Newsletter: Today: MLK Day in the Age of Trump

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the turmoil around President Trump’s comments continues.


MLK Day in the Age of Trump

“No, I’m not a racist,” President Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort on Sunday. “I’m the least racist person you will ever interview.” Yet as Trump and some Republicans disputed whether he had called African countries, El Salvador and Haiti “shithole” places, the contention by others in the Oval Office that he had in fact uttered that word hit a nerve among African Americans in two churches on the day before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. “We will not allow the politics of division to get in the way of the vision of a shared humanity,” said the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, a house of worship synonymous with King. Two thousand miles away, at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in L.A., the Rev. J. Edgar Boyd said to pray for Trump — and hold him accountable for “his words, his deeds and his actions.”


The Rev. J. Edgar Boyd speaks during the service on Sunday at First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times )

Will the ‘Dreamer’ Standoff Lead to a Shutdown?

The furor over Trump’s reported remarks on immigrants from certain countries is adding to doubts about whether the president and Congress can avoid a government shutdown. Democrats and some Republicans insist the funding bill include language protecting the so-called Dreamers from deportation; on the other side, Trump wants money to build his much-talked-about wall. Now that the Trump administration says it will, under court order, start accepting renewal applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the standoff is intensifying.

More Politics


-- The difference between “I” and “I’d”: Trump and the Wall Street Journal argue over a quote that’s on tape relating to Kim Jong Un.

-- The Journal also reported that Trump’s personal lawyer brokered a $130,000 payment to a porn actress to prevent her from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter that Trump and the actress have denied.

-- Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is back and running for the U.S. Senate in Arizona. So too are the Latino voters who helped oust him.

A Rising Toll in Montecito


The death toll in the Montecito mudslides has risen to 20, and at least four people are still missing. While residents held a candlelight vigil for the victims (read their stories here), officials continued to search, yet the hope of finding survivors has faded. At the same time, an army of workers has been trying to restore basic services to the area, but there’s so much mud, it’s difficult to find place to put it all. The 101 Freeway remains closed indefinitely.

38 Minutes of Panic: What Went Wrong in Hawaii?

The Federal Communications Commission is investigating what happened when a false alert went out Saturday that warned of an imminent missile attack on Hawaii. State officials say someone doing a routine test hit the live alert button during a shift change. The mistake caused more than a million people to fear they were about to be hit with a nuclear warhead. Many now say they doubt the government’s ability to keep them informed in a real emergency.

This Shredder Will Catch Serious Airtime


Chloe Kim is the first female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080s (that’s two triple-spins in quick succession, if you’re not up on your snowboarding terminology). In 2014, she took home the silver medal at the X Games — at the age of 13. Heading to her first Olympics in Pyeongchang next month, the 17-year-old from La Palma will be front and center in NBC’s coverage, and the State Department already sent her on a goodwill tour of South Korea.


-- A Montecito resident records damage to his family’s home after mudslides blew open the wall and filled the lower level with mud.

-- Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, says President Trump “said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist.”



-- Two members of the Los Angeles City Council are looking to sue big oil companies over climate change and the costs that result from it.

-- Here’s why you shouldn’t expect Gov. Jerry Brown to tackle Proposition 13 in his final year in office.

-- Orange County authorities said they used Blaze Bernstein’s Snapchat account to help identify the suspect arrested in connection with his killing.


-- In Santa Ana, a car went airborne, crashing into a second-floor dental office.


-- After five women accused actor James Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior in a Times investigation, some Oscar voters are having a case of remorse. Franco denies the allegations.

-- “Today isn’t about me”: Michelle Williams responds to Mark Wahlberg’s offer to donate $1.5 million after their pay discrepancy on “All the Money in the World” was revealed.


-- The CW’s “Black Lightning,” which revolves around an African American superhero battling some tough issues, is “thrilling, smart and pop culture-savvy,” according to TV critic Lorraine Ali.

-- The Black Eyed Peas are back with a new politically focused sound.


Charo was born on this date in 1951 — or perhaps another year, as has been the subject of some debate. No matter: The Spanish entertainer’s career has proved to be ageless. Last year, she invited The Times into her Beverly Hills home, where she performed a song or two and explained the origins of her “cuchi cuchi” catchphrase.



-- Records show that the Las Vegas gunman’s girlfriend told investigators her fingerprints would probably be on the ammunition he used, and indeed they were. Here’s what else we learned.

-- Pope Francis begins a weeklong visit to Chile and Peru. He’s expected to highlight the plight of indigenous peoples, immigrants and the poor, as well as the decimation of the Amazon rainforest.

-- Israel says it destroyed an “attack tunnel” that went from Gaza into Israel and Egypt.


-- Flat Earthism is alive and well, and Colorado is the epicenter for this granddaddy of all conspiracy theories.


-- Apple Inc. and other firms are expected to repatriate billions of dollars back to the U.S. under the new tax law, and some see that triggering more mergers and acquisitions.

-- How to improve your credit score and whether you should bother.



-- UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero talks about the hiring of football coach Chip Kelly, his vision for the football and basketball programs, and his own plans.

-- The Minnesota Miracle: The Vikings defeated the Saints on the final play of the game to advance to the NFC championship game.

-- The Lakers got a history lesson Sunday with a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum.



-- Our Editorial Board writes that, to reach the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s promised land, America clearly has a long way to go.

-- A Pacific Research Institute fellow says California Democrats’ spending has not only failed to decrease poverty; it actually seems to have made it worse.



-- The text and audio of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, along with translations in a dozen languages. (The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute)

-- Court records detail the rise of an American leader in Islamic State. (The Atlantic)

-- The battleground of English pronunciation. (The Guardian)



Sportscaster Keith Jackson was born in Georgia, but he lived for five decades in a Sherman Oaks house with views that reached all the way to the Rose Bowl. Appropriate, considering he is credited with calling the Rose Bowl “the Granddaddy of ’em all.” Jackson, who died at age 89, “was an excellent golfer who was kind and thoughtful,” Vin Scully said. “I played with him once and he was not only a great player, but he kindly spent a lot of time helping me look for my ball.” Columnist Chris Erskine pays tribute to “a big slab of country ham. And a national treasure.”

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