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California effort to recall Gavin Newsom gets needed signatures to make ballot – as it happened


Evening summary

We’re wrapping up our live US politics coverage for today. Here’s an updated summary of key developments:

  • Organizers of the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. The recall election targeting the Democrat could cost $400m, according to estimates from local officials.
  • After years of unheeded warnings about white supremacists and other extremist groups operating within US law enforcement agencies, the Department of Homeland Security will scrutinize whether any its own 240,000 employees have ties to extremist groups.
  • After announcing a federal investigation of Minneapolis police last week, the US Department of Justice will also investigate the Louisville police department, citing the Breonna Taylor case.
  • “America is at a crossroads with policing. We just happened to be the city we’re talking about here today,” Louisville mayor Greg Fischer said, arguing that residents and police officers should be excited about the federal investigation into whether the police been systematically violating citizens’ rights.
  • Louisville’s police chief Erika Shields added that the effort to recruit new police officers was difficult because “numerous self-inflicted wounds that have made our product unappealing, period” and “We have to rebrand our product.”

  • Lawyers representing the family of Andrew Brown, a Black man killed last week by police in North Carolina, accused authorities of “hiding” video evidence of “an execution” after relatives were shown only a 20-second clip of the incident.
  • The US will share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine internationally. The Biden administration has been under pressure to share doses contracted to the US for weeks, as the country now has more than enough vaccine for every eligible American older than 16.
  • The news is a bright spot in a worsening pandemic in India. The country has seen the worst peak of Covid-19 cases in recent days, as health authorities documenting up to 350,000 new cases of per day.
  • The US Census will reapportion seats in the US House of Representatives. Six states gained at least one seat, and seven states lost one.
  • The supreme court agreed to take up what could be the most consequential gun rights case in more than a decade. A hearing is scheduled for October. The court’s ruling in the case could further expand the scope of Second Amendment protections for gun ownership and make some types of existing gun control laws unconstitutional.

More on the Department of Homeland Security’s search for extremists in its ranks

Zolan Kanno-Youngs of the New York Times has more details on what the Department of Homeland Security will do to search for white supremacists and other domestic extremists inside the department.

  • A team of senior officials will determine whether “extremist ideology is prevalent” within the Border Patrol, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.
  • That’s a big job, the Times notes: DHS has more than 240,000 employees.
  • A former Customs and Border Patrol commissioner told the Times the search for extremists inside would be “pretty tricky” because many DHS employees communicate via private social media pages and chatrooms.

Sahil Kapur

“The Department of Homeland Security will undergo an internal review to root out white supremacy and extremism in its ranks as part of a larger effort to combat extremist ideology in the federal government,” NYT’s ⁦@KannoYoungs⁩ reports.

April 26, 2021


Rick Santorum comments prompt scrutiny of CNN’s coverage of Indigenous people

The former US senator Rick Santorum has sparked outrage among Native Americans, and prompted calls for his firing as a CNN commentator, by telling a rightwing students’ conference that European colonists who came to America “birthed a nation from nothing”.

On Monday, the Native American Journalists Association cautioned Native American and Alaska Native reporters from working with, or applying for jobs, at CNN in the wake of continued racist comments and insensitive reporting directed at Indigenous people.

Last week, a CNN host incorrectly identified Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, as a white woman. The network has yet to correct its mistake.

The Cherokee writer Rebecca Nagle pointed to CNN’s lack of Native American commentators, while giving a platform to Santorum, who has previously made offensive and false claims about other minority communities.

In a statement, the National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s largest organization representing American Indian and Alaska Native groups, criticized the network.

“Rick Santorum is an unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN and any other media company that provides him a platform,” Fawn Sharp, the group’s president, said.

Read the full story here:

Recall election could cost Californians $400m

How much is the effort to remove a sitting governor worth?

In California, the effort to recall Gavin Newsom may cost $18 per registered voter, or a total of $400m, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing local officials across the state.

John Myers

NEW: California local elections officials estimate the cost of conducting the @GavinNewsom recall at $400 million. More in this morning’s politics newsletter 👇

April 26, 2021


The effort to recall the California governor Gavin Newsom has traction. What does that mean?

The California secretary of state’s office just announced today that the organizers of the effort to recall Gavin Newsom have collected enough valid signatures to get the recall on the ballot this fall.

This does not come as a surprise: political analysts already dubbed the recall election as basically inevitable.

My colleague Maanvi Singh wrote an in-depth analysis of the recall effort last month:

Capitalizing on the growing frustrations of economically devastated, pandemic-fatigued residents, Newsom’s fiercest critics have mounted a recall campaign and are prepared to submit, by Wednesday, the requisite 1.5m voter signatures to trigger the vote. The campaign’s organizers say they have already found more than enough backers, and they have collected hefty checks from business developers, venture capitalists and Trump loyalists…

Republicans had already tried and failed five times to get Newsom recalled, when their sixth try, led by the retired sheriff’s deputy Orrin Heatlie, began to gain momentum last year…. Recallers were able to rally an anti-lockdown base and win over other Californians struggling to cope with the pandemic’s protracted, devastating economic toll. It didn’t help Newsom’s case that around the same time, the governor met up with a dozen of his closest friends and lobbyists for a lavish dinner at Napa’s French Laundry restaurant.

Read the full analysis here:


Recall effort against the California governor Gavin Newsom will go to voters

Organizers of the recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom collected enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot, the Associated Press reports.

The California secretary of state’s office announced Monday that more than 1.6m signatures had been verified, about 100,000 more than needed to force a vote on the first-term Democrat.

Krysta Fauria

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California election officials: Recall effort against Gov. Gavin Newsom has enough valid signatures to get on ballot.

April 26, 2021

An election is likely in the fall where voters would face two questions: Should Newsom be recalled and who should replace him? The votes on the second question will only be counted if more than half say yes to the first.

Last week, Caitlyn Jenner joined the list of candidates running to replace Newsom.

In 2003, voters recalled Democrat Gray Davis and replaced him with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Supreme court case could massively expand the scope of the second amendment

The National Rifle Association’s investment in backing Donald Trump in 2016 was followed by Trump’s appointment of new conservative, pro-gun majority on the supreme court.

And that new supreme court may bring the struggling gun rights group a massive victory next year: a ruling in a case that the NRA hopes will massively expand the scope of Americans’ gun rights – and make certain types of gun control laws unconstitutional.


It is hard to overstate how important this case is. The decision will affect the laws in many states that currently restrict carrying a firearm outside of the home.

April 26, 2021

After more than a decade of staying away from second amendment cases, the supreme court agreed to hear a challenge backed by the National Rifle Association to New York state’s restrictions on people carrying concealed handguns in public, Reuters reports.

Some key details, from Reuters:

  • The lawsuit seeks an unfettered right to carry concealed handguns in public. The justices will hear the case during their next term, which begins in October, with a ruling due by the end of June 2022.
  • The New York case centers on a state law that requires a showing of “proper cause” for carrying concealed handguns. Under it, residents may obtain licenses restricted to hunting and target practice, or if they hold jobs such as a bank messenger or correctional officer. To carry a concealed handgun without restriction, applicants must convince a firearms licensing officer that they have an actual, rather than speculative, need for self-defense.
  • The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association and two of its members, Robert Nash and Brandon Koch, sued in federal court. The men said they do not face any unique danger but want carry a handgun for self-defense.
  • A ruling invalidating New York’s law could imperil similar laws in other states setting criteria for a concealed-carry license. Seven other states and the District of Columbia impose restrictions that give authorities more discretion to deny concealed firearm permits.
  • Gun control advocates are concerned that the conservative justices could create a standard for gun control that could imperil existing policies at the state level including expanded criminal background checks for gun buyers and “red flag” laws targeting the firearms of people deemed dangerous by the courts.


West Virginia offers $100 savings bonds to young people who get vaccinated

Across the country, local officials are trying to encourage younger people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

West Virginia’s governor is offering a $100 monetary incentive, paid for with federal Cares Act funding, WTAP reports.

Ana Cabrera

NEW: WV Gov. Justice announces $100 savings bonds for young people — ages 16 to 35 — who get vaccinated

April 26, 2021

It’s a more substantive offer to young people than the one from officials in New Haven, Connecticut, who posted on Instagram this morning that getting vaccinated “automatically makes you prom king and queen” and “this year at prom, there’s nothing cooler than being vaccinated”.

Lois Beckett

please let me know when you see a better attempt to convince teenagers to get vaccinated than…this

April 26, 2021


Joanna Walters

‘We have to rebrand our product.’ Louisville chief says US policing needs rebrand

Erika Shields, the chief of the Louisville metro police department, said that recruiting and hiring new police officers was “extremely challenging” nationwide because of “numerous self-inflicted wounds that have made our product unappealing, period”.

“We have to rebrand our product,” Shields said.

Shields said that the city would be “pushing for more resources, more training, more tools other than lethal force to help our officers navigate the numerous situations they encounter day in and day out”.

David James, the Louisville metro council president, indicated that there had to be some fundamental changes to police culture in the LMPD.

“Our citizens want to have the best police department in the country, but I think there has to be some cultural change for that to happen,” he said.

Read the full story:


Vincent Ni

Did Pete Buttigieg just reveal something about the future of Tiktok in the US?

Under the Trump administration, the future of the popular Chinese video-sharing app Tiktok was in question, with Trump trying to ban it.

Now, as the Guardian’s China affairs correspondent Vincent Ni notes, a tweet by one of Biden’s cabinet secretaries Pete Buttigieg might indicate a very different relationship between Tiktok and the Biden administration.

On Monday, Buttigieg tweeted that “Today at 8pm ET, I’m joining @YahooNews on TikTok to answer your questions about the future of transportation. Watch live!”

Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Today at 8pm ET, I’m joining @YahooNews on TikTok to answer your questions about the future of transportation. Watch live!

April 26, 2021

Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki also appeared on Tiktok, in an interview where she spoke about America’s gun control and police reform.

Under Donald Trump, Tiktok – along with another Chinese app Wechat – was considered a threat to America’s national security, foreign policy and economy. The Chinese companies have always denied the accusations, but Trump had sought to ban the apps and force them to be sold to American owners.

But in February, the Biden administration paused the legal action against TikTok and WeChat, raising hopes that the new administration may eventually reverse the Trump-era decision.

Tiktok has a global user base of more than 800 million – and one-eighth of them are based in the United States.

Biden’s review is still under way. When asked about Biden’s trade policy towards China, commerce secretary Gina Raimondo responded early this month: “what we do on offense is more important than what we do on defense.”

This post has been updated.


DHS to review ‘possible domestic violent extremism within its ranks’

This is Lois Beckett, picking up our live US politics coverage from our west coast office.

After years of warnings about white supremacists and other extremist groups operating within US law enforcement agencies, the Department of Homeland Security will scrutinize whether any its own employees have ties to extremist groups, Reuters reports.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will initiate an internal review of possible domestic violent extremism within its ranks, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Monday.

A group of senior DHS officials “will immediately begin a comprehensive review of how to best prevent, detect, and respond to threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS,” the department said in a news release.

President Joe Biden singled out U.S. immigration enforcement agencies in his first budget proposal released earlier this month, calling for funding to investigate complaints of white supremacist beliefs at the agencies. The White House did not say what prompted the request.

Mayorkas said in a statement on Monday that domestic violent extremism “poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today,” adding such acts “will not be tolerated.”


‘America is at a crossroads with policing,’ Louisville mayor says

“America is at a crossroads with policing. We just happened to be the city we’re talking about here today.”

That was Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, reacting to the announcement today that the Justice Department is investigating whether his city’s police department systematically violates citizens’ rights.

The investigation, which comes more than a year after 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was shot to death by police in her Louisville home in the middle of the night, was announced less than a week after the Justice Department made public a similar investigation into patterns of unconstitutional policing in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered by a city police officer last May.

Fischer, the Louisville mayor, argued that the news of a major federal investigation into a potential pattern of unconstitutional behavior by the Louisville Police Department was actually “a really exciting, positive thing”.

“It seems like almost every newscast that you’re on there’s something about the police and the community not working right,” he said. “I know that our police force, our police members, they don’t want that. They want change. They want to see the community welcoming their work.”

Mayor Greg Fischer

I strongly welcome the announcement made by Attorney General Garland of a Patterns and Practice investigation into @LMPD. My full statement:

April 26, 2021


The US pledged support to India, amid a worsening pandemic

  • The US will share up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine internationally. The Biden administration has been under pressure to share doses contracted to the US for weeks, as the country now has more than enough vaccine for every eligible American older than 16.
  • The news is a bright spot in a worsening pandemic in India. The country has seen the worst peak of Covid-19 cases in recent days, as health authorities documenting up to 350,000 new cases of per day.
  • The US Census will reapportion seats in the US House of Representatives. Six states gained at least one seat, and seven states lost one.
  • The US Department of Justice will investigate the Louisville police department, citing the Breonna Taylor case.
  • Lastly, the supreme court agreed to take up what could be the most consequential gun rights case in more than a decade. A hearing is scheduled for October.

And that’s it for me. I’m passing off to my colleague Lois Beckett, who will guide you through this afternoon.


A thought on how the decennial US census has shifted political power over time:

Jonathan Martin

After the 1930 census, NY had 45 House seats, PA had 34 and IL 27

Less than a century later, NY will have 26, PA 17 and IL 17

But WV has it worse — they’ll have gone from 6 to 2

April 26, 2021

And to how conducting a census during a global pandemic can have repercussions for years to come:

David H. Montgomery

So here’s a morbid thought: the Census is a count of population as of April 1, 2020.

By that date, New York had reported 447 #COVID19 deaths in the U.S.’s first big wave.

As of then, Minnesota had 17 #COVID19 deaths.

Minnesota got a congressional seat over NY by 89 people.

April 26, 2021

House of Representatives to reallocate seats with results of US Census

Six states will gain additional seats in the US House because of population shifts over the last decade, the US Census Bureau announced Monday. Seven states will lose one congressional seat.

Texas will gain two additional seats in Congress, the Bureau said Monday. Colorado, Montana, Oregon, North Carolina, and Florida will also gain a congressional seat.

Seven states will lose one congressional seat. Those states are: California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

The US constitution requires the federal government to take a census of the population every 10 years. That tally is used to allocate seats in the US House and determine how almost $1.5tn in federal dollars are allocated.

The shift of seven seats among 13 states was the smallest shift since 1941, said Ron Jarmin, the acting director of the US census bureau.

Martin Pengelly

The Fox News anchor John Roberts has “clarified” a report last week which implied Joe Biden wanted to cut Americans’ consumption of red meat, as part of his efforts to combat climate change.

“On Friday,” Roberts said in filmed remarks sent to reporters, “we told you about a study from the University of Michigan to give some perspective on President Biden’s ambitious climate change goals. That research from 2020 found that cutting back how much red meat people eat would have a drastic impact on harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

“The data was accurate, but a graphic and the script incorrectly implied it was part of Biden’s plan for dealing with climate change. That is not the case.”

Paging Larry Kudlow, of Fox Business:

The former Republican senator Rick Santorum has sparked outrage among Native Americans, and prompted calls for his dismissal as a CNN political commentator, by telling a rightwing students’ conference European colonists who came to America “birthed a nation from nothing”.

Rick Santorum.

Rick Santorum. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

“There was nothing here. I mean, yes we have Native Americans but candidly there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture,” Santorum told the Young America Foundation in remarks shared by the group on YouTube.

“We came here and created a blank slate, we birthed a nation from nothing,” said the former Pennsylvania senator, a two-time failed candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

Santorum’s comments, effectively dismissing the millenniums-long presence of Native Americans and the genocide inflicted upon them, angered many.

“The erasure of Native people and histories, which existed before and survived in spite of a white supremacist empire, is a foundational sin of a make-believe nation,” the activist Nick Estes, a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux tribe and host of the Red Nation podcast, said on Twitter.

Martin Pengelly

Speaking of the Capitol attack and its fallout, as I was earlier regarding Josh Hawley, House minority leader Kevin McCarthy is still on a bit of a sticky wicket (Britishism) over what was said when he called Donald Trump on 6 January and asked him to call his supporters off.

Kevin McCarthy.

Kevin McCarthy. Photograph: Lenin Nolly/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

On Fox News Sunday, the Republican dodged twice when asked if Trump told him, as reported by a Republican congresswoman: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people were more upset about the election than you are.”

Chris Wallace’s questions concerned Trump’s refusal to act but McCarthy’s refusal to answer was widely noted – and mentioned in a profile in the New York Times.

“He could change the whole course of history,” McCarthy told the paper, discussing Trump’s sway on the party. “This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.”

McCarthy is seeking to keep his balance and become House Speaker in 2022 but critics say he is not doing so elegantly, given his support for Trump’s lie that his defeat by Joe Biden was caused by electoral fraud.

Speaking to the Times, McCarthy said Trump “goes up and down with his anger. He’s mad at everybody one day. He’s mad at me one day.”

In one of the great profile payoffs, meanwhile, author Mark Leibovich wrote that “whenever the former president’s name came up in these interviews, Mr McCarthy would lower his voice and speak haltingly, wary of not casting Mr Trump in a way that might upset him.

‘Is this story going to be all about Trump?’ Mr McCarthy asked, after back-to-back questions on him. He then paused, seemingly bracing for a ceiling fan to drop on his head.”

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Bill seeks to make Louisiana ‘fossil fuel sanctuary’ in bid against Biden’s climate plans


Just south of Oil City, where Louisiana representative Danny McCormick is from, is the predominantly Black city of Shreveport. Residents there breathe some of the most toxic air in the country. Oil refineries owned by UOP and Calumet contribute to the town’s toxic emissions, according to the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory.

But McCormick, a Republican, introduced a bill at the Louisiana capitol last week that would protect oil companies and not residents in his district who have to breathe in that air. The bill would establish Louisiana as a “fossil fuel sanctuary state” and ban local and state employees from enforcing federal laws and regulations that negatively impact petrochemical companies.

The idea for the bill, McCormick said, came about after President Joe Biden began putting new restrictions on oil and gas companies, including a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. “Look at what they did to the coal industry,” he said at a Louisiana house committee hearing. “We already know what the game plan is. They already picked off coal. Now they’re going after oil and gas.”

The bill – which is unlikely to move forward in its current state because of legality concerns – is among several bills introduced at the Louisiana legislature this session that would likely reduce regulation of oil and gas companies in the state. Lawmakers say that deregulation is necessary to preserve tax revenues generated by oil and gas companies and to stop further job losses. A separate bill introduced by McCormick would redefine gas pipelines from modes of transportation to facilities, in order to prevent Louisiana state police from fining pipeline companies for failing to immediately report gas leaks.

Louisiana’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, has also pushed back on the Biden administration’s energy agenda, penning a letter to the president that included petrochemical lobbyists’ talking points, according to HuffPost. Documents showed an oil and gas trade group coordinated between top officials in Louisiana and their counterparts in New Mexico – another oil state with a Democratic governor. Although the states are headed by Democrats, they remain obstacles to Biden’s climate plans. Texas, which has a Republican governor and legislature is also advancing bills to protect the oil and gas industry from climate efforts.

Nixing environmental requirements would disproportionately hit communities of color. Shreveport, which is 57% Black, is in the 90th to 95th percentile for cancer risk from breathing in air toxics, according to the EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment. In 2013, the EPA fined the Calumet refinery $326,000 for nine air violations, prompting a new fenceline monitoring system.

Shreveport is in north-west Louisiana, almost on the border with Texas. But south-east Louisiana, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, is also known for its heavy industrial presence and pollution. It has been dubbed “Cancer Alley”. Louisiana’s US senator Bill Cassidy has bristled at Biden using the term and opposed campaigns from Democrats to revoke permits from a major plastics plant proposed for the corridor.

McCormick runs M&M Oil. Before he was a legislator, he was a member of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, an industry lobbying group. Last week, when asked by other lawmakers about the constitutionality of the bill, McCormick said he wasn’t aware anyone was opposed to the legislation. “I don’t know who would have a problem with it, honestly,” he said.

But Velma White, 71, who lives in McCormick’s district said she’s concerned about the proposed legislation. “It’s going to hurt the people,” she said of McCormick’s bill. “I don’t think it’s right to the people.”

White lives a block away from Calumet Shreveport Refining and believes her family’s health problems were brought on by air emissions from the facility. White’s daughter was diagnosed with renal failure at a young age. White’s husband and sisters have also had health issues. “They have literally put me and my family through hell,” she said of the refinery. “I know there ought to be somebody who cares about the people’s lives.”

White and other residents filed a lawsuit against the previous owners of the Calumet refinery, Pennzoil-Quaker State, in 2001. White said she hoped the lawsuit would open a dialogue with the company about buyouts to help residents relocate away from the pollution. “These people can’t get out of that community,” White said. “They’re going to continue to be exposed by what’s going on at that refinery. You can’t just pull up and run.”

In January, White received an offer to settle her 20-year-old claim against the oil companies for $2,500. She’s experienced nausea, breathing difficulties and a miscarriage in 1987, according to E&E News.

“That’s what they offered me,” she said. “I’m just dumbfounded.”

White believes that federal regulators should take steps that would force companies to lower emissions. But if McCormick’s bill became law the state would not be able to enforce those regulations.

McCormick’s bill was tabled because of concerns that the current language could cause the US Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the state’s authority to enforce federal rules. But his colleagues still offered their support. The chairman of the Louisiana House Natural Resources and the Environment Committee, Jean-Paul P Coussan (R-Lafayette), said he would work with McCormick to resolve issues with the bill that could give the federal government more power over oil and gas companies in Louisiana.

“You’re not going to find a bigger support of oil and gas in his legislature than maybe you and I,” Coussan said to McCormick at the committee hearing. “We can tighten this up so all our oil and gas constituents can be proud of the bill. The intent is to help industry not to end up in court just for a headline.”

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‘Big bark but no bite’: Obamas mourn former first dog Bo


Former President Barack Obama’s dog Bo died on Saturday from cancer, the Obamas said on social media.

News of Bo’s passing was shared by Obama and his wife, Michelle, on Instagram, where both expressed sorrow at the passing of a dog the former president described as a “true friend and loyal companion.”

“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair,” Barack Obama wrote.

Bo, a Portuguese water dog, was a gift to the Obamas from the late Sen Edward Kennedy, a key supporter of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.

A companion dog, Sunny, joined the family in August 2013.

Bo at the White House.
Bo at the White House. Photograph: instagram

Both were constant presences around the White House and popular among visitors, often joining the Obamas for public events. The dogs entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and Bo occasionally joined Michelle Obama to welcome tourists. The dogs also cheered wounded service members, as well as children in hospital the first lady would visit each year at Christmas.

In a post featuring a slideshow of images of Bo – including one of him sitting behind the president’s Resolute Desk in the Oval Office – Mrs Obama recounted his years bringing some levity to the White House.

“He was there when Barack and I needed a break, sauntering into one of our offices like he owned the place, a ball clamped firmly in his teeth. He was there when we flew on Air Force One, when tens of thousands flocked to the South Lawn for the Easter Egg Roll, and when the Pope came to visit,” she wrote.

Mrs. Obama wrote that she was grateful for the time the family got to spend with him due to the pandemic, and said that over the past year, “no one was happier than Bo.”

“All his people were under one roof again,” she wrote.

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Even in Super Bowl-winning Tampa, the Glazers are far from loved


Not that this will make Manchester United fans feel any better, but the Glazers are barely visible in the Tampa Bay too, even though the family has owned the local NFL team since 1995 and won the Super Bowl three months ago (thanks mostly to Tom Brady and a turbocharged defense).

The family front man, if he can be called that, is Joel Glazer, one of six children of the late Malcolm Glazer. Joel Glazer typically makes himself available to Tampa media just once a year, and although he has a pleasant demeanor, he is hardly expansive on his family’s dealings with the club.

Because of the pandemic, Glazer’s availability to Tampa reporters this year consisted of a 20-minute Zoom call in March. But even in a typical year, four or five news outlets get 10 minutes each with Glazer, and questions about the family’s ownership of Manchester United are out of bounds.

This year, keeping in character, he was bland and vague when lobbed softballs about his favorite moment of the Super Bowl season (“It was just more the whole environment,” he said) and about how the roles of the family on the team had changed in recent years. “We all have different areas that we focus on,” he replied, “but it’s a collective effort, a collective organizational effort. No big changes there.” Imagine how ebullient he would have been had the Bucs lost the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay became an American sports centerpiece in the span of four and a half months, with the Lightning winning the NHL’s Stanley Cup last September and the Rays advancing to the World Series in October (and losing to the Dodgers) before the Tom Brady-led Bucs beat Kansas City in Super Bowl LV, the first time a team had won an NFL title in their own stadium.

Someone else besides a Glazer, though, will have to serve as the city’s pitchman. Even in Florida, the Glazers’ way is to get out of the way, which often does not help them.

“I wouldn’t say the Glazers are beloved or hated around there,” John Romano, a sports columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, told the Guardian this week. “I think most people are indifferent toward them because, even 25 years later, the Glazers are still a mystery. And that’s a shame because they took a franchise that was a complete joke and brought two Super Bowl titles to Tampa Bay.”

Supporters of Manchester United, who the Glazers bought in 2005 and immediately saddled with huge debts, don’t appear to feel indifferent about the Glazers, judging by the protests over the weekend that led to the postponement of their game against Liverpool. But United fans have never been thrilled about the Glazers’ ownership for several reasons: the Glazers are Americans (or, perhaps more accurate, not British) who loaded the club with debt and, just as important, have overseen United’s relatively barren Premier League run in recent years from an ocean away.

Manchester United fans protest against their owners before the Liverpool match last Sunday.
Manchester United fans protest against their owners before the Liverpool match last Sunday. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

The Tampa Bay and Manchester situations are different. While United have been one of the biggest clubs in the world for decades, prior to the Glazers taking over, the Bucs had 12 straight losing seasons, and Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl in the eighth season of the family’s ownership. The Bucs later failed to make the playoffs for 12 straight years, but won it all again last season after adding Brady. Then there is the difference between European sports and leagues in the US, where owners doing something like uprooting a franchise and moving it to a different city is seen as distasteful rather than inconceivable. US fans often dislike owners – witness New York Mets diehards’ long running dispute with the now departed Wilpon family – but they rarely erupt into mass protest as they do in Europe.

The European Super League mess, of course, just drove it over the top in Manchester. Public reaction was negative, because the six English clubs involved in the ESL, three of which are owned by Americans and another which has NFL ties, looked greedy. Even worse: they appeared indifferent about how British fans feel a sense of ownership of their local teams (if not literally) and apathetic about the cherished English football pyramid, with promotion and relegation.

The idea was abandoned after two tempestuous days. Joel Glazer tried to appear contrite, opening a letter to United fans on 21 April on the club’s website with, “You made very clear your opposition to the European Super League, and we have listened. We got it wrong, and we want to show that we can put things right.

“Although the wounds are raw and I understand that it will take time for the scars to heal, I am personally committed to rebuilding trust with our fans and learning from the message you delivered with such conviction.”

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The message probably would have been better delivered in person, or even in a video. But supporters’ groups were in no mood to forgive Glazer in any case, leading to the chaos at Old Trafford. The fans don’t really know the Glazers because they say they have never met, but that is also a perfect reason why they want the Glazers to sell the club.

As Tyrone Marshall wrote this week in the Manchester Evening News: “So much of it comes back not just to the way the Glazers have run the club, but the ignorance they’ve shown to supporters and the way they’ve treated them, with contempt.”

The same feeling was present in Tampa. Romano wrote a column in the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday about the Glazers and Manchester United that included the passage: “British fans are not accustomed to owners calling the shots without engaging fans or at least pretending to listen to their suggestions and complaints. Honestly, it’s remarkable that the Glazers have spent 15 years there without figuring this out. It speaks to a remarkable level of either cluelessness or arrogance.”

The Glazers are still mostly invisible in Tampa Bay, although veteran journalist Ira Kaufman of told the Guardian they are active in community projects. As for the running of the team, they are low-key in that area too.

“While the family doesn’t interfere with football operations on a daily basis, the Glazers traditionally lead the search for a new head coach,” said Kaufman. “They also weigh in on significant decisions like the signing of Tom Brady or improvements to Raymond James Stadium. Joel and Bryan Glazer attend every Bucs game, home and away.

But then Kaufman cut to the bottom line: “Some Bucs fans believe the acquisition of Manchester United diverted some of the family’s focus and financial resources from the [Bucs] franchise. That view was reinforced during the club’s 12-year playoff drought, but the Super Bowl triumph has silenced Glazer skeptics here, at least for the moment.”

If last weekend’s scenes are anything to go by, keeping United fans quiet will be a much steeper task.

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