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March 7, 2018

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was personally involved in removing language from the HUD mission statement that promises all Americans "inclusive communities" that are "free from discrimination," HuffPost reports.

Under former President Barack Obama, the mission statement read:

HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities, and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business.

The new mission statement reads:

HUD's mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing, and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.

HUD's assistant secretary for public affairs, Amy Thompson, told HuffPost that the changes were made "in an effort to align HUD's mission with the secretary's priorities and that of the administration" and that the department is accepting feedback from staff. It is fairly common for mission statements to be changed, especially under new administrations, but Carson's modifications will no doubt worry some because of actions HUD has already taken, including removing training materials that help ensure transgender people receive equal access to homeless shelters.

Carson has previously criticized Obama's fair housing laws. "These attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse," he argued in 2015. "There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous." Jeva Lange

5:04 p.m. ET

The number of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender has been steadily increasing in recent years — last year, 4.5 percent of adults surveyed by Gallup said they identified as LGBT, up from 4.1 percent in 2016.

That percentage represents more than 11 million people in the U.S. In 2012, 3.5 percent of adults identified as LGBT.

The survey found that the increase has been happening most rapidly among millennials, while the share of LGBT individuals in older generations has remained nearly steady. While 8.1 percent of millennials identified as LGBT last year, just 2.4 of baby boomers did. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of LGBT millennials went up by nearly a full percentage point, the biggest increase ever tracked by Gallup.

More women identify as LGBT than men, with 5.1 percent of women and 3.9 percent of men self-identifying as such. The survey also found larger upticks among Hispanic respondents, while white respondents were least likely to identify as LGBT.

The study surveyed 340,604 U.S. adults reached by phone between Jan 2 and December 30, 2017. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.1 percentage point. See more results at Gallup. Summer Meza

2:52 p.m. ET

President Trump paused to reflect on his fond travel memories while discussing the relationship between the U.S. and China on Tuesday.

During a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump said he was "a little disappointed" because there was a "change in attitude" after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un secretly met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in March. "I don't like that," said Trump. Even though North Korea has walked back its promise to discuss denuclearization during an upcoming summit between Trump and Kim, Trump didn't blame China.

"I have a great relationship with President Xi, he's a friend of mine, he likes me, I like him," said Trump "I mean, that was two of the great days of my life being in China, I don't think anybody's ever been treated better in China ever in their history."

Trump's apparently amazing trip to China was "an incredible thing to witness and see," but despite his great relationship with "world-class poker player" Xi, there is not yet a deal around Chinese company ZTE. The U.S. banned American businesses from selling to ZTE after the company violated trade sanctions, but Trump last week tweeted that he would help restore lost jobs in China. "We will see what happens," said Trump about ZTE negotiations with Xi. "We're discussing various deals."

Watch Trump's comments below. Summer Meza

2:20 p.m. ET

Time … it's like a flat circle, you know, man?

Or, if you're the glorified-bracelet company Nunc, time is more like a really expensive Italian marble stone shaped like a blank watch face. As the Swedish company explained to one understandably confused Facebook user who made the mistake of pointing out that a watch that doesn't work is just a bracelet, "Nunc is more than a product, it represents a philosophy and a way of life. And for some time we struggled: Should we call it a watch or a timepiece? It clearly doesn't tell the time."

No, it clearly doesn't, but for 160 euro (about $188), it will aggressively remind you that "time is now, and we should make the most of it" by otherwise being totally unhelpful and impractical:

The whole thing seems almost a little too millennial to be true; there is even a "literature & philosophy" page that discusses sophomore-year-of-college philosophy topics like "carpe diem" and "moment mori," and a "spirituality" page that is "coming soon." Go on your own "deep personal journey" to "find meaning and purpose" on Nunc's website here. Jeva Lange

1:57 p.m. ET

When Donald Trump announced he was running for president in 2015, he made a big point about how much smarter China's leaders are than America's presidents. Almost three years later and in the White House, Trump might finally be admitting he underestimated President Xi Jinping, HuffPost's Igor Babic observed Tuesday.

Trump's remarks came during a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. "I think that President Xi is a world-class poker player," Trump told the press, adding that the North Koreans had "a somewhat different attitude" during negotiations with the U.S. after they met with the Chinese leader. Trump, who admitted that his summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un might be derailed, said of Xi's meeting with North Korea: "I can't say that I'm happy about it."

Compare that with Trump's tone in 2015: "[China's] leaders are much smarter than our leaders, and we can't sustain ourself with that," he said. "There's too much — it's like — it's like take the New England Patriots and Tom Brady and have them play your high school football team. That's the difference between China's leaders and our leaders." Watch below. Jeva Lange

1:24 p.m. ET

President Trump said it would be "a disgrace" for the United States if there were "spies in my campaign" in remarks Tuesday following a Monday meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Trump has demanded that the Justice Department look into whether Obama administration officials coordinated surveillance of his campaign for political reasons following reports that an American academic working as an FBI informant met with several members of his 2016 campaign in the early days of the agency's investigation into Russian election meddling.

"That would be one of the biggest insults that anyone has ever seen," Trump said, although there is no evidence the informant was embedded in his campaign. The president additionally dodged a question about whether he has "confidence" in Rosenstein. Jeva Lange

1:16 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The chairman and CEO of New York City's transit system is bound to be a busy man: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority carries millions of people every day, often via outdated infrastructure in a constantly-evolving city.

But that man, Joe Lhota, is even busier than one might expect, because he also has a handful of other jobs. Lhota's position as chief of staff at a major hospital network, along with his seats on eight different boards and additional lobbying work on the side make for potential conflicts of interest, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Lhota has run the MTA since 2017, but delegates much of the work while he juggles his other leadership positions. The Times explains that Lhota's influence in the city has continued to expand, but the amount of time he spends on the troubled subway system has decreased. Lhota is chief of staff at NYU Langone Health, a network of 230 hospitals and clinics. He has reportedly lobbied for NYU Langone while also running the MTA. He is also a paid board member at Madison Square Garden, a major facility tied to MTA decisions about the adjacent Penn Station.

His work at NYU Langone and on eight transportation-related boards earned Lhota $2.5 million last year, while he forfeited his MTA salary to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest. Lhota vowed to spend 40 hours a week working for the MTA, but records show he has been spending closer to 22 hours. Lhota denied that his multiple jobs represented any conflicts in his role as MTA chief. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

1:08 p.m. ET

President Trump is tempering expectations ahead of his historic meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, telling the press Tuesday that the planned summit in Singapore "may not work out for June 12." Trump went as far as to say, "[we'll] see what happens, whether or not it happens, if it does, that'll be great … and if it doesn't, that's okay too."

Trump made the comments ahead of his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and added that "whether or not" the North Korea summit happens, "we'll know soon." Jeva Lange

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