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January 12, 2018

President Trump on Friday held a commemorative ceremony for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., ahead of the federal holiday Monday in honor of the groundbreaking civil rights pioneer. But what should have been a routine celebration of one of America's most vaunted historical figures quickly turned awkward, given the president, not 24 hours earlier, had reportedly insulted a swath of African nations — and maybe Haiti too — as "shithole countries."

Before signing a proclamation for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump praised King for his work. "Today we celebrate Dr. King for standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear: that no matter what the color of our skin, or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God," Trump said.

The president then exited the commemoration of a leading equal-rights advocate to shouted questions from reporters, including an inquiry from Urban Radio Networks' April Ryan as to whether or not he is "a racist." Watch the excruciating irony below. Kimberly Alters

1:47 a.m. ET
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On Saturday night, the Trump administration released a plan to reunite the more than 2,000 children separated from their parents under President Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy, but immigrant advocates and shelter operators say that will be no easy feat. The children, some barely old enough to speak, are spread around the U.S. in groups as small as 10, "in Michigan and Maryland, in foster homes in California and shelters in Virginia, in cold, institutional settings with adults who are not permitted to touch them or with foster parents who do not speak Spanish but who hug them when they cry," The Washington Post reports. Already, "the children have been through hell," the Post says:

And now they live and wait in unfamiliar places: big American suburban houses where no one speaks their language; a locked shelter on a dusty road where they spend little time outside; a converted Walmart where each morning they are required to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, in English, to the country that holds them apart from their parents. Why must they say those words, some of the children ask at the shelter in Brownsville, on the Mexican border in Texas? "We tell them, 'It's out of respect,'" said one employee. [The Washington Post]

The toll-free Office of Refugee Resettlement hotline migrant parents are being told to call to locate their children is jammed and uninformative, and "U.S. authorities are compiling mug shots of the children in detention" to help connect parents with kids, the Post says. "Immigration lawyers who have seen the pictures say some of them show children in tears."

The children are fed and offered activities, including arts-and-crafts classes and rudimentary "Know Your Rights" presentations delivered by outsider lawyers, the Post says. "Some kids engage. Some remain silent. Some have not spoken for weeks." You can read more about how these children are living at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

1:39 a.m. ET
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While traveling from Boston to Portland, Oregon, last week, Clara Daly, 15, used her knowledge of American Sign Language to make the flight easier for a fellow passenger.

Tim Cook, 64, is blind and deaf, and was unable to communicate with the flight attendants. They asked if anyone on board knew ASL, and Daly, who took classes for a year, volunteered to help. She signed letters into his hand, first asking, "Are you okay?" They communicated that way throughout the flight, with Cook telling Daly about the sister he had been visiting in Boston and Daly telling him about her life in California.

Fellow passenger Lynette Scribner was impressed by Daly, and said her assistance helped reduce Cook's frustration. "You could see him light up," she told The New York Times. Scribner took a photo of the pair and shared what she saw on Facebook, and the post has been liked and shared hundreds of thousands of times. Cook, who lost his hearing and sight as an adult, told KGW he is used to feeling isolated, and was "very moved" by Daly's act of kindness. Catherine Garcia

1:09 a.m. ET
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Buzz Aldrin and two of his children are now engaged in a legal fight, with Janice and Andrew Aldrin asking to be appointed his co-guardians because he's in "cognitive decline," a charge he forcefully denies.

Buzz Aldrin, 88, told The Wall Street Journal he was blindsided by his children's request, made last month in a Florida court. The legendary former astronaut said his children and former business manager Christina Korp are trying to wrestle away control of his private company, Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, and his nonprofit, ShareSpace Foundation, by claiming he's being manipulated by strangers and experiencing paranoia and confusion.

Aldrin has agreed to undergo a competency evaluation this week by three court-appointed specialists, telling the Journal, "Nobody is going to come close to thinking I should be under a guardianship." Aldrin is also firing back with his own lawsuit, accusing Andrew Aldrin and Korp of elder exploitation, unjust enrichment, and converting his property for themselves, and Janice Aldrin of conspiracy and breach of fiduciary trust.

Aldrin says his son and Korp improperly transferred nearly $500,000 over the last two years from his savings account to Buzz Aldrin Enterprises and ShareSpace Foundation for their own personal use, and he was forced into attending events and taking endorsement deals he didn't want. For more on the Aldrin family saga, visit The Wall Street Journal. Catherine Garcia

12:43 a.m. ET
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Under President Trump's recently amended "zero tolerance" border policy, U.S. federal border agents separated children from their parents either right away, at massive processing facilities like one in McAllen, Texas, known as "la hielera" (freezer), or on the morning parents were bussed to court to be charged with illegal entry, typically a misdemeanor. "Border officials told parents they'd see their children when they got back from court," The Washington Post reports, adding:

But when they returned, their children were gone, taken to federal shelters. Some parents were told that their children were being taken for a bath, but then the kids did not come back. At a shelter in McAllen, as word spread that children were being pulled from their parents, some mothers and ­fathers took to sleeping with their legs wrapped around their children so they couldn't be snatched. [The Washington Post]

Detained parents at a facility outside Houston and their lawyers tell The Texas Tribune that U.S. officials are giving them a choice: They will be reunited with their children at the airport if they voluntarily give up their asylum claims and agree to be deported. One Honduran man, "Carlos," said he agreed to be deported "out of desperation" to see his 6-year-old daughter, but now he's trying to get out of his agreement. He said he's spoken to his daughter once since she was taken in late May and "she can't talk, she cries because she's locked up."

Immigration lawyers are skeptical federal officials would even be able to keep that promise. Cynthia Milian, a lawyer who has spoken with Carlos, told The Texas Tribune she doubts the feds "would put his child on a plane to get her to where he would get deported out from, especially if she's in Arizona," where Carlos was told she is being kept. "I just don't see that happening." Read more at The Washington Post and The Texas Tribune. Peter Weber

June 24, 2018
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President Trump's tweet chastising Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon has resulted in a windfall for a Texas nonprofit that helps immigrants and refugees.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fallon said he received instant backlash after he asked to tousle Trump's hair on the Sept. 15, 2016, episode of The Tonight Show. People accused Fallon of "normalizing" Trump, he said. "It just got bigger and out of control."

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Fallon is now "whimpering" and saying "that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have 'humanized' me-he is taking heat. He called & said 'monster ratings.' Be a man Jimmy!"

Not long after, Fallon made a big announcement on Twitter: "In honor of the President's tweet I'll be making a donation to RAICES in his name." The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is a nonprofit that assists underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in central and south Texas. Catherine Garcia

June 24, 2018

David Bossie, who once served as President Trump's deputy campaign manager, 
apologized on Sunday after appearing on Fox & Friends and telling his fellow panelist, Joel Payne, he was out of his "cotton-picking mind."

Bossie and Payne, who served as an aide to former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), were on the show discussing comparisons between concentration camps and detention centers where the children of undocumented immigrants are being held. At one point, Bossie told Payne, "You're out of your cotton-picking mind," to which Payne replied, "Cotton-picking mind? Brother let me tell you something, I've got some relatives who picked cotton and I'm not going to sit here and allow you to attack me like that on TV."

The show's host, Ed Henry, later said Bossie's comments were "obviously offensive," and he wanted to "make clear Fox News and this show, myself, we don't agree with that particular phrase." Bossie tweeted his apology, saying, "During a heated segment on Fox & Friends today, I should have chosen my words more carefully and never used the offensive phrase that I did. I apologize to Joel Payne, Fox News, and its viewers." Payne told MSNBC he has accepted Bossie's apology, but felt "demeaned" and struggled to keep his composure. "Unfortunately, that's par for the course for this president and the people who surround him," he said. Catherine Garcia

June 24, 2018
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In an interview published Sunday, Roseanne Barr said she's made herself "a hate magnet," and "as a Jew, it's just horrible. It's horrible."



The interview was conducted by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach the day after Barr's show was canceled by ABC due to a racist tweet she made about former President Barack Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett. Barr referred to Jarrett as "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby," and she told Boteach she "didn't mean what [people] think I meant," and "that's what's so painful. But I have to face that it hurt people."

Barr cried throughout the interview, and said she apologized to those upset by her tweet. "I'm a lot of things, a loud mouth and all that stuff," she said. "But I'm not stupid, for God's sake. I never would have wittingly called any black person...a monkey. I just wouldn't do that. I didn't do that."

Since the interview was conducted, ABC has ordered 10 episodes of a Roseanne spinoff called The Conners, with Barr not involved at all with the show. She remains active on Twitter, retweeting questionable accounts while at the same time sharing such deep thoughts as, "does Twitter exist to spread disinformation?" (Per Barr, "it was CIA created so...it was the original intention perhaps.") Catherine Garcia

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