January 15, 2019

In 1999, President Trump briefly ran against paleo-conservative Patrick Buchanan for the Reform Party presidential nomination, and before dropping out of the race, Trump told NBC's Tim Russert that Buchanan is "a Hitler lover" and apparent "anti-Semite," and "it's just incredible that anybody could embrace this guy. And maybe he'll get 4 or 5 percent of the vote and it'll be a really staunch, right-wacko vote. I'm not even sure if it's right. It's just a wacko vote." Upon dropping out, Trump wrote in The New York Times: "I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan, and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep."

On Sunday night, Trump tweet-quoted approvingly from a recent Buchanan column about militarizing the border to preserve white male America.

Trump's new embrace of his former rival, whose 2000 "campaign looked remarkably like Trump's in 2016," is "the immediate irony here," says The Washington Post's Philip Bump. "What makes Trump's embrace of Buchanan and Buchananism particularly remarkable at this moment, though, is how Buchanan's essay mirrors the rhetoric of another Republican in the news: Rep. Steve King (Iowa)." MSNBC's Chris Hayes drew a similar line between Buchanan and Trump and King on Monday night:

"It's clear that, to some extent, King is serving as a way for Republicans to condemn behavior that is also seen in someone less criticizable: Trump," Bump argues. "By excoriating King's comments about race and immigration, Republicans get to distance themselves from rhetoric that's probably going to be damaging to the party over the long term — but they don't have to challenge a primary propagator of that rhetoric whose presidency is still very popular with their voting base." Peter Weber

2:21 p.m.

Ann Coulter is taking her criticism of President Trump to the next level following his national emergency declaration, with the conservative commentator declaring Friday, "the country is over."

Coulter hammered Trump in a Friday interview with KABC after he announced he would sign Congress' funding deal and declare a national emergency. "The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot," she said, per Mediaite. She also fumed that Trump is just "fooling the rubes" with this national emergency declaration.

The root of Coulter's criticism isn't that Trump is bypassing Congress, as she argued that Trump never needed Congress to build the wall at all. Instead, she suggested the president is actually "hoping" the national emergency declaration will just be blocked by the courts "because for some reason, he really doesn't want to build the wall."

On Twitter, Coulter said that responsibility for the border wall deal, which the president has said he is unhappy with, is "100% his," and she responded to Trump saying in his press conference that he barely knows Coulter by writing, "THANK YOU, Mr. President for admitting that your total capitulation on campaign promises has nothing to do with me."

Don't expect this criticism from Coulter to slow down anytime soon, considering she told KABC that she is "going to spend the rest of my columns denouncing the president, for the rest of my life." Brendan Morrow

1:58 p.m.

Schoolchildren in the U.K. took to the streets Friday morning as they went "on strike" to protest inaction on climate change policy, reports BBC.

Protest organizer Youth Strike 4 Climate said the protests reached 60 cities across the U.K. with an estimated 15,000 participants, per BBC.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office criticized students partaking in the protest, saying the strike "increases teachers' workloads and wastes lesson time" reports Sky News.

The U.K.'s energy minister Claire Perry voiced support for the students protesting, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called the students' actions inspiring.

Students protesting want the government to declare a climate emergency and make climate change an educational priority in school curriculums, per Sky News. The strikes were inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who staged weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish parliament in protest of climate change inaction.

A global school walkout is planned for March 15. Marianne Dodson

1:12 p.m.

After declaring a national emergency over the border wall this morning, President Trump will be on a plane to Mar-a-Lago by evening.

Trump declared the national emergency on Friday morning and said he would redirect federal funds in order to expedite the wall-building process.

The president has spent 81 days at Mar-a-Lago, his private beach resort and golf club in Palm Beach, since taking office, reports NBC News. Nearly 30 percent of Trump's time in office thus far has been spent at his own properties, but this weekend will mark his first trip to Florida while the nation is ostensibly in crisis mode. Marianne Dodson

12:25 p.m.

Facebook may take steps to limit the amount of anti-vaccine information users can share on the platform, reports Bloomberg.

The company announced it would look into the issue after Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) penned a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday requesting information on steps the company is taking to prevent the spread of disinformation regarding vaccines. The letter highlighted the ease with which misinformation can spread on sites like Facebook and Instagram and specifically referenced the exposure to anti-vaccine content on social media.

In Facebook's response, the company said possible fixes could include "reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations, including Groups You Should Join, and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available," per Bloomberg.

A recent measles outbreak in the Pacific Northwest has brought the anti-vaccination debate back into public view. Darla Shine, the wife of President Trump's Communications Director, took to Twitter on Wednesday to cast doubt on the validity of vaccinations, tweeting "Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases they keep you healthy & fight cancer." The World Health Organization said that reluctance or refusal to get vaccines is a top threat to global health this year. Read more at Bloomberg. Marianne Dodson

11:57 a.m.

Ben Affleck has finally explained why he's hanging up his cowl.

The actor confirmed on Jimmy Kimmel Live that he won't be returning as Batman in the upcoming 2021 film directed by Matt Reeves, saying that he "worked with a really good screenwriter" on the project but "couldn't crack it." Therefore, he explained, "I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it."

Affleck was at one point scheduled to direct The Batman, but Matt Reeves has since taken over. It had previously been reported that the film would star a younger version of the caped crusader played by a different actor, a report Affleck seemed to confirm by tweeting out a link to that story and saying he's excited for the film.

There was still, however, the question of whether Affleck could return in a future Batman film should Warner Bros. want to bring back the older version. That doesn't seem likely, though, as when Jimmy Kimmel asked Affleck whether it's true that he will "not be Batman again" — not simply that he'll be sitting out one film — Affleck appeared to confirm that this is the case.

This brings Affleck's portrayal of Batman to a conclusion after just two films, unless you count his cameo in Suicide Squad. Rumors had swirled over Affleck's possible exit for years, especially after Justice League faced a negative reception. But Affleck in 2017 denied these reports, saying he wouldn't be giving up the role anytime soon because "I am the luckiest guy in the world." Brendan Morrow

11:50 a.m.

President Trump on Friday sure didn't make his national emergency declaration sound like much of an emergency.

After announcing he would declare a national emergency and redirect federal funds for the border, Trump suggested he's doing so because it's the "faster" option.

"I could do the wall over a longer period of time," he said. "I didn't need to do this. But I would rather do it much faster."

These comments will almost certainly come up during any potential legal challenges to Trump's declaration, with Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, tweeting in response, "keep talking Mr. President." Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance called Trump's comment "a gift to all the lawyers preparing to sue him."

Trump himself predicted a legal battle, saying "we will then be sued" but will "hopefully" get a "fair shake" in the Supreme Court. Watch Trump's comments below. Brendan Morrow

11:10 a.m.

President Trump made it official Friday: he is declaring a national emergency over the border.

Trump also said he will seek to direct as much as $8 billion for the border, with White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney telling reporters $600 million will come from the Treasury Department's drug forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion will come from the Department of Defense's drug interdiction program, and another $3.6 billion will come from military construction funding, per The Washington Post.

The White House had previously announced that Trump would sign Congress' shutdown-averting deal, which provides $1.3 billion for border fencing but not $5.7 billion in wall funding like Trump wanted, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to obtain the rest of the money. "It's a great thing to do," Trump said Friday of his national emergency declaration.

Trump's idea of declaring a national emergency is highly controversial even among Republicans, who fear the precedent it will set and warn that a future Democratic president could take similar action over one of their policy priorities. "A future president may use this exact same tactic to impose the Green New Deal," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday, per the Tampa Bay Times.

Congress could theoretically pass a joint resolution to terminate Trump's national emergency declaration. But both the House and the Senate would need supermajorities in order to override a presidential veto of this resolution, The New York Times reports, adding that it's "highly unlikely" enough Republican support exists for this step to be taken. Brendan Morrow

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