Posts tagged with "Associated Press"

Trump called U.S. WWI war casualties buried at French cemetery ‘losers’ and ‘’suckers’

September 7, 2020

President Donald Trump called American soldiers who died on French soil during World War I “losers” during a trip to France in 2018, according to multiple sources cited by The Atlantic.

The comments, reportedly were made ahead of a planned visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in France that was ultimately canceled, with the excuse that Trump had worried that a rain storm in the area “would mess up his hair,” reports The Daily Beast.

Trump later referred to World War I Marines who were killed at Belleau Wood, where American and allied troops successfully halted the German advance towards Paris in 1918, as “suckers” for dying at at the hands of the enemy. Trump reportedly expressed confusion about the United States’ involvement in World War I, asking aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?”

Responding to the report in a statement, the White House said, “This report is patently false. President Trump holds the military in the highest regard. He’s demonstrated his commitment to them at every turn.”

However, an investigative reporter for the Associated Press tweeted that a senior Defense Department official “confirmed this story by Jeffrey Goldberg in its entirety.”

In a statement, Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, said if the report were true, the president’s comments represented “yet another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States.”

The president has a long history of attacking military service members, even those in his own party, including the late Republican leader Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), whom he called a “fu***ing loser” upon seeing flags lowered to half-mast in McCain’s honor after his death in 2018. “He’s not a war hero,” Trump said of McCain in 2015 while running for the Republican presidential nomination. “I like people who weren’t captured.” The president reportedly told his staff, “We’re not going to support that loser’s funeral” after McCain’s death. Trump was not invited to the memorial service, The Daily Beast notes.

During a 2018 planning meeting for a White House military parade, Trump reportedly refused to allow wounded veterans to march, especially not amputees. “Nobody wants to see that,” he was quoted saying.

On a visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2017, Trump reportedly joined John Kelly, then Homeland Security secretary and soon-to-be White House chief of staff. Kelly’s son Robert, who was killed in Afghanistan at the age of 29, is buried at the cemetery. While standing before the grave, Trump is said to have asked the elder Kelly, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”

Kelly thought the remark was a joke at the time but later realized it was not, according to The Atlantic.

In 2016 he also attacked the Gold Star mother and father of a U.S. Army Captain, Humayun Khan, who received a Purple Heart for bravery after being killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the same tirade, he called his own work as a businessman a “sacrifice” similar to dying in combat. Khan’s parents spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Trump himself, of course, did not serve in the military, having received a deferment from service during Vietnam due to the alleged presence of bone spurs in his feet.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Time out: NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

March 13, 2020

The NBA announced on March 12 that the 2019-2020 basketball season has been suspended “until further notice” after one Utah Jazz player  tested positive for the novel coronavirus and another was believed to also have contracted the illness. The league said that it will “use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the … pandemic.”

The NBA initially had reported on March 11 that one member of the traveling team, Rudy Gobert, had tested positive for COVID-19.  “The test result was reported … [just] prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena,” the NBA said in its Wednesday statement. “At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”

Earlier in the day, the Utah Jazz tweeted that players Emmanuel Mudiay and Gobert were both ill. Gobert is the only player who has reportedly tested positive for the virus.

Both teams are currently under quarantine and Gobert is being treated by health officials in Oklahoma City, according to the Jazz.

“The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions,” the team said in a statement. “We are working closely with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information.”

The Associated Press reported that Gobert had “joked” about the illness in a post-practice press interview earlier in the week, during which he “touched all the tape recorders that were placed before him on a table—devices that reporters who cover the Utah Jazz were using during an availability with him on Monday before a game with the Detroit Pistons.

“It isn’t so funny now,” the AP said, noting that, “Gobert is now the NBA’s Patient Zero” for coronavirus in the NBA. The news outlet also reported on the rumor that Gobert’s Utah teammate Donovan Mitchel, had tested positive as well.

Before Gobert finally was tested for COVID-19, he tested negative for the flu and strep throat.

Research contact: @NBA

George Conway and other conservative Republicans launch super PAC to block Trump’s reelection

December 18, 2019

Did he get permission from Kellyanne? We doubt it. George Conway—a lawyer, a prominent GOP donor, and the husband one of President Donald Trump’s highest-profile spokespersons—is leading a group of conservative Republicans who are launching a super PAC aimed at stopping Trump from winning reelection, The Hill reports.

The Lincoln Project represents the first formal operation for the so-called “Never Trump” movementthe Associated Press also reported on December 17.

Organizers already have gotten over $1 million in fundraising commitments and hope for more—all to be spent on anti-Trump advertising in the build-up to the 2020 election.

The group announced the launch of the super PAC in a New York Times op-ed (“We Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated”) published Tuesday, authored by Conway, former Republican operative Steve Schmidt, former  adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) John Weaver, and Republican strategist Rick Wilson.

This effort transcends partisanship and is dedicated to nothing less than preservation of the principles that so many have fought for, on battlefields far from home and within their own communities,” read the op-ed in the Times.

The authors wrote that their effort over the next 11 months will be to defeat Trump “and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line.”

“We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference,” the authors noted, adding, “We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks,” they wrote. “Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.”

The group reportedly plans to target disenfranchised Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents in an effort to hinder Trump’s reelection and to defeat Trump-aligned GOP Senate candidates in key 2020 battleground states, including Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Maine and possibly Kansas and Kentucky.

The group’s ads are expected to start airing early next year.

Research contact: @thehill

Xi ‘one-ups’ Trump, announcing $75B in tariffs on U.S. goods as president heads to G7 Summit

August 26, 2019

Gotcha!  Just as President Donald Trump was preparing to meet with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, to discuss the global economy and his trade wars, China on Friday announced it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports, ABC News reported.

The move came in retaliation for duty hikes that the United States already has pledged to slap on Chinese imports starting next month.

What’s more, the announcement also came just before Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve gave a speech investors and analysts planned to scrutinize for signs of how the central bank would address worries of a slowing economy—as well as the president’s often mixed signals on payroll tax cuts.

According to ABC News, Powell implied in his speech that Trump’s trade altercations were among the factors precipitating a possible global economic slowdown— and he said they have made it more difficult for the Fed to set policies on interest rates.

Powell did not offer any clear signal on further cuts to interest rates, though, during his widely watched remarks in Jackson Hole, Wyo., according to the Associated Press.

Just after Powell spoke, Trump again blasted the Fed—saying in a tweet that it “As usual, the Fed did NOTHING.”

“My only question,” Trump tweeted moments later, “is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi [of China]?”

China said that it would impose its new penalties on two batches of goods, on September 1 and December 15, according to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua. It said 5,078 American products would see duty hikes of 5% or 10% first; and that the later tariffs would hit “American-made vehicles and auto parts” with tariffs of 5% or 25%.

Those dates match with 10% tariff the Trump administration said would go into effect on $300 billion worth of imports from China.

Trump on Friday morning argued in a tweet that the economy was “strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well.”

According to ABC News, the president has made the economy a central message of his campaign, and has accused the news media and Democrats of wanting a recession in order to tank his reelection chances.

Research contact: @ABC

A remedy for rip-offs: HHS announces plans to import lower-cost drugs from Canada

August 1, 2019

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on July 31 that the agency, in concert with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA, is publishing a Safe Importation Action Plan for procuring certain drugs originally intended for foreign markets.

Among the medications that U.S. patients would be able to procure at lower prices would be insulin used to treat diabetes, as well as drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer.

Specifically, according to a report by the Associated Press, the Trump administration said Wednesday it will create a pathway allowing Americans to legally and safely import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada for the first time, reversing years of opposition from federal health authorities amid a public outcry over high prices for life-sustaining medication

“President Trump has been clear: For too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices,” stated said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, adding, “When we released the President’s drug pricing blueprint for putting American patients first, we said we are open to all potential solutions to combat high drug prices that protect patient safety, are effective at delivering lower prices, and respect choice, innovation and access.”

Azar further noted, “This is the next important step in the Administration’s work to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first.”

The Action Plan outlines the government’s intention to pursue two pathways to allow safe drug importation from foreign markets:

  1. Through a notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM), HHS and FDA would propose to rely on the authority under current federal law (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Section 804) that would, when the rule is finalized, authorize pilot (or demonstration) projects developed by states, wholesalers or pharmacists and submitted for HHS review, outlining how they would import certain drugs from Canada that are versions of FDA-approved drugs that are manufactured consistent with the FDA approval. The NPRM would include conditions to ensure the importation poses no additional risk to the public’s health and safety and that the demonstration projects would achieve significant cost savings to the American consumer.
  2. Through guidance, FDA would provide recommendations to manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs who seek to import into the U.S. versions of those drugs they sell in foreign countries. Under this pathway, manufacturers would use a new National Drug Code (NDC) for those products, potentially allowing them to offer a lower price than what their current distribution contracts require. To use this pathway, the manufacturer or entity authorized by the manufacturer would establish with the FDA that the foreign version is the same as the U.S. version and appropriately label the drug for sale in the United States. This pathway could be particularly helpful to patients who take significantly high-cost prescription drugs.

“We support the President and Secretary’s efforts to bring down drug prices for Americans. The FDA has a unique role to play in promoting competition that in turn can help reduce drug prices and improve access to medicine for Americans,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “Driving down drug prices requires a comprehensive approach and we must continue to look at all innovative solutions to this challenge.”

Research contact: digital@hhs.gov

California Senate passes measure to keep Trump off 2020 ballot unless he releases tax returns

May 6, 2019

The California State Senate has passed a bill  that would require candidates appearing on the presidential primary ballot—including President Donald Trump, who is gearing up to run in 2020—to release five years’ worth of income tax returns.

The Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act (SB-27) was approved in a 27-10 vote in the State Senate, The Hill reports. The act would require California’s Secretary of State, within five days of receiving the returns, to make redacted versions of the returns available to the public on his or her website.

According to The Hill, the bill represents a response to the president’s continuing refusal to release his tax returns as presidential candidates traditionally have done, claiming he is under audit.

“We believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns,” said State Senator Mike McGuire (D), who co-authored the bill. 

All ten Republicans in the State Senate voted against the bill’s passage.

“I get that playing the resistance card may be good politics for the majority party, but I would submit that it’s bad policy for Californians,” Senator Brian Jones (R) told the Associated Press. 

Other presidential candidates would also be subject to the bill, but several 2020 Democrats already have released their tax returns.

Similar bills are making their way through the Washington State and New Jersey State legislatures, The Hill said.

Research contact: @thehill

Death’s door: Did somebody die in the house you are buying?

October 10, 2018

If you are in the market for a new home, your home inspection may provide a reality check about the structure, itself: Oops, there are termites. Yes, the paint is lead-based.

But will you be forewarned that deaths or depravities have occurred on your new doorstep? Not so much.

In facts, there are few cities or states where full disclosure is required. For example, California law requires owners to acknowledge if a death occurred on the premises—but only if it took place within the previous three years. Fifteen states have a law that, only if the buyer asks and only if the seller knows, are they required  to disclose the information, but no legal action can be taken if they do not.

And the fact is, people care about the history of the homes. A 2007 Associated Press poll found that 34% of Americans admit that they believe in ghosts—and even larger numbers say that they just would not want to live in a place where someone has died, no matter how “natural” the demise was.

What’s more, looking at the economics, a death in a home—especially a tragic death—can impact its value by more than 25% and take it 50% longer to sell than comparable homes, according to Realtor.com.

So what’s a buyer to do? Luckily, there’s a website that can help. DiedinHouse.com “is the first of its kind, Web-based service that helps you find out if anyone has died at any valid U.S. address,” the site claims.

Founded in 2013 by software engineer Roy Condrey, DiedInHouse.com enables users to determine if the home of their dreams has had a dark former life (or even accommodates the afterlife). From murders and suicides to meth activity and arson, website uses data from over 130 million police records, news reports, old death certificates and more to determine if your house has seen horrors.

Condrey told Forbes in a 2015 interview that the website’s creation resulted from a “ghost story.” In 2012, Condrey received a text message in the middle of the night from one of his tenants that read: “Did you know that your house is haunted?” Condrey, who rents several properties, went down a cyber rabbit hole seeking, but could not determine if his property had, indeed, been the site of a gruesome crime or death.

“I went online to find a ‘Carfax’ of sorts for deaths in homes and I didn’t find anything—but I did find pages and pages of people asking if there’s a way to find out if their house is haunted,” Condrey told the business news outlet.

He later learned through his data collection that, in fact, at least 4.5 million homes nationwide have had documented deaths take place on the premises. The number of homeowners that know about the history of their home, however, is unknown.

Sometimes the house is new, but the property has seen violent crimes in the past. Condrey pointed out that “serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr., raped and murdered at least 33 teenage boys then buried 26 of them in the crawl space of his home in Chicago. The house was demolished and in 1988 a new house was built in its spot.” That’s information that new buyers probably would want to know.

He tells another true story of a father and his daughter who were murdered in their house in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2002. Their deaths were not disclosed to the new owner, a middle school principal. He was shocked when he found out, but could not legally back out of the deal. He moved into the house; then had the house blessed by his church. In 2010, he was found murdered there. After that, the address was changed from 9337 to 9335 Columbia Boulevard—and it went back on the market. It ultimately sold for just $330000 in February 2012; comparables in the same area go for $507,000.

Considering the price–both psychological and monetary—of buying such a home, the cost of a report from the website seems reasonable. The price of 1 search is $11.99.

Research contact: info@DiedinHouse.com

Trump unleashes torrent of tweeted threats against Iran

July 24, 2018

President Donald Trump sent out a furious, all-caps tweet aimed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani late on July 22, warning the leader to stop threatening the United States, the Huffington Post reported.

In a late-night screed similar to his “fire and fury” harangue against North Korea last August, the POTUS warned the Iranian politician and Islamic cleric, “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH, BE CAUTIOUS!”

According to the German publication, Deutsche Welle (DW), President Rouhani began the exchange earlier in the day by warning the United States that Iran could shut down international oil shipments in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, if Washington continues to provoke his nation—as Rouhani believes America has done by backing out of the nuclear deal framework that it signed with its allies in 2015.

After refusing to support the deal, the Trump administration also had demanded that signatories to the framework end all imports of Iranian oil when the sanctions go into effect in November, but the State Department rolled back those demands saying it would work with countries on a “case-by-case basis.”

“We have always guaranteed the security of this strait,” Rouhani told diplomats in the Iranian capital last Sunday. “Do not play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it forever.”

“Whenever Europe has sought an agreement with us, the White House has sown discord,” Rouhani said. “Americans should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace,” he added. “Likewise a war would be the mother of all wars.”

Rouhani and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei have both rejected calls to negotiate with Trump over a replacement sanctions relief deal.

Brigadier Gen. Gholam Hossein Gheibparvar, a commander for the country’s Revolutionary Guard, brushed the threatening tweet from President Trump off on July 23 as mere “psychological warfare” against the regime, saying Trump wouldn’t dare act on his threats, the Associated Press reported.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on July 23 reiterated Trump’s warning to Iran, telling Fox News that “if needed, and steps are required, this president is not afraid to take them.

“He’s certainly not going to tolerate the leader of Iran making threats against Americans, making threats against this country, making threats against Israel,” Sanders said. “This is a president who is going to stand up and make sure he is doing what is necessary.”

A majority of Americans wanted the Trump administration to adhere to the Iran nuclear deal, according to a public opinion poll released in early May by Morning Consult and Politico. The poll, which included online interviews with close to 2,000 Americans registered to vote, showed that 56% of respondents expressed support for the deal, while 26% expressed opposition to it. The pollsters described these numbers as a “record high” in support of the deal, and a “record low” in opposition to it.

Research contact: editors@morningconsult.com

Maddow breaks down on-air over plight of immigrant babies

June 21, 2018

MSNBC’s star moderator Rachel Maddow dissolved in tears at the end of her show on June 19 when trying to read breaking news from the Associated Press about the whereabouts of babies separated from their parents at the southern U.S. border under President Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy. She handed the program off to Lawrence O’Donnell, host of The Last Word, who was on-site at a Border Patrol Processing Center for children in McAllen, Texas, Mediaite reports.

The AP story read, in part:

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three “tender age” shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley [Texas] shelters described playrooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

When Maddow could not read the script, she asked for a graphic to be shown on the screen instead. When that was unavailable, she said, tears flowing, “I think I’m going to have to hand this off. I’m sorry.”

O’Donnell did succeed in reading the full story on-air.

Later, Maddow apologized on Twitter:  “Ugh, I’m sorry. If nothing else, it is my job to actually be able to speak while I’m on TV,” she wrote. Then, after concluding what she was trying to say, she added: “Again, I apologize for losing it there for a moment. Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile.”

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, AP notes, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in an influx of young children requiring government care.

Research contact: @garanceburke