Barack Obama Praises Willie Mays In Happy B-Day Post ... You Paved The Way For My Presidency!!!

Barack Obama had nothing but beautiful things to say about Willie Mays on the MLB legend's birthday ... even saying the ex-SF Giant helped pave the way for his presidency.

Obama posted the cool happy birthday note to the former slugger on his Twitter page Thursday ... saying, "Happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays!"

"If it wasn't for folks like Willie and Jackie Robinson, I might never have made it to the White House."

Obama continued, "The spirit he played with and the way he carried himself changed the game and people’s attitudes. I’m glad he’s still going strong."

Obama and Mays have had a friendship that dates back years ... Mays famously rode on Air Force 1 with Obama in 2009 when the two were on the way to the '09 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Obama later went on to joke about that trip ... saying, "Very rarely when I'm on Air Force 1 am I the second-most important guy on there. Everybody was just passing me by, 'Can I get you something, Mr. Mays?"

In 2015, Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mays as well.

Mays is to this day still one of the best baseball players that's ever lived ... he was a 2-time MVP, 24-time All-Star and a 12-time Gold Glove winner.

Happy birthday!!!

Blair House Getting $1.8 Mil Overhaul ... After VP Harris Moves Out!!!

It seems Vice President Kamala Harris was waiting to move into one famous D.C. home while living in another that also needed major renovations ... almost $2 million worth!!!

According to federal docs obtained by TMZ ... the Blair House, AKA The President's Guest House, is set for an HVAC replacement among other substantial upgrades over the next year.

The docs show the Public Buildings Service of The White House is dishing out nearly $1.79 mil to a company called Gaghan Mechanical to get the job done.

As we reported ... the Veep and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff had been living at the historic, 19th-century row house located just steps away from The White House since President Biden's inauguration.

That's because the VP's traditional home at the Naval Observatory was also getting a bunch of repairs ... but Kamala and Doug were finally able to move into that fancy mansion last month.

Once it's all gussied up, Blair House -- which is actually 4 distinct buildings merged into one with a total of 119 rooms -- will most likely go back to hosting former Presidents and other dignitaries ... who'll all enjoy some kick-ass ventilation.

Michael Flynn I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag ... Uh, How's the Rest Go???

Michael Flynn either forgot the words to the Pledge of Allegiance, or he's a master at working for the crowd with MC call-backs ... and a lot of people think it's the former.

President Trump's former National Security Advisor -- and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, no less -- showed up Sunday at a pro-Trump rally down in South Carolina ... an event called "Bikers for Trump" which was held at the HonkyTonk Saloon.

At one point, Mike got on stage and led the audience in reciting the pledge ... and he kinda made a big show about it too, which made his weird silence look even worse.

Check it out ... Flynn starts out strong with the memorable words, but once he got past the initial sentence -- he seemed to have gotten his tongue-tied on the exact phrasing, and stopped talking altogether. Luckily, the crowd knew the rest ... and they finished it out.

MF hopped back in at "under God, indivisible." Unclear if he truly forgot -- or if he was doing that for dramatic effect ... but in any case, the pro-Trumpers didn't really mind. They gave him a big round of applause afterward, and it looked like they appreciated the gesture.

Of course, Twitter was having a field day with the awkward moment ... with many cracking jokes at Flynn's expense, saying a lot of guys from Putin's inner circle tend to have trouble with the pledge.

He was also accused of being a traitor -- which harkens back to his early tenure in the Trump WH ... when he was found to have been feeding intel to Russian operatives during the transition, something he lied about to Mike Pence (and the FBI) and ultimately got convicted for amid Robert Mueller's Russia probe.

Trump granted him a full pardon, however ... and all was forgiven, at least in Uncle Sam's eyes. That doesn't seem to be the case with the general public, though. Oof ...

Utah Republicans to Mitt Romney BOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! ... Jeers at GOP Convention

If you thought Utah Republicans forgot all about Senator Mitt Romney turning his back on Donald Trump -- welp, they haven't. Exhibit A ... this tidal wave of boos.

The Utah U.S. Senator showed face Saturday at a GOP convention at the Maverik Center in his home state -- but not one of the 2,000 or so delegates on hand seemed all too happy to see him step to the podium ... and they made their displeasure known, very loudly.

Check out this brutal scene ... the entire building is straight-up booing the man, with no shame whatsoever. He was also reportedly met with taunts and jeers, likening him to a "communist" and a "traitor." Unfortunately for Romney, he got booed the hell off stage.

We'll give him credit -- he tried holding his own up there for a while, even bringing up Biden's first 100 days, seemingly in an effort to curry favor with the Utah crowd. They weren't having any of it, though ... and Romney eventually addressed the elephant in the room.

He said it's no secret he wasn't the biggest fan of Trump's "character" before someone came to get him. That's an understatement if we ever heard one -- and big-time downplaying.

Fact is ... Romney drew his line in the sand many times over, especially with his impeachment votes. You might recall ... he twice voted to convict Trump at his trials, agreeing that the guy had either 1) abused his presidential power or 2) incited an insurrection. Trump was acquitted in both instances.

1/5/21
GOIN' AFTER MITT

BTW, this ain't the first time Romney's been called a traitor straight to his face -- remember, he was met with that exact chant on a plane earlier this year. So yeah, his constituents have made clear ... they ain't afraid to speak their minds in his presence. Not one bit.

President Biden's Dog Major Prrretty Sure He'll Be Cool w/ New Cat Thanks to Special Training

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT
NBC

President Biden's dog, Major, will soon have a new four-legged pal around the White House ... 'cause the Bidens are getting a cat and they made sure Major can handle it.

Biden and the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, told "Today" Major underwent special training that included the German Shepard visiting a cat shelter to see how he reacts around cats ... and he did fine.

When "Today" co-anchor Craig Melvin brought up Major, Biden joked, "We were going to bring him in to see you" ... to which Melvin replied, "Well, I don’t know if that’s the best idea based on what I’ve heard about Major."

Jill defended Major ... calling him a "sweet, lovable dog."

Major, of course, has had 2 biting incidents at the White House ... with the first one getting him and his pal, Champ, sent back to Delaware last month. Major eventually returned but just days later there was another biting incident ... prompting some extra handlers and a new trainer.

But now, there's going to be a cat in the mix. There had been rumors the Bidens would adopt a cat and Jill confirmed, "she is waiting in the wings." It's unclear when exactly the cat will arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. but we can only say to the new First Feline is ... Godspeed.

Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi History Calls For Elbow Bumps!!!

MAKIN' HISTORY
C-SPAN

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi just made history before President Biden's first address to Congress ... celebrating the moment with a super cool elbow bump!!!

It's the first time in our nation's history two women are flanking an American president inside the House Chamber ... and Kamala and Nancy marked the occasion in style.

The mutual respect didn't stop with the iconic elbow bump, Kamala and Nancy also shook hands, even though they aren't supposed to get so close due to coronavirus protocols.

But, hey, this is a huge deal, so it's easy to understand how they could get caught up in the moment.

And, this is super interesting ... the two women who just made history tonight are not only both from Cali, they're both from the Bay Area. As Pelosi said today, there must be something in the water!

Get ready to see the elbow bump in history books one day, but in the meantime, we're sure it will get the meme and GIF treatment.

Way to go, ladies!!!

Rep. Karen Bass Confident on George Floyd Policing Act ... At Least 80% Chance to Pass

EXPECT PROGRESS SOON
TMZ.com

If Rep. Karen Bass were a betting woman, she's close to betting the house, no pun intended, on Congress passing police reform legislation and getting it signed by President Biden in no time.

The U.S. Congresswoman for California's 37th District joined us Tuesday on "TMZ Live" and laid out surprisingly good odds for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to get the necessary votes in, not only in the House, but in the Senate ... where Republicans have numbers to stall or kill the bill.

Bass, who introduced the bill in June 2020, says she's been working closely with Sen. Tim Scott -- who's spearheading efforts to gather enough Republican votes -- and she believes he's fully committed to getting it passed. Right now she's putting their odds of success at 80 percent, but explains she might go even higher than that.

The bill aims to ban chokeholds, no-knock warrants and profiling, and also to set national standards for police training ... among many other things.

Overall, the Congresswoman says the goal is to make policing more accountable and transparent -- and for the first time in decades, she's confident it's an achievable goal on Capitol Hill.

President Biden Zoomin' Might Be Easy ... But It Ain't Cheap!!!

Just like most of us over the last year, the White House is leaning on Zoom to conduct meetings and get face time with folks amid the pandemic, but chances are President Biden's Zoomin' is MUCH more expensive than yours.

According to federal docs obtained by TMZ ... the Executive Office of the President has spent a little more than $422,000 on Zoom licensing fees since mid-January, right around the time Biden took office.

That might seem pretty hefty -- especially for those who mostly use Zoom for free or at a low cost to chat with family and friends ... but the licenses needed for the government to use Zoom, at the capacity required for the Prez, really add up.

As you might know ... Biden's been on Zoom a lot lately, including for the current virtual Global Climate Summit with dozens of other world leaders.

POTUS also swore in hundreds of federal appointees and staff via virtual Zoom ceremonies after his inauguration.

For what it’s worth, things seem to be opening up a bit now ... so maybe these pricey Zoom licenses won’t be necessary for much longer. Let's hope so, since our taxes are paying that tab.

Donald Trump Campaign Accused of Deadbeatism ... Bill Collector on the Case

4:22 PM PT -- One of Trump's senior advisers is dumping cold water on the Albuquerque story, saying the campaign doesn't owe the city a nickel.

Jason Miller tweeted in emphatic terms Saturday, "The Trump campaign does not owe any money here & this story should be retracted immediately. Security matters for a President are resolved by contacting the Secret Service, not whining to the ⁦@ABQJournal."

Donald Trump shoulda called 1-800-NOBILLS, because his now-defunct campaign is being dunned by a bill collector after its client got royally stiffed.

The City of Albuquerque shelled out more than $200k for security-related costs associated with a 2019 campaign rally ... this according to The Hill. The City had blocked off City Hall, among other areas of town, and it required massive police presence, which forced the City to pay cops a bundle of OT. There were many other expenses as well.

The rally was held in the nearby city of Rio Rancho. A spokesperson for the City said campaign honchos told them from the jump they wouldn't cover the expenses, but now the matter has been referred to a debt collection agency.

The campaign has also stiffed the city of Rio Rancho to the tune of $239,475. And, Bernalillo County also sent the campaign an invoice for nearly $140,000, which has now been written off as a bad debt.

Apparently, some of the notices of delinquent payment were sent to Trump's doorstep at Mar-a-Lago.

This isn't the only case where the Trump campaign allegedly cut and run. The City of El Paso hired lawyers to try and recover more than half a mil for rally-related expenses for a 2019 rally.

Originally Published -- 7:08 AM PT

President Biden, VP Harris George Floyd Changed The World ... Chauvin Guilty Verdict Can Spark Change

LOTS OF WORK LEFT TO DO

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris just reacted to the guilty verdict that was handed down in the Derek Chauvin murder trial ... and they say it's a catalyst for ending systemic racism.

Biden says he told George Floyd's daughter, Gianna, her father "changed the world" ... and he's calling on Americans to unite behind the guilty verdict and help make the country a better place where folks don't have reason to fear law enforcement.

POTUS says Floyd's murder in broad daylight ripped the blinders off and allowed the world to see the systemic racism rooted in America ... and Biden says the verdict is a step towards changing the country's trajectory.

Harris says the guilty verdict offers a bit of relief, but it can't bring back Floyd or take away his family's pain ... and she says now's the time to reform policing in America.

PRESIDENTIAL CALL FOR CHANGE

In the courthouse hallway moments after the verdict, Biden called the Floyd family and expressed his feelings that justice was served.

As you know by now, a Minneapolis jury just found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder and third-degree murder for killing Floyd during his arrest on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was also found guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

4/20/21
GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY
Fox 9

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prez commented that he had checked in on Floyd's family and told them he was "praying the verdict is the right verdict." He also called the Chauvin case "overwhelming."

The Chauvin verdict does not mean the overwhelming nature of the case is over ... as the 3 other officers involved in Floyd's arrest are due to stand trial soon as well.

Along with that ... Chauvin could very well appeal the verdict and there could be much more legal drama ahead, as his own trial judge even alluded to.

Walter Mondale Former VP Dead at 93

Walter Mondale, the influential former Senator, Vice President and Democratic nominee for president, is dead.

Mondale, who served as President Jimmy Carter's veep from 1977 to 1981, died Monday in Minneapolis ... according to his family.

Known as Fritz to loved ones, friends and voters, Mondale was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984 after transforming the VP role while serving alongside Carter ... but he lost the general election in a landslide to Ronald Reagan.

Despite missing out on the presidency, Mondale made history with his running mate Geraldine Ferraro ... making her the first woman to run for VP on a major party's ticket.

Mondale was the first VP to take on a larger role, becoming a model for those who followed ... including Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, Al Gore and George H.W. Bush.

In fact, Biden famously said Mondale was the first person he called when Barack Obama asked him to be vice president.

Mondale was born and raised in Minnesota and served as the state's U.S. Senator for 12 years from 1964 to 1976, helping boost civil rights, social programs and environmental protections during Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency.

He also served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan for 3 years, being appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton.

Mondale was 93.

RIP

L.A. Lakers Won't Visit White House During D.C. Road Trip ... Open to Future Meeting

The L.A. Lakers will NOT visit Joe Biden at the White House next week to celebrate their 2019-20 NBA championship -- but it ain't a protest.

Unlike every NBA team during the Trump administration, the Lakers are NOT choosing to skip the Biden visit for political reasons -- it's all about COVID protocols and scheduling conflicts, according to multiple outlets.

The Lakers will be in D.C. to take on the Washington Wizards on April 28th -- and championship teams have historically scheduled the celebratory White House during road trips in the area.

But, it won't happen this time.

However, the Lakers -- including superstar LeBron James -- are open to a future meeting with President Biden ... possibly later or even after the season.

Hey, they're all busy people!

Plus, the NBA has strongly discouraged teams from participating in large public gatherings -- which could be one of the reasons they're pressing pause on the White House visit for now.

During President Trump's term -- zero NBA or WNBA championship teams visited the White House.

The Warriors, Raptors and Lakers were all outspokenly against the visit -- and Trump, in turn, either withdrew his invitation or never extended one.

Same with the WNBA teams and nearly every major college basketball champion with one exception ... the Baylor women's team visited after their 2019 title win.

But, Biden is hoping to end the streak -- and he probably will. After all, a bunch of NBA superstars including LeBron endorsed Biden for president.

Sylvester Stallone Not a Member at Mar-a-Lago ... Just a Dinner Guest!!!

Sylvester Stallone has hung his hat in Florida, but a recent report saying he's become a member of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago is flat out wrong ... TMZ has learned.

A story ran earlier this week claiming Sly was a newly-minted member of the club, having recently been spotted inside Mar-a-Lago's walls.

Sly's reps, however, say Sly is not, and has never been, a member at Mar-a-Lago. The rep tells us he was recently an invited dinner guest at the club, but does not own a residence on the golf course, nor has he paid for a membership.

While he isn't a member at Mar-a-Lago, we're told Sly remains a member of The Breakers Club, also located in Palm Beach.

Sly and his fam recently left Cali for the Sunshine State ... following in the footsteps of a slew of celebs.

The Rock It'd Be an Honor To Serve as Your President!!!

The Rock may be blowing smoke about running for President in 2024, but it's looking increasingly like he's serious.

A poll shows 46% of the people surveyed felt he'd be a good enough Prez to gain their support. And, check out our own TMZ poll today ... very similar.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

He said, "I don't think our Founding Fathers EVER envisioned a six-four, bald, tattooed, half-Black, half-Samoan, tequila drinking, pick up truck driving, fanny pack wearing guy joining their club -- but if it ever happens it'd be my honor to serve you, the people."

It's unreal how Americans assume an entertainer they like could pivot to the White House, but that's clearly the case. At a point there's going to be a disclaimer for candidates ... NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

Have we not learned that lesson?

'The Rock' for President Early Poll Promising ... Nearly Half Back the People's Champ!!!

If Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson does indeed run for U.S. President as he's hinted he might, he nearly has all the votes needed to win already ... at least based on a new poll.

The former WWE superstar turned Hollywood A-lister has the support of 46 percent of adult Americans if he were to make a Presidential run in 2024 ... according to a recent online poll of 30,138 potential voters between April 2 and April 4.

The same poll found 29 percent would support dual campaigns by The Rock for POTUS and Matthew McConaughey for Texas Governor ... something the actor's also suggested he's considering.

Other notable poll results include 30% support for Angelina Jolie for Prez, 27% for Oprah ... and a shockingly low 22% for Tom Hanks.

Overall though, nearly 2 out of 3 adults polled said they believe celebs make good politicians if they have a good team and possess "political aptitude."

As ridiculous as that may seem to some, it also makes sense. Ex-Prez Donald Trump still has major support in the Republican party, and several other past Hollywood stars went on to make big political splashes ... Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Al Franken and Ronald Reagan, just to name a few.

As for the Rock ... he's been floating the idea of a White House run since 2016, and added fuel to the fire on 'Ellen' in 2017 and 'The Late Show' in 2018 by continuing to say he's seriously considering it.

More recently, he told a reporter he'd run for POTUS "if that's what the people wanted." Well, Rock ... it looks like you have your answer.

Buttigieg on Biden Infrastructure Yeah It's Big, But Very Much needed ... And Major and I Are Good!!!

ALL CLEAR!!
TMZ.com

Pete Buttigieg says his boss's big-ticket infrastructure plan is overdue for modern American life -- but he's got even more to say about his new gig and his first run-in with Major!

The Transportation Secretary will be on 'TMZ Live' Tuesday ... pushing President Biden's robust American Jobs Plan -- a $2.3 TRILLION proposal he just unveiled, which entails sweeping changes not just to roads and bridges ... but a heck of a lot more, including stuff you'd never think of as traditional "infrastructure."

Pete says folks shouldn't find this bill or its vaulted price tag too daunting ... because the definition of infrastructure for Americans in 2021 has evolved, and this plan reflects that.

We also got into his day-to-day on the job, and turns out ... he and other Biden officials just recently got together for their first cabinet meeting. Check out how Pete describes it -- beyond having to keep it COVID-friendly, it sounds inspiring.

Of course, we also had to ask Pete about the President's pooch ... Major, who's had a streak of bad luck lately with a couple biting incidents. He tells us he's actually interacted with the canine himself, and by his account ... there's nothing to fear!

Pete even showed us proof that he's still got all ten fingers in place -- so we'll take him at his word the German Shepherd can, in fact, be a good boy.

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!