The first refugees accepted under a contentious agreement with Australia are headed to the United States, months after President Trump assailed the deal as “dumb” and not in the country’s best interests.
Fifty-four asylum-seeking refugees left Pacific island camps this week where Australia had housed them for several years. Some came from an all-male camp in Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, while the others came from a camp on the island of Nauru, a U.S. State Department official said on Thursday. A number of advocacy groups have said the refugees are set to settle in cities from Los Angeles to Atlanta.
The resettlement of the refugees, mostly men from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia, is part of a deal forged between the United States and Australia under the Obama administration.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, who faces mounting criticism over his personal use of charter flights for routine travel around the country, said Thursday he would reimburse the federal government for part of the costs.
But Price did not commit to reimbursing most of the travel tab.
And even as Price expressed regret about his charter travel, which President Trump has criticized, new questions emerged about his use of military aircraft for two international trips earlier this year to Africa, Europe and East Asia.
Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump's first Supreme Court appointee, on Thursday drew protesters to the Trump International Hotel when he gave his first major speech in Washington there to a conservative education group.
Several progressive groups accused Gorsuch of undercutting the court's appearance of impartiality. They said he may be required to recuse himself if the justices are asked to decide whether Trump is violating the Constitution's ban on presidents taking an emolument from a foreign state -- as critics have suggested he is -- by profiting from foreign emissaries using the hotel.
"In an era of ruthless ideological divisions, Justice Gorsuch's decision will undermine the court's public legitimacy as an entity above partisan politics," the groups said in a public letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
President Trump lately, and oddly, has taken to blaming Republicans' failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act this week on the false claim that a GOP senator has been "in the hospital" and couldn't make the vote.
"We have one senator who's a 'yes' vote, a great person, but he's in the hospital," Trump said on Thursday morning's "Fox & Friends" show.
"We have the votes to get it done. You can’t do it when somebody is in the hospital," Trump reiterated later in the interview.
A three-star military commander was named on Thursday to manage Hurricane Maria relief efforts in devastated Puerto Rico.
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, an Army infantry officer who served multiple tours in Iraq, is expected to take over at the island command headquarters set up in the convention center in San Juan, the capital. A one-star general arrived earlier in the week.
The Trump administration has been criticized for a slow and inadequate response to the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico just over a week ago, leaving the American island in ruins, without power and increasingly lacking in water and other basic necessities. The military effort is expected to expand in the coming days.
Roy Moore’s upset victory in the Alabama Senate primary sent shock waves through the Republican establishment Wednesday, portending a GOP civil war as outsider candidates in other states threaten to challenge incumbents.
The potential showdowns are reminiscent of the tea party uprising that just a few years ago cost Republicans the majority in the Senate. Now President Trump’s populist rise to power — honed by his former advisor Stephen K. Bannon — has generated a new wave of long shot candidates capable of upending the 2018 midterms.
In Mississippi, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who met with Bannon to consider challenging two-term incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker, called the results in Alabama “a great awakening.”
The congressman shot in June at a baseball practice is returning to work at the Capitol after three months in the hospital and at a rehabilitation facility.
That's the word from Majority Whip Steve Scalise's office. The Louisiana Republican will vote Thursday morning and address his colleagues on the House floor. This is his first public appearance since the shooting.
Scalise and four other people were injured June 14 when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Va. U.S. Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman. The rifle-wielding attacker had nursed grievances against President Trump and the GOP.
President Trump plans to slash the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States by more than half, pressing a longer-term goal of limiting legal immigration and imposing tougher vetting procedures for foreign visitors.
The Trump administration has told Congress it will limit refugee admissions to about 45,000 in the fiscal year that starts Sunday. That’s down sharply from the 110,000 cap in President Obama’s last year in office, though only about 52,000 were actually admitted because of restrictions put in place after Trump took office.