September 25, 2017

"The last time athletes have been this outspoken was with Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell. That's the last time probably we've seen this kind of division in the country and with civil rights issues," Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said in comments published by ESPN Sunday evening.

Kerr was weighing in on President Trump's weekend tussles with pro athletes and their political activism — from Trump's decision to rescind the Warriors' championship invitation to visit the White House over comments from point guard Stephen Curry to the president's multi-day attack on NFL players like Colin Kaepernick who kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.

But Kerr didn't stop with a history lesson. He also had some thoughts on the present controversy:

"How about the irony of, 'Free speech is fine if you're a neo-Nazi chanting hate slogans, but free speech is not allowed to kneel in protest?'" Kerr said. "No matter how many times a football player says, 'I honor our military, but I'm protesting police brutality and racial inequality,' it doesn't matter. Nationalists are saying, 'You're disrespecting our flag.' Well, you know what else is disrespectful to our flag? Racism. And one's way worse than the other." [Kerr via ESPN]

Kerr said that before Trump's disinvitation tweet he was preparing for a civil visit to the White House despite political differences. Now, he added, that expectation seems implausible. "The idea of civil discourse with a guy who is tweeting and demeaning people and saying the things he's saying is sort of far-fetched," he said. "Can you picture us really having a civil discourse with him?" Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017

President Trump issued a profane call to NFL team owners to fire players who engage in peaceful political protest on the field while speaking Friday night at an Alabama rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R). "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'" Trump asked his audience. "Out. He's fired. He's fired." The rally crowd responded with cheers.

"You know what's hurting the game?" the president continued. "When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they're playing our great national anthem." Trump encouraged his supporters to walk out of the stadium in counter-protest should they ever observe an NFL player's protest in person.

Trump was referring to football players like Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, who has silently declined to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Trump's comments were widely decried, including by other NFL players, with many noting his words for Kaepernick were harsher than his responses to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The NFL Players Association issued a statement Saturday vowing to "never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety."

Watch an excerpt of Trump's comments below, or see the entire speech here. Bonnie Kristian

Editor's note: This article originally incorrectly identified Kaepernick's former team. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.

September 22, 2017

Megyn Kelly, who rocketed to international fame as President Trump's least-favorite anchor at Fox News, is not actually not much of a political junkie, and when her new NBC morning show, Megyn Kelly Live, starts on Monday, "I don't want to talk about Trump at all," she told The Associated Press. She elaborated:

In fact, the bar is very high for Trump coverage (on Megyn Kelly Live). If you want Trump, you can watch virtually every channel in the country and get Trump nonstop. I think people are looking for a break from that. Not just Trump, it's inside the Beltway. I don't want to talk about Mitch McConnell either, or Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi. [Megyn Kelly to AP]

Kelly said she wants her new show to be somewhere between the fun earlier hours of NBC's popular Today show and something more substantive, covering things like bullying, mental health, job interview tips, how to protect yourself from cybersecurity breaches, and moving past divorce. Kelly will go up against Live! with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, and NBC executives are reportedly concerned about her ratings — following the middling debut season of her Sunday night newsmagazine, her positive "Q" popularity score among women fell to 4 from 21 two years ago, according to Marketing Evaluations Inc., versus a 15 average for TV hosts. Kelly says she's not paying attention to the noise, and her viewers are "going to watch the show and either they're going to feel a connection to me or they won't. And that will be on me." You can read more of her interview at AP. Peter Weber

September 21, 2017

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer swears he never "knowingly" lied to the American people during his tenure in the Trump administration. In an interview Thursday with Good Morning America, Spicer acknowledged that he "made mistakes, there's no question." But when asked if he'd ever lied at the podium, he responded: "I don't think so."

Spicer proceeded to try to explain away every seeming untruth. He conceded that he "could have probably had more facts at hand and been more articulate" when he claimed the crowd size at President Trump's inauguration was bigger than at former President Barack Obama's. "I think it might've been better to be a lot more specific with what we were talking about in terms of the universe, not focus so much on photographic evidence, et cetera," Spicer said, pointing out that "many people viewed the inauguration online versus in person" and there are now "more online platforms to view things."

As for that time he seemingly provided contradictory information about former FBI Director James Comey's firing, he pointed out that President Trump "set it straight himself." He blamed a lack of consistency in terminology for that time he bluntly told reporters that Trump's travel ban was unequivocally "not a travel ban," just after Trump tweeted it was, in fact, a ban.

But if anyone out there was hoping for "some blanket apology," it's "not happening," Spicer said as he fit in one last jab at the media, who "think that everything we did was wrong."

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

September 20, 2017

Stephen Colbert began his interview with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday's Late Show with the title of the book she is out promoting: "What happened?" Clinton said it was painful trying to figure that out, but she thought it a worthwhile endeavor so that what happened in the 2016 election "doesn't happen again." She said she was as candid as she could be about the mistakes she made, but also dove into misogyny, voter suppression, the "unusual behavior" of former FBI Director James Comey, and the Russians. "I believe so strongly that they think they succeeded in messing with our democracy," Clinton said, and she thinks they did, too.

Russian President Vladimir Putin didn't just want Donald Trump to win, she said, he wanted to destabilize and undermine American democracy, divide the country, and wreck its faith in its intuitions. "I think that they believe they had a good outing in 2016," she said, "and I think they will be back in 2018 and 2020 unless we stop them." Clinton said she's been told Putin also had a personal grudge against her, but she doesn't take it personally, then she gave a brief psychoanalysis of Putin's anger issues, insecurities, and problems with women.

The fact that she was a female secretary of state and potential president did "seem to get him a bit agitated," she said, and he showed his discomfort with "manspreading" every time they met. She did find one topic that warmed him up, however.

Colbert broke out the chardonnay for the second part of the interview. But first, Clinton tried to clear up some comments she made about the legitimacy of the election. "Nobody's talking about contesting the election, including me," she said, suggesting that if the various investigations find evidence of Trump's team colluding with Russia, people who don't appreciate that mobilize and vote, because the ballot box "is where we settle our political differences, and that's where it should be." You can watch what she felt Trump should have said at the U.N. instead of the "very dark, dangerous" speech he gave below. Peter Weber

September 20, 2017

In May, during a visit to Washington, D.C., Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sat in a car and watched as his security detail violently attacked peaceful protesters in a park across the street from the Turkish ambassador's residence. The U.S. indicted 15 members of Erdogan's security detail over the attack, plus four others, and on Monday, President Trump's administration scrapped a $1.2 million arms deal to Erdogan's security forces in retribution. Also Monday, PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff sat down with Erdogan, who said he was sorry about the misunderstanding, and so was Trump. The interviewed aired on Tuesday night.

"Actually President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue," Erdogan said. "He said that he was sorry and he told me he was going to follow up on this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit. The protesters were insulting us, and they were screaming and shouting. The police failed to intervene properly." A White House official told Axios that Erdogan's "comments were not true and the president did not apologize."

In the rest of the interview, Woodruff and Erdogan discuss NATO, Russia, and the underlying tension between the U.S. and Turkey over Syrian Kurdish forces, which the U.S. considers valuable allies against the Islamic State and Erdogan repeatedly dismisses as "terrorists." You can watch the entire interview here. Peter Weber

September 19, 2017

President Trump informed the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that some countries are "going to hell." "Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell," Trump said in his debut U.N. address in New York City. Reuters' Jeff Mason noted that leaders at the U.N. meeting reacted "seemingly in bafflement."

On a brighter note, Trump assured the diplomats and world leaders gathered for the annual meeting that the "powerful people in this room" can "solve many of these vicious and complex problems." In his wide-ranging speech, Trump specifically identified North Korea and Iran as among those problems, warning that North Korea's "Rocket Man" (a.k.a. Kim Jong Un) is "on a suicide mission" and deeming the Iranian government an "economically depleted rogue state" whose chief export is violence.

It was not immediately clear if these were the countries Trump believes are going to hell. Becca Stanek

September 14, 2017

President Trump's admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is deeper than it appears, Hillary Clinton said Thursday night on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Trump likes authoritarians, Clinton said while promoting her new book What Happened, and "he doesn't just like Putin, he wants to be like Putin. He wants to have that kind of power that is largely unaccountable, unchecked." Despite his many threats over time, she's not worried about Trump trying to drum up any charges against her "because I know there's nothing there," she said, although she also has "no doubt that if he got into serious political trouble, he'd try to gin something up about me or President Obama. We are his two favorite targets. I worry it is indicative of the kind of self image that he has, not only of himself but of what the president should be able to do, and that's why it's really imperative that the Republicans in Congress rein that in."

It was "bizarre" to hear the chants of "Lock her up!" that rang out during Trump's campaign rallies, Clinton said, especially considering these rallies were "inciting violence and insulting people." It was "really unbecoming of somebody running for president," she added. "It moved into his convention, and it was being done from the platform and people were chanting it and screaming it. I thought, 'Wow, this is unlike anything I have ever read about or seen in presidential conventions. Every kind of political barrier that should have restrained this president and those urging him on was broken through." Catherine Garcia

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