Trump welcomes ‘American hero’ McCain back

President Donald Trump welcomed Sen. John McCain back to Washington with a Tuesday morning tweet calling the Arizona Republican an “American hero.”

“So great that John McCain is coming back to vote. Brave – American hero! Thank you John,” Trump wrote.

McCain, recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, will make a dramatic return to the Senate on Tuesday to cast a critical vote on health care legislation.

The president’s tweet comes just over two years after the then-presidential candidate said McCain, who was imprisoned and tortured during the Vietnam War, was not a war hero because he was captured.

“He is not a war hero,” Trump told pollster Frank Luntz, who was hosting a July 2015 question-and-answer session at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa.

“He is a war hero,” Luntz interjected.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said, cutting him off. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have — I believe perhaps he is a war hero.”

Trump has since acknowledged that McCain is a hero, but refused to apologize in subsequent interviews.

Asked by ABC News the next day whether he owes McCain an apology, Trump said: “No, not at all.”

“People that fought hard and weren’t captured and went through a lot, they get no credit. Nobody even talks about them. They’re like forgotten. And I think that’s a shame, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said.

And once he became the presumptive Republican nominee, Trump, expressed no regret.

“I don’t, you know — I like not to regret anything,” Trump told radio host Don Imus in May 2016. “You do things and you say things. And what I said, frankly, is what I said. And you know, some people like what I said, if you want to know the truth. Many people that like what I said. You know after I said that, my poll numbers went up seven points.”

McCain’s office announced Monday night that he would return Tuesday — a surprise to most in Washington who expected him to miss the crucial vote and return to Washington at a later date.

McCain is expected to get GOP leadership one vote closer to beginning debate on health care legislation, which is on the verge of collapsing.

“Senator McCain looks forward to returning to the United States Senate tomorrow to continue working on important legislation, including health care reform, the National Defense Authorization Act, and new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea,” his office said in a statement.

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6 months in, a look at Trump White House briefings

Donald Trump’s White House has slowly but surely reduced its presence in the White House briefing room during the first six months of his presidency — with on-camera briefings all but disappearing from the schedule.

The Trump administration held an on-camera briefing 12 times in February, and then another 17 times in March. In May, there were 11 briefings on camera. Since then, those numbers have dropped drastically. Briefings are shorter, less substantive and rarely on camera these days. In June, there were only eight on-camera briefings. There have been zero in July.

When the briefing is off-camera, news outlets are typically barred from airing the audio live and must wait until the briefing is over to take it to air.

White House deputy secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has also had an increased presence at the lectern. She has handled most of the briefings since June 27, leaving many wondering about the role of her boss, press secretary Sean Spicer. He last briefed reporters on July 17 — for the first time in three weeks — because Sanders was not at the White House that day. 

Spicer has justified off-camera briefings by saying he wants the president’s voice “to carry the day,” though he later admitted he preferred for the cameras to be turned off because “a lot” of reporters “want to become YouTube stars.”  

During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network Wednesday, Spicer said the White House communications team is “very engaged with the press all day long doing interviews like this” and “communicating with the press.”

“We do a briefing every single day,” Spicer said. “I think for a lot of folks, they’re more interested in getting the clip to put on the Internet, to put on their news, and we’re interested in making sure that we communicate with the American people, that we give the press an opportunity to get their questions answered but we’re not here to make it a spectacle, either.”

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Walmart apologizes for slur in listing on its website

Walmart has apologized for an offensive slur used by a third-party seller in a product listing on its website.

The cap listed the color as “n—– brown.” It was highlighted in a series of tweets late Sunday.

“Umm, @walmart, we need to have a chat…” Travon Free, a writer for “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,” tweeted Sunday night.

Walmart issued a statement Monday saying it too is upset by the use of the word on its site. Walmart declined to identify the vendor that was selling it.

“We are very sorry and appalled that this third party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace,” said Danit Marquardt, director of corporate communications for Walmart. “It is a clear violation of our policy, and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.” He said the third party seller has been completely removed from Walmart’s site as it investigates further.

Walmart initially removed the offensive word from the title of the product, but it remained in the item’s details, where the color is listed.

By Monday morning the term had also been removed from the details portion of the listing, and the item itself was no longer available. Only the black version of the cap appeared to be listed.

The cap was described as manufactured by Jagazi Naturals in the U.K., but that company’s owner said the product is a counterfeit version of hers and was sold by an unauthorized seller.

“We’re very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well,” said Chizo Onuh of Jagazi Naturals. “It just doesn’t make any sense. No one will buy the product when you put that offensive name on it.”

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Tim Cook quotes FDR: We are all descended from immigrants

Tim Cook has a very clear Independence Day message: America = immigrants.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday morning, the Apple CEO said: “Wishing everyone a happy #Independence Day!” followed by a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Remember always that all of us … are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

The quote is from a 1938 speech to the Daughters of the American Revolution, according to the American Presidency Project.

Cook’s statement comes just days after the revised version of President Trump’s travel ban went into effect. The ban places restrictions on some nationals of six majority-Muslim countries.

Cook, along with many other tech CEOs, has been campaigning against the ban.

Shortly after the Trump administration put the first version of the ban in place in January, Cook assured Apple employees that the company does not support Trump’s policy, and is prepared to lend them aid.

“Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do,” he said.

It’s not the first time Cook has been outspoken about social issues. He has in the past talked about the importance of LGBT rights, philanthropy, corporate diversity and renewable energy.

He has expressed his disappointment with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. He said he lobbied the White House to stay in the agreement.

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Defiant Trump resumes attacks on ‘Morning Joe’ hosts, despite bipartisan criticism

A defiant President Donald Trump resumed his attacks on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Saturday morning, calling Scarborough “crazy” and Brzezinski “dumb as a rock,” despite days of bipartisan criticism over his i…

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How many social followers does Trump actually have?

Katy Perry just became the first person to hit 100 million followers on Twitter, but someone else wants you to hear him roar.

In a Friday morning Twitter storm about his frustration over the Russia investigation, President Trump boasted that he can circumvent the “fake media” and go straight to the “100 million people” following him on social media.

It’s a familiar Trump theme — he sees his robust social media footprint as a direct line to his base.

But just how many people are following Trump on social media? It it really 100 million?

His main Twitter account lists 32.4 million followers. Not too shabby for someone who follows only 45 people — mainly his family, aides and Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.

Add to that his @POTUS Twitter account (18.8 million followers), Facebook pages (22.4 million likes and 1.7 million followers), YouTube subscribers (103,000 and 4.3 million), and Instagram (7 million followers). Trump started Snapchatting in January, but that platform doesn’t list how many followers a user has.

Added up, that’s 86.7 million followers.

Of course, many of those followers are the same people using different accounts.

An analysis run for CNN Tech by social media firm Socialbakers estimates that Trump has closer to 60 million actual people following him.

“Growth has been phenomenal for President Trump, from 15 million to 60 million in the last twelve months,” Socialbakers Vice President César Christoforidis said.

And there are the bots — “fake followers.” Any celebrity has them.

One analytics tool, Twitter Audit, estimates that 11.6 million of Trump’s 32 million Twitter followers are either dormant or accounts run by bots. That’s right on par with other high-profile tweeters, like @BarackObama who also has about 35% “fake followers.”

The world’s most followed politician on Twitter is still Obama, according to Socialbakers. The former president clocks in at nearly 91 million followers on one Twitter account alone.

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