April 12, 2019

At a CNN town hall in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night, Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Julian Castro was asked the best way to implement reparations for slavery, an idea he supports. He started by saying "we have never fully addressed in this country the original sin of slavery," and "because of that, we have never truly healed as a country." Castro continued:

Sometimes people say, you know, they'll ask me: 'Well, nobody today was a slave owner, and nobody today that's living was a slave.' And I say, you know, if somebody is out there that's 25 years old and they say: 'Why are you talking to me? I never owned slaves.' I'd say that, you know, that 25-year-old person never fought in the Pacific, that 25-year-old person never had a hand in writing the Constitution of our great country, that 25-year-old person never marched with the women who were marching for the power to vote, they didn't march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. ... In other words, even though we weren't there in past generations, we've inherited a lot of moral assets, but you know what? We've also inherited some moral debts, and one of those debts we've never paid is the debt for that original sin of slavery. [Julian Castro]

Castro, a recent Housing and Urban Development secretary and former mayor of San Antonio, didn't endorse any reparations mechanism, saying he supports legislation by fellow Texas Democrat Rep. Shelia Lee Jackson to have a commission craft a reparations plan.

Castro also said the "one idea or piece of advice" we would give President Trump is to "follow the law," reiterated his support for legalizing marijuana, said that as president he would work to expunge all criminal records for marijuana use, and joked to the person who asked about marijuana: "Look, your last name is Stone; I won't assume you're a stoner. My last name is Castro; don't assume I'm a dictator." Peter Weber

7:14 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was greeted by the sound of protesters booing him when he arrived in Luxembourg on Monday, and the reception he received from the country's top leaders wasn't much friendlier.

Johnson was in Luxembourg for his first face-to-face meeting with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, The Associated Press reports. With Britain scheduled to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, the two are trying to come up with a divorce agreement, but the European Commission said in a statement the meeting ended with no plan in place. Johnson has not offered any "legally operational" solutions to the so-called "backstop," which would guarantee that goods and people are able to freely cross the border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland.

Johnson was scheduled to attend a news conference with Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, but refused to attend due to the rowdy anti-Brexit protesters. Bettel met with him privately, and said Johnson needs to "stop speaking and act," adding, "You can't hold their future hostage for party political gains." A no-deal Brexit could have catastrophic economic repercussions, but Johnson is adamant that Britain will leave the EU by Halloween, with or without a deal.

An EU summit will be held in mid-October, and hopes are high that a deal will be reached then. Johnson suspended Parliament until Oct. 14, in order to give himself distance from lawmakers who are trying to block a no-deal Brexit, and on Tuesday, Britain's Supreme Court will mull whether that decision was lawful. Catherine Garcia

5:30 p.m.

Some Asian Americans laughed when entrepreneur Andrew Yang's said on the debate stage Thursday night in Houston that he knew a lot of doctors because he's Asian. But others find that that the presidential candidate's supposedly self-deprecating humor — which has also included jokes about being good at math and loving to work — too often reinforces racial stereotypes, The Washington Post reports.

"I found this part galling, because here he is sort of obtusely reinforcing the model-minority myth and model-minority stereotypes," Jenn Fang, who runs the blog Reappropriate, told the Post, referring to the debate line. Fang added that, in making a comment like that, Yang also "implicitly suggests that the Asian American experience is only represented by his specific middle-to-wealthy-upper-class East Asian American experience," which in the process "completely flattens all of the other ways people are Asian American and don't have access to health care and access to higher education."

Yang, though, has defended himself. In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper over the weekend, the candidate said the "Asian American American community is very diverse, and certainly I would never claim that my individual experience would speak to the depth and breadth of our community." In fact, Yang argues, by "poking fun" at the myth surrounding Asian Americans, he's "making Americans reflect more on it."

Janelle Wong, a professor of Asian American studies at the University of Maryland, said it's "certainly dangerous" for Yang to "deploy stereotypes," but he is also "breaking stereotypes by seeking the presidential nomination." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

5:23 p.m.

John Bolton might be ready to drop a (thankfully metaphorical) bombshell.

President Trump fired/accepted the resignation of his national security adviser last Tuesday amid reports that Bolton was fighting with just about everyone in the White House. Bolton eerily left his position with a promise that he would "have my say in due course," and less than a week later, The Daily Beast is reporting that "due course" could be sooner than expected.

Bolton is already talking with literary agents in hopes of writing a memoir of his time working for Trump, two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Daily Beast. "He has a lot to dish," one of the sources said, though both what was on the menu and when it will be served have yet to be revealed. Bolton would join a long line of former Trumpers to give an inside scoop on their White House tenures, and judging by the rocky way Bolton went out, it wouldn't be the softball former Press Secretary Sean Spicer tossed out there.

When asked about a possible book deal, Bolton only told The Daily Beast he had "no comment." Read more at The Daily Beast. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:40 p.m.

President Trump still doesn't want to go to war with Iran, he said, but the U.S. is prepared for it nonetheless.

Saudi Arabia announced Monday that its initial investigation into the drone strikes against two of the country's major oil production facilities revealed that Iranian weapons were used in the attack. The kingdom will now reportedly invite United Nations and other international "experts" to further investigate the situation.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels initially claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the U.S. has accused Iran of orchestrating them. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have alleged that Tehran supplies the Houthis with arms in Yemen's civil, however, so — even if the weapons are Iranian — it will likely remain unclear exactly what Iran's role was.

Trump, meanwhile, said there are "some very strong studies" being conducted on the attacks and that it looks like Iran is behind them. The president, when asked if the U.S. is ready for war, said the country is more prepared for a conflict than anyone in "any history."

He said the attack on Saudi Arabia could be "met with an attack many, many times larger" by the U.S. Tim O'Donnell

4:27 p.m.

Shane Gillis won't be live from New York after all.

The comedian hired as a cast member for Saturday Night Live last week has just been fired following reports on his use of offensive racist and homophobic slurs, a spokesperson for the show announced.

"We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days," a spokesperson for SNL said, reports The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff. "The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard."

Gillis' SNL hiring was announced Thursday, but within hours, a clip from a September 2018 podcast in which he uses a racist slur against Asians spread on Twitter. Subsequent reports shed light on his use of other offensive language including homophobic slurs; in May 2019, he again used a racist slur against Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

In a statement last week, Gillis did not apologize for his remarks, although he said he would be "happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended." On Monday, Gillis released another statement in which he brags that he's "a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL" and "that can't be taken away." After saying he respects SNL's decision, he makes light of the situation by writing he "was always a Mad TV guy anyway." Gillis again did not apologize. Brendan Morrow

3:55 p.m.

House Democrats have another investigation on their hands.

Earlier this year, reports suggested President Trump's Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao had held onto investments she was supposed to divest, and that her family's shipping company had used her ties to Trump to its benefit. So in a Monday letter, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) requested Chao hand over documents and communication related to Chao's business and investment holdings by Sept. 30.

In the first half of the letter, Cummings discusses a June New York Times report detailing how Chao allegedly "used her connections and celebrity status in China to boost the profile" of her family's shipping business Foremost Group. Chao's DOT has reduced funding for U.S.-flagged ships, Cummings says, which could benefit her family's China-flagged company. He's asking for any of Chao's business communications with her family and Foremost, as well as any DOT employees' communications with Foremost.

Cummings then details Chao's "failure to divest" her stock in construction company Vulcan Materials Group, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal in May. Chao wrote on a financial disclosure form that she would sell her stocks in the company, but failed to do so, Cummings says. He is similarly requesting communications between Chao and Vulcan, and between DOT employees and Vulcan.

The investigation comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) prepares to ramp up attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Democratic aides tell Axios. Chao and McConnell are married, and their political paths have reportedly overlapped in some suspicious ways during the Trump administration. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:40 p.m.

The off-the-field drama surrounding New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown is not going away anytime soon.

The last year of Brown's life has grown steadily more controversial, beginning with a series of locker room feuds while playing for two different franchises. That didn't reflect kindly on the All-Pro, but he now faces a much more serious accusation of sexual assault, and an explosive piece published Monday by Sports Illustrated details Brown's long of history of allegedly refusing to pay wages to his former assistants and part-time employees.

SI spoke with several people who have worked for Brown who have accused him of failing to pay them thousands of dollars. "There's something wrong with him," Michael Daniel Kolodzi, an attorney representing a client who says Brown owes him money. "He doesn't feel like he has to pay working class people."

Brown also once hosted a charity softball game in Pittsburgh when he was playing for the Steelers in 2017. At an auction during the event, Brown reportedly became an enamored with a portrait of himself and offered to pay $700 for it, far surpassing the winning bid of $450. He promised to pay for it at a later date, but allegedly still has not sent over the money more than two years after the fact.

The SI piece also sheds light on a second sexual misconduct allegation against Brown involving the artist of the aforementioned painting, whom Brown hired to paint a mural in his home. The woman told SI that while she painted, Brown appeared behind her naked save for a hand towel covering his genitals. She kept painting that day, but then lost contact with Brown, though he did pay her for her work. The artist is not pursuing sexual misconduct charges against Brown for his behavior, but she did say she was bothered by it. Read more at Sports Illustrated. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads