pneumonia.

Her father started to spiral downward. He had tried to buy a house but could not get a mortgage. “Our family was effectively trapped in that run-down apartment in Jamaica,” she wrote. “At 29 years old, my father was running out of things to lose.”

On one occasion, young Mary woke up to her father laughing while aiming a gun at her screaming mother’s face, she wrote in her book. By 1970, her mother told her father to leave, and he would never live with them again. They divorced in 1971. Fred Trump Jr. died of a heart attack in 1981 at age 42.

His children, who had already been given $400,000 each in trust by their grandfather, inherited a 20 percent stake their father had been granted in Trump apartment buildings in Brooklyn and Queens, several ground leases and other revenue-producing businesses.

Long after their father’s death, Mary Trump and her brother continued attending family events, including a Mike Tyson fight in Atlantic City with Donald Trump, their grandfather’s birthday party at Peter Luger Steak House, Ivanka Trump’s eighth birthday party and weddings, holidays and visits with their grandmother.

Still, they remained at the edges of the family. Fred Trump Sr. never liked Linda Trump, according to testimony in a battle over his will, and worried that any money left to his two grandchildren would end up in her hands.

“He had a tremendous dislike for their mother,” Donald Trump said of his father in a deposition obtained by The Times. “He felt the mother was the cause of Fred’s difficulty.”

Fred Trump Sr. also looked down on Mary Trump and her brother because of what he perceived as a poor work ethic fostered by inheriting their father’s money, according to testimony in the will dispute by John Walter, Donald Trump’s cousin.

“He knew what Fred III was doing,” Mr. Walter testified. “He knew what Mary was doing. He knew what their father had done before them.” Fred Trump III, Mr. Walter said, was “not working hard enough.”

Although Mr. Walter said that Mr. Trump Sr. did not expect Mary Trump, as a woman, to work in construction, he did not think either of the children was fulfilling their potential.

When Fred Trump Sr.’s will was revised in 1991, he left $202,000 to each grandchild, including Mary Trump and Fred Trump III. The bulk of the Trump fortune would pass to his four living children. His other grandchildren stood to eventually inherit their parents’ portion. But Mary Trump and Fred Trump III — without their knowledge — were cut out of a 20 percent share of their grandfather’s estate that they might have received had their father lived.

“This is tantamount to disinheriting them,” an adviser told the Trump patriarch in a memo before the will was finalized. “You may wish to increase their participation in your estate to avoid ill will in the future.”

After Fred Trump Sr. died on June 25, 1999, Mary Trump and Fred Trump III learned that they had been cut out. Nine months later, they contested the will in court in New York, arguing that their grandfather had been suffering from dementia and that his children had manipulated him to influence the way the will was written.

A week after they went to court, a Trump family company cut off health insurance to Mary Trump, her mother, brother and her brother’s family, including Fred III’s 9-month-old son William, who had suffered from seizure disorders and would be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Donald Trump acknowledged the termination of the insurance was related to the fight over his father’s will.

“When [Fred III] sued us, we said, ‘Why should we give him medical coverage?’” he told The Daily News at the time. Mary Trump told the newspaper that by contesting the will she was fighting for their father to be recognized. “He existed, he lived, he was their oldest son. And William is my father’s grandson,” she said.

Litigation over the will and the health insurance became the vehicles for the Trumps to hurl insults and raise grievances that had hung in the air for years.

Credit…Louis Liotta/New York Post Archives, via Getty Images

In an affidavit in a lawsuit over the health insurance, Mary Trump said that at a meeting at the Drake Hotel, her uncle Robert tried to persuade her and her brother to accept the will’s terms, mentioning how much had been spent on William’s medical care. They interpreted the statement as a threat to terminate the insurance if they fought the will.

Robert Trump, in his own affidavit, called William’s 24-hour nurses “highly paid babysitters.”

Fred III said he was shocked that his family would trivialize his son’s medical care.

“My loving aunts and uncles, in an expression of their undying concern for William, were more than willing to jeopardize his care in order to punish me and my sister,” he said in his affidavit.

Those aunts and uncles had not visited William at a hospital a short cab ride from their Manhattan apartments, though in a restaurant Donald Trump “yelled across the tables that he had heard my child was sick,” Fred III later said.

The fight over the will was equally bitter.

“They live like kings and queens,” Donald Trump said of his niece and nephew in his deposition. “This is not two people left out in the gutter.”

Maryanne Trump Barry, for her part, testified there was “no relationship” between Mary and Fred III and her father, calling them “absentee grandchildren,” even as she acknowledged that they had attended Christmas at her parents’ house and other family events.

“They often came and left very early,” she said. “On each time they came Freddy was never wearing a tie, which drove my father bananas, and Mary was in pants and a baggy sweater, which drove him bananas as well.”

Mary Trump, in response, gave her lawyer a long list of the events they had attended.

In her book, Ms. Trump accuses Robert Trump of telling her and her brother during the will battle that if they did not settle, the family would bankrupt one of the companies in which they had inherited a stake and saddle the two of them with the bill.

Ms. Barry and Robert Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

The Trumps settled their disputes in April 2001, court records show. As part of the deal, Mary and Fred III received an undisclosed cash settlement, and they agreed to turn over the 20 percent stake in Trump assets they had inherited from their father, including seven apartment complexes, ground leases and stakes in a public housing complex and in the company Robert Trump had purportedly threatened to bankrupt.

After The Times reported on the family’s questionable valuations of its real-estate assets in 2018, Mary Trump concluded that she and her brother were duped in the settlement, she has claimed in the run-up to publishing her book.

Even as the court fight over the will was starting to be resolved, Ms. Trump tried to establish her own life.

After working on a master’s degree in English at Columbia University, she switched directions and in 2001 started taking psychology courses at Adelphi University, not far from her home. In 2003, she earned a master’s degree, and by the end of the decade had finished her doctoral studies, writing a dissertation that examined the qualities that made people vulnerable to being stalked by their partners.

Around the same time, she entered into a romantic relationship. Ms. Trump and her partner raised a daughter before separating several years later.

When her uncle Donald announced that he was running for president in June 2015, Ms. Trump did not take it seriously, assuming, she wrote, that he “simply wanted the free publicity for his brand.” Throughout the campaign, which was marked by scandals like the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, Ms. Trump did not speak out, fearing that her voice would not be heard and that her views would make no difference, she wrote in the book.

She stayed in touch with her aunt, Ms. Barry, whom she quotes as saying about the presidential race, “He’s a clown — this will never happen,” during one of their regular lunches in 2015. Ms. Barry was particularly baffled by support for her brother among evangelical Christians, according to the book.

On election night, however, Ms. Trump took to Twitter, writing, “Worst night of my life.” She also wrote: “We should be judged harshly,” adding, “I grieve for our country.”

Ms. Trump has grown apart from the brother with whom she had been aligned in the family conflict years ago. While she has chosen to speak out against the family, he has taken a different path, nurturing a relationship with their uncle. In a statement released through the Trump family last month, Mr. Trump III distanced himself from his sister’s book and said their legal settlement had been generous and his son well-provided for.

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Trump Presses Schools to Reopen

Westlake Legal Group trump-presses-schools-to-reopen Trump Presses Schools to Reopen Trump, Donald J Shutdowns (Institutional) Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (2020) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Colleges and Universities

WASHINGTON — President Trump demanded on Tuesday that schools reopen physically in the fall, pressing his drive to get the country moving again even as the coronavirus pandemic surged through much of the United States and threatened to overwhelm some health care facilities.

In a daylong series of conference calls and public events at the White House, the president, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other senior officials opened a concerted campaign to lean on governors, mayors and others to resume classes in person months after more than 50 million children were abruptly ejected from school buildings in March.

Mr. Trump and his administration argued that the social, psychological and educational costs of keeping children at home any longer would be worse than the virus itself. But they offered no concrete proposals or new financial assistance to states and localities struggling to restructure academic settings, staffs and programs that were never intended to keep children six feet apart or cope with the requirements of combating a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans.

“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Mr. Trump said at a forum at the White House. “It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”

Education has long been a local issue, controlled by district school boards and state superintendents. Indeed, Mr. Trump campaigned in 2016 against efforts to nationalize education through programs like the Common Core State Standards. So beyond jawboning, it was unclear what power Mr. Trump had to force policymakers’ hands. He stopped short of threatening to withhold federal funding, a potentially effective but risky lever.

Instead, the president used his bully pulpit, which has been influential in steering parts of the country where he has support. Mr. Trump heaped scorn on Harvard University for “closing for the season” this fall. In fact, Harvard said mainly first-year students and some students in special circumstances would be invited to campus in the fall, then seniors would replace them in the spring. “I think it’s ridiculous,” Mr. Trump said. “I think it’s an easy way out, and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves, if you want to know the truth.”

During an earlier conference call with governors, Ms. DeVos laced into school administrations that have done “next to nothing” to educate students during the pandemic. She also criticized specific districts “playing both paradigms” in planning a hybrid of in-person and online classes for the fall, singling out Fairfax County, Va., a suburb of Washington.

“A couple of hours a week of online school is not OK, and a choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” Ms. DeVos said, according to a recording of the call obtained by The New York Times.

The president’s focus on schools and colleges, freighted with campaign-season politics, came as the United States topped three million coronavirus infections and the vast majority of states were experiencing new spikes. In Florida, more than 40 hospitals reported having no more beds in their adult intensive care units. In Ohio, the governor ordered residents in seven counties to wear masks in public, including those containing Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Eager to put the virus in his rearview mirror and focus blame elsewhere, Mr. Trump’s administration on Tuesday announced that it had formally notified the United Nations that the United States would withdraw from the World Health Organization next year in retaliation for its handling of the pandemic. And in a move to pressure colleges and universities that depend on full-tuition-paying international students for income, the administration moved to bar foreign students from returning to the United States if their schools stick with online classes only.

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Updated 2020-07-08T00:32:14.251Z

In demanding the resumption of schools, Mr. Trump waded into one of the most fraught issues confronting the country as it grapples with the deadliest pandemic in a century. Many parents, educators and doctors, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have urged schools to reopen. But concerns remain high, especially among teachers who by virtue of age would be more vulnerable than the students.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_171513657_c3c712eb-690f-4cef-95a3-3212ece5d458-articleLarge Trump Presses Schools to Reopen Trump, Donald J Shutdowns (Institutional) Education (K-12) E-Learning DeVos, Elizabeth (1958- ) Coronavirus Reopenings Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (2020) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Colleges and Universities
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The issue has enormous consequences for the economy as well as the upcoming election. With children at home, many parents are unable to resume work, hindering the economic resurgence Mr. Trump hopes to propel before the Nov. 3 vote. And so, like wearing masks, the issue of reopening schools has become one more battleground in the ferocious ideological wars that divide America.

Mr. Trump brushed off the rise in virus cases, pointing instead to lower death rates, and characterized those reluctant to reopen the schools as partisans trying to hurt him politically at the height of his re-election campaign this fall. “They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed,” he said. “No way.”

Critics said Mr. Trump was the one playing politics, willing to gamble the health of students and teachers to salvage a flagging bid for a second term.

“The reality is no one should listen to Donald Trump or Betsy DeVos when it comes to what is best for students,” said Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union. She added: “Everything is about his re-election. Our No. 1 priority is that we keep our students safe.”

Her organization joined several others, including the National Parent Teacher Association and the American Federation of Teachers, in a joint statement saying that without a comprehensive plan for safety, “we could be putting students, their families and educators in danger.”

Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday that his agency had never advised schools to close across the board. But in March, the C.D.C. issued guidance recommending school closures of two to eight weeks in response to confirmed cases and high absenteeism, or as part of a larger mitigation strategy. In early March, the agency abruptly canceled a call with thousands of superintendents just minutes before it was to provide further clarity. Since then, the agency has issued conflicting guidance to frustrated educators who ultimately relied on their state leaders to make the call.

Ms. DeVos’s Education Department granted waivers from federal mandates, like standardized testing, and issued guidance for how to fund private schools and educate student with disabilities. But until now, she had largely left decision making to the states, even as educators have asked for advice from the federal government.

After what amounted to a fitful and largely unsatisfying nationwide experiment in distance learning last spring, many districts are looking for ways to reopen in the fall, perhaps through a hybrid model relying on both online and in-person learning, including New York City, the nation’s largest school district. So far, Texas and Florida have announced that in-person instruction will be a mandatory option in the fall.

In mounting their pressure campaign, administration officials pointed to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other research suggesting that the risks of the virus to children are much lower than for older Americans while the benefits of being physically present in school are critical.

“Children get much more than an education from school,” said Dr. Sally Goza, the academy’s president, who joined Mr. Trump for his event. “Being away from peers, teachers and school services has lasting effects for children.”

On a call with reporters, administration officials said they were urging schools to make plans that anticipate cases while minimizing the risk of spread and the need for school closures. The officials said the biggest risk with reopening schools and colleges would be infected students transmitting the virus to someone more vulnerable.

Among the vulnerable are teachers: Nearly one-third of the nation’s public school teachers are 50 or older, according to federal data analyzed by the research group Child Trends, which also found that teachers have more social contacts than typical adults because of the time they spend with students.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Ms. DeVos said education leaders needed to “examine real data and weigh risks,” which she said they did every day in normal circumstances, and went on to cite the other risks, such as widening achievement gaps, posed by long-term closures.

“Ultimately it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how,” Ms. DeVos said.

Education groups have released an array of plans for safely reopening schools, and some estimate they will need at least $200 billion in additional funding to meet public health requirements and stave off mass layoffs and programmatic cuts.

Those requests are stalled in Congress. But during the conference call with governors, Ms. DeVos said that of the $13.5 billion that has been allocated to school districts through the federal coronavirus rescue bill, only 1.5 percent, or $195 million, had been used by the states.

Ms. DeVos said she was “disappointed frankly in schools and districts that didn’t figure out how to serve students or that just gave up and didn’t try” during the pandemic.

She singled out Fairfax County, one of the wealthiest districts in the nation with a $3 billion budget, for offering parents a choice of some in-person classes or taking all of their courses online in the fall, after calling their distance learning this spring a “disaster.”

“This can’t happen again this fall,” she said. “It would really fail all of America’s students, and it would fail the taxpayers who are paying high taxes for education.”

In a statement, Fairfax County Public Schools said it was following local, state and federal guidance in developing its back-to-school plan, and “working hard to ensure that F.C.P.S. students will receive meaningful instruction — both virtually and in-person.”

“We would ALL prefer to have our school year, this fall, as a “normal” in-person school year,” the district’s statement said. “However, the health and safety of our staff, our students and our community must outweigh all other factors.”

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They Can’t Stomach Trump. They’re Sufficiently Comfortable With Biden.

In Florida in 2016, J.C. Planas, a former Republican state representative, was uncomfortable with Hillary Clinton but detested Donald Trump, so he wrote in former Gov. Jeb Bush for president.

In New Hampshire that year, Peter J. Spaulding, a longtime Republican official, supported the Libertarian ticket.

And in Arizona, Lorena Burns, 56, also voted third party, seeing the choice between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton as a contest between “two bads.”

“I didn’t want to be responsible for either,” she said.

This year, all three of them intend to diverge from their Republican leanings and vote for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee. They are among an emerging group of voters who disliked both major-party presidential nominees in 2016, but who are now so disillusioned with President Trump — and sufficiently comfortable with Mr. Biden — that they are increasingly willing to support the Democrat.

It’s a dynamic that could have significant implications in several of the most competitive battleground states, like Arizona and Wisconsin, where the third-party vote in 2016 was greater than the margin of difference between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. Recent polling also shows that Mr. Biden has an overwhelming advantage over Mr. Trump among voters who have unfavorable views of both candidates — a cohort that ultimately broke in Mr. Trump’s favor in 2016, exit polls showed.

Ms. Burns of Guadalupe, Ariz., said she recently made her first political donation, to the Democratic National Committee. She said she agreed with many of Mr. Trump’s policies, but was turned off by his behavior. “Just the lying, just the craziness, the bullying — I’d rather pay more money than be with him for another four years,” she said. “I’m willing to pay more money in taxes just to be away from him. He’s corrupting the country.”

In Ms. Burns’s state of Arizona, Mr. Trump won by 3.5 percentage points in 2016. The Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson, won 4.1 percent of the vote, and in other states where the race was even closer — including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida — he pulled in between 2 and 4 percent. The Green Party candidate Jill Stein took in roughly 1 percent in those states — small but significant totals in contests that were decided by slim margins.

In any single poll, it is difficult for pollsters to reach a significant number of voters who supported third-party candidates in 2016, making it impossible to trace their preferences now. And Mr. Trump — who faced vocal opposition that year from some prominent Republicans and won anyway — remains overwhelmingly popular with Republican voters. While many center-right voters have distanced themselves from his party, there are others who initially expressed misgivings about him and have since come to embrace him, resistant to the leftward drift of the Democratic Party.

But in a year when swing voters are scarce, some of the voters who effectively stayed on the sidelines in 2016 are showing signs of political movement now — and there is evidence that Mr. Biden stands to benefit.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_112578008_35b55860-1f64-4264-91e9-d0c52626ed4e-articleLarge They Can’t Stomach Trump. They’re Sufficiently Comfortable With Biden. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Third-Party Politics (US) Stein, Jill Republican Party Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Johnson, Gary E Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr
Credit…Patrick Breen/Santa Fe New Mexican, via Associated Press

There appears to be far less interest in third-party candidates compared with the same point in 2016, pollsters say.

“Barring some unforeseen circumstance, there’s just not a lot of appetite for third party,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “This is two-person for nearly all American voters.”

His polling from late June found that among voters who have unfavorable views of both candidates, Mr. Biden leads the president 55 percent to 21 percent. In 2016, Mr. Trump won the voters who disliked both candidates, according to exit polls.

And according to a recent poll of registered voters in six major battleground states by The Times and Siena College, people who say they did not vote in 2016 overwhelmingly favor Mr. Biden over Mr. Trump in November, 56 percent to 25 percent. Among registered voters in those states who said they did cast ballots in 2016, 47 percent said they planned to support Mr. Biden and 42 percent said they would back Mr. Trump

The Monmouth poll also found that at this point, “fewer voters have a negative opinion of the Democratic nominee” compared with four years ago.

“You had two lightning rod candidates running last time,” said the veteran Republican pollster Glen Bolger, who added that there was still time for Republicans to shape perceptions of Mr. Biden. “At this point in time, Joe Biden isn’t nearly as controversial as Hillary Clinton was, so I think third party candidates are a little bit slower to come out of the woodwork.”

In 2016, voters who went third party spanned the ideological spectrum, from Republicans who did not believe Mr. Trump was a true conservative, to progressives who opposed Mrs. Clinton from the left. The Biden campaign has been working to improve Mr. Biden’s standing with young liberals, aware of the need to engage and mobilize those voters who have long been skeptical of his relatively centrist policy stances. In part because of his difficulty gaining the confidence of young voters and liberals, Mr. Biden’s net favorability rating nationwide remains stuck close to zero.

But Mr. Biden’s team also sees significant opportunities to improve his favorability rating both with disaffected voters who have been moving away from the Democratic Party — voters without college degrees, for example — and with center-right moderates who, in the Trump era, have slipped farther from the Republican Party.

This year, a number of organizations have also mobilized to target Republican-leaning voters who dislike Mr. Trump but do not consider themselves Democrats, aiming to bring them into the Biden fold.

An organization called Republican Voters Against Trump has released testimonials from voters who have never voted for a Democrat before. And veterans of the George W. Bush administration announced a new political action committee last week in support of Mr. Biden; one of the leaders is Kristopher Purcell, who worked in the communications office under Mr. Bush.

Mr. Purcell submitted a write-in vote in 2016. This year, he said, will be the first time he votes for a Democrat for president.

“We have seen over the last four years what a Trump presidency means for the country, and it’s increasingly negative, it’s increasingly damaging,” Mr. Purcell said. “We want to really focus on persuading historically Republican voters.”

Mr. Spaulding of New Hampshire would fall into that category.

He chaired the late Senator John McCain’s presidential bids there in 2000 and 2008, currently serves as a commissioner of Merrimack County in New Hampshire and continues to identify as a Republican. This year, he chaired the New Hampshire campaign of former Gov. William F. Weld, Republican of Massachusetts, who challenged Mr. Trump in the primary before exiting the race in March.

Mr. Spaulding has never voted for a Democrat for president, he said in an interview, but would “probably” support Mr. Biden this time. He called the former vice president “a middle of the roader-type Democrat” who “will do the things that need to be done to get our country back together again.”

Asked if he had any reservations about voting for a Democrat, Mr. Spaulding replied, “not when the stakes are as high as they are this year.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

In interviews, a number of Republican-leaning voters who supported neither major-party candidate last time echoed Mr. Spaulding’s view that they were comfortable with the relatively moderate Mr. Biden, for the very reasons that more progressive voters have been unenthusiastic about his candidacy.

Some people interviewed, however, admitted to being uneasy about whether Mr. Biden would be pushed too far to the left by ascendant voices in the Democratic Party.

“If you look at the entire field the Democratic Party put up, he was probably the most centrist of them all, and it’s that centrist side that leads me to be OK to vote for him,” said Emmanuel Wilder, who voted for Mr. Johnson in 2016 and ran unsuccessfully for the North Carolina Statehouse as a Republican in 2018.

Mr. Wilder intends to vote for Mr. Biden, but added, “I have that concern, whether he will govern like that or whether he will lean more toward following the lead of his party.”

Still, not everyone who opposed the major candidates in 2016 wants to pick a side yet.

“It’s an unbelievably bad choice twice now,” said Richard Vinroot, a Republican former mayor of Charlotte, N.C., who opposed Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton in 2016, and will not vote for Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden this year. “I’m very disappointed in the choice that we have.”

The Trump campaign hopes to fuel perceptions that Mr. Biden and the Democratic Party are too radical, seeking to link Mr. Biden to the most progressive voices in his party at a moment of national unrest over racism and policing.

“Our data shows that a lot of people know of Joe Biden, but not very many know much about him,” said Tim Murtaugh a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, calling Mr. Biden “incapable of standing up to the most extreme elements in his party.”

“By Election Day, voters will be aware of that,” he said.

Yet polling shows that it is Mr. Trump who is out of step with much of the country on issues of racial justice. And Mr. Biden, who has supported protesters of police brutality, has also rejected the most far-reaching measures proposed by some in his party — he opposes defunding the police, for example.

Back in Arizona, Barbara Hill, 85, reflected on her 2016 vote.

“I voted for somebody else on the ballot,’’ she said. “I wasted my vote, in other words, but I couldn’t stand either one of them.”

This time, she said, she will be voting for Mr. Biden.

Nate Cohn contributed reporting.

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Stock Investors Worried About Biden Presidency

Westlake Legal Group 07bidenmarkets1a-facebookJumbo Stock Investors Worried About Biden Presidency United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (2017) Presidential Election of 2020 Polls and Public Opinion Federal Taxes (US) Biden, Joseph R Jr Banking and Financial Institutions Arms Trade

After months of fixating on the pandemic, Wall Street has something new to worry about: a possible Biden presidency.

With the latest polls suggesting that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has built a commanding lead over President Trump in the 2020 race, investors have begun to take into account that the not-too-distant future could look very different from the business-friendly thrust of the current administration. And it’s making some nervous.

Investors aren’t yet making buying and selling decisions based on the eventuality of a Biden administration, so the market’s dips and rallies don’t fully reflect their worries. But there are clues.

On June 24, when the market dropped 2.6 percent during a broad-based rise in coronavirus infections, some Wall Street traders and analysts attributed part of the fall to data from polls — including one produced by The New York Times and Siena College — showing Mr. Biden’s lead over Mr. Trump.

Of course, no one can ever be entirely sure what moves a market. But stocks of some military companies have also underperformed, reflecting a view among some investors that a Biden victory could depress weapons sales.

And Wall Street analysts, who provide market research to hedge funds, asset managers and other big investors, say those clients are increasingly seeking their advice on the impact of a Biden presidency, especially on taxes.

Recently, inquiries from investors about Mr. Biden’s lead in the polls have focused almost exclusively on the issue of taxes, said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse. “That’s, right now, kind of the market’s focus,” he said.

On June 29, Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, told potential donors at a virtual fund-raiser attended by Wall Street people that he would roll back most of Mr. Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut, “and a lot of you may not like that.”

Additionally, public opinion has swung in a way that indicates that Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have a stronger chance of retaking the Senate come November. Such unified control could mean a sudden shift away from a range of policies — like corporate tax cuts, deregulation and weapons sales to foreign governments — that have helped push up stock prices in recent years.

“The market is starting to worry that Trump will not be re-elected,” said Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. “Trump is consistently viewed as a positive for the stock market.”

Stock market investors have done well under Mr. Trump. The S&P 500 is up more than 45 percent since his election on Nov. 8, 2016, despite periods of sharp volatility, including one in recent months as the pandemic led to an enormous market sell-off, followed by a robust return on the back of giant helpings of government stimulus.

It wasn’t always this way. The shock of Mr. Trump’s election jolted investors at first. After his victory, stock market futures plunged more than 5 percent in overnight trading. But investors didn’t take long to adjust to the prospect of unified Republican control of the federal government, which lasted until the 2018 midterm elections and introduced a number of deregulatory and tax policies deemed favorable to the markets.

Now, stock market analysts and investors are trying to figure out which of those policies could come to an end if Mr. Biden goes to the White House. Among Mr. Biden’s policy proposals are a partial reversal of the Trump administration tax cuts signed into law in late 2017. Those cuts, for both individuals and businesses, were some of the most sweeping changes to the tax code in decades.

In particular, the Trump tax cuts were a windfall for major American corporations, helping to drive up the profitability of companies in the S&P 500 more than 20 percent in 2018. While the Trump administration promoted the tax cuts as a way to increase incentives for companies to invest and drive wage gains, many companies used their savings to buy back their shares — increasing the wealth of their shareholders by billions of dollars in the process.

At last month’s fund-raiser, Mr. Biden detailed his plans, which include raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, according to a pool report.

A recent analysis of Mr. Biden’s tax plan from Goldman Sachs suggested that if enacted, his corporate tax increase would cut the earnings per share of S&P 500 companies about 12 percent, a prospect that could act as a headwind for stocks.

“It’s becoming a hotter topic the more the polls come out showing that Biden is in the lead,” said Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist with the brokerage firm Canaccord Genuity in New York. “The more that Biden is up, the more that people are going to start to think about what that means for taxes.”

The stocks of military companies, which are viewed as beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s push to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, have lagged the market as Mr. Biden’s fortunes have risen in polls.

“We see higher risk around weapons sales to the Middle East, and especially Saudi Arabia, in a Biden administration,” military stock analysts at JPMorgan Chase wrote in a recent note to clients.

Investors in the oil and gas industry have also raised questions with analysts about what a change in the White House would mean for energy companies, from access to federal lands for drilling to increased carbon regulation of refiners. In a research report issued late last month, Goldman Sachs analysts noted that many of their conversations with investors focused on the risks to oil and gas companies in the event of a Democratic victory in November.

Still, industries such as health care and technology, which were some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Trump tax cuts, don’t appear to be drastically underperforming the market.

Some analysts have noted that a Biden presidency could be a source of stability for the markets, which have been hammered at times during Mr. Trump’s tenure. Since 2018, his on-again, off-again trade, tariff and technology war with China has generated waves of volatility for stocks.

“A Biden presidency would result in less trade tension with China, which would be a welcome relief for equity investors,” economists at BCA Research wrote. They also noted that corporate tax increases could finance government spending that would stimulate the economy, a potential plus when the post-pandemic recovery looks slow and long.

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Supreme Court Rules States May Curb ‘Faithless Electors’ in Electoral College

WASHINGTON — States can require members of the Electoral College to cast their votes for the presidential candidates they had pledged to support, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday, curbing the independence of electors and limiting one potential source of uncertainty in the 2020 presidential election.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring electors to vote as they had promised, but recent court decisions had come to opposite conclusions about whether electors may disregard their pledges.

The Supreme Court resolved the dispute on Monday in a pair of cases concerning electors in Washington State and Colorado, by saying that states are entitled to remove or punish electors who changed their votes. In states without such penalties, electors remain free to change their votes.

“The Constitution’s text and the nation’s history both support allowing a state to enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee — and the state voters’ choice — for president,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for seven members of the court.

The parties had asked the court to put the cases on a fast track to ensure that they were decided “outside of the white-hot scrutiny of a contested presidential election,” as the petition in the Washington case said.

The court granted review in January, and the cases were the last ones argued this term, on May 13. And while the justices are often closely divided in major cases, and particularly in ones concerning election law, they managed to find common ground on Monday.

There have been no elections in which the votes of “faithless electors” changed the result, but a swing of only 10 electors would have altered the outcomes in five presidential elections. In the 2000 election, George W. Bush beat Al Gore by five electoral votes.

“The court’s decision strikes a blow for legal and political stability and sanity,” said Richard H. Pildes, a law professor at New York University. “All Americans understand themselves to be voting for the persons running for president, not for members of the Electoral College, and it is now clear that states can enforce that understanding.”

Members of the Electoral College cast the actual votes for president four weeks after Election Day. Among the states and the District of Columbia that have laws requiring electors to vote as they had promised, 15 states back up their requirements by either removing rogue electors or subjecting them to financial penalties.

Since the Constitution gives states the power to appoint electors, Justice Kagan wrote, that power allows them to impose conditions on their appointment.

“A state can require, for example, that an elector live in the state or qualify as a regular voter during the relevant time period,” Justice Kagan wrote. It can also, she wrote, insist that electors vote for the candidate they had promised to support. And “it can demand that the elector actually live up to his pledge, on pain of penalty,” she wrote.

Recent court decisions had come to opposite conclusions about whether electors may disregard their pledges.

Last year, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld fines of $1,000 on three Democratic electors who had cast their electoral votes in 2016 for Colin L. Powell rather than for Hillary Clinton.

Justice Kagan explained the electors’ thinking.

“The three hoped they could encourage other electors — particularly those from states Donald Trump had carried — to follow their example,” she wrote. “The idea was to deprive him of a majority of electoral votes and throw the election into the House of Representatives.”

The effort failed. “Only seven electors across the nation cast faithless votes — the most in a century, but well short of the goal,” Justice Kagan wrote. “Candidate Trump became President Trump.”

In addition to the three Democratic electors in Washington State who cast their electoral votes for Mr. Powell, a fourth Democratic elector in the state voted for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American tribal leader and prominent opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline. A Democratic elector in Hawaii voted for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Republican electors in Texas voted for John Kasich, then the governor of Ohio, and Ron Paul, a former representative of Texas.

On election night in 2016, the electoral vote was expected to be 306 for Donald J. Trump and 232 for Mrs. Clinton. In the end, though, it was 304 to 227.

The majority in the Washington Supreme Court decision said the Constitution allows states to insist that electors vote for their parties’ candidates.

In dissent, Justice Steven C. González disagreed. “The Constitution provides the state only with the power to appoint,” he wrote, “leaving the electors with the discretion to vote their conscience.”

How the court ruled

In Chiafalo v. Washington, the court ruled, 9 to 0, that states may require members of the Electoral College to vote for the candidates they had pledged to support.

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Westlake Legal Group Sotomayor-c Supreme Court Rules States May Curb 'Faithless Electors' in Electoral College washington state United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) States (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 electoral college Decisions and Verdicts Constitution (US) Colorado Clinton, Hillary Rodham


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Westlake Legal Group Kagan-c Supreme Court Rules States May Curb 'Faithless Electors' in Electoral College washington state United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) States (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 electoral college Decisions and Verdicts Constitution (US) Colorado Clinton, Hillary Rodham


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Where the public stands

States should be able to require electors to vote for the candidate who won their state States should not be able to require electors to vote for the candidate who won their state
All ; 61% 39%
Democrats ; 65% 35%
Independents ; 60% 40%
Republicans ; 59% 41%

Question wording: In the U.S., the president is chosen by the Electoral College, comprised of “electors” from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Some people think that states should be able to require Electoral College electors to vote for the person who won the majority of votes in the state and not some other person. However, some people think that electors should be able to vote for whomever they want. What do you think? | Source: SCOTUSPoll, based on an online YouGov survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted April 29 to May 12.

A few months after the Washington Supreme Court ruled, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, rejected its reasoning in a case involving Colorado. The federal appeals court said that Colorado had been wrong to discard a vote from a Democratic elector who had wanted to cast a ballot for Mr. Kasich.

“Electors, once appointed, are free to vote as they choose,” Judge Carolyn B. McHugh wrote for the majority of a divided three-judge panel. “While the Constitution grants the states plenary power to appoint their electors, it does not provide the states the power to interfere once voting begins, to remove an elector, to direct the other electors to disregard the removed elector’s vote or to appoint a new elector to cast a replacement vote.”

Some framers of the Constitution seemed to contemplate that electors would use independent judgment, the Supreme Court has said. “Doubtless it was supposed that the electors would exercise a reasonable independence and fair judgment in the selection of the chief executive,” Chief Justice Melville Fuller wrote in an 1892 Supreme Court decision. Over time, he added, “the original expectation may be said to have been frustrated.”

Alexander Hamilton described his expectation in the Federalist Papers. “Men chosen by the people for the special purpose” of selecting the president, he wrote, “will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

Justice Kagan said remarks like that one did not establish the meaning of the Constitution.

“Even assuming other framers shared that outlook, it would not be enough,” she wrote. “Whether by choice or accident, the framers did not reduce their thoughts about electors’ discretion to the printed page.”

Judge McHugh of the 10th Circuit said the text of the Constitution also supported elector independence. The words of the relevant provisions, including “elector,” “vote” and “ballot,” she wrote, “have a common theme: They all imply the right to make a choice or voice an individual opinion.”

Justice Kagan rejected that analysis.

“Those words need not always connote independent choice,” she wrote. “Suppose a person always votes in the way his spouse, or pastor, or union tells him to. We might question his judgment, but we would have no problem saying that he ‘votes’ or fills in a ‘ballot.’”

“For that matter, some elections give the voter no real choice because there is only one name on a ballot (consider an old Soviet election, or even a downballot race in this country),” she wrote. “Yet if the person in the voting booth goes through the motions, we consider him to have voted.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined in part by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, agreed with the majority’s bottom line but did not adopt its reasoning. He said he would have relied on general principles of federalism to reach essentially the same result.

Over the years, members of the Electoral College have cast about 180 faithless votes for president or vice president, Justice Kagan wrote, and Congress has accepted all of them. But she discounted those examples.

“The history going the opposite way is one of anomalies only,” she wrote, noting that there have been more than 23,000 electoral votes cast for president or vice president. “And more than a third of the faithless votes come from 1872, when the Democratic Party’s nominee (Horace Greeley) died just after Election Day. Putting those aside, faithless votes represent just one-half of one percent of the total.”

Justice Kagan said the possibility of a candidate’s death after Election Day raised important questions. “We do not dismiss how much turmoil such an event could cause,” she wrote, adding that “because the situation is not before us, nothing in this opinion should be taken to permit the states to bind electors to a deceased candidate.”

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Trump Adds to Playbook of Stoking White Fear and Resentment

President Trump mounted an explicit defense of the Confederate flag on Monday, suggesting that NASCAR had made a mistake in banning it from its auto racing events, while falsely accusing a top Black driver, Darrell Wallace Jr., of perpetrating a hoax involving a noose found in his garage.

The remarks are part of a pattern. Almost every day in the last two weeks, Mr. Trump has sought to stoke white fear and resentment, portraying himself as a protector of an old order that polls show much of America believes perpetuates entrenched racism and wants to move beyond.

Two weeks ago, the president retweeted a video of a supporter shouting “white power” at a retirement community filled with older people whom he wants to win over. Last week, he wrote that he was reviewing a fair housing regulation that is aimed at eliminating racial housing disparities in the suburbs, but that he said would have a “devastating impact” on those communities — a play to white suburbanites whose votes would be crucial to his re-election.

On Monday, he also tweeted his displeasure with sports teams that are reviewing the appropriateness of nicknames that are offensive to Native Americans, seeking to curry favor with Americans who believe political correctness has gone too far. He has invoked fear of crime with tweets about sanctuary cities and crime rates in New York and Chicago, and has spoken of preserving “our heritage,” picking up the language of those who want to honor the Confederacy.

For many Republicans who are watching the president’s impact on Senate races with alarm, his focus on racial and cultural flash points — and not on the surge of the coronavirus in many states — is distressing.

“This is part of the same selfish, divide-and-conquer strategy that helped the president get elected in 2016,” said Carlos Curbelo, a former Republican congressman from Florida who has been critical of Mr. Trump. “Of course that strategy worked for much of the president’s base, and it certainly benefited him in the past, but it’s selfish in the sense that it is extremely damaging for Republicans in swing states, in swing districts.”

Mr. Curbelo added, “It’s always been clear, but this is a reminder that the president looks out for himself first, second and third.”

Mr. Trump’s inflammatory behavior shows how out of step he is with shifting national sentiment on racial justice, as big corporations, sports leagues and cultural institutions express greater solidarity with Black Americans protesting systemic racism. Even some Republicans have been open to discussions about removing Confederate statues.

While NASCAR and other organizations have moved to retire symbols of the Confederacy, and lawmakers in Mississippi voted to bring down the state flag featuring the Confederate battle emblem, Mr. Trump continues to cast himself as a defender of the history of the American South, despite its stains of slavery and oppression. He has called the phrase “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate,” and he has repeatedly tried to depict pockets of violence during protests against entrenched racism as representative of the protest movement as a whole.

Mr. Trump also delivered official speeches over the weekend that emphasized defending American historical figures like George Washington and some abolitionists, though he avoided explicit references to totems of the Confederacy.

But on Monday he was back invoking the Confederacy, with his reference to NASCAR’s ban on Confederate flags, while also attacking Mr. Wallace, the only Black driver on NASCAR’s top circuit.

Mr. Wallace, nicknamed “Bubba,” had called for NASCAR to ban the flag from its events, and the sport agreed to prohibit it from its races and its properties. At the start of race week at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama last month, a member of Mr. Wallace’s racing team found a noose hanging in the driver’s garage stall and reported it to NASCAR.

“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter on Monday.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_174019152_e177c971-1985-42c0-9688-d2322639b1de-articleLarge Trump Adds to Playbook of Stoking White Fear and Resentment Wallace, Darrell Jr Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 Monuments and Memorials (Structures) Flags, Emblems and Insignia Civil War (US) (1861-65)
Credit…Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, offered a contorted defense of Mr. Trump’s tweet about the Confederate flag and Mr. Wallace during an early afternoon briefing.

She insisted Mr. Trump was being taken out of context, and invoked Jussie Smollet, the Black television actor known for his role on the TV series “Empire,” who is facing charges that he lied to the authorities about a hate crime attack that detectives said he had staged last year in Chicago.

No one has credibly suggested Mr. Wallace manufactured the noose that was discovered in his garage stall by a colleague. F.B.I. officials later found that the knot had been tied into the rope as early as October 2019, well before anyone would have known that Mr. Wallace would be assigned that stall for the race.

Ms. McEnany claimed that the original reports about the incident painted NASCAR members as “racist individuals who were roaming around and engaging in a crime.”

But Mr. Trump received pushback from Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and an informal adviser to the president, who said Monday that he disagreed with Mr. Trump’s tweet.

“They’re trying to grow the sport,” Mr. Graham said, according to the CNN reporter Manu Raju, referring to NASCAR’s ban on Confederate flags, which it announced last month. “And I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life and if you’re in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business.”

Mr. Graham, who is facing a strong challenge from Jaime Harrison, a Black Democrat, in his re-election bid, said that “one way you grow the sport is you take images that divide us and ask that they not be brought into the venue. That makes sense to me.” He said that Mr. Wallace did not have “anything to apologize for,” and that his fellow drivers should be applauded for supporting him.

“I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude more than being worried about it being a hoax,” Mr. Graham said, according to Mr. Raju.

(Mr. Trump was also wrong in his tweet in characterizing NASCAR’s television audience as having fallen to its “lowest ratings EVER!” The broadcast of Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was seen by about 4.3 million viewers, a 39 percent increase from the average NASCAR race that aired on NBC last year, according to Nielsen.)

Later on Monday, Mr. Trump added another inflammatory tweet, weighing in on recent announcements by the Washington Redskins of the N.F.L. and the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball that the teams would review their names. While many Native Americans and other advocates for change consider the names deeply offensive, Mr. Trump baselessly claimed that Native Americans would be “very angry” about the potential changes.

“They name teams out of STRENGTH, not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins & Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, look like they are going to be changing their names in order to be politically correct,” Mr. Trump tweeted. He added a jab at a favorite target, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has apologized for her past claims of Native ancestry. “Indians, like Elizabeth Warren, must be very angry right now,” the president wrote.

Eleven minutes later, Mr. Trump again referred to the coronavirus as the “China Virus,” a phrase that critics say is racist, xenophobic and harmful to Asian-Americans.

Mr. Trump’s tweets came just days after he delivered a divisive speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota as part of the July 4 holiday, in which he denounced Democrats as radical anarchists and said that children are taught in schools to “hate” the United States. In that address he avoided specifically mentioning anything related to Confederate monuments.

He talked more generally about efforts to take down statues across the country, conflating what is primarily an attempt to remove statues of Confederate generals with others questioning monuments to people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Mr. Trump said in the speech. “Many of these people have no idea why they are doing this, but some know exactly what they are doing.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers have tried to persuade him to focus less explicitly on statues of Confederate generals, given that he is taking an unpopular position. But after sticking to the script in his Friday night speech, he was clear about his support for the Confederate flag in his tweet on Monday.

Michael M. Grynbaum contributed reporting from New York.

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Simon & Schuster Advances Publication Date of Trump Tell-All

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-trump-book-facebookJumbo Simon & Schuster Advances Publication Date of Trump Tell-All Trump, Robert S (1948- ) Trump, Mary L Trump, Fred C Trump, Donald J Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (Book) Suits and Litigation (Civil) Simon&Schuster Inc Boutrous, Theodore J Jr Books and Literature Book Trade and Publishing Barry, Maryanne Trump

Responding to an increase in publicity and advance orders, Simon & Schuster announced on Monday that it was planning to release a tell-all book by Mary L. Trump, President Trump’s niece, on July 14, two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.

The move by the publisher came after a New York appeals judge, ruling last week in response to a court action brought by the Trump family, decided it could proceed in releasing the book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.”

For the last few weeks, the Trumps, led by the president’s younger brother, Robert S. Trump, have been trying to stop publication of the book, which Simon & Schuster has said will detail the family’s “dark history” in an effort to explain how Donald Trump “became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security and social fabric.”

Charles J. Harder, a lawyer for Robert Trump, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Last week, a judge in Dutchess County, N.Y., temporarily halted the release, even though the book has already been printed — and is a prepublication best seller on Amazon. The next day the appeals court judge decided that Simon & Schuster could go ahead with publication but did not address the question of whether Ms. Trump had violated a confidentiality agreement with her family, as Robert Trump has alleged.

That agreement was put in place nearly 20 years ago, when Ms. Trump settled a lawsuit with her family concerning the contested will of the president’s father, Fred Trump Sr. But in an affidavit filed in New York last week, Ms. Trump claimed she had consented to the secrecy pact — and signed away her interests in several family properties — without knowing that President Trump and his siblings had lied to her about how much they were worth.

“Because the settlement agreement was based on and induced by fraud,” Ms. Trump’s lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., wrote in a court filing, “it cannot be enforced — and cannot bar publication of Ms. Trump’s book.”

In his court papers, Mr. Boutrous claimed that the Trump family “significantly and deliberately undervalued” the appraisals of the properties, causing Ms. Trump and her brother to agree to a buyout in which they were cheated out of millions of dollars.

Under the agreement, she and Fred Trump III signed away their interests in several family real estate holdings, including the ground leases for the Beach Haven and Shore Haven apartments considered two of the “crown jewels” of Fred Trump Sr.’s empire.

Mr. Boutrous has also claimed that it was preposterous that the Trump’s family’s secrecy agreement could be construed as a “sweeping, lifetime gag order” that could stop Ms. Trump from writing about her family now. The president, as Mr. Boutrous pointed out, has given interviews about his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, and his older brother, Fred Trump Jr. Dozens of books, Mr. Boutrous noted, have been written about the Trumps, including nearly 20 that the president wrote himself.

In its statement announcing the sped-up publication schedule, Simon & Schuster offered a few new hints about the contents of the book, describing it as “an authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him.”

According to the statement, Ms. Trump, who is 55 and a clinical psychologist, explains how Mr. Trump “acquired twisted behaviors,” including a penchant for seeing human beings in “monetary terms” and a habit of punishing qualities like “empathy, kindness and expertise.” In the book, the statement says, Ms. Trump describes how her uncle “dismissed and derided” his own father as he succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease and practiced “cheating as a way of life.”

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