For President Trump's base, the president's feud with the National Football League is "the red meat of all red meat," Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said on Monday afternoon, but they're wrong that the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are protesting the flag. "They're upset about racial injustice and they're upset about the things that the president has said," he added, suggesting that Trump is using the fight to distract his base from the failure of the ObamaCare repeal effort and the fact that "North Korea's the biggest mess since the Cold War."
Smith was talking with Politico congressional reporter Rachael Bade, who said one Republican had just told her that Trump amplifying the protests is not helpful. "It's an ugly dispute right now," she said. "People in general don't like it when folks protest the national anthem." "Of course, they're not protesting the national anthem," Smith cut in. "That's not what they're doing. You know, we're complicit," he added, chuckling. Bade reverted to Trump's argument that the players were protesting the flag, but said: "It has become about more than just the flag, honestly, because the folks feel like the president is bullying black football players after the Charlottesville controversy, just a few weeks later. So, it's just bad all around for Republicans, we can say that."
Shep Smith of Fox News slams backlash to anthem protests: They're upset about racial injustice & what Trump has said pic.twitter.com/PZkDyZTFWG
— Axios (@axios) September 25, 2017
Shep Smith correcting a Politico reporter on Fox News about what NFL players are protesting is one strange wrinkle in Trump's ongoing fight. A few hours later, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — one of only two NFL owners who did not release a statement supporting his players or criticizing Trump after Trump urged owners to fire "son of a bitch" protesters — had another: he took to the field with his team before the Cowboys-Cardinals game on Monday night, and locked arms with them then knelt before standing for the national anthem. Like the Cowboys, the Cardinals also linked arms during the anthem.
The Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones locked arms and took a knee in unity prior to the national anthem pic.twitter.com/7kK3qVMDSo
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2017
Some parts of the crowd in Arizona booed Jones and the Cowboys kneeling before the anthem, a gesture meant to unify both sides. Peter Weber
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired earlier this month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he allegedly "lacked candor," published an op-ed about the experience at The Washington Post Friday night:
On March 16, I spent the day with my family waiting to hear whether I would be fired, after 21 years in the FBI and one day before I qualified for my long-planned, earned retirement.
As day turned to night, I had a lot of time to reflect on how it would feel to be separated from the organization I loved — and led — and the mission that has been the central focus of my professional life. Despite all the preparation for the worst-case scenario, I still felt disoriented and sick to my stomach. Around 10 p.m., a friend called to tell me that CNN was reporting that I had been fired. She read me the attorney general's statement.
So, after two decades of public service, I found out that I had been fired in the most disembodied, impersonal way — third-hand, based on a news account. [...] Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way. [The Washington Post]
The morning after the firing, McCabe continued, he "woke to find the president of the United States celebrating [his] punishment" as a "great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy." Trump since then has continued his attacks on McCabe, claiming that the former FBI agent's memos chronicling their meetings together were fabricated after the fact.
Protesters are gathering at some 700 student-led March for Our Lives events nationwide on Saturday to demand stricter gun regulations, and they're armed — if you'll pardon the pun — with signs both clever and poignant.
Half a million people are expected at the main rally in Washington, D.C. President Trump is at his resort in Florida for the weekend and has yet to personally comment on the marches, but the White House issued a statement "applaud[ing] the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today."
See some of the most memorable protest signs below. Bonnie Kristian
Nathan McAlpine, 14, is here with people from the Zion Baptist Church in DC.
"It's a Black Panther quote," he said of the sign. He explained that it was funny in the moment, but the line had deeper meaning and resonated with him. pic.twitter.com/vCVYI8JwMy
— Kayla Epstein (@KaylaEpstein) March 24, 2018
Laura “Penny” Livesay, who teaches English at Virginia Tech, often thinks about mass shootings. She asks herself what would happen if she had to be armed, but fleeing and terrified students ran by her as she fired. “I’m not prepared to take a gun in my hands.” pic.twitter.com/dZQvzTWSgi
— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11) March 24, 2018
— Marina Fang (@marinafang) March 24, 2018
With her seven-month-old daughter Erin sitting on her lap, Erin’s father shot and killed her and then shot Paula Cross,61, three times. Today was the first time Cross shared the story of what happened to her about 40 years ago. “It feels like I’m doing something brave,” she said. pic.twitter.com/s9GAuuvCgp
— Ellie Silverman (@esilverman11) March 24, 2018
— Michelle Cash (@michellencash) March 24, 2018
President Trump came under fire Saturday for his announcement late Friday evening that transgender people who "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery" will not be able to join the military "except under certain limited circumstances."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Trump's memo as "cowardly" and "disgusting," arguing it is "purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor and dignity":
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responds to Trump transgender memo: "Once more, the President’s agenda of hate and prejudice is dictating our national security, instead of honor, decency and strength" https://t.co/qUWoKOD7Ad pic.twitter.com/DKkk1kNOBc
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 24, 2018
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough suggested on Twitter the memo was timed to distract from the $1.3 trillion omnibus bill Trump signed earlier Friday, a spending package slammed by conservatives as "an embarrassment and a disgrace":
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 24, 2018
Meanwhile, Republican pundit Ana Navarro, who is firmly #NeverTrump, referenced Trump's draft deferrals during the Vietnam War in a tweeted response:
“Bone-Spur Donny” just banned transgender Americans who want to volunteer to do what he was not willing to do- risk their lives in service to our country.
Yet, another shameful moment.
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) March 24, 2018
Congressional Republicans have kept quiet about the memo so far. Bonnie Kristian
An Iowa family of four was found dead Friday inside their vacation condo in Tulum, Mexico, local authorities reported. Police said there are "no signs of traumatic injury," and a relative of the family reported on Facebook there "was no foul play." Autopsies will be conducted to determine the cause of death, which some reports have suggested was a gas leak.
Kevin Sharp, 41, his wife Amy, 38, and their children Sterling, 12, and Adrianna, 7, were from Creston, Iowa. The Sharps owned a beer distribution company, and Kevin raced stock cars.
"We watched the flights leave Cancun and land in St. Louis. We watched the last one leave Cancun. We were hoping that we would hear from them then. When we did not we knew that something was wrong," said Jana Wedlund, Amy's cousin. "The only thing we're thankful for, the only thing they've given us hope for, is that it was very peaceful." Bonnie Kristian
The London offices of Cambridge Analytica were raided overnight Friday by agents of the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's office. The seven-hour search, which completed early Saturday, was authorized by a warrant to investigate the company's database and servers.
"This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes," said the Information Commissioner's office of the raid. "As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess, and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions."
Cambridge Analytica is the data firm alleged to have illicitly acquired and used information from the Facebook profiles of tens of millions of Americans for targeted campaign ads. The Trump campaign was among its clients, as was a super PAC organized by incoming National Security Adviser John Bolton.
South Korea announced Saturday it has finalized plans for high-level talks with North Korea this coming Thursday.
Each country will be represented by three delegates who will meet in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in advance of planned negotiations between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which will in turn be followed by discussion between Kim and President Trump. The date of the Trump-Kim summit has yet to be set.
"Through these talks and future talks, we must end the nuclear and peace issue on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said of the arrangement. "It is necessary to make it possible for the two Koreas to live together peacefully without interfering with each other or damaging each other." Bonnie Kristian
Student-led March for Our Lives rallies are scheduled in Washington and cities across the United States on Saturday. About 500,000 people are expected to gather in the capital alone, and some 700 additional protests for stricter gun laws are listed on the march website.
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where the mass shooting on Valentine's Day left 17 people dead, are among the 20 speakers scheduled for the primary event in Washington. All the speakers are 18 or younger, and they will be accompanied by performances from celebrities including Ariana Grande, Common, and Miley Cyrus.
March for Our Lives' student organizers say Saturday's protests are just the beginning of their gun control campaign. "We want to continue what we're doing, especially leading up to November," said Jaclyn Corin, 17, from Parkland. "We want every young person to register to vote and head to the polls, no matter who they're voting for or what party they've voting for." Bonnie Kristian