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Trump’s sleight of hand: screaming fraud, pocketing donor money for the future

In total, the Trump campaign has paid more than a dozen law firms, including $ 1.6 million to Kasowitz Benson Torres, over $ 500,000 to Jones Day, and about $ 600,000 to Dechert. Law firm Kurt Hilbert, which was on Mr. Trump’s phone pressuring Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn the election result, received more of $ 480,000. A payment of $ 3 million went to the Wisconsin Election Commission to pay for a recount.

A major Republican donor, C. Boyden Gray, who contributed more than $ 2 million to Republicans in the 2020 cycle, also provided legal advice to Mr. Trump, earning $ 114,000.

Operation Trump continued to spend on fundraising, pouring millions into a secret limited liability company, American Made Media Consultants, for online and SMS advertising. Family members of Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have previously served on the board of directors of the company, which spent more than $ 700 million in the 2020 campaign.

In the post-election period, more than $ 63 million in spending passed through the company from committees linked to Mr. Trump.

The Republican National Committee ended the year with more than $ 80 million in the bank after the fundraising blitz, and the party is entitled to a share of the additional $ 63 million in two accounts shared with Mr. Trump. According to one deal, the RNC raised 25 cents for every dollar Mr. Trump raised online through his joint account in December.

One of Mr. Trump’s shared committees with the RNC spent $ 237,000 in pounds through a company, Reagan Investments, which also worked for a PAC controlled by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. The Trump campaign donated signed copies of a book by Mr. Cruz last fall to donors who donated $ 75 or more.

And, as they have done since he began his candidacy in 2015, Mr. Trump’s campaign accounts have sponsored his businesses in the post-election period.

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Teenager killed after hand grenade bought at old mall exploded

A Virginia teenager was killed two days before Christmas after a World War II hand grenade exploded, thought to be inactive, authorities said.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the grenade was likely purchased at the Fancy Flea Antique Mall in Shallotte, North Carolina, in June.

He said other grenades “may have been sold to the same vendor in June” and law enforcement officials were “concerned that the grenades purchased from the vendor may contain live explosives and could be dangerous for the public. “

Authorities might not be able to determine the exact number of pomegranates sold at the Shallotte Mall, a coastal town nearly 160 km south of Fayetteville, as the transactions were made in cash during the busy summer season. a spokesperson for the office said.

A similarly styled grenade that was sold around the same time “has yet to be counted,” the spokesperson said.

In a statement, the mall said that “there was only one other pomegranate sold the next day from the same seller,” that it was “very sorry that this happened” and that “we have all felt that the pomegranate was inert. “

The chain of ownership of the pomegranate prior to its sale at the mall is unclear.

The MK2 grenade exploded on Dec. 23, the office said, killing the teenager in Abingdon, Va., A town in southwest Virginia near the Tennessee border. The office did not identify the teenager and it was not clear if the teenager was the one who bought the grenade.

A spokesperson for the office, which is assisting the Abingdon Police Department with the investigation, said officials spoke to the mall. The police department did not respond to a request for comment.

Active grenades can fall into the wrong hands after former military personnel keep them as war memorabilia, said Bob Morhard, North Carolina explosives safety consultant.

“Who knows what happens to them next?” he said. “Grandpa’s box somewhere, and someone thought they could sell it on consignment.”

The mall should not have taken the device if it had been offered or should have called authorities to investigate when the grenade came into its possession, Mr Morhard said.

There are “a lot of subtle clues” that can show that a grenade is still dangerous, he said.

The grenade that exploded in Virginia was probably noticeably heavy, he said, adding that the inert grenades, having been stripped of the explosive material inside, often have a hole to “see into the cavity they is empty”.

More than 20 million MK2 grenades were manufactured from the 1920s until a new model replaced it in the late 1960s, Mr Morhard said. Its “pineapple” envelope is “designed to fragment” when it explodes, he said.

There is a three to five second delay before the explosion after pulling the pin, he said. The grenade explosion is fatal in an area of ​​16 feet, Mr. Morhard said, and in an area of ​​50 feet, injuries can “vary from fatal to maybe nothing.”

Michael Levenson contributed reporting.

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New York City has 330,000 tons of salt and 2,000 vehicles on hand to clean up its streets.

Although forecasters predicted that snowfall in New York City would begin mid-afternoon on Wednesday, city officials wereted no time in initiating snow removal operations by sending salt spreaders to the areas. streets Tuesday.

“You never really know what a storm like this is going to throw at you, but we’re as ready as possible,” said Edward Grayson, acting commissioner of the city’s Sanitation Department, whose members are responsible for the enormous task of clearing the snow from 6,300 miles of streets.

On Wednesday, the department had started to turn away from its daily garbage collection and snow removal from the city’s roads.

The department has 6,300 employees available to work during the storm and some 2,000 vehicles to plow the streets – from garbage collection trucks temporarily fitted with plow attachments to dedicated snow plow vehicles that also spray rock salt and brine solution for melt the snow, Mr. Grayson said. .

The city has 330,000 tons of salt on hand, stacked in sheds across the city, Grayson said as he inspected part of his moving yard at a sanitary garage in downtown Manhattan.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, when the streets are expected to have accumulated two inches of snow, the department would send out its plows in full force and continue until the streets are clear, which could be Friday if the storm is extremely severe, has Mr. Grayson said.

Street cleaning will be more complicated than ever as plows must carefully avoid the many kiosks set up on the streets by restaurants for alfresco dining, Grayson said.

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‘Like a grabbing hand’: Trump appointees describe CDC crash

“What is not legitimate is to ignore science,” he said.

Often, Mr McGowan and Ms Campbell mediated between Dr Redfield and the agency’s scientists when the demands and dictates of the White House came in: the changes from Mr Vought and Kellyanne Conway, the former adviser to the White House, on choirs and communion in religious communities, or suggestions from Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and aide, on schools.

“Every time science clashed with the message, the message won,” said McGowan.

The episodes of interference have at times become absurd, they said. In the spring, the CDC released an app that allows Americans to screen themselves for symptoms of Covid-19. But the Trump administration has decided to develop a similar tool with Apple. White House officials then demanded that the CDC erase its app from its website, McGowan said.

Ms Campbell said that at the start of the pandemic, she was confident the agency had the best scientists in the world, “just like we have done in the past.”

“What was so different, however, was the political involvement, not only of the HHS but then of the White House, which in many ways hampered what our scientists were able to do,” she said.

Senior CDC officials have devised workarounds. Instead of posting new guidelines for schools and election officials in the spring, they released “updates” to previous guidelines that avoided formal scrutiny from Washington. This prompted Washington officials to insist on reviewing the updates.

Brian Morgenstern, a White House spokesman, said that “all proposed directives and regulations with potentially significant effects on our economy, society and constitutional freedoms receive appropriate consultation from all stakeholders, including task force doctors, other experts and administration officials.

A spokesperson for the CDC declined to comment.

Mr. McGowan and Ms. Campbell both attended the University of Georgia and saw their CDC position as a homecoming. Mr McGowan said the two institutions he revered most as a child in Georgia were the CDC and Coca-Cola.

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Video: ‘Compromise is at hand,’ McConnell says of stimulus talks

new video loaded: ‘Compromise is at hand,’ McConnell says of stimulus talks



‘Compromise is at hand,’ McConnell says of stimulus talks

Senator Mitch McConnell said negotiations on a new round of coronavirus relief were closer to a deal, but did not approve a $ 908 billion compromise measure adopted by Democratic leaders.

“It was always about political differences. We have two sides with two different visions for how best to support our nation through what we hope will be the final chapter of the pandemic. Our people are suffering. But they are ready to end this fight. Congress shouldn’t keep them waiting for reinforcements that should have arrived, literally, months ago. The compromise is therefore within reach. We know where we agree, we can do it. Let me say it again, we can do it and we have to do it. So let’s make a law. “President Pelosi and I made a new offer to Leader McConnell and Leader McCarthy on Monday in hopes of restarting serious negotiations, and Leader McConnell responded by circulating another version of a Republican-only partisan project. So in the spirit of compromise, President Pelosi and I believe that the bipartite framework introduced by a group of eight senators on Tuesday should be used as the basis, framework, for immediate bipartisan and bicameral negotiations. Urgent action is needed and we believe that with good faith negotiations we could very well come to an agreement. We are already much closer to an agreement because of the bipartisan negotiations that these eight senators led – created. And we can keep the momentum going. “

Recent episodes of Coronavirus pandemic: latest updates


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Where Georgia’s hand recount differed from the original count, by county

Initial count Number of audits Difference
Joseph R. Biden Jr 2,473,383 2 475 141 +1 758
Donald J. Trump 2 459 825 2,462,857 +3 032
Margin Biden +0.27 Bid +0.25

Georgia’s 159 counties finalized a manual recount, technically an audit, of the five million votes cast in the election on Thursday, reaffirming the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr. while reducing his lead by more than 1,200 votes.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, ordered manual auditing as part of new state law to ensure accuracy of voting machines by comparing the count to paper ballots with automatic counts. It was not an official recount, although the Trump campaign may choose to request one after the state’s results are certified this week, as the voting margin between Mr. Biden and President Trump is less than 0 , 5 percentage point.

In many counties, auditors have found zero or single digit differences in their counts, and they will not change their original results for the state certification process. Still, at least four counties – Douglas, Fayette, Floyd and Walton – have discovered missed ballots and will add them to their original tally.

In Douglas, Fayette and Walton counties, counting of paper ballots revealed that election workers under-counted votes after missing flashcards, which contained machine votes. New voting machines adopted by the state in 2019 allow voters to use touch screens to print ballots. Voters then check the ballots and officially deposit them by scanning them, resulting in a paper register and automatic count.

Floyd County officials discovered about 2,400 ballots that election workers neglected to reanalyze after a failed scanner and that the results could not be retrieved from memory cards. Officials attributed the error to “gross incompetence” on the part of the county electoral officer.

Despite the errors in those four counties, election officials said there was no sign of voter fraud and the new system was working as expected.

“These people are operating there under the highest level of stress, in the most controversial elections of their working lives in the United States and Georgia. So for the most part they’re doing a really good job on this, ”said Gabriel Sterling, Georgia Statewide Voting System Implementation Manager.

County by county counting

Number of audits
Biden Asset Net profit
DeKalb 308,769 58,438 D + 560 votes
Cobb 221 816 165,114 D + 315 votes
Dougherty 24 656 10 412 D + 117 voices
Henri 73,359 48 153 D + 117 voices
Bartow 12,099 37 615 D + 66 votes
Chatham 78 316 53,248 D + 51 votes
Houston 32,262 41,520 D + 44 voices
Jones 4,896 9,940 D + 33 voices
Richmond 59 142 26 767 D + 32 voices
Freedom 13,131 7 960 D + 31 voices
Mcduffie 4,174 6 146 D + 29 voices
Early 2 451 2 709 D + 27 voices
Sumter 6,324 5,715 D + 23 voices
Walker 5,770 23 155 D + 20 voices
Calhoun 1,264 911 D + 16 voices
Coweta 24,219 51,494 D + 16 voices
Douglas 42 814 25,446 D + 10 voices
Twiggs 2,048 2366 D + 8 voices
Irwin 1,012 3 131 D + 7 voices
Telfair 1491 2 822 D + 7 voices
Long 2,037 3,526 D + 6 voices
Monroe 4 388 11,058 D + 6 voices
Washington 4 743 4,670 D + 6 voices
Morgan 3 357 8 227 D + 5 voices
Bryan 6,739 14 240 D + 4 voices
Bulloch 11,248 18,387 D + 4 voices
Worth 2398 6,829 D + 4 voices
Murray 2 305 12 943 D + 3 voices
Pulaski 1 231 2,816 D + 3 voices
Tift 5,323 10 782 D + 3 voices
Candler 1,270 3 132 J + 2 votes
Charlton 1 105 3 419 J + 2 votes
Lincoln 1,431 3 173 J + 2 votes
Oglethorpe 2,437 5 592 J + 2 votes
Rabun 1 985 7,473 J + 2 votes
Wilkes 2,161 2 822 J + 2 votes
Colquitt 4 189 11 778 D + 1 vote
Dodge 2 172 5,843 D + 1 vote
Glascock 155 1,402 D + 1 vote
Johnson 1,222 2 849 D + 1 vote
Montgomery 980 2 960 D + 1 vote
Toombs 2 941 7 873 D + 1 vote
Troop 11 582 18 146 D + 1 vote
Floyd 11 853 28 687 R + 686 votes
Fulton 381,179 137,620 R + 345 votes
Gwinnett 242,490 167,361 R + 285 votes
Rockdale 31 120 13,129 R + 241 votes
Clayton 95 232 15,714 R + 145 votes
Bibb 43 412 26,617 R + 88 votes
Walton 12,612 37 858 R + 86 votes
Thomas 8 697 13,027 R + 84 votes
Clarke 36,006 14 482 R + 78 votes
Ware 4,174 9,902 R + 74 votes
Lowndes 20 083 25 727 R + 70 votes
Columbia 29,197 50 043 R + 69 votes
Forsyth 42 158 85 142 R + 65 votes
room 25,061 64,246 R + 46 votes
Wayne 2,661 10,001 R + 40 votes
Appling 1785 6 570 R + 38 votes
Screven 2,644 3 936 R + 37 votes
Grady 3,601 7,049 R + 33 votes
Fayette 33 111 38,024 R + 26 votes
Newton 29 787 23 888 R + 26 votes
Glynn 15,868 25,630 R + 25 votes
Builder 2 849 1,799 R + 24 votes
Whitfield 10 677 25 666 R + 23 votes
Brantley 690 7,001 R + 19 votes
Jackson 7 639 29,507 R + 13 votes
Muscogee 49,493 30,025 R + 12 votes
Wilkinson 2,067 2,667 R + 11 votes
Cherokee 42 787 99,590 R + 10 votes
Paulding 29,681 54,512 R + 10 votes
Tattnall 2,053 6 055 R + 10 votes
Terrell 2,371 2,009 R + 10 votes
Camden 7 969 15,262 R + 9 votes
Effingham 7 713 23,359 R + 8 votes
Habersham 3,554 16 636 R + 8 votes
Franklin 1,589 9,072 R + 7 votes
Upson 4,199 8,613 R + 7 votes
Lamar 2,610 6 331 R + 6 votes
Lanier 1,016 2,512 R + 6 votes
Hancock 2 975 1,154 R + 5 votes
Laurens 8,071 14,496 R + 5 votes
Peach 5 926 6,513 R + 5 votes
Warren 1,466 1 168 R + 5 votes
Baldwin 9,139 8,906 R + 4 votes
Elbert 2 878 6 229 R + 4 votes
Fannin 2,568 12 170 R + 4 votes
Deer 3 155 9,466 R + 4 votes
Mcintosh 2,610 4,018 R + 4 votes
Pickens 2,816 14 087 R + 4 votes
Heard 824 4,519 R + 3 votes
Jefferson 4,059 3,538 R + 3 votes
Oconee 8,160 16,596 R + 3 votes
Polk 3,647 13,581 R + 3 votes
Banks 931 7 796 R + 2 votes
Catoosa 6 931 25 168 R + 2 votes
Dooly 1,910 2 160 R + 2 votes
Gordon 4 383 19,406 R + 2 votes
Miller 747 2,066 R + 2 votes
pierce 1,099 7,900 R + 2 votes
Stewart 1,181 802 R + 2 votes
Towns 1,549 6 385 R + 2 votes
Brooks 2,790 4 261 R + 1 vote
Burke 5 208 5,400 R + 1 vote
Cigarette butts 3 272 8 405 R + 1 vote
Crisp 2 989 4,991 R + 1 vote
Decatur 4 779 6,758 R + 1 vote
Emanuel 2 888 6 556 R + 1 vote
Harris 5 456 14,319 R + 1 vote
Jasper 1,760 5,822 R + 1 vote
Pike 1,504 9,127 R + 1 vote
Stephens 2385 9 369 R + 1 vote
Taylor 1,388 2,420 R + 1 vote
union 2 801 12 652 R + 1 vote
Webster 639 749 R + 1 vote
Wilcox 861 2 403 R + 1 vote
Carroll 16 238 37,476
Wheelbarrow 10 453 26,804
Spalding 11 784 18,057
Lee 4,558 12,007
Gilmer 2 932 13,429
Dawson 2486 13,398
Lumpkin 3 126 12 163
coffee 4,511 10,578
Madison 3 411 11,326
White 2 411 12,222
Haralson 1792 12 331
Putnam 3,448 8,291
Greene 4,088 7,068
Meriwether 4 287 6 524
Chattooga 1 854 8,064
Mitchell 3 995 4 935
Berrien 1,269 6,419
Dade 1,261 6,066
cook 2,059 4,900
Ben hill 2393 4 111
Crawford 1,615 4,428
Jeff Davis 1,028 4,695
Bleckley 1 311 4,328
Bacon 625 4,018
Evans 1,324 2 888
Seminole 1,256 2,613
Turner 1,410 2,349
Marion 1 311 2,275
Talbot 2,114 1,392
Jenkins 1,266 2,161
Atkinson 825 2,300
Treutlen 952 2 101
Randolph 1,671 1,391
Clinch 747 2 105
Wheeler 689 1,583
Schley 462 1,800
Chattahoochee 667 880
baker 652 897
Echols 167 1,256
Clay 790 637
Quitman four hundred ninety seven 604
Taliaferro 561 360

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Unforeseen threats to the 2020 election: hand sanitizer and bad plumbing

This week has seen a variety of small-scale disruptions. In Atlanta, the culprit was leaking plumbing. In the arena where the Atlanta Hawks play basketball – converted into a polling station – the early morning discovery that a burst pipe was leaking water in a room with missing ballots delayed the count by a few hours. An arena staff member quickly fixed the leak and none of the ballots were damaged, officials said.

Several polling stations in Louisiana were running on generators after persistent power outages caused by Hurricane Zeta, which led to a feud between local and state officials over who was responsible for sending the generators to them. electoral sites. Officials eventually moved two polling stations to a nearby college, and there were no serious delays.

In Hidalgo County, South Texas, just across the border with Mexico, it was a technical issue. New laptops that had been distributed to polling stations ahead of polling day to help cope with the region’s record turnout failed to work, causing delays of up to 90 minutes on Tuesday morning.

“They did not allow the software to open to register voters”, Yvonne Ramon, the county election administrator, said. “And since they were scattered across the county, my field service technicians took off to the nearest sites. We are a large county, so getting from one place to another is not an easy thing. “

Ms Ramon noted that the hiccups with the new technology were not unusual. But the county kept polling stations open an extra hour Tuesday night to make up for earlier delays, and everyone who had come to vote was finally able to do so, she said.

In the battlefield state of Wisconsin, the last hundreds of votes were not reported for several hours because the Richland County Clerk could not reach the Willow Town Clerk, who had said that she felt sick and couldn’t be reached, according to The Milwaukee. Journal-Sentinel. Willow’s 274 votes were ultimately reported. In Green Bay, the absentee vote count was briefly delayed while an election official ran to town hall to get more ink for the vote-counting machines.

Investigators face unexpected problems every year, but warnings of skewed counts or delayed counts have made voters and observers more concerned than usual about any oddity. None of the complications this week resulted in serious problems, election officials said. Some, like the hand sanitizer incident, were the result of an election severely altered by coronavirus precautions.

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Get your hand sanitizer costume. Halloween is still in progress.

Scott Morris, the co-owner of Morris Costumes in Charlotte, NC, has slept in the office for the past 50 days – but he’s not complaining.

His company, which distributes Halloween costumes and backdrops and operates the Halloween Express channel, has struggled to meet demand for the holidays that earlier this year seemed not to be happening as usual. Retailers who typically place orders between May and July largely resisted, worried about whether people would dress up and go out during a pandemic.

“Then they all woke up in early August and said, ‘Oh my God, Halloween is going to happen,’” Morris said last week in an interview.

So began a mad race for a surprisingly robust company this year – with some twists and turns. Coronavirus-related costumes such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and artwork of the virus itself have exploded, Mr Morris said. People also dress in rolls of toilet paper to nod to the obsessive storage of the item during the first months of the pandemic. With the rise of e-commerce, Morris Costumes is sending up to 30,000 packages per day.

There are fewer costumes related to recent films, however, given that Hollywood is mostly on hiatus. And despite the internet’s enthusiasm for a “sexy hand sanitizer” costume, Morris said the “sexy costume category” had perhaps had the most trouble this unusual year.

“Most of these are worn by academics who frequent the bars, and I think a lot of the bars are going to be closed,” he said.

The outlook for Halloween was as bleak as a grim reaper at the start of the pandemic, with companies like Hershey cutting back on candy wrappers tied to treats and some pop-up retailers for spooky merchandise waiting to secure physical spaces. But over the past two months, many Americans have descended into fictitious fear in an overly terrifying year. They’re embarking on decorations like inflatable witches and hanging skeletons as part of a larger spending blitz on household items, and they take on costumes as they look to celebrate Halloween in a safe way, with many considering it. like a last hurray in the open air before the descent of winter. .

“Halloween is turning out to be the last potential holiday people can celebrate, either outside under a patio with heat lamps, or making candy or treats, before Thanksgiving hits,” Robert said. Berman, Managing Director of Rasta Imposta, a costume seller. “The whole family comes into the spirit because everyone keeps saying that we need Halloween, that we need something for the kids,” added Mr. Berman, who is closely involved with the Halloween & Costume Association business group.

The National Retail Federation, an industry group, expected Halloween consumer spending to hit about $ 8 billion this year, down from $ 8.8 billion last year, due to fewer Halloween parties, sleight of hand and haunted house calls. But the enthusiasm around the costumes and decorations persisted.

“We’ve sold more decorations, more animated props than we’ve ever had in our business history,” said Morris, who owns the business with his sister Terri. Bate. People “dress the house a lot more,” he says.

Even people who refrain from cheating or treating are wearing new outfits, often for Facebook and Instagram, said Mr Berman, whose sales have also increased. He compared this year’s quest for light costumes to Halloween after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While some customers have avoided costumes that depict images of the coronavirus itself, people have adopted outfits that, he says, reflect “the culture of what we are facing now.”

“They do fun things like the bottle of disinfectant or the disinfectant,” Berman said. “People are going to be toilet paper – you can either be a full roll of toilet paper or the brown cardboard tube with a small piece of toilet paper stuck to it.” He shared a photo of a group costume involving both outfits with a third person dressed as feces.

Still, the popularity of the costumes linked to Covid-19 is somewhat inadvertent.

“The challenge with the costumes is that it’s kind of like the stock market in that you have to buy the product six, eight months before the holidays,” Morris said. “You really don’t know what’s going to sell, you just say ‘yes’. Hand sanitizer – thought that would be OK, but we’re absolutely exhausted.

While traditional Halloween costumes like witches, ghosts, and Disney princesses still sell out, many Americans are buying and making house versions of costumes that reflect 2020.

Jen Dibert, 43, from Silverdale, Washington, has been handcrafting her daughter’s Halloween costume every year for more than two decades. But as the holidays approach this year, Ms Dibert and her daughter Savannah, 26, struggled to find a costume that would suit such a strange and tumultuous time.

Then the idea came to Ms. Dibert.

“This year has been a real mess,” she said. “Why not get dressed in 2020?”

Savannah will wear a placemat around her neck to symbolize the passing of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg and don a “Make America Great Again” cap as a nod to the upcoming election. She will wear a mule wig, mustache and plastic tiger to portray the hit Netflix show “Tiger King.”

Additional touches include a giant papier-mâché murder hornet on his back and felt sticks and flames on his boots to represent the wildfires on the West Coast. And to symbolize the pandemic, she’ll wear a mask under her chin and carry a grocery basket filled to the brim with – what else? – rolls of toilet paper.

She will wear the outfit to a Halloween party at a popular local bar, where she hopes to win the costume contest.

Ms Dibert, who doesn’t wear a mask in public because she says she doesn’t believe the government has a right to tell people what to do, hopes the party will give her daughter a chance to enjoy a night of pleasure after so much. months of being locked inside.

“I hope it’s like it’s another Halloween and nothing is different on this day unlike the rest of this year,” Ms. Dibert said. “I just want her to feel normal and have fun.”

While Mr. Berman, like many other business owners, praised Halloween sales volume given the uncertainty of the timing, he noted that before the pandemic, 2020 was on the verge of be a boon to the holiday and party industry.

“This would be the year Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday, Cinco de Mayo came across ‘Taco Tuesday’, July 4th was a weekend,” Mr. Berman said, adding: “Halloween was a Saturday , summer day. and a blue moon. So it was that crazy perfect Saturday and Halloween, then Christmas and New Year’s Day also fell on Fridays or Saturdays. It was the perfect, perfect, perfect storm for the party industry.

He added: “2020 should have been the best year ever and it turned out a little different. So are the products selling and things better than they could have been? Yes. Could it have been better if Covid had not happened? Yes.”