Fox News 2024-07-11 20:08:10


Fetterman breaks silence on Biden, says there’s only one candidate that can beat Trump

Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., doubled down on his support for President Biden after his highly criticized debate performance last month. 

Fetterman told Fox News host Jesse Watters Wednesday on “Jesse Watters Primetime” he realizes Biden isn’t as sharp as he was a few years ago, but it doesn’t change his support for the commander-in-chief.

“I really don’t think I’ve seen anything that makes me want to change that,” he said. “I’m not following him blindly, but I do fundamentally believe he’s been a great president and I do believe ultimately he can prevail.”

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Biden has refuted calls from his own party to step down from the 2024 race, saying in a letter to House Democrats Monday that he’s the best candidate who can beat former President Trump in November. 

Nine House Democrats and one Democratic senator have called on Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race since his disastrous performance at the CNN Presidential Debate in Atlanta, according to a tally from The Associated Press.

Fetterman admitted to Watters he only saw parts of the Biden-Trump debate, but there was no question that the president had a “bad night.”

He said he’s spent a year with Biden at different events across Pennsylvania, and to him, he was “normal” and “engaged.”

“He was actually very popular, and people were eager to have a selfie and those kinds of thing[s]. So, I really want to remind everybody that Joe Biden has done a really good job as president, and I fundamentally am going to remain loyal to that,” Fetterman added. 

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The former Braddock mayor said at the end of the day, debates don’t really mean much and conversations about Biden stepping down should stop.

“Joe Biden is going to be our guy, and it’s going to be rough, and it’s uncertain, but it’s going to be very close as well, too,” he told Watters.

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“I refuse to turn our back on a great president and I know people watching this might disagree that he hasn’t been a great president, but I do believe he was. And I think loyalty is really one of the last… It’s one of the last currencies in this lousy business.”
 

Barstool Sports founder torches Clooney over Biden op-ed: ‘What a f—— hero’

Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, mocked actor George Clooney for waiting until three weeks after his star-studded fundraiser in which he raised millions of dollars for President Biden to acknowledge he’s “a vegetable.”

“George Clooney, what a f—— hero this guy is, huh? Comes forward today — now, this guy threw a fundraiser, raised tens of millions, co-chair for Biden, three weeks ago. Today comes out, he’s like, ‘Guess what? The guy you saw in the debate, that vegetable, that’s f—— Biden, he’s a vegetable. He was a vegetable three weeks ago.’ Acting like he’s doing some heroic thing.”

Clooney called on Biden to leave the 2024 race in a New York Times guest essay on Wednesday, writing, “It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal’ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

He added that “party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw” in the debate. “We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign.”

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The actor joined a growing list of Hollywood elites and megadonors who’ve turned on Biden following the debate, where his halting, frail and at-times confused performance alarmed supporters. Members of Biden’s party, political allies and liberal media figures have also pressured the president to drop out of the race, warning he cannot beat former President Trump.

“So what, George? If [Biden] didn’t do the debate… and wasn’t a vegetable, you were just going to keep your mouth shut?” Portnoy continued. “And by the way, if you just found out Biden was a vegetable, where have you been for two years? Everyone knows he’s a vegetable.”

Portnoy claimed Biden can’t “get on and off a stage without getting lost, he talks about dead people like he had lunch with them yesterday. He can’t f—— ride his bike without falling down. He can’t get up and down f—— Air Force One without taking a tumble. No s— he’s a vegetable. He’s been a vegetable for two f—— years. Democrats don’t care.”

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He continued, “If I know he’s a vegetable, if Miss Peaches knows he’s a vegetable [referring to his dog] if Clooney knows he’s a vegetable, if the Obamas know he’s a vegetable, if everyone in the world knows Joe Biden is a f—— vegetable, why did he do that debate? Because Democrats wanted to show the world that they have no choice but to f—— whack him,” claiming Democrats want to replace him with Gov. Gavin Newsom, whom he referred to as the “good-looking guy from California.”

Newsom has said that he completely supports Biden and would not run against Vice President Kamala Harris if she replaced him at the top of the ticket. 

“It’s all dirty politics,” Portnoy said. 

He said Democrats “were fine” for the last two years “putting a vegetable in our face. They’re fine with doing a fundraiser three weeks ago for a vegetable. So f— it, let’s just have Trump run versus a head of lettuce. Honestly? The votes will probably be the same.”

He said that people who voted for Biden didn’t actually like the president but rather hate Trump. 

“So f— all these games and stuff. Everyone knows Biden’s a vegetable. So let’s just do the ballot,” he joked. “Trump on one side, head of lettuce on the other.”

He added that he wanted to be spared Clooney’s op-ed “like ‘Oh my God, Biden’s a vegetable. We can’t.’ – you f—— Democrats have known for two years that this guy’s a vegetable, and you keep propping up the vegetable and putting the head of lettuce in our faces.” 

He accused Democrats of wanting to choose their own candidate rather than having a “free f—— election of other candidates, so you had Biden go win it, and now the Democratic Party is trying to say who comes next. It’s a game.”

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He concluded, “They knew he was a head of lettuce. Everybody with a brain knew that.”

Fox News Digital reached out to representatives for Portnoy and Clooney, but did not hear back.  

‘Obama bro’ confirms bombshell claims in Clooney’s damaging op-ed on Biden

A former adviser to President Obama broke his silence concerning President Biden’s mental fitness on Wednesday, just hours after a damaging op-ed by actor George Clooney was published in The New York Times calling on the president to quit the 2024 race.

“It was not surprising to any of us who were at the fundraiser. I was there. Clooney was exactly right, and every single person I talked to at the fundraiser thought the same thing, except for the people working for Joe Biden, or at least they didn’t say that,” Jon Favreau, a member of the group often referred to as the “Obama bros” during his tenure in the White House, said during an appearance on CNN.

Favreau was citing the same fundraiser as Clooney in his guest essay where the actor claimed the Biden that showed up there was “not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal’ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

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Clooney wrote that Democratic Party leaders needed to stop trying to convince Americans they “didn’t see what we just saw,” and accused them of ignoring “warning signs” concerning Biden.

Favreau agreed, telling CNN, “I remember my wife, Emily, turned to me after the fundraiser and said, ‘What are we going to do?’ And I said, ‘Well, there is a debate in a week. Either he’ll do well in the debate, and we’ll think he was just tired because he flew all the way back from Europe, and that’ll be that, or he’ll be like this at the debate and then the whole country will be talking about it. So, here we are.”

Favreau’s blunt comments come just a day after he joined two of his fellow advisers and members of the “Obama bros” in dedicating the majority of their latest “Pod Save America” episode to ganging up on Biden following his poor performance in the first presidential debate and in a subsequent interview.

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“I thought it was bad, and, at times, very hard to watch,” former Obama adviser Tommy Vietor said during the podcast, referencing Biden’s sit-down interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last week that came as part of an effort by Biden to quell critics calling for him to exit the presidential race.

“The debate was just a bad night. We all saw it,” fellow former adviser Jon Lovett said. “The explanations are kind of vague… That doesn’t do enough to assuage our concerns about what we saw that night. Right? So, the explanations don’t offer anything.”

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Biden has said he will not be leaving the 2024 race, and his campaign is continuing to go “full steam ahead,” as one source put it to Fox News Digital on Tuesday.

Battleground Dem suffering after Biden’s debate as party turmoil continues

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is being slammed for his political similarity to President Biden as the president’s poor June debate performance continues to pose concerns to Democrats in down-ballot races and on Capitol Hill.

“Joe Biden’s politics now are not much different from mine,” Brown says in the ad from Republican candidate Bernie Moreno’s campaign. His quote comes from a 2021 interview

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The ad notes the vulnerable Democrat’s proclivity to vote in line with Biden, with a narrator saying, “Extreme liberal Sherrod Brown voted with Biden 99% of the time.” 

The campaign cited an analysis of Senate votes during the 117th Congress in 2021 and 2022, which showed Brown siding with Biden 98.5% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight

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In 2023, during the first half of the 118th Congress, Brown voted with the president 97.9% of the time, per a separate FiveThirtyEight aggregation. 

“Sherrod Brown votes with Biden 99% of the time for his disastrous agenda that has destroyed our economy, created a wide open southern border, waged war on American energy, and sold out Ohio workers,” said Moreno spokesperson Reagan McCarthy in a statement. “Brown can try to run from his record of voting in lockstep with his longtime friend Joe Biden, but Ohioans know that he has rubber-stamped this administration’s agenda every step of the way.”

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The ad is part of a seven-figure statewide ad buy that will run on digital and streaming as well as through the mail. 

In the video, an additional clip of Brown is played from 2019, during which he says, “We have a president who is a racist,” in reference to former President Trump.

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The ad further includes footage of Biden calling Brown his “buddy” and links to a website named JustLikeBiden.com. 

Brown spokesperson Matt Keyes said in a statement to Fox News Digital: “Sherrod works for Ohio, which is why he’s stood up to presidents of both parties to block bad trade deals, worked with Republicans to make sure border patrol agents and law enforcement officers have the resources they need, and demanded the Biden Administration crack down on Chinese solar products that undercut Ohio manufacturers.”

“Meanwhile, Bernie Moreno can’t be trusted and only looks out for himself.”

The Ohio Senate race is rated a “Toss Up” by nonpartisan political handicapper Cook Political Report, alongside only two other Senate races. 

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Moreno’s latest ad against Brown tying his record to the president’s comes as Biden continues to see a downturn in critical polls of the national electorate going into the November election. With split-ticket voting on the decline, candidates for Senate are much more likely to be elected if the presidential nominee at the top of their ticket also carries their state.

Major SCOTUS decision praised by Republicans strips power of ‘unelected bureaucrats’

The Supreme Court this term took a hammer to decades-old legal doctrine that largely saved executive branch agencies in legal disputes. Now, experts say Congress and the next president will have no choice but to work more closely together and stop relying on the “faceless leviathan” of federal agencies.

In a David vs. Goliath dispute, a group of fishermen sued a government agency that mandated the fishermen pay $700 for “at sea monitors,” arguing that the rule is out of the bounds Congress set for the federal agency.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the fishermen in a 6-3 decision last month, and, in doing so, overruled what is known as the Chevron doctrine — a legal theory established in the 1980s that says if a federal regulation is challenged, the courts should defer to the agency’s interpretation of whether Congress had granted it authority to issue the rule, as long as the agency’s interpretation is reasonable and Congress had not addressed the question directly.

Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the majority, warning that eliminating Chevron could give judges without expertise authority in legal disputes regarding regulation of food, medicine, the environment, etc. 

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But conservatives and Republicans, who argued Chevron gave the government too much power to rule through bureaucratic red tape, praised the decision. 

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Looper Bright v. Raimondo is a big win for the little guy and a big blow to big government. Power ought to reside with Americans and those they elect and not the faceless leviathan of 3 letter agencies that has thrived under Joe Biden,” said Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo.

“I think what this decision should mean is that our elected leaders in Congress should be the ones who are making the laws that impact Americans’ everyday lives, and not unelected bureaucrats in cubicles in Washington, D.C.,” Casey Mattox, vice president of legal strategy at Stand Together, told Fox News Digital. 

“It should mean the president having to work with Congress instead of just simply major swings from one direction to the other every four to eight years. That has not served America well,” he said. 

“Congress should not be passing the buck to unelected people to make the decisions,” Mattox added. “And so, I think essentially what the decision to overturn Chevron means is that when Congress is passing laws, it needs to actually get the expertise it needs and then be politically accountable for the decisions it’s making.”

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With Chevron eliminated, Congress will now be forced to write laws with more clear language and less ambiguity. 

John Vecchion, counsel for New Civil Liberties Alliance, who represented some of the fishermen in the case, said that one of the damages of the Chevron doctrine was that it incentivized Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, not to compromise on clear language when writing bills that become law. 

“Because they would make a bet that when their friend was in executive office, either the Republican or the Democrat, the regulation would be made in such a way that helped them, and they could then say ‘this is the law’ but not take the blowback if there were bad results from that,” he explained.

Republicans in Congress have already shifted focus to legislation that would eliminate more executive red tape. 

Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., and Sens. Schmitt, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, held a press conference Wednesday to press forward on regulatory reforms.

“It should infuriate Americans that for decades some of the most important policy questions have been decided by unelected bureaucrats and not their elected representatives,” Cammack said. 

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She added that the Supreme Court’s decision “cracked open the door” and that lawmakers need to “ensure that Congress is the chief lawmaking body, not bureaucrats.”

That assurance could come in the form of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS Act.

The bill would broaden the scope of the Congressional Review Act to require every new “major rule” proposed by federal agencies to be approved by Congress before going into effect.

Specifically, the House and Senate would be required to pass a joint resolution in order for a major rule to be approved by Congress.

The bill defines a “major rule” as any federal rule or regulation that may result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, government agencies or geographic regions; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

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“The REINS Act would… reverse the problem that we’ve got now today, where you can be deprived of life, liberty and property… simply by violating something that’s never even darkened the door of either chamber of Congress, let alone passed in the manner required,” Lee said. 

Additionally, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-Ky., on Tuesday sent letters to federal agencies to “demand the review of various overreaching regulations” in an effort to “free the American people from the power-hungry administrative state.”

“With their ruling in this case, the Supreme Court restored proper constitutional separation of powers as our Founding Fathers intended by overturning Chevron deference and requiring the courts to decide disputes over interpretation of statutory text,” he said Wednesday.

“Agencies can’t be allowed to run free without any checks on their power — we’ve already seen how frequently federal agencies will abuse their authority,” Scalise said.

Massive brawl breaks out on world stage after team loses critical game

A horrific scene broke out at the end of a Copa América semifinal on Wednesday night as Uruguay players brawled with Colombian fans in the stands. 

After Colombia defeated Uruguay, 1-0, to advance to the Copa América final, things turned violent when cameras caught Uruguay players, seemingly led by Darwin Núñez, walking into the stands and throwing punches at Colombia fans. 

Security at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, attempted to hold players back, but things were already getting too ugly. 

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Núñez appeared to throw several punches in videos of the brawl that have surfaced, while Uruguay defender José María Giménez threw a punch as well. 

Colombia fans were fighting back, throwing punches themselves while others were throwing objects toward the brawl while it was taking place. 

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After things finally settled, everyone wanted to get to the bottom of why Uruguay players would jump into the stands and fight fans. Giménez said the families of the Uruguay players were in danger. 

UNITED STATES KNOCKED OUT OF COPA AMÉRICA AFTER HEARTBREAKING LOSS TO URUGUAY

“Please be careful because the families are in the stands. They stormed all our families, a certain sector of Colombia fans and they won’t let us speak on the microphone,” Giménez said to Fox Sports in a Spanish interview that was translated to English. “I’m going to say it now because I know I can. Because if not, they’ll cut you off. 

“This is a disaster. Our families are in danger. We had to get on the top of the stands as soon as possible to rescue our loved ones with newborn babies. It was a disaster.

“I hope those who are organizing this are a little more careful with the families, with the people and with the people around in the stadiums. It’s a disaster because all the matches are the same. The families are suffering because of some who drink one or two shots of alcohol that don’t know how to drink who behave like children and are not decent.”

Giménez’s argument that Uruguay players were protecting their families was reiterated by Uruguay Football Association President Ignacio Alonso. 

“Uruguay’s players had an instinctive reaction, which is natural, which is going to defend and protect the children who were on that side of the stands, who were suffering attacks, the women, the parents, the closest family members, siblings,” he said in a Spanish interview that was translated to English.

CONMEBOL, which is the South American governing body of Copa América, released its own statement, saying they strongly condemn “any act of violence that affects football.”

“Our work is based on the conviction that soccer connects and unites us through its positive values. There is no place for intolerance and violence on and off the field,” the statement read. 

Before the fight broke out in the stands, things were already chippy with these two teams on the pitch. First, Daniel Muñoz was sent off for the match after receiving two yellow cards, leaving Colombia down one man for the entire second half. Muñoz had elbowed Uruguay’s Manuel Ugarte, leading to the referee to pull out his second card. 

Then, at the end of the match, players and staff members from both teams were seen in a scuffle at midfield, with pushing and shoving taking place before it broke up. 

While emotions run high during any sporting event, nobody ever wants to see them spill over in this fashion. 

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CONMEBOL will hope the Copa América final between Colombia and Argentina this Sunday will not see the same reckless behavior. 

Blue state to ban hotels from providing guests with mini shampoo, conditioner bottles

New York state will be mandating hotels to forgo small bottles containing “hospitality care” products such as shampoo and lotions.

The enforcement comes as a bill was passed in the New York Assembly in hopes of reducing waste.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2025, hotels with more than 50 rooms will not be able to provide toiletry bottles under 12 ounces, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s website.

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The act, which was first introduced in 2019, defines “hospitality personal care product” as a “product provided by a hotel and intended to be applied to or used on the human body or any part thereof for cleansing,” the legislation states.

The law says that hotels that break the restriction will first receive a warning with 30 days to “correct the violation.”

If the hotel fails to do so, they will be “liable to the state for a civil penalty of two hundred fifty dollars.”

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A $500 fine will follow if the hotel is still providing bottles within the next 30 days, according to the legislation.

Some large hotels have already begun making adjustments. 

“We have long been focused on our residential amenities program, switching from small toiletry bottles to larger, pump-topped bottles as part of our commitment to reduce plastic waste,” a Marriott Hotels spokesperson told FOX Business.

The spokesperson added that by the end of 2023, Marriot Hotels achieved “95% compliance for the transition to residential bath amenities for certain brands across managed and franchised hotels globally, with additional properties transitioning through 2024.”

A Hilton spokesperson told FOX Business, “As of 2023, Hilton properties were required to transition to full-size shampoo, conditioner, and soap amenities, eliminating single-use miniature bottles and reducing disposed bars of soap.”

The rollout begins with large hotels, while starting in 2026, all hotels in New York will have to comply.

The act was set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, though hotel industry lobbyists pushed for a delay so hotel staff could use bottles that were left in stock, Fox Television Stations reported.

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Last year, a similar law took effect in California to ban tiny toiletry bottles from the state’s hotels.

FOX Business reached out to the New York State Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation for additional comment. 

Prince Harry’s ESPY award is ‘exceptionally bad publicity’ for embattled royal: expert

Prince Harry is said to be “stunned” over the backlash he’s facing as he prepares to receive an award named in honor of a fallen soldier and promising NFL player.

ESPN previously announced that the Duke of Sussex would be this year’s recipient of the esteemed Pat Tillman Award for Service at the 2024 ESPY Awards, which takes place on Thursday in Los Angeles.

British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital that Harry should have graciously declined the award in response to the controversy.

DECISION TO NAME PRINCE HARRY THE RECIPIENT OF PAT TILLMAN AWARD SCORCHED BY MOM: ‘CONTROVERSIAL AND DIVISIVE’

“His refusal to turn down the Pat Tillman Award, despite suffering a furious backlash with the petition urging ESPN to reconsider its decision… tangibly shows how his popularity has plummeted,” Fordwich claimed.

“The latest to lash out at him is Admiral Lord Alan West, Former Royal Navy Chief and Labour peer, saying that ‘he ought to think very hard and long’ about accepting this particular award as it ‘doesn’t travel well with people in the military,’” said Fordwich. “… He further added to ‘sit back and not accept awards like this.’”

“This entire debacle points to Harry’s lack of experience and understanding of the commercial sector, the… world he has chosen to operate in,” Fordwich continued. “ESPN wants to honor Harry not for what he has done, since many others have done and accomplished more, per [Tillman’s mother] Mary Tillman, but because it generates huge publicity for them whilst harming Harry with exceptionally bad publicity.”

But not everyone agrees.

“It’s rare that I find myself coming to Prince Harry’s defense these days, but in this instance, I have to,” Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital. “It’s not Harry’s fault that he was offered the Pat Tillman Award. What was he supposed to do? Turn it down? How tacky would that have been?”

The younger son of King Charles III, who served in the British Army for 10 years, is being recognized for his work with the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded service men and women. The 39-year-old launched the international event in 2014, one year before stepping down from active duty.

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“Harry obviously considered it a great honor and given what he has done for wounded veterans through his Invictus Games, the Duke of Sussex certainly seemed a logical choice,” said Andersen.

“Harry is so proud of his military service and Invictus that it’s no wonder he is stunned by the backlash,” Andersen continued. “First his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, strips him of all his ceremonial military titles and uniforms, and now this. Harry is used to being raked over the coals, but this is a genuine heartbreak for him.”

Fox News Digital reached out to a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for comment.

It is understood that Harry has no plans to turn down the award. The Telegraph previously reported that Harry was “stunned” by the heat he faced, and it was “a bitter pill to swallow.”

“Harry’s legacy on Invictus, the things he has achieved, that’s his real passion,” a source told the outlet. “This is the space in which he truly feels at home, it is something he deeply cares about. The reaction certainly took the shine off the award.”

The announcement first raised eyebrows when Mary Tillman, the late hero’s mother, claimed she was never consulted about the decision to award Harry with the prestigious honor.

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“I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award,” the matriarch told the UK’s DailyMail.

“There are recipients that are far more fitting,” she said. “There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans.”

Mary noted that ESPN should have chosen someone who has never been in the spotlight and highlighted their heroic efforts.

“I have said all that I will say on this matter,” Mary told Fox News Digital.

The Pat Tillman Foundation, which Mary is not associated with, has been selecting recipients since the award was established in 2014. Mary has never been consulted or privy to recipients in the past.

ESPN analyst Pat McAfee accused his network of “trying to piss people off” for picking the royal.

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“It’s going to Prince Harry, who I don’t even think is a prince anymore, right?” said McAfee on his talk show, as quoted by the New York Post. “He said don’t call me that? See, why does the ESPYs do this s–t?”

Tillman became a hero to many when he walked away from a lucrative NFL contract and a newlywed bride to join the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His death in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2004 — later revealed to be by friendly fire — struck even more of a chord. He was 27.

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“There has been a fierce backlash against Harry getting the Pat Tillman award,” royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Fox News Digital. “The Invictus Games, which help wounded military personnel, both serving and veterans, which he created a decade ago, is given as the reason for the award.”

“It is indeed a remarkable achievement. However, the Pat Tillman Award is for service, and Harry, despite a decade in the military and two tours of duty in Afghanistan, showed no sense of true service in the way he, with Meghan Markle, stepped down from royal duties, monetized his royal connections and trashed his family publicly.”

“The Sussexes conducted a kind of guerrilla war against the monarchy, which cast a shadow over Queen Elizabeth’s final years,” Fitzwilliams claimed. “… Nearly 70,000 have signed a petition criticizing him receiving this award, which makes it highly controversial. The way he has behaved reflects on his character, which is, according to many, unsuitable.”

Andersen said it’s easy to see why ESPN chose to honor Harry this year.

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“By choosing Prince Harry, I’m sure ESPN felt to some degree that it was elevating the award,” Andersen explained. “People are failing to see the big picture here. How many more millions of people now know about the Pat Tillman Award precisely because it’s being given to Harry?”

“There was a similar uproar in January when Harry was inducted into the ‘Living Legends of Aviation’ Hall of Fame because of his service as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan,” Andersen pointed out. “But this is not the same thing. Harry may not be a ‘Living Legend of Aviation,’ but he certainly has earned his stripes as an advocate for severely wounded service people.”

A spokesperson for ESPN told Fox News Digital: “ESPN, with the support of the Tillman Foundation, is honoring Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, specifically for the work of The Invictus Games Foundation as it celebrates its 10th year promoting healing through the power of sport for military service members and veterans around the world.” 

“While we understand not everyone will agree with all honorees selected for any award, The Invictus Games Foundation does incredible work and ESPN believes this is a cause worth celebrating.”

Jake Wood, a U.S. Marine who won the award in 2018, told TMZ that Harry is a “natural fit” for the honor because of his military background and work with veterans.

Air Force Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro Jr., who won the award in 2017, also told the outlet that Harry is worthy of the honor.

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Royal expert Ian Pelham Turner noted that the blowback Harry has faced seems unfair given his history.

“Harry should receive the award,” Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital. “He is a proven soldier with a distinguished war record in Afghanistan and has fought tirelessly for veterans to be supported and valued.”

“If [Mary] Tillman is not fully aware of his great public service to veterans, she should be made aware and apologize for the stress she has created,” he claimed. “The problem really stems from the… negative whispers constantly defaming his virtues and values… I hope Harry continues with his great veteran service, and he eventually has real awards of medals on his chest – similar to King Charles.”

“There’s no way of telling how much this newest controversy is hurting the reputation of the Invictus Games themselves,” Andersen chimed. “There have been calls from some veterans in the UK for Harry to step down from the Games, claiming they have become ‘too royal.’ That simply won’t happen. Invictus is Harry’s baby – period.”

The Duke of Sussex has had a troubled relationship with the royal family since he quit royal duties in 2020 and moved to California with his wife. According to the couple, the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media prompted the move.

Woman recalls bizarre encounter with serial killer nearly 50 years later

EXCLUSIVE – A now-63-year-old woman narrowly escaped serial killer Christopher Wilder in 1977, when she was 16, but she didn’t know it until years later.

On a Fort Lauderdale beach in late June of that year, LeAnne, who asked to be identified only by her first name, was hanging out with her friends when two pretty brunette women in their 20s, both wearing black T-shirts that read “Barbizon Modeling,” approached the then-16-year-old girl and asked if she’d be interested in talking to their boss about a modeling opportunity for a local department store.

LeAnne thought: why not? She could use some extra money.

“And because they were so affable and sweet, chatting to all of us girls there, they completely disarmed me. And I got up to go talk to this person and found him to be very polite, very professional,” LeAnne told Fox News Digital. “He was wearing shorts, maybe a polo-style shirt or a button-front shirt.… He presented his business card to me, and as a 16-year-old, I completely believed his spiel. And the girls were right there.”

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LeAnne would spend the next four hours talking to the man whom she eventually learned was Australian-American serial killer and former FBI Top 10 Most Wanted fugitive Christopher Wilder. Wilder killed at least eight women in the 1980s.

Wilder, also known as the “Snapshot Killer” and the “Beauty Queen Killer,” drove across the country, scoping out girls at places like beaches and shopping malls. He would take their photos and offer them modeling opportunities. He died in 1984 during a shootout with New Hampshire State Police when he was caught after a two-month murder spree.

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The killer’s name recently reappeared in headlines after the release of Hulu documentary series “The Beauty Queen Killer: 9 Days of Terror,” which premiered in May. In the docuseries, survivor Tina Risico shares how she was kidnapped by Wilder when she was 16 years old and taken on a nine-day, cross-country road trip in 1984, during which Wilder forced her into helping him commit a crime.

LeAnne wants Risico to know she is not alone, and she understands how Wilder was able to coerce her more than four decades ago.

That day on the beach in June 1977, LeAnne said Wilder had her fooled. At first, they walked on the beach with the two brunettes as Wilder asked LeAnne interview-style questions. Then, they separated from the two brunettes and Wilder asked her if she wanted to get a cool drink somewhere.

They walked across the street from the beach, in and out of shops, and Wilder continued to ask her questions about her family, where she lived, what her life goals were. 

WATCH ‘SURVIVING A SERIAL KILLER’,

He pointed out what people were wearing and told LeAnne that her flip-flops were unflattering and suggested she take them off. She did, and walked around barefoot for the remainder of the day. 

He also made her walk in front of him and suggested she sway her hips to appear more like a model, but LeAnne insisted that he was never flirtatious throughout their four-hour interaction.

“I cannot explain it. He was incredibly poised.”

— LeAnne

“I cannot explain it. He was incredibly poised. And asked certain things about my goals in life and that sort of thing. Put yourself back in the place of the very first time you had a job interview. It was very much like that,” she said. “He would make commentary about fashion trends and… he seemed to be very knowledgeable. But I’m 5-foot-4. I never thought about modeling. I was a cute girl, but I was not a beauty queen.”

At one point during their excursion, Wilder said he wanted to call his colleague to let him know he’d scouted a potential model. LeAnne watched as he made a call on a payphone and – wouldn’t you know it – the colleague he was talking to was driving on an overpass directly above them in a fancy sports car at that exact moment.

“He’s waving to the car as it goes past us. And he was [laughing], ‘Oh, yeah. That’s hilarious. I can’t believe I just saw you,'” LeAnne recalled. “He was feigning that he was talking to the guy in the car.” But at the time, she was impressed, especially since car phones weren’t common back then.

Later, Wilder suggested they go to the mall and look at different fashion trends. LeAnne agreed, and Wilder walked her to his vehicle, where he told her she’d have to partake in a trust exercise.

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“There was a grassy area under some trees in the car park, and he said, ‘OK, let’s talk about performance,’ then said, ‘I want you to close your eyes and seduce me with your face.’ At 16 years old, other than a romantic movie, I didn’t know how to look,” LeAnne said, adding that he did not try to touch her or have her touch him at that point. “I just had to put on these facial expressions with my eyes closed. And then he said, ‘OK. Do you know about trust activities?’”

The trust activity in question was blindfolding LeAnne as they drove to the mall. On their drive, LeAnne told Wilder that she was in her church’s youth choir, and they were preparing to singBattle Hymn of the Republic” for a Fourth of July service. Wilder asked her to sing it aloud, blindfolded, as they drove.

“I’m in this car wearing the blindfold, singing, ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah,’ a cappella.”

— LeAnne 

“I’m in this car wearing the blindfold, singing, ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah,’ a cappella. I mean, it’s the most ridiculous thing,” she said. “I would not have done something like that – singing for some random person, blindfolded in a vehicle – had I not entirely believed everything that he had said.”

But between the two brunette recruiters, Wilder’s business card, his professional clothing on the beach and his lack of flirtatiousness had LeAnne convinced that she was talking to a real fashion model scout. In his vehicle, LeAnne shared her home address, her mother’s phone number, her mother’s place of employment and other personal information with Wilder because he said he would need to call her mother for permission to let LeAnne become a model because she was still a minor.

They went into a local shopping mall and looked at different fashion styles before Wilder led LeAnne back into his vehicle and blindfolded her again.

“You could have knocked me over with a feather.”

— LeAnne

“And once I had the blindfold on, he took my left hand, pulled it across the console, and he put it on his lap. I was stunned – absolutely stunned – to know that he had exposed himself. He had pulled himself out of his zipper. You could have knocked me over with a feather,” she said. “I did not think this man was a pervert.”

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LeAnne “calmly” pulled her hand back and began to cry, and Wilder tried to console her. 

“He said, ‘OK, sweetheart… I’ll tell you what, why don’t you go ahead and hop on out?’ I lived fairly close to that shopping mall. He said, head on home. Get something cool to drink. And then I will be in touch with you and your mom on Monday,” LeAnne said. 

She told her mother about her meeting with Wilder and how he offered her a modeling job, but did not mention what happened later. It’s a regret she still holds to this day.

She didn’t think much about the random model scout encounter until years later, in 1984, when there was news going around about a serial killer who kidnapped a teenager named Linda Grover from a Tallahassee mall, blindfolded her, stuffed her in the back of his vehicle and eventually glued her eyelids shut.

But while there were similarities between her experience and the 1984 kidnapping case, LeAnne was still skeptical that they were the same man, particularly because she had heard on the news that the suspect was originally from Australia, and the man she spoke to in 1977 did not have an Australian accent.

Then, about a decade ago, LeAnne came across more information about Wilder on the internet and Googled him “just out of curiosity.”

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“And there was his mugshot. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s the guy,'” she said, adding that she also learned he did not have an Australian accent despite being born there.… Obviously, I was dumbfounded and realized who it was that had taken me.”

Now, when LeAnne reflects on her experience at the beach that day in 1977, she thinks of what a “close call” she had “with that twisted, evil individual.” She hopes other women who encountered him will share their experiences.

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“My heart just goes out to anybody who may have encountered him. And if somebody happens to read this and they, too, crossed paths with him but came away from it like I did, maybe… get the word to to [Risico] and others out there that you’re not alone. You are not stupid.”

Wilder may be tied to more murders in Florida and New York, according to local news outlets.

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