Morning Update: Paint Me Like One Of Your Influencers

Trump launches his 2020 bid, our Tony Robbins investigation continues, a US journalist is denied a China visa. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, June 19.

Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is in a 2016 time loop

Have we ever really left the 2016 campaign trail? Over two and a half years, President Donald Trump has been relying on the same themes, catchphrases, and theatrics that generated headlines in 2016. Except he is the president.

In front of thousands in Orlando, Florida, Trump launched his bid for reelection — unsure of whether to keep America great or make America great again. Trump ran through crowd favorites: He praised the number of people who had shown up, bashed the media, and — you saw it coming — reignited the anti–Hillary Clinton chants.

The event was scant on policy details. No problem: As Miriam Elder reports, “Many people in the crowd probably weren’t there to hear concrete ideas but to see the man who has given them an entire identity to build around.”

Read our dispatch from the Trump 2020 campaign launch.

👉 LGBT protesters in Orlando called it “a slap in the face” that Trump chose to hold his event there, less than a week after the anniversary of the Pulse massacre in which 49 LGBT people were killed at a gay night club.

Tony Robbins punishes followers by making them drink an unidentified brown liquid “designed to have a lasting effect”

According to video and internal documents we reviewed, the self-help superstar punishes those who fail at his self-help tasks by calling them onstage in front of large crowds and making them drink the unidentified mixture.

Robbins places “L” stickers on audience members’ foreheads and then, while the song “Loser” by Beck plays over the speakers, forces them to down a “gross shot,” the contents of which he does not disclose to them. Former insiders told us they witnessed people getting sick after being given drinks.

Read part four of our ongoing investigative series.


None of the men battling to be the United Kingdom’s next prime minister have said they will extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland. It’s the only place in the UK where abortion is almost completely banned. Five of the six candidates said they would take no action (one candidate has been eliminated). Boris Johnson did not respond at all.

President Trump refused to apologize to the exonerated Central Park Five and said “there are people on both sides of that.” The president ran full-page ads in 1989 advocating for bringing the death penalty back to “punish” the teen suspects. The men were exonerated by DNA evidence. Trump refused to acknowledge the exoneration.

A man allegedly shot his daughter in front of her son amid a “petty” fight about a baby gate. Police said Wendell Wilson told them it “comes down to a dominance thing,” and that he didn't want his daughter to have the last word in the argument about the effectiveness of putting up a baby gate.

Netflix is defending its new prank show with the Stranger Things actor that’s drawing backlash. Prank Encounters has been criticized for playing tricks on people who are looking for work, but Netflix is standing by it.

An American reporter was denied a visa to China. She said it’s because she criticized the Communist Party.

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian is a freelance journalist based in Washington, DC. She started the process of applying for a journalist visa to China last year with French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).

After months of waiting, AFP was told that if it wanted to fill the position, it would have to put forth another candidate, Allen-Ebrahimian said in an interview.

Allen-Ebrahimian has written extensively about Chinese government influence campaigns in the US, including on an agency under the ruling Communist Party that works to project Chinese government influence abroad.

China’s government has historically used visas to keep out journalists and news organizations who engage in critical work.

Allen-Ebrahimian told us she believes she was denied a visa in retaliation for her work.

A model and painter is defending her Instagram against claims she’s not actually painting anything in them

Cristina Szeifert is a Romanian model, influencer, and painter. She’s responding to critics who are accusing her of being a “fake” painter and staging photos that claim to show her painting.

Specifically, critics are wondering why the paint palette in the Instagrams never changes from post to post. Like, it’s exactly the same.

Szeifert maintains she's created “almost every painting” posted to her account.

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