Eleven-year-old yard services entrepreneur Frank Giaccio locked down his biggest client ever Friday morning, mowing the White House lawn on the invitation of President Trump.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted a photo of Giaccio taking care of business Friday morning.
“Frank is hard at work in the Rose Garden and doing a great job!” she wrote.
At Friday’s press briefing, Sanders said it was an “honor” to host their guest landscaper.
“The president has always loved go-getters like Frank,” she said.
Sanders announced earlier this week that “Frank from Falls Church, Virginia” would help the grounds crew cut the Rose Garden grass.
Trump accepted the Virginia boy’s offer after he wrote to the president saying it would be his “honor to mow the White House lawn.” Giaccio, who was 10 when he wrote the letter but has since turned 11, also enclosed a menu of his services, which include weed-whacking.
Giaccio told Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” earlier Friday, “So far it’s pretty much the best day of my life.”
The White House later tweeted a photo of Trump walking alongside Giaccio on the lawn, and another of him and his father in the Oval Office.READ MORE
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley warned North Korea on Friday that she is more than willing to let Defense Secretary Jim Mattis deal with the nuclear threat from Pyongyang if sanctions do not work.
Haley said recent sanctions have “strangled” North Korea’s “economic situation,” calling the impact “dramatic.”
But she said there’s only so much the U.N. Security Council can do “when you cut 90 percent of the trade and 30 percent of the oil.”
“So having said that, I have no problem kicking it to General Mattis because I think he has plenty of options,” Haley said at the White House briefing, where she and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster previewed U.S. efforts at the U.N. General Assembly next week.
North Korea conducted its longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile Friday, sending an intermediate-range weapon hurtling over U.S. ally Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean in a launch that signals both defiance of its rivals and a big technological advance.
McMaster stressed Friday that the U.S. is still trying to resolve the conflict diplomatically. Joining Haley at the briefing, he said it’s important to employ “rigorous enforcement of those sanctions” in pursuit of that route but acknowledged the United States is willing to use force.
“There is a military option,” he said. “Now, it’s not what we prefer to do. So what we have to do is call on all nations, call on everyone to do everything we can to address this global problem short of war.”READ MORE
Nicole Malliotakis stood outside City Hall last week clutching a can of Red Bull.
Dressed in a coral blazer, matching skirt and silver flats, the Republican candidate for mayor stood under a blazing mid-morning sun, never veering from her task of attacking the incumbent mayor, who happened to pass by her press conference.
As a small group of her supporters appeared to wilt in the heat, dutifully holding up red, white and blue “Nicole Malliotakis for Mayor” signs, the 36-year-old assemblywoman appeared poised and confident even as she ran after de Blasio with the energy drink.
She told reporters that she wanted to help him stay awake after The Post revealed Hizzoner liked to nap during his workday.
The mayor, ducking into a subway, refused the stimulant.
“It shows that not only is he lazy and incompetent, but he’s rude,” Malliotakis told the small scrum of City Hall reporters.
The last thing Malliotakis seems to need is a can of Red Bull. She’s been crisscrossing the city, meeting community leaders and supporters in every borough, while lobbing stinging criticisms at the mayor in almost daily press conferences outside City Hall.
She rarely takes lunch — or even bathroom breaks.
“She’s a camel,” quipped one of her aides. “She just doesn’t stop for anything.”
Last Thursday, addressing the same crowd of reporters under a blistering sun, Malliotakis took de Blasio to task for breaking his promises to New Yorkers. She unveiled a clock that tracks the number of days — more than 450 so far — since de Blasio promised to release a list of his campaign donors who did not get special favors from his administration.
“The mayor needs to come clean with the people of this city,” said Malliotakis, standing in front of the wobbly wooden lectern that her small group of handlers transport to every press conference and most of her campaign events.
It’s a shoestring operation for the first Hispanic woman running for mayor of New York City. Last week, she traveled through the city in a compact car, meeting with grass-roots community groups in old-age homes and a Brownsville, Brooklyn pizza parlor.READ MORE
The de Blasio clock still stands.
Republican mayoral challenger Nicole Malliotakis won’t be removing the counter on her website that ticks off the days since de Blasio promised to reveal “a stunning number” of donors who asked for City Hall favors and were refused.
On Friday the mayor released a lengthy op-ed on the website Medium that he said fulfilled his pledge — but it was notably short on new information and specific names.
It certainly wasn’t detailed enough to get Malliotakis to back down.READ MORE
Almost a year and a half after promising to detail a “stunning number of donors” who sought favors and didn’t get them, Mayor de Blasio published an op-ed containing only two new examples.
The op-ed — which does not name a single contributor, not even two he references who have since been arrested in a police corruption case — was published on the website Medium on the Friday ahead of the long Labor Day Weekend.
In it, de Blasio writes that in each case, including highly publicized instances of donors Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg asking for favors before they were swept up in a massive NYPD corruption scandal, the city government “did our job.”
“We heard the complaints of people who believed they were being treated unfairly. Sometimes those people are my political supporters,” de Blasio wrote. “Sometimes they are not. Sometimes they were right and often they were wrong. What’s important is that in each instance my administration made decisions based on the facts, not who they were.”READ MORE
The de Blasio administration is bungling the Superstorm Sandy recovery effort — with a quarter of applicants’ homes in the Build It Back program still incomplete after five years, GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis charged Thursday.
Malliotakis acknowledged that de Blasio inherited a bad program from his predecessor, but said that doesn’t excuse the mismanagement.
“I certainly don’t give any pass to the previous administration. But when a new administration comes in, their job is to look over what they’ve inherited and make changes, make improvements, streamline the process,” Malliotakis said in Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn, an area that was hit hard by Sandy in October 2012.
She highlighted a Staten Island home valued at $225,000 that the city spent $773,000 to repair.
Her campaign cited figures from a June 13 City Hall press release stating that of 5,174 homes that required construction work under Build It Back, 74 percent had been completed.READ MORE
Mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis pushed for a ban on lobbyists raising cash for city pols while slamming Mayor de Blasio for his ties to influential lobbyist James Capalino.
The Staten Island Republican went after de Blasio’s lobbyist connections outside shuttered lower East Side nursing home Rivington House — which she charged was flipped for luxury condos in just one example of the lobbyist’s clients getting special treatment after bundling tens of thousands of dollars in contributions for the mayor’s campaign and non-profit.
“This mayor and this administration are providing special favors,” Malliotakis said. “Who is the mayor of New York City? Is it Bill de Blasio or is it James Capalino?”
Malliotakis said registered lobbyists should be banned from raising donations for candidates, a practice known as bundling, and pledged not to accept such bundled donations for her own mayoral campaign.READ MORE
The White House on Friday announced a new round of sanctions against Venezuela that explicitly exempt the U.S. arm of the country’s state-owned oil company. That company, Citgo, donated six-figure sums to Trump’s inauguration and recently hired former Trump officials to lobby for that exemption.
The purpose of the new sanctions announced by the administration is to target arms of the Venezuelan government that have supported or facilitated President Nicolas Maduro’s ongoing crackdown on domestic political opposition. The carve out for Citgo was included in the White House statement released on Friday.
“To mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people, the Treasury Department is issuing general licenses that allow for transactions that would otherwise be prohibited by the Executive Order,” the White House wrote in a statement on the sanctions. “These include provisions allowing for…transactions only involving Citgo,” and no other sanctioned entity.
Citgo is the U.S. arm of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the country’s state-owned oil company. Since 2014, Citgo, a Delaware corporation, has fought to insulate its operations from measures aimed at punishing the Maduro regime’s efforts to consolidate political power.READ MORE
Italian American elected officials and community leaders took to the steps of City Hall on Thursday to blast City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio for considering the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle.
Mark-Viverito, a Democrat, and Harlem elected officials held a rally earlier this week to request the removal of a statue of J. Marion Sims, a 19th Century doctor who has been called the “father of modern gynecology,” from Central Park, where it is located on East 103rd Street in East Harlem. Sims experimented on African slaves without their consent or any anesthesia throughout his career.
During the rally, the speaker said that the statue of Columbus, known for discovering the Americas while sailing for Asia, but later known for aggressive moves to colonize and oppress natives, should be also be reviewed.
In 2013, de Blasio, who is of Italian heritage, said that there are “some troubling things” in Columbus’s history.READ MORE
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis called out Mayor Bill de Blasio on his lack of transparency, “pay-to-play” dealings and criticized his relationship with “mega-lobbyist” Jim Capalino at a press conference at Rivington House on the Lower East Side on Wednesday.
“It’s time for Bill de Blasio, the most ethically challenged mayor in recent history, to get honest with the voters and explain who calls the shots in his relationship with lobbyist Jim Capalino,” Malliotakis said, standing alongside the Republican nominee for Public Advocate, J.C. Polanco.
The de Blasio campaign fired back, calling Malliotakis a hypocrite.
“Nicole Malliotakis, a former registered lobbyist, just accepted a maximum contribution from the landlord lobby and has never disclosed a cent of donations that were bundled for her by lobbyists when she ran for State Assembly four times. This is the height of hypocrisy and another silly stunt to distract from her support for Donald Trump and ties to the billionaires who fund the so-called ‘alt-right,'” said Dan Levitan, a spokesman for de Blasio’s re-election campaign.
Calling de Blasio “the most ethically challenged mayor in recent history,” Malliotakis said he’s guilty of allowing the Rivington House to be turned into luxury condos.READ MORE