GOP turns to Trump to rescue Tennessee Senate seat




Donald Trump and Marsha Blackburn

Republicans are counting on President Donald Trump to help drag Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn over the finish line. | Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

Elections

“She’s got Tennessee values,” Trump roared Monday night at a rally for Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

Donald Trump stumped in East Tennessee Monday night to headline a rally and fundraise for Rep. Marsha Blackburn. But his mission was broader: preventing the massive upset brewing in the state’s open Senate race.

Just two years ago, Trump trounced Hillary Clinton in Tennessee, winning by 26 points. Today, Republicans are working to stave off what would be a disastrous defeat in the battle for the Senate seat left vacant by GOP Sen. Bob Corker’s retirement — a loss that could threaten the GOP’s razor-thin majority. They’re counting on the president to help drag Blackburn over the finish line.

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Trump did his best to do that at the raucous rally, where attendees cheered the president and chanted, “Martha! Martha!”

“She’s got Tennessee values,” Trump roared. “A vote for Marsha is really a vote for me and everything that we stand for. It’s a vote for ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Blackburn, briefly addressing the crowd, lauded Trump’s “amazing 20 months” in office.

“I know that the Democrats keep saying that there is a blue wave coming,” she added, “but let me tell you something: ‘Mr. president, when that blue wave gets to the state line, it is going to run smack dab into the great red wall.”

Yet Blackburn and state Republicans are leaning so hard on Trump that the pivotal Senate race might come down to a single question: How much Trump is too much?

“I think it’s a vulnerable race in a very Republican state,” said longtime Tennessee Republican strategist Tom Ingram. “I think Trump is still popular here. But this is a statewide race, not a district race. The dynamics change a lot between a polarized district and a broader-based state.”

Monday’s events mark the president’s second visit to the state since the spring. That’s on top of the images from a Trump rally that appear in Blackburn’s TV ads, her repeated touting of the president’s endorsement and, in a recent 30-second spot, using Trump’s own words to blast Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen.

Republicans predict tonight’s rally will motivate motivate a sluggish base that will be essential to a Blackburn win this fall. Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said he expected supporters would line up for blocks Monday night to catch a glimpse of Trump in Johnson City. The event was in Washington County, in the heart of Trump territory, where the president cleaned up in 2016, winning nearly 70 percent of the vote.

“When you have a president that goes to that length in order to see people, that just absolutely gets our folks very fired up and enthused about what we need to do for the election,” Golden said. “For him to be here, to personally come and talk to the people — 7, 8, 9,000, whatever it ends up being — in an arena setting, is electric.”

Trump’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time for the GOP. Blackburn has fallen behind in recent polls. She’s up against a wealthy two-term ex-governor with statewide name recognition, who’s also popular among the female voters who are uncomfortable with Trump.

For months, the president himself has monitored Blackburn’s polling in the race, according to three White House aides and allies. Trump has personally called her to check in and offer his encouragement, tweeted supportive messages on her behalf and hosted a Nashville rally in the spring. The president, the sources said, was behind deploying Vice President Mike Pence last month to Knoxville, where he headlined a $1,000-a-person Blackburn fundraiser.

Ad spending data show that six Republican-aligned groups have booked airtime for the Tennessee Senate race through November, having spent nearly twice as much on reservations in the final weeks as Democrats.

America First, the major Trump-aligned super PAC, is watching the Tennessee race closely and contemplating whether it needs to assist. Another super PAC, the Committee to Defend the President, has run polling and predictive modeling that shows Blackburn is better-positioned, based on a partisan breakdown of who is going to vote, a source with the group told Politico.

But that’s dependent on Republicans getting their electorate to the polls.

The catastrophic scenario of having the Tennessee Senate seat fall into Democrats’ hands for the first time in nearly three decades is not lost on Republicans — from Trump on down. A win in Tennessee would give Democrats breathing room: Even if one of their own endangered Senate incumbents loses in November, they’d still have a chance at winning the Senate.

That’s why both sides have paid close attention to voter turnout efforts. Garren Shipley, a Republican National Committee spokesman, said that since 2012, the party has heavily invested in data.

“For Tennessee, that means campaigns armed with the most up-to-date information possible,” Shipley said. “This is the most hard-nosed, impressive ground game Tennessee has seen since the days of General [Robert] Neyland,” he added, referring to the legendary University of Tennessee football coach.

Mary Mancini, Tennessee Democratic Party chair, pointed to August primary results as evidence momentum is with Democrats.

Mancini said the primary showed “an increase in turnout all across the board,” for Democrats. “We flooded the field with county commission candidates, state House and Senate candidates. People were just excited to come out and vote for a Democrat,” she said, noting that recruiting more Democrats to compete in local races is key to motivating the party across the state.

Out of 118 state House and Senate races, for example, Democrats have candidates in 104 of them. “That’s the most we’ve had in 20 years,” she said.

Democrats contend the GOP’s heavy reliance on the Trump brand is a miscalculation. Republicans are betting all their resources on their base, they say, while Democrats are busy expanding theirs with a candidate who appeals to independents and crossover Republicans.

Bredesen touts an “A” rating with the NRA and recently opened up a debate by announcing he wouldn’t support Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

In one of Bredesen’s ads, he stares into the camera vowing he’ll stand with Trump when it’s appropriate.

Trump challenged that pledge Monday evening, arguing that a vote for Bredesen is a vote for Schumer and Democrats, who will “flood your streets with criminal aliens,” expand health care to unauthorized immigrants, “abolish immigration enforcement entirely,” block conservative judges, withhold spending on the military.

“He seems like a nice guy,” Trump said of Bredesen, linking the Democrat to Nancy Pelosi and noting his financial support for Clinton and Barack Obama, “but what good does that do?”

Citing tariffs that he says have hurt manufacturing companies in the state, he makes clear he’ll step away from Trump when necessary and vote “with Tennessee” when necessary.

“He’s the candidate that fits Tennessee the best,” Chris Hayden of the left-leaning Majority Forward said of Bredesen. “He’s shown he has an independent streak, and he’s going to stand up for Tennessee first.”

Majority Forward, a nonprofit group affiliated with Senate Majority PAC, is administering $24 million in voter mobilization efforts in key Senate races, primarily focused on Tennessee, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana.

Ingram said Tennessee Republicans can’t count on Trump’s popularity transferring to Blackburn, pointing out that some who have tried emulating Trump by going far to the right failed to connect with voters. He pointed to the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary, where, he said, the two Republican candidates who were the most conservative and mostly aligned with the president finished second and third.

“There’s only one Trump,” Ingram said. “And Trump voters are Trump voters. It’s a mistake to consider that they’re all ultraconservative voters. They’re angry, frustrated, felt-left-out voters. Some of them are very conservative, some aren’t. They’re all over the board in Tennessee. I think putting all of your eggs in the Trump basket in Tennessee is a little risky.”

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Another mistrial declared in murder case of cheerleader burned alive

A hung jury forced a mistrial in the case of a Mississippi man accused of setting 19-year-old Jessica Chambers on fire and killing her.

Jurors reported they couldn’t reach a verdict Monday in the week-long trial of 29-year-old Quinton Tellis, who faced capital murder charges for the second time in Panola County Circuit Court.

Judge Gerald Chatham Clarence declared the mistrial after a day and a half of deliberation when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision. Initial proceedings ended under the same circumstances.

Tellis was accused of dousing the teen cheerleader with gasoline then torching her car in December 2014 on a rural road in Courtland.

Prosecutors alleged Tellis met up several times with the teen, who was a recent acquaintance, on the day of her gruesome murder.

Tellis initially claimed they just spent the morning driving around with her friend, but changed his story when presented with surveillance footage and cellular data that placed them together on the night she died, according to prosecutors.

Investigators testified there were other inconsistencies with his alibi, such as his claim that he was with a friend named Big Mike, who officers later discovered was in Nashville to watch a football game on the day in question.

He also claimed to investigators that burn marks on his own body were from playing a bonfire game.

The defendant allegedly wiped his phone of all communication with Chambers in the aftermath of the teen’s death.

Tellis, however, adamantly insisted that he was innocent and was became emotional when questioned during a taped interrogation.

“I ain’t never killed nobody,” Tellis told authorities. “I don’t even got it in my heart.”

His lawyers centered their argument around testimony from multiple emergency responders who heard the dying teen name “Derek” or “Eric” as her attacker.

Two medical experts called to the stand by the prosecution challenged the possibility the teen girl would’ve have been able to speak given the extent of her injuries. Officials estimated that nearly 93 percent of Chambers’ body suffered burns in the horrific incident.

The teen’s family became emotional at times during the week-long trial, particularly when emergency responders described finding Chambers walking on the side of the road covered in soot and with her hair fried.

Tellis’ mistrial comes as he faces another murder indictment in the 2015 stabbing death of Meing-Chen Hsiao in Monroe, Louisiana. He already pleaded guilty in the case to unauthorized use of her debit card. He is currently serving a prison sentence for an unrelated burglary charge.

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Tesla’s board is so bad at its job, it failed at the one thing it says is paramount — protecting CEO Elon Musk

Tesla‘s board is spectacularly bad at its job — even measured by its own very low bar.

As the charges of securities-law violations filed last week against the electric-car company and CEO Elon Musk indicate, Tesla’s directors failed at the job that’s supposed to be the top priority of any board: overseeing top executives. But they also failed at doing what they’ve defined as their highest duty — ensuring that Musk remains the unquestioned leader at Tesla as its CEO and chairman. As part of the settlement the company and Musk agreed to with the SEC, Musk will step down as chairman of the board.

In fact, Tesla’s board is so horrible at its job that the SEC effectively ordered it to undergo a shakeup as part of the settlements. Not only does the company need to replace Musk as chairman, but it also needs to add two new independent directors to the board. What’s more, the SEC found it necessary in its settlement with the company to order directors to do what they should have been doing all along: keeping a close watch over Tesla’s CEO.

SEC: Tesla had no Twitter policy for Musk

The SEC complaints were related to Musk’s infamous “funding secured” tweets from last month. The agency charged that Musk knew— or had reason to know — that the statements he posted on Twitter about potentially taking the company private were false and misleading.

But in the complaint it filed against Tesla itself, the SEC made clear that the board itself was also at fault. In a public regulatory filing in 2013, the company alerted the agency and investors that it planned to use Musk’s Twitter account to communicate with investors. That meant that anything that Musk or the company posted on that account pertaining to information about the company — and there was a lot of it — would have to meet the same disclosure requirements as official company statements such as press releases or documents filed with the SEC.

Despite that, no one on the board or at the company reviewed Musk’s tweets before he posted them, according to the SEC’s complaint. Worse, the company had no procedures or rules in place to ensure that Musk’s Twitter statements met SEC disclosure requirements.

“Until after the August 7, 2018 tweets, Tesla had no corporate policies that specifically addressed Musk’s use of Twitter,” the SEC charged.

As part of the settlements, Tesla and Musk declined to admit to or deny the agency’s allegations. That’s par for the course; when the SEC settles charges with defendants, the latter rarely acknowledge guilt. But you can take the company agreement as part of the settlement to pay a $20 million fee and to shake up its board as a tacit admission that the board wasn’t doing its job.

Tesla’s board was doing its best impression of Nero

It’s been clear for a long time now that instead of overseeing Musk, Tesla’s directors saw it as their job to defer to and empower him. But the SEC complaint against Musk added additional details about the board’s negligence in the form of the detailed timeline of the events leading up to and following his statements that a move to take the electric-car company private was all but a done deal.

The actors that are conspicuously absent from much of that sequence of events: Tesla’s directors. They’re also notably absent in CNBC’s story about the events immediately leading up to the SEC’s decision to file charges, during which time Musk reportedly rejected the agency’s initial settlement offer — a move that for a short time put in doubt whether he’d be able to remain at the company at all.

After Musk rejected that offer, the agency filed suit against him and sought to permanently bar him from serving as an officer or director of any public company. Musk ended up settling with the SEC the next day.

In other words, Tesla was facing what its own directors apparently considered an existential threat — Musk’s departure — yet they seemed to do almost nothing to prevent it. Instead, they seemed to be fiddling while Rome was burning.

Neither Tesla nor Musk has commented publicly on the settlements. But in response to the charges that were filed Friday against Musk himself, the board put out a statement that almost read like a non sequitur. It didn’t directly address the SEC’s complaint or its possible consequences. Instead, it seemed to indicate that the company and it would continue on with business as usual.

“Tesla and the board of directors are fully confident in Elon, his integrity, and his leadership of the company, which has resulted in the most successful US auto company in over a century,” the board said. “Our focus remains on the continued ramp of Model 3 production and delivering for our customers, shareholders and employees.”

Musk’s tweets about Tesla going private got him in trouble

Musk is in trouble for a series of tweets sent August 7 in which he stated that he was considering taking Tesla private at a $420 a share price, that the funding for such a deal was already “secured,” that investors were on board, and that the only barrier left to the move was a shareholder vote. He also said that the company was hoping to structure the deal so that all current investors could remain shareholders in the company even after it went private if they so chose.

According to the SEC complaint, Musk had reason to know when he made the statements that pretty much all of them were false or misleading. Although he’d spoken with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund about a deal to take Tesla private prior to the tweets, they hadn’t discussed a price and had no formal, signed agreement in place, according to the SEC. The company hadn’t even begun to work through how it might structure the deal so everyday shareholders could remain investors, the SEC said.

By the time of the tweets, the board hadn’t even received a formal proposal for such a transaction, much less voted to approve it, according to the complaint. And Musk hadn’t spoken to any institutional investors about such a deal, the SEC said.

Tesla’s board is largely absent from the SEC’s timeline

The SEC’s complaints against Musk and Tesla are largely focused on the actions of Musk himself, but they do give some insights into what happened inside the company after his tweets. Some 35 minutes after Musk sent his initial “funding secured,” Deepak Ahuja, Tesla’s chief financial officer, sent him a text message asking whether Ahuja and other Tesla executives should craft a message for Musk to send to employees and investors that explained the rationale for the move. Musk sent out that email later in the day.

Kimbal Musk, Elon’s brother, is one of Tesla’s directors.
Fred Prouser/Reuters

Meanwhile, just minutes after that first tweet, Tesla’s head of investor relations sent his own text to Musk asking him to verify the tweet. The IR head, along with Musk’s chief of staff and Musk himself, then fielded multiple inquiries from reporters, investors, and analysts asking for clarification about the tweets.

There’s no indication from the complaints that Tesla’s directors said anything to Musk about them or reacted to them in any particular way.

And that’s odd, because if the SEC complaints are correct, they — as much as Musk — had reason to suspect that at least some of the tweets were false. They knew, for example, that more needed to be done to complete a going private transaction than just getting a shareholder vote, according to the SEC. At least one of them, according to the complaint, seemed to know that structuring such a deal so that everyday shareholders could remain investors was dubious — and that the board hadn’t even considered a formal proposal for how to do that.

One would also think that the board would have immediately tried to get an explanation from Musk about his tweets, since the idea that a deal was mostly done would have come as news to them, as the complaint makes clear.

Yet despite that, there’s no indication in the complaints that the board confronted Musk about the tweets or encouraged him to correct the record in short order. Tesla representatives did not respond to an email seeking information about discussions the board may have had with Musk about his tweets or his negotiations with the SEC.

Regardless, the board certainly didn’t clear up Musk’s alleged false statements itself. Instead, it allowed those statement to remain in place for nearly a week.

The board had reason to know Musk was in serious trouble

It wasn’t until August 13 that Musk himself started walking back his tweets, acknowledging that there was no formal proposal to take the company private and nothing had been presented to the board. On August 24, he publicly abandoned the effort in a blog post, acknowledging for the first time that there were potential obstacles to allowing current shareholders to remain investors after the company went private.

The SEC reportedly opened an investigation into Musk’s tweets by the day after he posted them and subpoenaed the company’s directors on the matter within weeks. So, directors had every reason to know that Musk and Tesla faced serious legal trouble soon after he made the statements. The SEC complaints can and do lead to the ouster of executives and even to criminal charges by the Department of Justice.

One would expect that Tesla’s directors would have been doing everything they could to placate the SEC and to push Musk to settle the case on terms as favorable as he could get, as soon as possible, especially if those terms allowed him to keep his chairman and CEO titles.

That’s because directors have made it clear that keeping Musk at the company has been paramount for them. Earlier this year, in explaining why it needed to hand out a stock award to him that could pay him as much as $55.8 billion, directors explained that he was a crucial component to the company.

“The board believes that having the active and engaged services of Mr. Musk is important to the continued growth and long-term interests of Tesla,” the directors said. “While the board recognizes that Tesla has many valuable employees who have been a critical part of Tesla’s success, the board believes that many of Tesla’s past successes were driven significantly by Mr. Musk’s leadership.”

When Musk rejected the SEC’s initial settlement offer, there was a real chance that he would be forced out of any kind of leadership role at the company. Despite that threat, there’s no indication in the reports about Musk’s negotiations with the SEC that the board played any active role in advising its CEO during that period.

By the board’s own terms, the settlement is a big loss for Tesla

Musk ultimately agreed to step down as chairman, pay a $20 million fine, and have his communications with investors overseen by the company. Additionally, Tesla agreed to add the new board members and pay its own $20 million fine.

Although those penalties are somewhat harsher than what the SEC initially offered, they still look a lot like a slap on the wrist compared to what the agency could have gotten if it took the case to trial. After all, Musk remains at the company.

But by the board’s own words, his removal as chairman is a significant blow to Tesla. This spring, shareholders proposed that the company bar Musk or anyone else from holding both the CEO and chairman titles. In arguing against the proposal — which investors ended up voting down — Tesla’s board emphasized how important it was to the company that Musk retain both roles.

“The board believes that the company’s success to date would not have been possible if the board was led by another director lacking Elon Musk’s day-to-day exposure to the company’s business,” it said. The board continued:

“The board believes that it is precisely during times when a company must quickly adapt to constant change and outside pressures that board leadership needs to be lockstep with the company’s operations. Our achievements to date notwithstanding, the company is still at a point in its development where we must execute well in order to realize our long-term goals, and separating the roles of chief executive officer and chairman at this time would not serve the best interests of the company or its stockholders.”

Now, thanks to the board’s lack of oversight of Musk, Tesla will have to face its uncertain future without him holding both roles. In other words, while the company’s directors helped fend off an investor proposal to disempower Musk, their ineptitude led to him losing his crucial chairman role anyway.

So, great job, Tesla directors. Not only are you bad at looking out for the interests of shareholders, you’re weren’t even good at protecting your all-important CEO. And now the company, investors, and Musk have all paid the price — and may have to keep paying it.

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Mitchell Trubisky had the best day ever for a Bears QB

Mitchell Trubisky had a rocky second year, but he caught fire on Sunday against the Buccaneers. And he did a lot of it before halftime. Trubisky threw five touchdowns in the first half after throwing just two through the Bears first three games. He finished the game with six touchdowns in a 48-10 win.

How impressive is that? Trubisky is the first quarterback to throw five touchdowns in a half since Aaron Rodgers did against the Bears in 2014 AND no Bears quarterback in the Super Bowl era has thrown five in a game.

Trubisky carved up a weak Buccaneers secondary and showing why the Bears traded up to the second overall pick to get him in 2017. He’s threw deep touchdown passes, shorter touchdowns in the red zone, and hit five different receivers on all five touchdowns. Taylor Gabriel caught the sixth touchdown pass, giving him two on the day.

Touchdown #1: 39-yard pass to Trey Burton

Tampa Bay didn’t decide to play defense on the first touchdown Trubisky threw. Trey Burton found himself wide open down the right sideline, where he was able to catch the ball and slide in for a touchdown.

Touchdown #2: 14-yard pass to Allen Robinson

Corner routes in the end zone can be deadly — especially versus man coverage. This is a great throw by Trubisky to Robinson in the corner of the end zone. It was also Robinson’s first touchdown as a Bear!

Touchdown #3: 9-yard pass to Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen was matched up on Lavonte David in man coverage on this first-and-goal. Cohen ran an angle route where he ran outside before breaking back inside toward the end zone. Trubisky hit him in stride for six.

Touchdown #4: 20-yard pass to Josh Bellamy

For his fourth touchdown of the first half, Trubisky found Josh Bellamy on a wheel route. Bellamy snuck by the Bucs’ defense unguarded for an easy touchdown.

Touchdown #5: 3-yard pass to Taylor Gabriel

The Bears broke the huddle with both Trubisky and backup quarterback Chase Daniel in the backfield. Trubisky flipped the ball to Gabriel in motion before faking the handoff to Daniel (lol). Tampa Bay’s linebackers followed Daniel on the fake as Gabriel ran into the end zone.

After two quarters of play, the Bears were up 38-3 in a complete blowout of the Bucs. Then, Trubisky struck magic again for his sixth touchdown of the day — a short rollout pass to Taylor Gabriel.

Trubisky fell short of his seventh touchdown as the Bears went into cruise control for the second half. The Bears scored 38 of those 48 points in the first half. The rest of the team did it’s part too, and if this is the beginning of better play, even more consistent play, from the second-year quarterback, the Bears could be tough to beat.

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Las Vegas strip will go dark to honor shooting rampage victims



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It’s been a year since Jason McMillan was shot at the Route 91 Harvest Festival while shielding his girlfriend from the gunfire raining from a nearby high-rise. Since the shooting, the father of two got engaged, bought a home and got a puppy. (Sept. 27)
AP

The marquees along the iconic Las Vegas Strip will go dark Monday night to mark the first anniversary of a gunman’s rampage that killed 58 people at an open-air country music festival.

The solemn event is one of several scheduled to mark the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that saw more than 400 other people wounded by bullets fired from a high-rise hotel room. Hundreds more were injured while fleeing the chaotic scene.

“A lot of people have probably put it out of their minds,” said Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who led a fund drive that raised millions for victims. “The anniversary is going to bring up a lot of feelings, good and bad.”

Thousands of music fans were gathered on the Strip for the Route 91 Harvest Festival, listening to Jason Aldean wrapping up the night’s show. Stephen Paddock was holed up in a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino complex.

At 10:05 p.m. Paddock began firing down on the crowd. The next 10 minutes were a blur of fear and panic as victims tumbled while survivors scrambled to elude the onslaught.

The shooting stopped at 10:15. More than 1,000 rounds of ammunition had been fired. It would be more than an hour later that officers swarmed the room, finding Paddock dead on the floor of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

More: Doctor faces discipline over Las Vegas shooter’s drug records

More: Outrage over MGM Resorts’ decision to sue victims of massacre

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, following a 10-month investigation, announced that authorities could not determine a motive for the carnage. The FBI is still trying to find one.

“A lot of the feeling among people is more, ‘Let’s move on,’” community activist Pauline Ng Lee said. “We don’t have a lot of long traditions here. You can see it with buildings. Casinos come up, casinos get knocked down. People tend to look forward, not back.”

But for now the city is looking back. The police department is hosting a sunrise remembrance ceremony Monday, and a few hours later a prayer vigil is set for City Hall. On Monday evening a new remembrance wall will be dedicated. Later, the Strip will go dark at 10:01 p.m., and other areas of the city are expected to turn out their lights as well.

At 10:05, a somber reading of the names of victims will take place at the Community Healing Garden, a memorial site downtown.

Gov. Brian Sandoval ordered flags across the state to fly at half staff on Monday.

“The people of Nevada will never forget this tragic day, and hold the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in their thoughts and prayers,” Sandoval said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

 

 

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WATCH: NJ star 070 Shake performs with Kanye West on ‘SNL’ before his MAGA hat rant

Kanye West’s post-show “MAGA” rant on “Saturday Night Live,” which was delivered after the broadcast ended, grabbed headlines this weekend, along with Matt Damon’s portrayal of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

But 070 Shake, the 21-year-old West collaborator and upstart talent from North Bergen, also had her moment in the spotlight during the “SNL” season premiere (see tweets below). 

After West performed songs with two other artists — donning a Perrier bottle costume for “I Love It” with Lil Pump, who was outfitted as a bottle of Fiji Water — and debuting “We Got Love” with Teyana Taylor — Shake took the stage alongside West, Ty Dolla $ign and Kid Cudi during the end credits of the show to perform the song “Ghost Town” from West’s album “Ye.” The album was released in June and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. 

Shake, born Danielle Balbuena, has been praised for her high-flying performance during the much-praised outro of the song.

“And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free,” she sings. “We’re still the kids we used to be/ I put my hand on a stove/ To see if I still bleed/ And nothing hurts anymore/ I feel kinda free.”

Signed to West’s G.O.O.D. Music label since 2016, Shake has appeared on a total of three West-produced albums that were released in the span of one month, starting with the Pusha-T album “Daytona,” released in May, followed in June by “ye” and “Nasir” from Nas.

The “070” in her name refers to 07047, the zip code for North Bergen. She’s a member of the 070 crew, a collective of local artists. The “shake” refers to the shake-and-weave, a basketball move from her days playing in North Bergen (she was a shooting guard on the Bruins girl’s basketball team at North Bergen High School). 

In July, Shake performed the song “Santeria” alongside Pusha-T on “The Tonight Show.” 

Shake’s debut EP, “Glitter,” came out in March. She’s currently working on a full-length album. 

West was wearing a red “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) hat during his performance of the song, a portion of which played during the end credits. After it was over and the show was no longer on the air, he had some more words for “SNL” (see partial clip below).

“They bullied me backstage,” West said. “They said, ‘Don’t go out there with that hat on.’ They bullied me backstage. They bullied me. And they say I’m in the sunken place. Do you wanna see the sunken place? OK, I’mma listen to y’all now,” he said, removing the hat. “Or I’m gonna put my Superman cape on,” he said, putting it back on. “Because this means you can’t tell me what to do. Follow your heart and stop following your mind. That’s how we’re controlled. That’s how we’re programmed. If you want the world to move forward, try love.” 

During his post-show remarks, West also referenced plans to run for president in 2020 and claimed 90 percent of the news media — and “TV, LA, New York, writers, rappers, musicians” — is liberal. 

“So it’s easy to make it seem like it’s so, so, so one-sided,” he said. 

President Donald Trump addressed West’s “SNL” appearance on Sunday afternoon.

“Like many, I don’t watch Saturday Night Live (even though I past hosted it) – no longer funny, no talent or charm,” he tweeted. “It is just a political ad for the Dems. Word is that Kanye West, who put on a MAGA hat after the show (despite being told “no”), was great. He’s leading the charge!”

 

Amy Kuperinsky may be reached at akuperinsky@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmyKup or on Facebook.

 

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