By Associated Press - Friday, August 18, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) - The Latest on reaction to President Donald Trump, the terrorist attack in Barcelona and the Charlottesville violence (all times EDT):

6:20 p.m.

Breitbart News says Steve Bannon has returned to the website after leaving his position as President Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

The conservative news site says Bannon is back as its executive chairman, and says he led an editorial meeting Friday evening.

Bannon left Breitbart just a little over a year ago to join Trump’s presidential campaign.

Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow says, “The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today.”

Earlier Friday, Breitbart senior editor at large Joel B. Pollak tweeted “#WAR” as news of Bannon’s White House departure emerged.


6:10 p.m.

Two more charities are canceling annual fundraisers at President Donald Trump’s resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

The moves by the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to shift venues from the Mar-a-Lago follow cancellations from the Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society and the American Friends of David Adom as the president’s business faces backlash from his comments about the white supremacist rally in Virginia last weekend.

The American Red Cross says the Mar-a-Lago has “increasingly become of source of controversy and pain” for its staff and others.

The Salvation Army’s Lt. Col. Ron Busroe says, “The conversation about hosting the event at Mar-a-Lago began to drown out the conversation about the purpose of the event, which is to raise money for those in need.”


2:50 p.m.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says the departure of White House adviser Steve Bannon is “welcome news,” but she is calling on President Donald Trump to fire additional staff.

Pelosi said in a statement that Bannon’s departure “doesn’t disguise where President Trump himself stands on white supremacists and the bigoted beliefs they advance.”

Trump has said “both sides” are to blame for the clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counterprotesters last weekend. One woman protesting the far-right extremist groups died when a car drove into a crowd.

Pelosi said Trump’s administration “must not only purge itself of the remaining white supremacists on staff, but abandon the bigoted ideology that clearly governs its decisions.”

She did not say which staffers she believes are white supremacists.


1:35 p.m.

Democrats on the House’s tax-writing committee have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking for his department to issue rules making it clear that hate groups don’t qualify for tax-exempt status. The letter cited prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute, which had its tax-exempt status revoked by the government in March for its failure to file returns.

The government has allowed four groups at the forefront of the white nationalist movement, including Spencer’s, to register as charities and raise millions in tax-deductible donations over the past decade, an Associated Press review found last year.

“There is no place in modern society for hate groups, and they should be prohibited from qualifying for federal tax exemption as ‘educational’ organizations” under the tax code, the Democrats wrote.


1:00 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon is leaving his White House post.

That’s according to two people familiar with the decision who demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

Bannon was a key adviser to Trump’s general election campaign and has been a forceful but contentious presence in a divided White House. The former leader of conservative Breitbart News pushed Trump to follow through with his campaign promises. But he’s also sparred with some of Trump’s closest advisers, including son-in-law Jared Kushner.


12:58 p.m.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats “will use every avenue to challenge the repulsiveness of President Trump’s words and actions” following violence last weekend in Virginia and she endorsed a resolution to censure him.

Democrats have little recourse in the GOP-controlled House. Pelosi says Republicans must declare whether they stand with Trump, whom she said repeatedly “gives us further evidence of why such a censure is necessary.”

Trump has said “both sides” are to blame for the Charlottesville clashes between protesters and white supremacists. One woman protesting the pro-white groups died when a car drove into a crowd.

A group of House Democrats said this week that they will introduce the resolution to censure Trump for the “both sides” comment and for excusing the behavior of participants in the rally.


12:30 p.m.

Sen. Bob Corker says his sharp criticism this week of Donald Trump is meant to influence the president and those around him.

The Tennessee Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned Trump’s stability and competence after the president said that white supremacists don’t bear all the blame for the melee in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. A young woman was killed after being struck by a car driven into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalists’ rally.

On Friday, Corker told reporters he’s not heard directly from Trump, but that he’s sure the president is “very aware” of his comments. Corker said they were aimed at getting the president to focus on uniting the country.

Corker’s Senate seat is up for re-election next year, but he has not yet publicly announced whether he will seek a third term.


11:50 a.m.

A Republican senator says President Donald Trump “muddies the water” when he assigns blame to anyone other than white nationalist groups for the deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma says the melee in Charlottesville “was solely the responsibility of the white nationalists that were … provoking what was occurring there.”

Lankford says Trump needs “to stay very consistent and clear” in his opposition to white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.

The senator is being less critical of the president than several of his GOP colleagues have been after Trump declared there “there is blame on both sides” for Charlottesville.

Lankford says, “Any time he steps up and tries to equate two groups or two conversations, I think that muddies the water.”


9:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump says “Radical Islamic Terrorism must be stopped by whatever means necessary!”

He adds that “the courts must give us back our protective rights. Have to be tough!” That appeared to be a reference to a temporary travel ban Trump sought to impose on visitors to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries. The ban has been challenged in court. The Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in the fall.

Trump tweeted the day after 13 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured after a van mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain, in what local authorities said was an act of terror. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Trump commented on Twitter hours before he and his national security team meet at Camp David in Maryland to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan.


9:15 a.m.

The mother of a woman who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, says she won’t talk to President Donald Trump because of comments he made after her daughter’s death.

Speaking Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Susan Bro said she initially missed the first few calls to her from the White House. But she now says she won’t talk to the president after a news conference in which Trump equated violence by white supremacists at the rally with violence by those protesting the rally.

Bro’s daughter, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 others were injured when a driver rammed a car into a crowd of demonstrators last Saturday. An Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., has been arrested and charged with murder and other offenses.


9 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement are “on alert” and watching the borders for any sign of trouble.

Trump adds in a Twitter message that “our borders are far tougher than ever before!”

Trump commented the day after 13 people were killed and scores were injured after a van mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Trump and members of his national security team were meeting Friday at Camp David.


8:30 a.m.

Vermont’s Republican governor says President Donald Trump “fanned the flame” of hate with his comments equating Nazis and white supremacists with people who were protesting against them in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

In a statement issued Thursday, Gov. Phil Scott said there was no circumstance where any public official should equate the hate speech of Nazi’s and white supremacists with the protests of Americans who confront them.

He issued a statement on Saturday condemning the violence in Charlottesville, but issued a second statement because he’s been asked about it repeatedly.

Scott says leaders “must speak out against racism and fascism in any form, at any scale, at any time.”

Scott said that hatred, racism and bigotry can be extinguished with a public commitment to moral and democratic values.

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