July 16, 2019

Attorney George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and one of the most prominent conservative critics of President Trump, said he always viewed Trump as "boorish, dim-witted, inarticulate, incoherent, narcissistic, and insensitive," but also thought he was an "equal-opportunity bully — in his uniquely crass and crude manner, he'll attack anyone he thinks is critical of him."

In an op-ed published Monday night in The Washington Post, Conway writes that because of Trump's tweets on Sunday, telling four Democratic lawmakers, all women of color, to "go back" where they came from, there is no doubt that "naiveté, resentment, and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president. Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear."

Conway's mother came to the U.S. from the Philippines, and while he remembers in the 1970s a woman approached her in a parking lot and said "Go back to your country," this never really bothered him, because "to my mind, most Americans weren't like that. The woman in the parking lot was just a boor, an ignoramus, an aberration." Now, he can see there are more people in the world who share this woman's point of view, and it horrifies him that Trump appears to be one of them.

"Trump is not some random, embittered person in a parking lot — he's the president of the United States," Conway said. "By virtue of his office, he speaks for the country. What's at stake now is more important than judges or tax cuts or regulations or any policy issue of the day. What's at stake are the nation's ideals, its very soul." Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

July 11, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made enemies of a few more Democratic newcomers.

In an interview with The New York Times published Saturday, Pelosi pushed back against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Ohmar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for their opposition to a largely bipartisan border spending bill, referring to them just "four people." Now, Ocasio-Cortez has suggested there's a racial motivation to Pelosi's words.

Pelosi has often rejected the will of progressive newcomers, and in an interview with The Washington Post published Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez said she "understood" that was "to protect more moderate members." But this "persistent singling out" has become "just outright disrespectful . . . the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color," Ocasio-Cortez added.

Ocasio-Cortez's comment comes after she and her self-described "squad" pushed for amendments to a Republican-led bill that directed emergency funding to the border, received some compromises, and still voted against it. The bill still passed because despite having "their public whatever and their Twitter world," the freshmen representatives are just "four people and that’s how many votes they got," Pelosi told The New York Times. Pelosi also reportedly told a closed-door meeting Wednesday that Democrats can't just "tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay," per the Post.

Yet as Politico Playbook describes it, Pelosi's words weren't meant as an insult. To Pelosi, "if you are one person who controls 20 votes, you're powerful," and everyone else is just a "normal member," Politico writes. Those supposedly offensive comments, as Politico puts it, are simply "a reflection of a reality under which [Pelosi] operates." Kathryn Krawczyk

June 25, 2019

President Trump doesn't think Megan Rapinoe should be protesting ahead of World Cup games. Rapinoe, it seems, could not care less.

In a Monday interview with The Hill, Trump was asked if it's appropriate for the U.S. women's soccer team co-captain to refuse to put her hand over her heart during the national anthem before World Cup games. "No, I don't think so," Trump said — an unsurprising stance given his past criticism of athletes who kneeled during the anthem.

Judging by Rapinoe's very public anti-Trump statements, that won't be a problem for the midfielder. For example, take Rapinoe's comments during what appears to be a pre-World Cup press session. When asked if she was "excited about going to the White House," Rapinoe bluntly countered by saying "I'm not going to the f--king White House." "We're not gonna be invited," she then added — and she probably wasn't suggesting the team would fall short of a championship.

Rapinoe would join a long list of champions who've rejected or been denied a White House visit under Trump — not that they've been particularly hurt by the gesture. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 23, 2019

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is chalking up a delay in putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill to bureaucracy. Her great-great-great-great niece isn't buying it.

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Mnuchin affirmed the long-awaited replacement of Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill wasn't coming until 2028. He went on to blame the setback on addressing "counterfeiting issues," but Tubman's descendant Ernestine Wyatt told CNN's Newsroom on Thursday that Mnuchin's excuse actually "smacks of racism."

With the redesign first being announced in 2016, Wyatt declared that Mnuchin has “had time for this to happen." His defense is "just a nice way of trying to say we don't want this, we're not going to have this, under any circumstances will we have this," she continued. Kathryn Krawczyk

February 25, 2019

Former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen doesn't believe President Trump fully comprehends economic policy or macroeconomics.

In an interview with Marketplace released Monday, Yellen said she doubts Trump "would even be able to say that the Fed's goals are maximum employment and price stability." She added that the president has made comments about trade that "shows a lack of understanding of the impact of the Fed on the economy and appropriate policy goals." When asked if she thinks Trump has a grasp of macroeconomic policy, she responded, "No, I do not."

Now a distinguished fellow in residence at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Yellen left the Fed in 2018 after Trump did not nominate her for a second term. Trump has criticized her successor, Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates, and he's called the Fed a threat to the economy. Yellen said those comments "concern me, because if that becomes concerted, I think it does have the impact, especially if conditions in the U.S. for any reason were to deteriorate, it could undermine confidence in the Fed. And I think that that would be a bad thing." Catherine Garcia

February 22, 2019

Duke said Thursday that freshman basketball superstar Zion Williamson suffered a mild knee sprain when his Nike PG 2.5 shoe burst apart at the start of the Blue Devils' prime-time televised game against North Carolina, suggesting he could return soon to the currently No. 1-ranked team, The Washington Post reported. Nike shares dropped by 1 percent on Thursday as the athletic apparel maker scrambled to figure out why the shoe disintegrated, per CNN.

Former President Barack Obama was courtside, and was shown in a widely seen video reacting by pointing toward Williamson and saying, "His shoe broke!"

Duke struggled after Williamson's injury, losing to No. 8 UNC in a stunning upset. The incident renewed debate over whether playing college ball is worth the risk for players who stand to make millions as pros. Harold Maass

February 11, 2019

Everything was not awesome for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part this weekend.

The animated sequel from Warner Bros. took in $34.4 million in its opening weekend, falling significantly short of the first film's $69 million debut in 2014 and The Lego Batman Movie's $53 million debut in 2017, per Box Office Mojo. It did, however, surpass The Lego Ninjago Movie's $20 million opening. But The Second Part was expected to make as much as $55 million this weekend, as reported by Variety last month.

With an 84 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews don't explain the film falling short of expectations. But this could be a classic example of oversaturation, with Warner Bros. releasing four Lego movies since 2014 without letting audiences grow hungry for more. There's also the fact that the most recent Lego movie prior to The Second Part, The Lego Ninjago Movie, was poorly received by critics and fans alike and may have depressed turnout.

Variety reports that the audience for The Second Part was on average younger than that of the original, so it seems the sequel hasn't been able to generate the same excitement from adults as its predecessor.

It's possible that positive word of mouth will help give the film a boost in the coming weeks, but one problem for Warner Bros. is that it will soon have some competition from another animated sequel, DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, which will target the same audience as The Second Part and hits theaters on Feb. 22. Brendan Morrow

February 6, 2019

The Washington Post's editorial board is in agreement: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) must resign.

In an editorial published Wednesday night, the board said there's no way Northam can "effectively serve the people of Virginia who elected him," as his "governorship has been irredeemably wrecked by the self-inflicted, racially callous, and clueless mess he has made in recent days." Northam has given "shifting and credulity-shredding explanations" for a photo on his medical school yearbook page, showing one man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan robe, and he's been silent since announcing over the weekend he would get a private investigator to clear his name.

There are lots of questions about the photo, the board said — why would Northam admit to being in it if just a day later, he said he wasn't certain? What does this say about his judgment? "The explanations Mr. Northam has proffered are vague and unconvincing," the editorial states. "Virginians deserve better. Mr. Northam's time is up." Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

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