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Melania Trump thanks Chelsea Clinton for defending son Barron from 'childhood bullying'

First lady Melania Trump thanked Chelsea Clinton for defending 11-year-old Barron Trump after a reporter wrote an article claiming he did not dress formally enough for the White House.

"Thank you @ChelseaClinton -- so important to support all of our children in being themselves! #StopChildhoodBullying," Trump tweeted Tuesday evening during her husband's rally in Phoenix.

Earlier this week, the Daily Caller published a story criticizing the middle schooler for dressing too casually in everyday life.

"The youngest Trump doesn't have any responsibilities as the president's son, but the least he could do is dress the part when he steps out in public," Ford Springer wrote in a piece titled "It's high time Barron Trump starts dressing like he's in the White House."

Clinton, the only child to former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, tweeted a response to Springer as Twitter users shredded the author for his remarks.

"It's high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves," Clinton wrote.

WASHINGTONEXAMINER.COM

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Some Liberty University Grads Are Returning Their Diplomas To Protest Trump

A group of alumni from one of the country's most influential evangelical Christian universities is condemning their school's president for his continued alignment with President Trump.

A small but growing number of Liberty University graduates are preparing to return diplomas to their school. The graduates are protesting university President Jerry Falwell Jr.'s ongoing support for Trump. They began organizing after Trump's divisive remarks about the deadly white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Va.

Chris Gaumer, a former Student Government Association president and 2006 graduate, said it was a simple decision.

"I'm sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists," Gaumer said. "And in defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit."

Trump has been criticized — including by many Republicans — for a series of statements after an anti-racist counterprotester was killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer who drove his car into the crowd.

Trump initially responded by blaming "many sides" for the violence, and then made a statement condemning white supremacists, before eventually giving an off-the-cuff statement in which he claimed that there were "very fine people on both sides."

Falwell responded the next day with a tweet praising Trump's statement and adding, "So proud of @realdonaldtrump."

In January 2016, Falwell became one of the earliest evangelical leaders to endorse the billionaire candidate, at a time when many conservative Christian leaders were expressing concern about Trump's multiple marriages and past support for abortion rights. 

Last October, some Liberty students circulated a petition opposing Trump after the release of a 2005 Access Hollywood video where he could be heard bragging about groping women without their consent. Students also criticized Falwell for defending Trump.

Falwell invited Trump to give the first commencement speech of his term as president to Liberty University graduates. During his remarks, President Trump thanked evangelicals for their support at the voting booth last November.

Falwell isn't alone among his evangelical peers in continuing to stand with the president. In recent days, multiple members of Trump's evangelical advisory board have publicly condemned white supremacy, though most have stopped short of criticizing the president by name.

A university spokesman told NPR that Falwell "wants to make it clear that he considers all hate groups evil and condemns them in every sense of the word."

In a group letter being prepared to be sent to university officials, several alumni declare their intention to return their diplomas and call for Falwell to repudiate Trump's remarks:

"While this state of affairs has been in place for many months, the Chancellor's recent comments on the attack upon our neighbors in Charlottesville have brought our outrage and our sorrow to a boiling point. During the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, white supremacists, nationalists, and neo-Nazis perpetrated brutal violence against anti-racist protesters, murdering one woman and injuring many. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments. The Chancellor then characterized Mr. Trump's remarks, which included the claim that some of the persons marching as white nationalists and white supremacists at the rally were 'very fine people,' as 'bold' and 'truthful.' This is incompatible with Liberty University's stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness."

"We're asking that Liberty University return to its stated values and accept that the pursuit of power is leading it into some dark places, and really repudiate that," said Georgia Hamann.

Courtesy of Georgia Hamann

Georgia Hamann, a 2006 alumna and an attorney in Phoenix, Ariz., helped pen the letter.

"We're asking that Liberty University return to its stated values and accept that the pursuit of power is leading it into some dark places, and really repudiate that," she said. "The word in Baptist and evangelical circles is 'repent.'... You know, truly a turning away from wrong conduct."

Alumni who can't find their diplomas are being asked to sign the group letter or write individual letters to Falwell expressing their concerns.

Some Liberty graduates see Falwell's association with Trump as both a personal liability and a moral embarrassment. Rebekah Tilley graduated from Liberty in 2002 and now works in higher education in Iowa.

"I was to the point where I didn't even want to include my alma mater on my resume when I was applying for jobs, just because I think that can be so loaded," Tilley said. "There's such a strong affiliation now between Liberty University and President Trump that you know that reflects badly on all alumni."

For Doug Johnson Hatlem, a 1999 graduate who now works as a Mennonite pastor in Ontario, Canada, Charlottesville feels like a tipping point for many alumni who have been concerned about the university's association with Trump.

"It really is a watershed moment to have people openly chanting Nazi chants ... holding white supremacist signs, and carrying weapons along with all of that, and killing somebody, injuring many in the process," he said. "For there not to be an unconditional condemnation of that kind of action and behavior is just completely anathema."

Johnson Hatlem said returning diplomas is an important symbolic statement.

"I'll have to have my mom dig it out of storage," he said. "But I do plan to send back my diploma to Liberty."

 

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NPR.ORG

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544776964/some-liberty-university-grads-are-returning-their-diplomas-to-protest-trump

Palm Beach chamber leader to charities: Rethink your business with Trump

laurel baker

A leader of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which President Trump's Florida resort Mar-a-Lago is a member, wants all charities to do a moral gut check before doing business at the club.

"Look at your mission statement, and [evaluate] if you still defend Trump...see if this is really the direction you want to go," said Laurel Baker, who's been on the executive committee of the chamber of commerce for 17 years.

Her remarks come as the social calendar at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been losing some big-ticket events in the backlash against President Trump's response to violent white supremacist rallies in Virginia. Charities and other organizations have started backing out of plans to host events at the Trump-owned property in Palm Beach, Florida.

A chamber of commerce works to promote its members' interests, but Baker says that it's her duty to take a stand when she feels the values of her community are under attack.

"We're looking for integrity, we're looking for honesty," she said.

Baker made similar comments to the Palm Beach Post and then to the Washington Post on Thursday.

Speaking with CNNMoney on Friday, Baker said the bulk of the reaction she received has been "very positive."

Mar-a-Lago declined to comment on Baker's statements. It referred questions to the Trump Organization, which did not respond to a request for comment.

She said she recognizes her comments run counter to some people's line of thinking: That business and politics don't mix. Baker contends the two "just can't be separated" -- particularly in light of this week's events.

And some of the biggest names in the private sector haven't shied away from politics either.

Prominent business leaders began fleeing from Trump's business advisory councils this week in protest to his response to the white supremacist rally. Trump disbanded two councils amid the outflux.

Though Trump no longer has day-to-day involvement in Mar-a-Lago, which is controlled by the Trump Organization, his sons continue to operate the family business. And, as ethics experts have pointed out, the president stands to eventually reap the benefits of any profits made by those properties.

Based on Trump's latest financial disclosure form from June, Mar-a-Lago has done well for him in the past. In that document, Trump reported $37.2 million in income from Mar-a-Lago between January 2016 and April 2017.

Trump has also made Mar-a-Lago into something of a second office. Since his January inauguration, Trump has spent more than 20 days at the resort and hosted world leaders there, referring to it as the "winter White House."

Baker said she's prepared for criticism.

"I'm just a gray-haired grandmother," she said. "There's very little fear left in my life."

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CNN.COM

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