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September 14, 2018

A majority of American voters, 67 percent, say NFL players have the right to take a knee in protest during the national anthem, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found.

That doesn't mean everyone thinks it should happen — 47 percent said they approve of the protests, while 47 percent disapproved. NFL players have kneeled or sat during pre-game anthem ceremonies as a way to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

White voters and men were two demographic groups that disapproved of the protests, while other groups approved or were split. Republican voters are the only group that largely said, 60-39 percent, that players do not have the right to protest this way, and 89 percent said they disapproved of the kneeling.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 6-9, surveying 1,038 voters by phone. The margin of error is 3.7 percentage points. See more poll results at Quinnipiac University. Summer Meza

11:48 a.m.

The White House would like to clarify something.

Earlier on Sunday, while at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump said he had second thoughts about how Washington's trade war with China has played out. Trump's comments were originally tempered by the fact that said he has "second thoughts about everything" and did not signal that he was considering reversing any tariffs on Chinese imports to the U.S. But they still created speculation that the president might regret escalating the trade war, which has stoked fears of a global recession, especially since he also toned down rhetoric about ordering U.S. businesses to cut off dealings with China.

His administration, however, was quick to suppress any doubt that Trump was open to a softer approach in trade negotiations with Beijing — in fact the White House says the opposite is actually true. "His answer has been greatly misinterpreted," White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, referring to the question about Trump having second thoughts. "President Trump responded in the affirmative because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

So, really, Trump meant he hadn't escalated the trade war enough.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow backed up Grisham's correction. Read more at NBC News. Tim O'Donnell

11:29 a.m.

President Trump apparently better invest in a facemask soon because former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Il.) is officially challenging him in the Republican primary.

Walsh, who recently said somebody needs to punch Trump "in the face every single day," unveiled his campaign on Sunday during an appearance on ABC's This Week.

"We've got a guy in the White House who is unfit, completely unfit to be president, and it stuns me that nobody stepped up, nobody in the Republican party stepped up," he told host George Stephanopoulos. "Because I'll tell you what, George, everybody believes in the Republican party, everybody believes that he's unfit."

Walsh was also self-critical during the interviewing, acknowledging that he regrets helping "create" Trump. "The personal, ugly politics. I regret that," Walsh said. "And I'm sorry for that. And now we've got a guy in the White House, that's all he does." Walsh is reportedly going to attack Trump from the right on moral grounds.

He also announced the launch of his campaign on Twitter, joining former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld as Trump's GOP challengers. Tim O'Donnell

10:39 a.m.

Almost 200,000 Rohingya participated in a peaceful gathering that marked the second anniversary of the Muslim-majority ethnic group's exodus form Myanmar into Bangladesh, commemorating what they described as "Genocide Day." The refugees rallied and prayed as they demanded Myanmar grant them citizenship and other rights before they return.

In August 2017, nearly 740,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in the wake of a brutal crackdown by Myanmar's armed forces. Last year a United Nations investigation recommended the prosecution of Myanmar's top military commanders on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity; Myanmar dismissed the allegations. "I have come here to seek justice for the murder of my two sons," 50-year-old Tayaba Khatun, a participant in the rally, said. "I will continue to seek justice till my last breath."

Sunday's demonstration came days after a second failed attempt to repatriate the refugees — no Rohingya refugees showed up at the border to return to Myanmar, as their demands for rights and citizenship remained unmet.

Nearly 1 million refugees are living in "squalid" camps in Bangladesh. Al Jazeera reported the camps are akin to cities like Islamabad, Pakistan, or Oslo, Norway, in size, but lack the infrastructure to cope with the large populations. Read more at Al Jazeera. Tim O'Donnell

8:04 a.m.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck stunned the NFL on Saturday evening when he abruptly announced his retirement from football at the age of 29.

The oft-injured Luck said the decision was the hardest in his life. "I've been stuck in this process," he said, referring to his fairly constant string of injuries over the last four years. "I haven't been able to live the life I want to live. It's taken the joy out of this game." Luck added that "the only way to move forward" was to leave football.

Colts fans caught wind of Luck's forthcoming announcement during the 4th quarter of the team's third preseason game against the Chicago Bears on Saturday, and several of them booed the quarterback — who was inactive due to an injured ankle — as he walked off the field. The negative reaction was likely a result of the shocking nature of Luck's announcement, as Colts fans have always held their signal caller in high regard. Regardless, Luck's fellow current and former players mostly backed him up, even if they were just as surprised as everyone else.

When Luck was healthy he was one of the game's elite passers, and the Colts were widely considered title contenders going into the season. That certainly seems to be in jeopardy now.

As for Luck, he reportedly plans to travel the world. Tim O'Donnell

7:44 a.m.

That's a first.

President Trump changed course slightly about the United States' trade war with China on Sunday while attending the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France.

Trump, just days after hiking tariffs on Chinese imports and ordering (via Twitter) U.S. businesses to begin cutting ties with China, said he does indeed have second thoughts about how the trade war has played out. "Might as well," he said. "Might as well. I have second thoughts about everything." He also said he has no plans to invoke a 1977 law that would grant him more authority to intervene with U.S. business practices in China.

Still, Trump said he believed the other leaders at the summit "respect the trade war," adding that "it has to happen," signaling that he has no intention of reversing the tariffs despite his recent comments.

As for his fellow G-7 leaders respecting Washington's trade policy? That doesn't seem to be the case, at least not entirely. Almost immediately after Trump said so far no foreign leader had challenged him on trade, U.K. Prime Minister did just that. "Just to register the faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war, we're in favor of trade peace on the whole," Johnson said. "We think that on the whole the U.K. has profited massively in the last 200 years from free trade." Read more about the G-7 summit at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

August 24, 2019

The Group of Seven Summit in Biarritz, France, hasn't officially started yet, but French President Emmanuel Macron got the ball rolling when he "ambushed" President Trump on Saturday.

Macron reportedly surprised Trump at his hotel, and the two had lunch, where they reportedly discussed several crises around the world, including in Libya, Iran, and Russia, as well as climate change and trade policy — Trump had earlier repeated threats to place tariffs on French wine imports to the U.S. in retaliation for France's digital services tax.

Trump seemed pleased with the meeting, though. In brief remarks, he said that he and Macron "actually have a lot in common" and "have been friends a long time." He added that "everybody's getting along" and that he expects to "accomplish a lot this weekend."

His administration, on the other hand, doesn't have such a rosy outlook. A senior administration official told Politico that by trying to bring issues such as climate change and gender equality to the forefront of the meetings that are meant to focus on global economics, security, and trade, Macron and France are "trying to fracture the G-7."

It looks like the summit might be as difficult as predicted. Tim O'Donnell

August 24, 2019

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley dismissed rumors that she was being considered as a replacement for Vice President Mike Pence on President Trump's 2020 ticket, calling Pence a "dear friend" who has her "complete support." It's reportedly true that Pence and Haley are friends — multiple sources told Politico that the two have long had a "warm" relationship — but the rumored rivalry between their two camps is real, Politico reports.

The recent divisions between the two prominent Republicans, both of whom are being touted as potential future GOP presidential candidates, were seemingly fueled in part by rumors that Haley would be a possible replacement, only to be exacerbated by the fact that she took so long to address them. Some of Pence's top aides reportedly think that Haley or an ally were actually behind a June Wall Street Journal op-ed urging Trump to make the change.

The White House brushed off those suggestions publicly, and Pence has received support from the administration and Trump himself, who apparently privately told Pence that he was irritated by the article.

While it's unlikely there's any weight behind the vice presidential rumors, Pence's team is still convinced that Haley is already laying the groundwork for a future presidential bid, in which the vice president could become a direct competitor. Perhaps a showdown awaits. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

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