May 4, 2020

The mounting global backlash against China stemming from the country's handling the early days of the coronavirus pandemic has apparently registered with Beijing's political leaders, Reuters reports.

An internal report drawn up by the China Institutes of Contemporary International found that anti-China sentiment around the world is at its highest point since 1989 following the Tiananmen Square student demonstrations, which Beijing cracked down on by declaring martial law and sending the military to occupy parts of the capital.

The think tank's research was reportedly presented in early April to top Chinese Communist Party officials, including President Xi Jinping. Reuters' report is based off sources who have direct knowledge of the findings, though the news outlet has not seen the briefing itself. If reports of its contents are accurate, it would at least confirm Beijing is taking the backlash seriously, though Reuters notes it's unclear if those concerns will ultimately influence policy.

The paper reportedly concluded the rising anti-China sentiment is in part a result of American efforts to undermine public confidence in Beijing amid the crisis. Relations between the two super powers are fragile at the moment, and the White House has been ramping up its criticism of China's coronavirus response, accusing the CCP of covering up information about the virus' severity and origin. Read more at Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

September 3, 2019

Following outrage from the public and doctors, the Trump administration on Monday said it is rethinking its decision to deport immigrants who are dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

Under its deferred action program, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency let undocumented immigrants avoid deportation if they or family members were undergoing medical treatment for serious illnesses. To participate, immigrants had to request a renewal every two years. On Aug. 7, the program was ended without any public notice, and immigrants who recently made requests were sent letters telling them the agency was no longer accepting the requests, and they would face deportation if they didn't leave the U.S. within 33 days.

On Monday, the agency said it will "complete the caseload that was pending on August 7," but did not say if the program will keep going after these applications go through. An official told The New York Times the agency is still reviewing the program and has not made a final decision on whether to continue some version of the initiative. The agency said that annually, it receives 1,000 applications for the program.

Several of the immigrants who received letters have participated in clinical studies and drug trials, including Maria Isabel Bueso, 24. She has a rare genetic disease, and when she was a child, doctors in the U.S. asked if she could come from Guatemala and participate in a drug trial. Thanks to Bueso, a treatment was discovered for her disease, and has extended the life span of a typical patient. This treatment is not available in Guatemala, and her doctors told the Times without her medication, Bueso, whose parents have private insurance and cover all of her health-care costs, will die. Catherine Garcia

July 15, 2019

After President Trump over the weekend tweeted that several minority congresswomen should "go back" to where they came from, some Republican lawmakers are beginning to criticize his remarks.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) on Twitter late on Sunday said that Trump's comments were "wrong," while Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) on Monday called them "really uncalled for" and "very disappointing," also speculating that "a good number of my Republican colleagues don't appreciate the comments as well," The Washington Post reports.

Roy and Upton were soon joined by their Republican colleague Rep. Paul Mitchell (D-Mich.), who tweeted that "we must be better than comments" like Trump's, which are "beneath leaders."

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) also blasted Trump's tweets as "racist" and "xenophobic" on Monday while adding that the president's behavior is "unbecoming of the leader of the free world," CNN reports. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) said the tweet is "not reflective" of his district's values and called on Trump to "immediately disavow his comments." And Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Trump "was wrong" to say what he did because "three of the four were born in America," encouraging the president to critique the congresswomen for their ideas, CNN reports.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is the latest Republican to speak out, saying that Trump's comments were "divisive, unnecessary and wrong," reports NBC News' Frank Thorp.

Outside of Congress, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich also condemned Trump's tweets as "deplorable and beneath the dignity of the office," reports NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell, while former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake called the remarks "vile and offensive."

These comments come after earlier silence from most Republicans and after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Fox & Friends recommended that Trump "aim higher" but did not condemn the tweets, suggesting the spirit of Trump's remarks was correct because the lawmakers he was attacking "hate our own country." Trump on Monday denied that his tweets were racist. Brendan Morrow

January 25, 2019

Ann Coulter is absolutely livid over President Trump's shutdown deal.

After Trump announced Friday a deal to reopen the government for three weeks without the $5.7 billion in border wall funding he has been demanding, the conservative commentator tweeted that he is now the "biggest wimp ever to serve as president."

Coulter was previously insistent that Trump not reopen the government without border wall funding, and when in December it seemed like Trump might agree to essentially the same proposal he backed today, Coulter said that if Trump can't get the wall built, he will have "scammed the American people" and will lose re-election in 2020.

Plenty of others in the conservative media agreed with Coulter and saw Trump's move as a massive cave, with Erick Erickson writing for The Resurgent, "President Trump looks weaker now than at any time in his presidency." Conservative websites like Drudge Report and Breitbart also ran red banners that read, "NO WALL" and "NO WALL FUNDS." Many Breitbart readers themselves were not happy, either.

But not all of Trump's media allies turned on him Friday, with others feeling confident that he'll be able to get the wall funded by the end of this new three-week deadline. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity both stood by Trump, with Hannity saying on his show that "politically, I think it's a good thing" and that Trump has still "got the high ground." Brendan Morrow

September 19, 2018

A recent essay in the New York Review of Books was so controversial that it has resulted in the editor's departure before even hitting newsstands.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Ian Buruma has left as editor of the Review of Books. This comes days after the erudite magazine published a piece by former radio host Jian Ghomeshi, who has been accused of sexual assault by over 20 women. He was acquitted of five charges in 2016, per The Guardian. In a piece titled "Reflections from a Hashtag," Ghomeshi talks about the #MeToo movement and the experience of living as an outcast after facing sexual misconduct allegations.

The essay is to appear in the magazine's Oct. 11 edition, but it was published online on Sept. 14. A backlash swiftly followed, with critics arguing that Ghomeshi should not have been given a platform to paint himself as a victim and that the magazine allowed him to mischaracterize the allegations against him. Buruma defended the decision to publish the article in an interview with Slate last week, arguing that it wasn't "a defense of what he may have done" but was an "angle on an issue that is clearly very important." While noting that Ghomeshi was acquitted, Buruma also argued, "The exact nature of his behavior — how much consent was involved — I have no idea, nor is it really my concern."

It's not clear at this time whether Buruma was fired or resigned. Read more at The New York Times. Brendan Morrow

February 24, 2018

Delta and United Airlines on Saturday announced they are cutting ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The airlines join the Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental brands as well as First National Bank of Omaha, Best Western hotels, MetLife insurance, and more than a dozen other companies in ending deals with the NRA. Delta previously offered discounted airfare for NRA members, and United offered discounts on flights to and from the organization's annual conference.

Companies are distancing themselves from the NRA in response to outrage following last week's mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school. Customer responses to the tweeted announcements were predictably mixed. Bonnie Kristian

January 10, 2018

YouTube is distancing itself from vlogger Logan Paul, who caused outrage when he posted a video Dec. 31 showing the body of a man who died by suicide, announcing Wednesday it is removing Paul from a top-tier ad platform and putting his projects on hold.

"In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul's channels from Google Preferred," a YouTube spokesman said. "Additionally, we will not feature Logan in Season 4 of Foursome and his new originals are on hold." Foursome is a comedy series starring Paul and other social media personalities.

The controversial video was filmed in a Japanese forest known for a high number of suicides, and it received six million views before it was deleted. Not only was the public upset at Paul for posting the video, but many were mad at YouTube as well for waiting so long to say something. Paul has apologized for the video, and in a statement after he deleted it he said "suicide is not a joke" and "depression and mental illness are not a joke." Paul's YouTube page has more than 15 million subscribers. Catherine Garcia

May 13, 2016

Conservative politicians were quick to slam President Obama's directive Friday that public schools allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity, rather than biological sex, with Texas even going so far as to hint at a lawsuit. "We will not be blackmailed," Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said, advising local school boards and superintendents not to heed the administration's orders. "I believe it is the biggest issue facing families and schools in America since prayer was taken out of public schools. Parents are not going to send their 14-year-old daughters into the shower or bathroom with 14-year-old boys. It's not going to happen."

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) joined Patrick's rebuke of the law, advising school districts to ignore the "offensive" directive. Tim Moore, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House, has said the move makes him "wonder what other threats to common sense norms may come before the sun sets on the Obama administration." Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) called the directive an overreach of federal government and advised Obama to "focus on his job," which "is not to intervene in state and local affairs."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has responded by pointing out the directive is merely "guidance" for how schools can ensure students aren't discriminated against, and that it doesn't add any legal requirements — though there's an underlying implication that schools that do not comply will be at risk of losing federal funding by refusing to follow Title IX rules. Becca Stanek

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