It's official
April 14, 2020

Now that the Democratic primary has essentially come to an end, former President Barack Obama has officially endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president.

Obama on Tuesday finally came out with his endorsement, in a video message saying picking Biden as his vice president was "one of the best decisions I ever made."

"I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now," Obama said.

Obama described Biden as an "incredible partner," someone who "has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery" and will "surround himself with good people" who "actually know how to run the government." He also argued Biden's platform is the most progressive in history.

The 44th president spoke on the coronavirus pandemic as well, saying he and former first lady Michelle Obama are praying for those suffering and later arguing the crisis highlights the importance of November's election.

"This crisis has reminded us that government matters," Obama said. "It's reminded us that good government matters, that facts and science matter, that the rule of law matters. That having leaders who are informed and honest and seek to bring people together, rather than drive them apart — those kind of leaders matter. In other words, elections matter."

Obama previously remained on the sidelines during the Democratic primary, reportedly with an eye on later playing the role of party unifier. In his endorsement, Obama called the 2020 Democratic field "one of the most impressive" ever, specifically praising Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), "an American original," and incorporating a phrase used by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by saying, "Even before the pandemic turned the world upside down, it was already clear that we needed real structural change." Brendan Morrow

January 2, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration has officially issued its ban on flavored e-cigarette cartridges — with exceptions.

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled its ban on fruit, candy, mint, and dessert flavors of small e-cigarette cartridges, but not on menthol and tobacco flavors, The Associated Press reports. Additionally, large tank vaping systems, which are used to mix flavors, will be exempt under the ban, which goes into effect in 30 days.

AP writes that these "major" exceptions "represent a significant retreat from President Donald Trump's original plan announced four months ago, which would have banned all vaping flavors — including menthol — from all types of e-cigarettes." Trump announced plans for this ban in September after six people died from lung disease tied to vaping. "We intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at the time.

Companies will now have to stop selling the products covered under the ban within 30 days or face the threat of regulatory action, CNBC reports. Juul has already stopped selling most flavored e-cigarettes.

Trump was reportedly warned by his campaign manager that his proposed flavored vaping ban could hurt him in the 2020 election, with one senior administration official telling The Washington Post, "He didn't know much about the issue and was just doing it for Melania and Ivanka."

On Tuesday, Trump said of the upcoming ban, "We're going to protect our families, we're going to protect our children and we're going to protect the industry." Brendan Morrow

February 15, 2019

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

September 14, 2017

Comedy Central announced Thursday that it has renewed The Daily Show host Trevor Noah's contract through 2022. Noah is just a couple weeks away from his two-year anniversary as the host of Comedy Central's flagship late-night show, which was previously helmed by Jon Stewart for 16 years. The South African comedian will remain the show's anchor, as well as a writer and executive producer, and he will also produce and host Comedy Central's annual year-end specials.

Comedy Central President Kent Alterman praised Noah for finding "his voice in the show," which Alterman described as "incisive and funny." "We have never had any lack of confidence in Trevor. Quite the opposite, we've never wavered in our belief in him, and now what we're seeing is that the rest of the world has taken notice and expressed the same confidence," Alterman said.

Noah was equally enthusiastic. "It's really exciting to renew this contract for either five more years or until Kim Jong Un annihilates us all — whichever one comes first," Noah said in a statement. Becca Stanek

August 15, 2017

Weeks after news of her reported pregnancy broke, actress Mindy Kaling has finally confirmed that she's expecting. In a clip released Tuesday from an upcoming Today interview, Kaling opened up about being "really excited" for parenthood. "It's so unknown to me. I have a lot of control over a lot of aspects of my life, and this is one where I'm like, 'Okay, it's out of my hands,' which is kind of a fun feeling," said The Mindy Project creator and star.

Prior to the interview clip, only unnamed sources and Oprah had confirmed Kaling's pregnancy. Kaling has not yet revealed who the father is.

She was, however, characteristically candid about the perks of parenthood. "As you know, it's so easy to criticize parenting until you're a parent, so one of the nice things about becoming a parent is that I'll be able to openly criticize other parenting, because I'll have a child," Kaling joked.

In a more emotional moment, Kaling hoped that her child would be as open-minded as her mother, who died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer. "My mom was incredibly fierce and so devoted to us, just loved us and really wanted us to be happy no matter what we did. My career choice was not something that she was familiar with and she was just so supportive of that," Kaling said. "If I could give that to my child, just that open-mindedness, I'd be so happy."

Kaling's full interview will air Sept. 10, just two days before The Mindy Project's final season debuts. Catch the clip from her interview below. Becca Stanek

June 28, 2017

It's official: President Trump is headed to France for Bastille Day. The White House on Wednesday announced that Trump has accepted French President Emmanuel Macron's invitation to attend celebrations in France commemorating the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a decisive moment in the French Revolution. This year's Bastille Day also marks the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I.

Aside from attending the annual military parade in Paris on the national French holiday, Trump will also talk economic and terrorism-related issues with Macron. "President Trump looks forward to reaffirming America's strong ties of friendship with France, to celebrating this important day with the French people," the White House said in a statement.

That reaffirmation might be needed, given Macron and Trump's recent interactions. The two shared an uncomfortably long, white-knuckled handshake in Brussels last month. Shortly after that, Macron issued a brutal rebuttal to Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, during which Macron repurposed Trump's campaign slogan by calling on the world to "make our planet great again." Becca Stanek

June 1, 2017

President Trump announced Thursday that he will seek to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. Trump had promised during his campaign to leave the global climate pact, which seeks to limit carbon emissions in an effort to slow global warming.

In a speech Thursday in the Rose Garden, Trump condemned the Paris accord's "draconian financial and economic burdens" and said the U.S. would immediately cease complying with the agreement, though he left open the possibility of negotiating to re-enter the accord. Trump argued the agreement "disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries," leaving "American workers, who I love," to pay the price.

Trump's decision to withdraw came despite the urging from fellow heads of state and even his own daughter, Ivanka Trump, to remain in the pact. Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon and EPA administration Scott Pruitt were both pushing heavily for Trump to withdraw.

The formal withdrawal process, which Trump plans to follow, could take as long as four years and possibly extend into the next presidential election; the tentative date for official withdrawal is Nov. 4, 2020, one day after the election. Becca Stanek

April 10, 2017

President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch was officially sworn in as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday morning in a public ceremony in the Rose Garden. Gorsuch took the judicial oath outside the White House after taking the constitutional oath earlier Monday in a closed-door ceremony. "I'm humbled by the trust placed in me today. I will never forget, that to whom much is given, much will be expected," Gorsuch said. "And I promise you that I will do all my powers permit to be a faithful servant of the Constitution and laws of this great nation."

Trump, in a brief introductory speech, hailed Gorsuch as a man of "great and unquestioned integrity" who "will likewise be a devoted servant of the law." He also marveled at how quickly he managed to restore the Supreme Court to its full nine seats; the Supreme Court has had a vacancy since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, as Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland. "This is a great honor — and I got it done in the first 100 days!" Trump said.

Watch Gorsuch be administered the judicial oath by Justice Anthony Kennedy below. Becca Stanek

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