WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he was backing off his budget request to eliminate funding for the Special Olympics, reversing course on a proposal that was unlikely to be approved by Congress after days of bipartisan criticism.
Speaking to reporters as he left the White House for a rally in Michigan, Trump said he had authorized funding for the organization. “I heard about it this morning. I have overridden my people. We’re funding the Special Olympics.”
Trump’s announcement came after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spent days defending the proposal, which drew widespread condemnation from lawmakers, as well as advocates and celebrities.
Saudis get US nuclear power aid
The Trump administration has approved seven applications for U.S. companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked Perry whether the applications were approved after Oct. 2, when Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Perry said he did not know the specific date. Congress is increasingly uneasy with the close relationship between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump has brushed off criticism over the killing of Khashoggi and the Saudis’ role in the war in Yemen.
The nuclear approvals, known as Part 810 authorizations, allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of any deal to build a nuclear plant. They do not allow transfer of nuclear material, equipment or components.
Trump criticizes leaders on border
President Donald Trump on Thursday accused Mexican and Central American leaders of doing “nothing” to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to the United States – one day after his administration signed an agreement with some of those same leaders aimed at reducing the number of migrants streaming north.
Trump’s tweets risked undermining his administration’s diplomatic efforts on immigration, and came as Mexico said it planned to set up a “containment belt” of federal forces to stem an increasing flow of Central American migrants.
Trump’s remarks stood in contrast with those of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who expressed gratitude for the collaboration among regional leaders in addressing border problems. She met with Mexican officials and traveled to Honduras this week to meet with leaders of that country, Guatemala and El Salvador.
President riles up backers at rally
Presenting himself as both vindicated and vindictive, a fired-up President Donald Trump on Thursday turned the findings of the special counsel’s Russia investigation into a political weapon at a boisterous Michigan rally that was part victory lap, part 2020 campaign push.
Trump unleashed a fervent diatribe from the stage about the inquiry, which he deemed “the greatest hoax in the history of our country.”
Trump stood before a familiar backdrop: a giant American flag, signs reading “Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!” and, of course, “Make America Great Again.” Trump also ticked off what he portrayed as his administration’s accomplishments, including a booming stock market and victories over the Islamic State terror group.
House condemns military policy
The House delivered a rebuke to President Donald Trump on Thursday by voting to condemn his administration’s move to restrict transgender men and women from military service.
A non-binding resolution opposing Trump’s transgender ban passed 238-185. Every Democrat supported the resolution, while every Republican voted against it except five, including Trey Hollingsworth, who represents south-central Indiana in the state’s 9th Congressional District.
The Trump administration’s policy bars people who have undergone gender transition from enlisting. It also requires military personnel to serve as their biological gender unless they began a gender transition under less restrictive Obama administration rules. The policy is being challenged in court.
Florida mayor joins 2020 race
Unless you are a Florida State University football fan, chances are you have never heard of the newest Democratic candidate for president – but Wayne Messam is hoping to quickly change that.
The mayor of Miramar, Florida, Messam announced Thursday that he is joining the crowded field seeking to unseat President Donald Trump in next year’s election.
Messam, a 44-year-old construction company owner who played for the Seminoles in the 1990s, leads a city larger than that of the more attention-getting mayor eyeing the race, Pete Buttigieg of South Bend.