It’s horrifying that a lot of high-powered Republicans are—without any evidence whatsoever—making allegations of widespread election fraud.
However … these flailing attempts to mount a legal challenge to the election led to one of the most bonkers events in the history of this great nation—a hilarious event for which I will be forever grateful—and that’s what I’d like to discuss with you today.
By now, you’ve probably heard of Four Seasons Total Landscaping. If you somehow haven’t, strap yourself in, because we’re going on one hell of a ride.
Four Seasons Total Landscaping is the place in suburban Philadelphia where Rudy Giuliani and some other Trump representatives held a press conference on Saturday morning. Their goal was to garner publicity for their so-far baseless claims of election fraud. What they did, instead, was this:
• They caused a great deal of confusion about the venue. President Trump tweeted on Saturday: “Lawyers News Conference Four Seasons, Philadelphia, 11 a.m.” This understandably led people to assume the president meant the Four Seasons hotel. (Apparently, that’s where Trump initially thought the press conference was going to be held.) However, minutes later, he deleted that Tweet and clarified that the conference would actually be at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, as this absolutely must-read piece from The Philadelphia Inquirer explains.
• The confusion led the poor folks at the Four Seasons hotel to tweet out that, no, the press conference was NOT being held there. Meanwhile, speculation began running rampant that perhaps Trump’s team meant to book the hotel but instead booked the landscaping biz by accident; however, that aforementioned Inquirer piece makes it clear that the team booked Four Seasons Total Landscaping on purpose, so it would “take place in a section of Philadelphia where they might receive a more welcomed reception than at the raucous celebrations of Joe Biden’s victory going on in Center City.”
• As for that section of Philadelphia: It turns out that Four Seasons Total Landscaping’s neighbors include a sex-toy shop and a crematorium.
• Moments before Giuliani started speaking, the networks called the race for Joe Biden—something that Giuliani apparently didn’t know had happened. As the Daily Mail explains: “Taking a question from a reporter, the former New York City Mayor initially looked confused about ‘the call’ before asking, ‘Who was it called by?’ When he heard ‘all the networks’ had awarded Biden Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral college votes, he quickly regained his composure, taking on a sarcastic tone and looking around to his team saying ‘oh my goodness!’ He repeated that the Trump campaign would continue to fight the result as he said: ‘Networks don’t get to decide elections, courts do.’” Courts do?!
• It was later revealed that one of Giuliani’s star witnesses of alleged fraud who spoke at the press conference is apparently a sex offender.
• In the aftermath of this press conference, Four Seasons Total Landscaping is milking it for all it’s worth—and selling merch!
• Buzzfeed has this interesting post-press conference tidbit: “Now, (Four Seasons Total Landscaping) exists in virtual reality—complete with weathered detailing and a last-minute Trump 2020 podium. And rejoicing furries.”
• If you don’t know furries are, um, well, uh, here’s a Wikipedia article.
• Finally, I want to yet again tip my hat to that Philadelphia Inquirer article, which reveals that the whole shebang apparently ticked off Four Seasons Total Landscaping’s neighbors. Key quote: “The 78-year-old employee manning the counter at the Fantasy Island sex shop, who declined to give his name, said the phone had been ringing off the hook since Saturday with callers asking: ‘Is Rudy Giuliani there?’”
God bless America.
• The big—and very encouraging—news of the day: Pfizer announced that early analysis shows its vaccine appears to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. This could be a huge freaking deal.
• Related: CNBC looks at where all of the leading vaccine candidates stand as of now.
• As the pandemic continues setting alarming records across the country, President-elect Joe Biden announced a 13-member coronavirus task force, to help his administration battle the pandemic once he takes office on Jan. 20.
• At least three people who were at Trump’s Election Night party at the White House now have COVID-19, including Dr. Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development.
• The head of the General Services Administration is so far refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect. What does this mean? According to NBC News: “More than 48 hours after media outlets projected that Joe Biden had defeated Trump to win the White House, GSA chief Emily Murphy has yet to sign the letter of ‘ascertainment’ a previously mostly noncontroversial process since the passage of the Presidential Transition Act of 1963. Signing that paperwork when a new president is elected triggers the release of millions of dollars in transition funding and allows an incoming administration access to current government officials.”
• A huge spike in coronavirus cases in Utah has led the governor to, at long last, issue a mask mandate. According to The Washington Post: “In a video posted to Twitter late on Sunday—which Utah residents were alerted to watch via an emergency cellphone alert—(Gov. Gary) Herbert also declared a two-week state of emergency and announced a spate of other restrictions aimed to curb infections, which the governor noted are ‘growing at an alarming rate.’”
• Related-ish: Two experts tell MedPage Today that staffing and PPE shortages could haunt nursing homes as the pandemic rages through the winter.
• President Trump today fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Key quote, from CNN: “Esper’s firing has raised concerns that other top national security officials who have earned Trump’s wrath may be next in the line of fire.”
• Our partners at CalMatters point out that COVID-19 cases are starting to increase here in California, too.
• Also from CalMatters: Who could take Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ place in the U.S. Senate? Here are some possibilities.
• What does the election of Joe Biden mean for the economy? An expert from Texas State University, writing for The Conversation, points out: “Historical data suggests that those who are concerned with the economy have reason to be fairly satisfied with the election results: The economy generally fares better under Democratic presidents.”
• Now this is a sad, horrifying headline, from NBC News: “Lawyers can’t find the parents of 666 migrant kids, a higher number than previously reported.” Sigh.
• From the Independent: The year 2020 has been a year with a lot of death. Our Valerie-Jean (V.J.) Hume lost her husband to cancer earlier this year—and learned that grief can literally break someone’s heart. She tells the story of how she learned about the medical condition called broken heart syndrome—and how she’s now hopefully on the mend.
• The final episode of Jeopardy! hosted by the late, great Alex Trebek will air on Christmas Day.
• Finally … a lot of people (myself included) were making fun of Nevada for its less-than-speedy ballot counting last week. Well, it’s now time to tip your hat to the Silver State—because voters there overwhelmingly made it the first state in the U.S. to protect same-sex marriage in its Constitution.
Happy Monday, everyone. Stay safe, and wear a mask when you’re around others, please. If you have the financial means to do so, please consider becoming a Supporter of the Independent to help continue to produce quality, independent local journalism. The Daily Digest will be back Wednesday.