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August 8, 2016

Donald Trump loves fast food. ("The Big Macs are great," he said during a CNN townhall earlier this year. "The Quarter Pounder. It's great stuff.") He also cares a lot about cleanliness. And while the two might not seem to go together, Trump has insisted fast food's consistency and hygiene standards are among the reasons he eats burgers and fries so much, The New York Times reported in a recent story on Trump's penchant for junk food.

"One bad hamburger, you can destroy McDonald's," Trump has said. "One bad hamburger, you take Wendy's and all these other places and they're out of business. I'm a very clean person. I like cleanliness, and I think you're better off going there than maybe someplace that you have no idea where the food's coming from. It's a certain standard."

Plus, "I think the food's good," Trump said.

Head over to The New York Times for more on Trump's tastes — and how they're all part of his image. Becca Stanek

2:21p.m.

NBC host Megyn Kelly has set off yet another firestorm.

During a Tuesday morning segment about Halloween costumes, Kelly wondered why wearing blackface on Halloween is so frowned upon. "You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface," she said. "Back when I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up as a character."

She cited the time that a Real Housewives of New York City star faced criticism for donning blackface to dress as Diana Ross for Halloween. Kelly seemed stunned that anyone would consider this racist, arguing that it should be acceptable because "she wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don't know how that got racist on Halloween."

All three of Kelly's guests seemed to disagree, with one arguing that the Diana Ross costume she described actually "sounds a little racist to me." Kelly didn't concede. "I can't keep up with the number of people we're offending just by being, like, normal people," she said, wrapping up the segment.

Kelly's take on this issue was poorly received among many viewers. Television host and activist Padma Lakshmi responded to Kelly's comments on Twitter. "I cannot believe the ignorance on this in 2018," wrote Lakshmi. "You have a responsibility to educate yourself on social issues." Watch the segment below. Brendan Morrow

2:03p.m.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father King Salman briefly gave their condolences to murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi's family in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Saudi state media reports that Khashoggi's son Salah "expressed their great thanks" to the leaders during the meeting. But state-sanctioned photos suggest otherwise.

Khashoggi's son has reportedly spent a year banned from leaving Saudi Arabia, a friend of the family told The Associated Press. His siblings are U.S. citizens, and one received a condolence call from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul-based news site Daily Sabah reports.

Khashoggi was likely killed in Turkey's Saudi consulate earlier this month, and Turkish officials believe bin Salman ordered the hit. Bin Salman has denied involvement, saying "rogue" operatives killed Khashoggi. The U.S., Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are all currently investigating the matter. Watch a video of Tuesday's quick meeting below. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:32p.m.

President Trump is going after Puerto Rico once again, this time with another unfounded claim.

The president on Tuesday claimed that the "inept politicians" of Puerto Rico are trying to use the "massive and ridiculously high amounts" of disaster relief funding they have received to "pay off other obligations." He didn't provide any evidence to back up his statement, but did make sure to note that the people of Puerto Rico in general are actually "wonderful."

Just hours earlier, a federal board approved a new financial reform plan for Puerto Rico, which is $70 billion in debt; the plan recommends spending cuts that some Puerto Rican officials find too strict, reports Reuters. The plan also projects a $30 billion surplus over the next 15 years, thanks to the proposed reforms and the $80 billion coming in for disaster relief following the destruction of Hurricane Maria. Although this recovery should help Puerto Rico's ailing economy, politicians have not suggested using the federal aid to help pay off "other obligations" like Trump claimed, Bloomberg reports. Neither the island's leaders nor members of the federal board have proposed spending the $80 billion on anything other than recovery efforts. Brendan Morrow

12:18p.m.

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is stepping away from public life due to progressing dementia.

In a Tuesday statement, the 88-year-old O'Connor said she was diagnosed "some time ago" with "the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease." This "condition has progressed," and now O'Connor says she is "no longer able to participate in public life." Still, she had some thoughts to share "while I am still able," she said.

O'Connor was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, appointed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1981. "As a young cowgirl from the Arizona desert," she wrote, "I never could have imagined that one day I would become the first woman justice." She retired from the court in 2005 at age 75, citing her husband's Alzheimer's diagnosis. Still, she remained devoted to "advanc[ing] civic learning and engagement," even founding a free online learning platform called iCivics — an organization that she said now reaches half the middle school and high school students in the country.

She recently left the office she kept at the Supreme Court and hasn't made a public appearance in the past two years, The Associated Press reported Monday. O'Connor said she would remain at home in Phoenix, Arizona. "While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying," she wrote, "nothing has diminished my gratitude." Read her full statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:27a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence appeared at The Washington Post's "Transformers: Space" event on Tuesday to discuss the Trump administration's developing Space Force. But first, he had some of the administration's strongest words yet regarding Jamal Khashoggi's presumed murder.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Tuesday that Saudi officials had been planning to kill Khashoggi inside Istanbul's Saudi consulate since September. U.S. intelligence is reportedly also skeptical of the Saudi claim that "rogue" operatives killed the U.S.-based Saudi journalist, who wrote for the Post. Still, President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been reluctant to decry Saudi Arabian officials for their alleged involvement in the murder.

Pence, meanwhile, didn't hesitate to call Khashoggi's death a "brutal murder" and a "tragedy" at Tuesday's Post event. "It was also an assault on a free and independent press," Pence said, additionally confirming that CIA Director Gina Haspel is currently in Turkey to investigate.

Pence acknowledged that Erdogan's statement "flies in the face" of Saudi Arabia's claims of innocence. But he went on to echo Trump and Pompeo, calling for a full investigation into the murder. Once that is complete, the U.S. will take retaliatory action "in the context of America's vital interests in the region," Pence said, pointing to the U.S.-Saudi "alliance" that he claimed has been "renewed" under Trump's leadership. Watch Pence's remarks below. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:34a.m.

The Trump administration wants a legally bulletproof policy to discourage Central Americans from crossing into the U.S. And it wants it now.

With "a series of intense closed-door meetings," White House officials are scrambling to craft a new immigration policy that could serve as a rallying cry ahead of the midterm elections, The New York Times writes. Planners are weighing three ways of replacing the current "catch and release" policy, with the most probable option being a "voluntary" reboot of family separation, officials tell the Times.

Rumblings of a family separation redux first emerged earlier this month, when The Washington Post reported that White House adviser Stephen Miller was pushing for a legally stronger version of the much derided "zero tolerance" policy. The new plan, known as "binary choice," would require parents to "choose between voluntarily relinquishing their children to foster care or remaining imprisoned together as a family," the Times reports. It aims to "maximize deterrence and consequences for families," and currently seems to be the administration's favorite option, a person familiar with the plan tells the Times.

Another proposed plan would process families on "a first-in, first-out basis" to hopefully clear out immigration courts' massive backlog, the Times reports. A third would again try to raise the standards for granting asylum.

As a migrant caravan makes its way to the U.S., President Trump has grown frustrated at how long it has taken to rebuild a legally solid migrant-deterrence policy, the Times reports. With the midterms drawing closer, Trump and the GOP will likely continue relying on anti-immigration rhetoric alone to drum up GOP votes. Read more at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:18a.m.

Two weeks ahead of a likely tight election, Democrats' lead over Republicans in battleground districts has narrowed slightly, but there's at least one area where they've retained a decisive advantage.

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll of likely voters in 69 battleground districts found that of the 10 percent who have an unfavorable view of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, about 6 in 10 prefer the Democratic candidates in their area. This 15-point advantage for the Democrats is a shift from 2014, when the Republicans had a 17-point advantage among battleground district voters who dislike both parties. Republicans that year ended up with their largest House majority since 1928.

These voters could be key, as all signs are pointing to a close election. Democrats overall have a slim three-point advantage over Republicans in this poll of battleground districts, which falls within the margin of error. That lead is down slightly from a Washington Post poll conducted earlier this month, in which Democrats had a four-point advantage.

The Democratic Party is looking to gain 23 seats in order to take the majority in the House. At the moment, they are favored to do so, while Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Senate.

This poll was conducted by speaking to 1,545 registered voters, including 1,269 likely voters, in battleground districts online or over the phone from Oct. 15 through Oct. 21. The margin of error is 3 percentage points. See more results at The Washington Post. Brendan Morrow

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