10 Things in Politics: Trump's NJ neighbors dish on living in his shadow

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  • Happening this morning: Tropical Storm Nicholas is hitting the Gulf Coast after making landfall in Texas as a Category 1 hurricane.

Here's what we're talking about:

With Phil Rosen.


Donald Trump coming out of a New Jersey state shape surrounded by trees, an equestrian, the US flag, money, a golf ball on a tee, and protesters on an indigo background.

1. CHECKING IN ON TRUMPWORLD: Nearly 20 years after coming to Bedminster, New Jersey, former President Donald Trump remains a stranger to most. Few townies have any reason to interact with him — and they're fine with that.

Here's a peek at what Trump's Bedminster neighbors think about his presence:

Many in the town have simply moved on: "On a scale of existential threat to local hero, the consensus among the 16 public officials, private citizens, and political observers Insider interviewed for this story placed Trump in the 'are we still talking about that guy?' camp," my colleague writes.

  • Locals say there's really no reason for Trump to leave his club: "It wasn't like he was going down to the local pizzeria every Friday night," a former local GOP leader, Steve Parker, said of the former president's tendency to remain within the confines of the sprawling club.

But some Democrats see a growing disillusionment with Trump: "They started out by saying, 'Well, we're proud to have the president come to our town,'" one local Democrat told my colleague. "They don't say that anymore."

Read more about what New Jersey locals are saying about Trump.


Biden speaks before California recall

2. Biden makes closing argument in California recall: President Joe Biden dubbed the conservative radio host Larry Elder a "Trump clone," telling Californians that their decision on whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom would "reverberate around the nation and quite frankly — not a joke — around the world." More on the final day of campaigning.


3. Republicans challenge secretary of state to resign during emotional hearing: GOP lawmakers tore into Antony Blinken over the chaotic end to the war in Afghanistan during Blinken's first hearing before Congress since the Taliban took over, The Washington Post reports. "The American people don't like to lose, especially to the terrorists," said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Democratic lawmakers came to Blinken's defense, arguing that ending the war was never going to be easy. More on the hearing, including Blinken's statement that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told him he'd "fight to the death" right before fleeing the country.


4. Apple releases emergency update over spyware concerns: The company warned customers to update their devices as soon as possible, saying it had fixed a major spyware flaw that let hackers break into Apple devices without users even clicking a link, The New York Times reports. Because users don't even have to click a link, they won't even know their devices have been infected. Why Apple wants you to update your phone ASAP.


5. Fauci supports vaccine mandate for air travel: Dr. Anthony Fauci's comments come as Republican governors and lawmakers blast the Biden administration for its intention to mandate a COVID-19 shot or weekly testing for businesses with 100 or more employees. His suggestion is not without support, though. A recent poll found over 60% of respondents supported a vaccine mandate for air travel.


An older academic figure holding a smoking pipe in one hand and a book in the other with an arrogant look on his face coming out of a green US military tank on a purple background

6. The view from inside DC's foreign-policy "blob": "Call it blobaganda, a process through which intelligent people are gently led to a preordained conclusion, brought to you by Raytheon and General Dynamics," Insider's Mattathias Schwartz writes of his experience inside the Washington foreign-policy establishment that is heavily supported by the defense industry. More from the column on why these experts continue advocating "disastrous wars."


7. Elon Musk rejects part of Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending plan: The Tesla CEO criticized part of the massive bill that could benefit electric-vehicle manufacturers with unions. A current provision would give a $4,500 tax incentive to people buying electric vehicles assembled at US facilities with a union. Tesla has historically been anti-union. Other automakers are also rallying against the bill.


8. Nicholas makes landfall: The Category 1 hurricane weakened back to a tropical storm after making landfall in southeastern Texas shortly after midnight local time. The National Hurricane Center said in a 4 a.m. CT advisory that the storm "could cause life-threatening flash floods across the Deep South during the next couple of days." Here's the latest.


9. Melania Trump's former top aide has a bombshell memoir coming out: Trump's former chief of staff Stephanie Grisham condemned the former first lady, likening her to the infamous Marie Antoinette. Trump clapped back at Grisham ahead of the book's release, with a statement to Politico blasting what Trump described as Grisham's "failed personal relationships" and "poor" showing as press secretary.

  • Jaw-dropping detail: "Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?" Grisham wrote of a text she sent the first lady on January 6 as the Capitol riot was unfolding. She said Trump responded a minute later, "No."

A picture of Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing a dress with the phrase

10. AOC wears "Tax the rich" dress to Met gala: In her first Met Gala appearance, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent a clear message for the cameras and the celebrities in her midst.

All the looks celebrities wore for the 2021 Met Gala: Kim Kardashian West was covered in black, while Timothée Chalamet sported an accented all-white suit. Decide for yourself who had the best look. And then check out Insider's list of the best and wildest outfits. (Lil Nas X actually wore three outfits for his first Met Gala, including golden body armor.)


Today's trivia question: Trump's Bedminster property was once the estate of an eccentric tycoon whose work was forever immortalized in American pop culture. Who was it? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com. (If you can't wait for the answer, it's somewhere in our lead story on what it's like living near the former president.)

  • Yesterday's answer: MTV used footage from the Apollo 11 moon landing and parts of the countdown for Columbia's first launch during the network's inaugural broadcast on August 1, 1981.
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