Trump, Ryan, pledge to work together, see end to rift in GOP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Straining to mend their party after months of chaos, Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan declared themselves “totally committed” to working together after a fence-mending personal meeting on Thursday. Ryan praised Trump as “very warm and genuine,” and suggested that after initial hesitance he may well end up endorsing the GOP candidate for president.
“We will have policy disputes. There is no two ways about that. The question is, can we unify on the common core principles that make our party?” Ryan said. “And I’m very encouraged that the answer to that question is yes.”
Trump, who used the day to launch a robust charm offensive with members of Congress, broadcast his own enthusiasm, on Twitter and on TV. “I really think we had a great meeting today, and I think we agree on a lot of things and it’ll be a little process but it’ll come along . I’m pretty sure,” he said in an interview recorded for Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”
The surprisingly fervent show of unity capped a remarkable week that began with Ryan, the GOP’s top elected office-holder and its 2012 vice presidential nominee, turning his back on his party’s presumptive presidential nominee just days after Trump had effectively clinched the nomination.
Ryan said at the time he was not yet ready to back Trump, who had succeeded in insulting women, Latinos, disabled people and many conservatives in the course of a brutal primary season. He also has alarmed the Republican establishment with proposals including deporting millions of immigrants and barring Muslims from the country.
Brazil’s acting president promises to jumpstart economy
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Picking up Brazil’s reins after the Senate voted to suspend President Dilma Rousseff, acting President Michel Temer pledged Thursday to jumpstart the stalled economy and push ahead with a sprawling corruption investigation that has already ensnared top leaders of his own party and even implicated Temer himself.
Temer spoke in the same narrow hall where a defiant Rousseff made what may prove her last remarks as president earlier in the day. He reached out a timid olive branch to his two-time running mate, saying he wanted his appearance to be “sober” in recognition of his “institutional respect” for Rousseff and of the deep divisions caused by the impeachment campaign against her.
“This is not a moment for celebrations, but one of profound reflection,” Temer said at a chaotic swearing-in ceremony for the 22 members of his new Cabinet. “It’s urgent to pacify the nation and unify the country. It’s urgent for us to form a government of national salvation . to pull this country out of the serious crisis in which we find ourselves.”
The Senate voted 55-22 to impeach Rousseff over allegations her government broke fiscal laws in managing the federal budget. Rousseff insisted the accusations are baseless, since such financial maneuvers have been common practice by other Brazilian presidents without repercussions.
She was immediately suspended for 180 days pending a trial in the Senate. If she is found by two-thirds of the Senate to have committed crimes, Temer will serve out the remainder of her term, which ends in December 2018.
10 Things to Know for Friday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:
1. WHO MET IN DC
Donald Trump and House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan declared they are “totally committed” to working together to win in November.
2. WHERE A PRESIDENT VOWS TO FIGHT HER OUSTER
Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff vows to use “all legal means” to continue opposing her impeachment, raising the specter of continued political turmoil.
After political turmoil, Olympic organizers push on
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The venues are, in the words of organizers, 99 percent ready. The torch is winding its way around the country in a three-month relay ending at the opening ceremony.
Even if the country is preoccupied with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, organizers insist the Olympics won’t be touched by the ongoing political turmoil.
Will that bear out? Stay tuned.
“The organization of the games is absolutely following the right path,” Carlos Nuzman, head of the organizing committee, said Thursday. “And it will continue the same way.”
Will a change in the country’s chief executive cause more problems as the calendar ticks down to Rio? What about the effect of the country’s rotating sports leadership?
US gives directive to schools on transgender bathroom access
WASHINGTON (AP) — Public schools must permit transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity, according to an Obama administration directive issued amid a court fight between the federal government and North Carolina.
The guidance from leaders at the departments of Education and Justice says public schools are obligated to treat their transgender students in a way that matches their gender identity, even if their education records or identity documents indicate a different sex.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
The directive is contained in formal guidance being sent to school districts Friday.
It does not impose any new legal requirements, but federal officials say it’s mean to clarify school districts’ obligations to educate students in nondiscriminatory environments. Educators have repeatedly sought guidance on how to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in institutions that receive federal funding, Education Secretary John B. King said in a statement.
Navy officer fired over Iran’s detention of 10 sailors
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy has fired the commander of the 10 American sailors who wandered into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf and were captured and held by Iran for about 15 hours.
In a statement Thursday, the Navy said it had lost confidence in Cmdr. Eric Rasch, who was the executive officer of the squadron that included the 10 sailors at the time of the January incident. He was responsible for the training and readiness of the more than 400 sailors in the unit.
A Navy official said Rasch failed to provide effective leadership, leading to a lack of oversight, complacency and failure to maintain standards in the unit. The official was not authorized to discuss the details publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Rasch has been relieved of his command duties and reassigned, the Navy said.
Although this is the first firing by the Navy regarding the incident, several other sailors received administrative reprimands. The investigation is expected to be finished by the end of the month, and others are likely to be disciplined.
2nd website posts auction for gun that killed Trayvon Martin
MIAMI (AP) — An online gun auction website yanked George Zimmerman’s ad to sell the pistol he used to kill unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, saying it wanted no part in the deal, but a second site offered to post it.
A listing for the weapon was removed from the GunBroker.com site Thursday morning, minutes after the auction was to begin, as negative traffic about the sale exploded online. In a statement posted on its website, GunBroker.com said listings are user generated, and that the company reserved the right to reject listings at its discretion.
Zimmerman never contacted anyone at the site and no one there “has any relationship with Zimmerman,” the company wrote in its statement.
It added, “We want no part in the listing on our web site or in any of the publicity it is receiving.”
Hours later, United Gun Group tweeted that it would post Zimmerman’s ad. The new link was posted, along with a statement from Zimmerman. However, the site apparently went down a few minutes later. The site calls itself a “social market place for the firearms community.”
With Hiroshima, Obama goes where predecessors stayed away
WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama tours Hiroshima’s haunting relics of nuclear warfare, he will be making a trip that past administrations weighed and avoided. For good reason: The hollowed core of the city’s A-Bomb Dome and old photos of charred children are sure to rekindle questions of guilt and penitence for World War II’s gruesome brutality.
Obama’s visit later this month already is stirring debate on both sides of the Pacific about the motivations and justifications for the nuclear attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anything he says will be sharply scrutinized in the U.S., Japan and beyond. Anything resembling an apology could become a wedge issue in the U.S. presidential campaign and plunge Obama into the complicated politics of victimhood among Japan and its Asian neighbors.
“I don’t have any problem with him going, but there is nothing to apologize for,” said Lester Tenney, a 95-year-old American survivor of the 1942 Bataan Death March, when the Japanese marched tens of thousands of Filipino and U.S. soldiers to prison camps, and hundreds to their deaths.
Forty-two years ago, a White House aide suggested President Gerald Ford visit the city where 140,000 people were killed in the inferno on Aug. 6, 1945. A senior adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, vetoed the idea: “It could rekindle old animosities in Japan at a time when we are striving for new relationships.”
Asked in 2008 if he might go, President George W. Bush was noncommittal. In the end, it took 65 years for a U.S. ambassador to attend the city’s annual memorial service. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled there last month.
Kansas to toughen rules on transgender birth certificates
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is pursuing regulations that would give it one of the nation’s toughest policies against allowing transgender people to update their birth certificates, prompting anger from advocates and threats of a lawsuit.
State health department officials contend an existing agency regulation allowing amended birth certificates conflicts with state law and needs to be eliminated. The agency has been pursuing changes for months and could impose them within six weeks.
The department’s revised rules would allow a change only if a person or his or her parents could document that the gender was incorrectly recorded at the time of birth.
Three transgender rights advocates called on the department to abandon its proposed changes during a hearing Thursday. The National Center for Transgender Equality says only Idaho and Tennessee have legal policies against changing gender listings on birth certificates, though Ohio also is not allowing it.
“It really stands against where most of the country is on updating identity documents to accurately reflect who people are,” said Arli Christian, the center’s state policy counsel.
Thunder beat Spurs, advance to Western Conference finals
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 37 points, Russell Westbrook added 28, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 113-99 on Thursday night to win the Western Conference semifinal series 4-2.
Steven Adams had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Andre Roberson added 14 points for the Thunder.
Oklahoma City lost 124-92 in Game 1, but first-year coach Billy Donovan led the Thunder to victory in four of the next five. Oklahoma City will face defending NBA champion Golden State in the Western Conference finals, starting Monday in Oakland.
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, Tim Duncan had 19 and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 for the Spurs. San Antonio lost just once at home during the regular season, but the Thunder beat the Spurs twice in San Antonio during the series.