CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 03: Nelson Mandela smiles during a lunch to Benefit the Mandela Children’s Foundation as part of the celebrations of the opening of the new One&Only Cape Town resort on April 3, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa. The One&Only is Sol Kerzner’s first hotel in his home country since 1992. The 130 room property is One&Only’s first Urban resort and sits in the fashionable Waterfront district. Celebrities from all over the world including Mariah Carey, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Thandie Newton and Marisa Tomei will attend the event. Gordon Ramsay will be launching his first restaurant in Africa at the resort, Maze and Robert De Niro will be opening Nobu. Nelson Mandela will be attending an intimate luncheon at Maze on Friday to celebrate his long-standing relationship with Mr. Kerzner. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Photo: Chris Jackson/2009 Getty Images
While the prognosis seemed grim a few weeks ago, Nelson Mandela is celebrating his 95th birthday on Thursday, and South African President Jacob Zuma reports, “his doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving.” Mandela is still hospitalized with a lung infection, but family members say he’s awake, smiling, and communicating with his eyes and hand. “You can see he is there in his eyes, the same energy and strength,” said his daughter ZindziMandela-Motlhajwa.
Walmart said Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of deaths tied to vaping grows. The decision from America’s largest retailer may influence other stores and marks a significant blow to the vaping industry.
“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club US locations,” the company said in a statement. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”
Biden, in Iowa, makes his first statement on Ukraine & Trump. Asked about his son Hunter being investigated: “There is not one single credible outlet that has given credibility to this assertion. And so I have no comment other than the president should be start to be president.”
The Wall Street Journal confirms: Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.
“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” whether allegations were true or not, one of the people said. Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of foreign aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on an investigation.
Mr. Giuliani in June and August met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation, he said in an interview. The Trump lawyer has suggested Mr. Biden as vice president worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden. A Ukrainian official earlier this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son.
I don’t think Biden will be the nominee (the field on the Dem side clearly has a better shot), but I’m not sure folks appreciate how unusual Biden holding a 10+ pt lead on Trump is at this point. No incumbent since at least WWII was down by anything close to that at this point.
President Trump on China trade in the East Room: “We’re looking for a complete deal, I’m not looking for a partial deal.” Can it get done before the election? “No, I don’t think I can get it before the election.”
Trump surprisingly doesn’t kick Trudeau when he’s down
Longer Trump quote on Trudeau – he was unusually circumspect, saying he wished he wasn’t asked: “I’m surprised, and I was more surprised when I saw the number of times…I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin. I just don’t know what to tell you. I was surprised by it.”
Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years! Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race. NYC is devastated, he’s coming home!
The Pentagon is reportedly the “lone voice” defending the refugee program in internal debates
The Pentagon is fighting against proposals by White House officials to drastically cut the number of refugees allowed into the U.S., and has called for reserving visas for Iraqis who risked their lives working for U.S. troops, according to five people familiar with the plan.
In internal discussions, the Defense Department has expressed opposition to any further reductions to the current annual ceiling of 30,000 for refugee admissions, which already is at a historic low for the 40-year-old U.S. refugee program, the sources told NBC News.
Defense officials also proposed setting aside about 6,000 slots specifically for Iraqi applicants who worked for U.S. troops as interpreters or in other jobs, according to one current U.S. official, one former U.S. official and three refugee advocates briefed on the deliberations.
Mayor Pete is making moves to boost his poll numbers with black voters
Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign has hired a black engagement director to improve the mayor’s standing among African American voters in the Democratic primary.
Angela M. Angel, a former state legislator in Maryland, will take charge of the Buttigieg campaign’s outreach to black voters. So far, Buttigieg has sought to do so by touting his Douglass Plan, a set of proposals aimed at fighting systemic racism and helping black Americans. But Buttigieg’s polling numbers among African Americans have remained low.
Angel said that is because most African Americans don’t know the South Bend, Ind., mayor yet.
Ben Carson voiced his bizarre, transphobic concerns about homeless shelters during a HUD meeting
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson expressed concern about “big, hairy men” trying to infiltrate women’s homeless shelters during an internal meeting, according to three people present who interpreted the remarks as an attack on transgender women.
While visiting HUD’s San Francisco office this week, Carson also lamented that society no longer seemed to know the difference between men and women, two of the agency staffers said.
Carson’s remarks visibly shocked and upset many of the roughly 50 HUD staffers who attended Tuesday’s meeting, and prompted at least one woman to walk out in protest, the staffers said.
… In May, the agency introduced a proposal that would allow federally funded shelters to deny people admission on religious grounds or force transgender women to share bathrooms and sleeping quarters with men.