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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Facing calls from members of his Yale graduating class to resign, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Saturday night defended President Trump's response to the Charlottesville violence and reaffirmed his commitment to remain in the Trump cabinet.

The letter, penned Friday and signed as of Saturday by more than 350 members of Yale's 1985 graduating class, called on Mnuchin to resign from his post, calling it a "moral obligation."

Mnuchin's classmates say they felt compelled to write and publish the letter "because President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans, as men and women of Yale, and as decent human beings."

"We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing," the letter read.
Mnuchin was among a group of aides and cabinet members who stood beside the president at a press conference on Tuesday, during which Trump called participants in a white nationalist rally "very fine people."

In his response to the letter from his former classmates, Mnuchin defended Trump and took the opportunity to reiterate his stance on the events that unfolded in Charlottesville last weekend.

"While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways," he wrote.

"Our President deserves the opportunity to propose his agenda and to do so without the attempts by those who opposed him in the primaries, in the general election and beyond to distract the administration and the American people from these most important policy issues -– jobs, economic growth, and national security," Mnuchin wrote.

My statement on #Charlottesville and #Yale classmate's inquiries. pic.twitter.com/hN8JsCEqZb

— Steven Mnuchin (@stevenmnuchin1) August 20, 2017

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Scott Eisen/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- President Donald Trump tweeted support for the Boston Police Department handling of the free speech rally and counterprotest march held on Saturday afternoon. The President commended the the protesters "who are speaking out against bigotry and hate."

I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017

Boston Police arrested 27 people during the protests.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh responded to the President by tweeting the city of Boston stood for "peace and love, not bigotry and hate." He also said they should work toward unity.

Today, Boston stood for peace and love, not bigotry and hate. We should work to bring people together, not apart. https://t.co/gZw6ggYYHG

— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) August 19, 2017

The rally and protest march ended earlier than expected. Following the rally, President Trump tweeted thanks and "great job" to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

On Saturday, after the Boston rally and protest march ended, Trump tweeted thanks and "great job" to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Walsh tweeted Saturday morning asking for peace and respect at Saturday's "Free Speech" rally and counter-protests.

"I ask everyone to be peaceful today and respect our City," he wrote. "Love, not hate. We stand together against intolerance."

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Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump is cheering his former chief strategist Steve Bannon's return to leading the conservative media outlet Breitbart News after his forced resignation from the White House.

Trump tweeted from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club Saturday that Bannon may be "even better than ever before" in his return to Breitbart.

Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at @BreitbartNews...maybe even better than ever before. Fake News needs the competition!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017

The White House has not said whether President Trump and Bannon have spoken since Bannon was forced to resign from his post Friday as chief strategist.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the departure, effective Friday, was "mutually agreed" to by Bannon and chief of staff John Kelly.

"We are grateful for his service and wish him the best," Sanders added in a statement to ABC News.

A source close to Trump told ABC News that it was ultimately the president's decision to dismiss Bannon. The message was delivered Friday morning from Kelly, who was with the president at his golf resort in Bedminster. Bannon was at the White House when he received the call that it was time for him to leave.

Bannon had submitted a letter of resignation to the president earlier this month with an effective date of Monday, Aug. 14, according to sources close to both Bannon and Trump. But amid the fallout from Trump's controversial response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend and earlier this week, Bannon's Aug. 14 resignation date came and went as the president considered Bannon's future, sources said. Meanwhile, several top Trump aides continued to make the case that he needed to go.

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Bannon served as executive chairman of Breitbart News. On Friday evening, in the top story on its homepage, Breitbart announced Bannon's return to the media company to again serve as executive chairman.

" 'Populist Hero’ Stephen K. Bannon Returns Home to Breitbart," reads the headline.

Bannon has clashed with virtually every top official in the White House. Atop his list of in-house detractors were Kelly, senior adviser Jared Kushner and national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

One of McMaster's first moves was to remove Bannon from his seat at the National Security Council, a move that angered him. And his appointment as the council's chief political strategist was hugely controversial when it was first announced via executive order at the start of the administration.

Over the weekend, McMaster refused to say whether he would continue to work with Bannon.

Bannon joined the Trump campaign in August. He would become known as a fearless and critically influential adviser to the president, but has now become the latest high-profile aide to leave the White House. On July 21, press secretary Sean Spicer resigned, followed by chief of staff Reince Priebus. White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was fired a few days later, serving just 11 days in that role.

On Tuesday, the president told reporters at Trump Tower that Bannon was a "good man” and “not a racist.”

"I like Mr. Bannon. He's a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors -- and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that," Trump said before adding, "But we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon."

Trump had grown increasingly frustrated with Bannon in recent weeks, according to one senior White House official, and dissatisfaction from within Trump's inner circle was compounded Wednesday by his interview in American Prospect magazine, in which he seemed to undercut the president on North Korea.

"There's no military solution here. They got us," Bannon told the magazine.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Bannon confirmed rumors shared with ABC News by a source close to the former chief strategist that he would continue to work in the president's interests.

"If there’s any confusion out there, let me clear it up: I’m leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents -- on Capitol Hill, in the media and in corporate America,” Bannon told Bloomberg News.

After news of Bannon's demise first went viral, Breitbart's editor tweeted an ominous message: "#WAR."

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The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will skip the Kennedy Center Honors, one of the nation's highest-profile event honoring performing artists, after some awardees threatened to boycott a pre-ceremony reception at the White House.

The White House announced Saturday that the Trumps would not participate in the Dec. 3 event in Washington, D.C., to avoid "political distraction."

"The president and first lady have decided not to participate in this year's activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, adding that the president and Melania Trump "extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year's award recipients for their many accomplishments."

The Kennedy Center said that in addition to the Trumps not attending, the traditional pre-ceremony reception at the White House was canceled this year. The center seemed relieved by the president's decision, saying in a statement, "We are grateful for the gesture."

"The Kennedy Center respects the decision made today by the president," said the statement tweeted by the center on Saturday.

"In choosing not to participate," it said, "the administration has graciously signaled its respect for the Kennedy Center and ensures the Honors gala remains a deservingly special moment for the honorees."

The White House announcement follows reports that honoree Norman Lear, creator of such iconic TV shows as "All in the Family," said he would accept the award this year but not attend the White House reception in protest of the president's proposed funding cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other 2017 honorees, including musician Lionel Ritchie and singer Gloria Estefan, have also suggested they were considering not attending.

“I am honored to accept the award," Lear told the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 4. "I could not respect the arts and humanities more, and I could not be more honored to be in the company that are being honored. ... But I will not be going to the White House.”

In addition, actor Kal Penn, artist Chuck Close and the entire membership of the largely inactive President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned en masse on Friday, slamming the president's response to violence in Charlottesville last weekend.

"Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions," reads the letter signed by 16 of the committee's 17 members.

Past presidents have used the Kennedy Center Honors, now in its 40th year, as an opportunity to honor storied artists and entertainers with the White House reception followed by the president's attendance at a black-tie ceremony at the Kennedy Center.

Former President Jimmy Carter skipped in 1979 during the Iran hostage crisis, and former President Bill Clinton also skipped in 1994 as he embarked on a trip to Budapest for a security conference on Europe.

In December 2008, there was potential drama when Barbra Streisand, a liberal critic of President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq, was among the Kennedy Center honorees. She went to the White House for the reception, and Bush seemed to acknowledge her criticism in his remarks.

“Barbra is also a person with passionate convictions and opinions that she is not afraid to share," Bush said. "I don’t know, at least that’s what they tell me. You know, it kind of makes me think of another Barbara I know."

It's not the first time Trump has bucked presidential tradition by skipping a potentially awkward event. In February, he made a point of not attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

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@realDonaldTrump/Twitter(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Friday signed the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act, a move he documented by posting to his social media accounts a photo of the signing at Camp David while flanked by thirteen cabinet members and other staff.

Today, I signed the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act (#HR873.) The bill authorizes....cont➡️https://t.co/c3zIkdtowc pic.twitter.com/re6n0MS0cj

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017

The legislation clears the way for construction of a memorial to U.S. service members who have fought in the war on terror.

Included in the photo Trump shared are Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The bill authorizes a nonprofit called the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation to oversee the creation of the monument, slated for Washington's National Mall.

"We’re looking forward to building a sacred place of healing and remembrance for our veterans and their families, and want to thank our partners and advocates who worked tirelessly on Capitol Hill to pass this bipartisan legislation," said Andrew Brennan, the foundation’s founder and director.

According to Stars & Stripes, it is the first bill in recent history approving a national war memorial before the fighting is over.

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Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- John McCain, who is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, has finished the first round of radiation and chemotherapy treatment, according to his daughter, Meghan McCain, on Friday.

My father completed first round radiation/chemo. His resilience & strength is incredible. Fight goes on, here's to small wins. #fuckcancer

— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) August 18, 2017

The Arizona Republican lawmaker returned to Phoenix in late July to begin treatment at the Mayo Clinic for glioblastoma.

In a statement released July 28, his office said, "In accordance with the guidance of his physicians, Sen. McCain is returning to Arizona to undergo further treatment at Mayo Clinic. On Monday, July 31, he will begin a standard post-surgical regimen of targeted radiation and chemotherapy. During that time, Sen. McCain will maintain a work schedule. He plans to return to Washington at the conclusion of the August recess."

Shortly after his daughter tweeted the update on his treatment, McCain on Friday tweeted a photo with staff at the Mayo Clinic.

Thank you to the wonderful team @MayoClinic - we appreciate everything you do! pic.twitter.com/2eMV6NMSV8

— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 19, 2017

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Scott J. Ferrell/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump is facing fresh criticism over his response to the deadly violence that broke in Charlottesville last Saturday. A bipartisan group of lawmakers denounced the president's statements blaming "both sides" after counterprotesters clashed with neo-Nazis and white nationalists, leaving one dead and more than a dozen people injured.

Rep. André Carson, D-Ind., is among those criticizing Trump’s comments. Carson recently sponsored a House resolution calling on the president to fire white nationalists serving in his administration, he told ABC News' congressional correspondent Mary Bruce and national political reporter MaryAlice Parks on ABC's “Powerhouse Politics” podcast.

“Condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists should be easy,” the Indianapolis Democrat said. Carson, however, argues that the president decided to "stand up" for "bigots and defend a domestic terrorist organization."

In his Tuesday press conference, Trump said, “You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. ... You had some fine people.” Carson said he believes the president’s failure to condemn white nationalists outright is "disgraceful and, quite frankly, unpresidential.”

While Republican lawmakers such as Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. John Kasich have taken to Twitter to condemn Trump’s comments, Carson believes their criticism could go further. “I would love to see my Republican colleagues speak out more boldly,” he said.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has also faced criticism for his failure to denounce the president’s words. Carson said that while the speaker has a “tough job,” he would “get more respect from his constituents and from the American people if he becomes bolder in rebuking and distancing himself from the Trump administration.”

That not more Republicans have spoken up against the president’s statements may isolate racial, ethnic and religious minorities, Carson said. Trump has "a history and a habit of minimizing groups of people," he said.

Carson said these statues “mythologize” historical figures, such as General Robert E. Lee, who led controversial lives. President Trump, however, disagreed. He took to Twitter on Thursday to argue that if localities begin to remove statues of Confederate figures, others -- such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington -- may have their statues removed as well.

Does Carson think Trump’s recent firing of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is a step in the right direction? Not quite. “He should have never been hired in the first place,” Carson said.

As summer nears its end, the Trump administration has faced several setbacks, including the president’s controversial comments about Charlottesville; the firing of several top aides, including Bannon and Anthony Scaramucci; and rising tensions with North Korea.

“I think that this presidency is unraveling before our eyes,” Carson said.

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Michael Thomas/Getty Images(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) -- Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Friday demanded the removal of a state senator who called for President Trump's assassination in a now-deleted Facebook post. Those remarks prompted an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, a Democrat, wrote on her personal Facebook page on Thursday, "I hope Trump is assassinated!" She later deleted the post.

Chapelle-Nadal has balked at calls for her resignation.

"I am not resigning," she tweeted Thursday. 

I am not resigning. When POC are respected by this WH & they are willing to do real work, I'll sit down with them. People are traumatized! https://t.co/rmsL4pQSTg

— MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) August 18, 2017

Greitens and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, both Republicans, on Friday called for Chapelle-Nadal's colleagues to oust her.

Her response: "Hell no." Last night, in an interview, she refused to apologize—twice.

— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) August 18, 2017

If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should.

— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) August 18, 2017

"If she will not resign, the Senate can vote to remove her. I believe they should," Greitens tweeted.

The Republican governor previously tweeted about Chappelle-Nadal.

In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Chappelle-Nadal said, "I didn’t mean what I put up. Absolutely not. It was in response to the concerns that I am hearing from residents of St. Louis.”

Chappelle-Nadal made the remark in response to a post that suggested Vice President Mike Pence would try to have Trump removed from office. Chappelle-Nadal said she made the comment out of frustration with the Trump's response to last weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Parson said he will ask senators to remove Chappelle-Nadal from office if she does not resign by the time lawmakers convene Sept. 13 to consider veto overrides. Parson is the presiding officer of the Senate, though he can only vote to break ties and cannot sponsor legislation or make motions for votes.

"She is no longer fit to serve our state," Parson said at a Capitol press conference on Friday.

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Lawmakers are reacting to the news that Steve Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist, has resigned from his post.

Bannon, a controversial figure in the Trump administration because of his tenure leading the conservative news outlet Breitbart, was facing calls to resign after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. Despite accusations of being a white nationalist, Bannon has denied that his ideologies are rooted in race.

Aside for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who called for Bannon's firing in April, Republicans were largely silent on social media.

In April, I called for #Bannon to be gone. Glad he's out but admin must work to build bridges, not destroy them https://t.co/oCJqUscbck

— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) August 18, 2017

Here's a look at the reactions to Bannon's resignation:

Democratic National Committee

"There is one less white supremacist in the White House, but that doesn't change the man sitting behind the Resolute desk. Donald Trump has spent decades fueling hate in communities, including his recent attempts to divide our country and give a voice to white supremacists. We need leaders who represent all of us and the diversity of our country. We must continue to rise and organize in order to bring about change. That is why Democrats will continue to show leadership and unify our country during this deeply troubling time.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Steve Bannon's exit does not erase @realDonaldTrump’s long record of lifting up racist viewpoints & advancing repulsive policies. #BannonOut

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) August 18, 2017

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Penn.

Rejecting Steve Bannon is just one step, @POTUS must unequivocally condemn and reject the so-called "alt-right" and their hateful ideology.

— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) August 18, 2017

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

While he never should have been in the WH, I’m glad Bannon is out. But he's just one staffer & we need real action to undo the damage done https://t.co/s6qHu9lu3v

— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) August 18, 2017

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii

It's the President that matters.

— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) August 18, 2017

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

Good riddance again. https://t.co/EMgCy01esA

— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) August 18, 2017

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

Looks like general John Kelly is taking control of the White House. That is a good thing.

— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) August 18, 2017

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

Remember, Trump was hawking birtherism - the molding agent between racists and legitimate political opposition to Obama - way before Bannon.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 18, 2017

Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind.

"I find it pretty interesting that Steve Bannon was hired despite the criticism about this white nationalist propaganda that he had been publishing at Breitbart... It was disgraceful to hire someone who said and published the terrible things he’s said. Long overdue." - on ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast.

Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn.

No one w/ ties to white supremacist movements should ever serve in our @WhiteHouse. Bannon's exit was long overdue. Much more must be done.

— Tim Walz (@RepTimWalz) August 18, 2017

Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y.

"Steve Bannon should have never been given the honor of working in the White House and serving the Office of the President of the United States. His past work and strong ties to the white nationalist movement are a direct assault on our American values."

"But, let’s be clear, his departure does not absolve President Trump of his actions. The Oval Office has become the epicenter of support for neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and domestic terrorists. President Trump must apologize for standing up for hate and must immediately reverse course on his anti-immigrant and anti-American policies.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Bannon may be gone, but things won't change if Grand Wizard remains in Oval Office #Birther-in-Chief

— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) August 18, 2017

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.

Bannon finally gone. Now he can march w/ the whole crowd: neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Klan while knowing it will still find favor in Oval

— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) August 18, 2017

Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich.

"Steve Bannon’s exit from the White House is long overdue. However, given President Trump’s agenda and especially after his comments this past week about the violence in Charlottesville, he has much more work to do to convince the American people that he eschews racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism, and is working to unite – not divide – our country.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.

Let me be clear no one is celebrating a racist being removed From the White House - he should have never been there. https://t.co/y9kcZxJT7g

— Bonnie WatsonColeman (@RepBonnie) August 18, 2017

Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.

Trump has so far fired:
→Chief of staff
→Chief strategist
→Nat Security Adviser
→2x Comms Directors
→Press Sec
→FBI director#chaos

— Rep. Dan Kildee (@RepDanKildee) August 18, 2017

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I.

"I'm happy that Steve Bannon will no longer work in the White House. But his departure cannot wash away the harm he and the President have done. It can't reverse the Muslim Ban. It can't reverse the President's inappropriate attacks on a Federal judge of Mexican heritage. And it can't reverse the White House's reluctance to denounce white supremacists."

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.

Bannon should never had been that close to the Oval. Now let's deal with other enabling staff & Enabler-in-Chief. #FireMiller #FireGorka https://t.co/y4CqUR3ksq

— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) August 18, 2017

Rep. Al Green, D-Texas

Bannon was A problem, Trump is THE problem! #RepealAndReplaceTrump

— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) August 18, 2017

Rep. Mike Quigley, R-Ill.

Removal of Steve #Bannon is just 1 step in the right direction. We must expel forces of hate & influence of bigotry from our government.

— Mike Quigley (@RepMikeQuigley) August 18, 2017

Rep. Donald Norcross, D-N.J.

Good riddance! Bannon is aligned w/white supremacists & never should have been working in the White House at all. https://t.co/1ePVVlrZq6

— Donald Norcross (@DonaldNorcross) August 18, 2017

Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y.

BREAKING: Steve Bannon out as White House chief strategist, @ABC News has learned. https://t.co/n7TqA3E2wo pic.twitter.com/eeH3TRHBoO

— ABC News (@ABC) August 18, 2017

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif.

Bannon’s out but what happened Tuesday came out of Trump’s mouth. One down, three to go -- Miller, Gorka, Sessions. Your voice matters.

— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) August 18, 2017

Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.

Good riddance! Now we need to focus on getting the other racists out of the White House. https://t.co/CVIW6j8JLM

— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) August 18, 2017

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Bannon booted - but hold the cheers. What follows could be worse, so there's no cause for complacency. https://t.co/nTstbdiR4x

— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) August 18, 2017

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Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of the longest-serving members of the Trump administration is a 28-year-old who had no political experience before the 2016 presidential campaign.

Starting with the administration as director of strategic communications, Hope Hicks has been a regular presence in the White House and is seen as one of the members of the inner circle of Trump's top advisers.

She began her career in public relations, entering the larger Trump orbit when she worked with the Trump Organization and specifically Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

In April 2015, two months before Donald Trump announced his presidential bid, Hicks was featured on the style blog of Ivanka Trump's fashion line. The post featured Hicks, who was then working as the Trump Organization's director of communications, in a light teal shift dress from the line and described how her "typical workday could include a major meeting, an all-day event or even an out-of-state trip."

Hicks and Trump's eldest daughter appear to have maintained a good relationship, as Ivanka Trump tweeted a congratulatory message to Hicks when she was included on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list in January.

"Congrats to my brilliant, kind & wickedly funny friend Hope Hicks on being named to the @Forbes #30Under30 list!" she tweeted.

Congrats to my brilliant, kind & wickedly funny friend Hope Hicks on being named to the @Forbes #30Under30 list! https://t.co/s3YO9Eq83Z

— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) January 4, 2017

Hicks has previously worked as a model and she was featured on the cover of one of the novels in the "Gossip Girl" book series.

The Greenwich, Connecticut, native earned an English degree from Southern Methodist University.

Now, she is the youngest person to ever lead the White House communications team.

That marks the latest promotion during her time as part of the Trump political team. She served as a spokesperson for the campaign after Trump announced that he was running for president, and when he won, she was named director of strategic communications.

She was named interim White House communications director on Aug. 16.

The official White House statement announcing her role said that she would be working with press secretary Sarah Sanders and the communications team, and that the announcement of a permanent communications director will be made "at the appropriate time."

In spite of dealing directly with national media for about two years, she rarely speaks out publicly herself.

One example of such reluctance came in June 2016. She was contacted by a reporter for GQ magazine who wanted to do a profile article on her, and while Hicks would not be interviewed for the piece, she allowed then-candidate Trump to speak to the reporter about her.

"Hope's been involved from the beginning, and she has been absolutely terrific," Trump said in the GQ interview.

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Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Businessman Carl Icahn announced on Friday that he will step away from his role as a special advisor to President Donald Trump on regulatory reform issues -- a decision he claims was made to avoid the suggestion of conflicts of interest by critics of the administration.

In a letter to Trump posted by Icahn to his personal website, he describes the nature of his position as informal, noting he had "no duties whatsoever" -- as opposed to the recently named administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Neomi Rao. In the letter, Icahn further dismisses suggestions that he had the opportunity to personally benefit from the role.

"I never had access to nonpublic information or profited from my position, nor do I believe that my role presented conflicts of interest," wrote Icahn, adding, "I never sought any special benefit for any company with which I have been involved, and have only expressed views that I believed would benefit the refining industry as a whole."

The announcement from Icahn, the founder and majority shareholder of conglomerate Icahn Enterprises, comes days after a number of business leaders resigned from the White House's American Manufacturing Council in the aftermath of Trump's response to last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. The American Manufacturing Council disbanded on Wednesday, as did a second, separate panel of CEOs, dubbed the Strategic and Policy Forum.

Icahn's letter made no mention of Charlottesville.

The businessman, an early endorser of Trump's, was frequently praised by the Republican presidential nominee on the campaign trail in 2016. Trump portrayed Icahn as a master negotiator who would assist his potential administration in preventing the outsourcing of jobs by American corporations.

"If Ford or another company announces they want to move their jobs to Mexico or another country, then I will pick up the phone… I will call the executives or I’ll have Carl Icahn do it," Trump said on one such occasion in Michigan in October 2016.

A billionaire, Icahn first began to make his name in the 1980s when he engaged in the earliest of his numerous corporate takeovers by which he accumulated the majority of his wealth.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is calling on President Donald Trump to apologize and address the fallout from his statements about the violence in Charlottesville, warning that a failure to act could lead to "an unraveling of our national fabric."

"Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn," Romney wrote in a post on Facebook this morning.

"His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric," Romney said.

The former Massachusetts governor who was the GOP presidential nominee in 2012 wrote that the "potential consequences" to how people are interpretating Trump's comments "are severe in the extreme."

"Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme," he wrote.

Romney wrote that Trump should "address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize."

"State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis -- who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat -- and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute," Romney wrote.

Romney also suggests that Trump "definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association."

"Mr. President, act now for the good of the country," he concluded.

This is not the first time that Romney has publicly criticized Trump, even on the Charlottesville violence. He tweeted after Trump's latest comments at a press conference on Tuesday, writing "No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes."

No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.

— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 16, 2017

This latest public rebuke stands in stark contrast to better times in the Romney-Trump relationship. Trump endorsed Romney in 2012, but then when it was Trump's turn to run 2016, Romney became one of Trump's most vocal critics, and at one point held a press conference urging delegates in upcoming primaries to do whatever they could to prevent Trump from becoming the party's nominee.

They appeared to reach a truce after Trump won, and Romney was very publicly considered to fill the role of Trump's secretary of state, but then was not chosen.

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John Roca/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images(PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- A number of high profile charitable organizations have withdrawn fundraising events and galas from President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida amid growing backlash to the president's response to the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville last weekend.

On Friday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army all confirmed to ABC News that they are no longer going to be holding their fundraising events at Mar-a-Lago this upcoming year.

“The Salvation Army relies heavily on fundraising events like The Holiday Snow Ball in Palm Beach to further our mission of helping those in need through a range of social services including food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, clothing and shelter for the homeless, and opportunities for the underprivileged," the Salvation Army wrote in a statement, "Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event, we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago.”

Yesterday, the American Cancer Society -- which has held events at Mar-a-Lago since 2009 -- along with the Cleveland Clinic, both announced they were pulling fundraising events scheduled at the club for next year.

"Our values and commitment to diversity are critical as we work to address the impact of cancer in every community. It has become increasingly clear that the challenge to those values is outweighing other business considerations," the American Cancer Society wrote in a statement.

These organizations join a growing list of groups that are changing the venues for their fundraising events, many saying they want to avoid being politicized.

The Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Leaders in Furthering Education (LIFE), have also said they are changing venues for events previously scheduled at Mar-a-Lago.

“America was founded on the principles of life, liberty and justice for all. In the 241 years since, millions of Americans of all religions, races, creeds, color, gender and sexual orientation have died – and millions more have been disabled – fighting to protect these values and freedoms. Now, however, our great nation is under siege by those who seek to undermine and obliterate these principles. Indeed, the hatred, vitriol and Anti-Semitic and racist views being spewed by Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists are repugnant and repulsive -- and they are antithetical to everything that this country, and I personally stand for," Lois Pope, a philanthropist and veterans advocate who founded LIFE, wrote in a statement provided to ABC News.

Other groups that have pulled events from Mar-a-Lago include the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, American Friends of Magen David Adom and the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society cited the security hassles of hosting an event at Mar-a-Lago as a reason for their switching venues.

Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce executive director Laurel Baker, who has been outspoken on organizations continuing to hold fundraising events at Mar-a-Lago, told ABC News: “I’ve been carrying around this quote with me for a while, it’s from Dante: ‘The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.’”

Baker also told ABC News that she expects more and more organizations will be pulling events in the coming weeks, but that those decisions are best left up to the organizations themselves.

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Courtesy Kootenai County Sheriffs Office(NEW YORK) -- Public protests by self-declared white supremacists. Criticism of how police handled a violent standoff. Three deaths.

These events recall last week’s outbursts in Charlottesville, Virginia, but actually describe a 25-year-old incident in a forested region of northern Idaho, about 40 miles south of the Canadian border.

That 11-day standoff starting Aug. 21, 1992, between federal agents and a heavily armed family at Ruby Ridge laid the groundwork for today’s anti-government sentiment and white supremacy movement displayed for all to see in Charlottesville, according to one expert.

“I think of it [Ruby Ridge] as the precursor for the last couple, three decades of extremism because it combined two things: white supremacy and rage against the government, and that is exactly the same two movements on the far right that has animated extremism on the far right up until today,” said Heidi Beirich, the director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a legal advocacy organization that monitors such extremist groups.

“Ruby Ridge is the beginning of all this. The right-wing media starts in the era after this ... all of this builds out of the rage that was symbolized with this event,” she told ABC News.

Despite Beirich’s tracing the movement from Ruby Ridge to the present, the 1992 standoff is unique in many ways, as this look back shows:

The making of a suspect

The cabin at the top of Ruby Ridge was home to the Weaver family, built by Randy and Vicki Weaver when they relocated their family from Iowa to Idaho.

"[Randy Weaver] really was an apocalyptic living on a mountain top with his family,” said Jess Walter, a reporter who covered the standoff at the time and went on to write a book about it.

His book became a made-for-TV movie four years after the event, with Laura Dern starring as Vicki Weaver and a young Kirsten Dunst as daughter Sara Weaver.

In the years before the legal troubles that led to the fatal standoff, the Weaver family spent time on a nearby compound that belonged to the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group.

The family said their time spent at the Aryan Nations compound was “for social reasons, they were looking for people to hang out with,” Walter explained. No one from the Weaver family formally became a member of the group, he added, “even though they espoused similar belief systems.”

White supremacist ideologies espouse what they call the inferiority of nonwhite races, according to the SPLC.

Randy Weaver was known to wear shirts that said, “Just Say No to ZOG,” referencing a hate slogan for Zionist Organized Government, and his son, Samuel, reportedly wore a swastika armband.

“They had all the trappings; they just didn’t join the group,” Walter said.

While there, at some point in 1989, a confidential informant for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms struck up a relationship with Weaver and, in a move that was later dismissed as entrapment, advised and persuaded Weaver to saw off the tops of shotguns, breaking federal law.

ATF agents used the charges to approach Weaver about becoming an informant himself, but he refused.

Weaver was arrested for sawing off the shotguns in January 1991 after ATF agents pretended they were having car trouble and Weaver and his wife stopped to help. Weaver later failed to appear in court and a bench warrant was issued.

Months of attempts by the U.S. Marshals Service to get Weaver to surrender peacefully went by, leading the government to install surveillance cameras on his property. On Aug. 21, 1992, a crew of six marshals went to surveil the property in person.

What happened on a hilltop in Idaho

The Weaver’s dog alerted the family of the marshals’ presence and Randy Weaver, son Sammy, 14, and their family friend Kevin Harris went to investigate, bringing weapons with them. A firefight ensued after one of the marshals fatally shot the dog.

The two sides exchanged gunfire and, afterwards, Sammy and Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Degan lay dead.

In a subsequent report from the Ruby Ridge Task Force created by the Department of Justice, officials noted that they were "unable to determine conclusively who fired the first shot during the exchange of gunfire."

The next day, as Randy Weaver, his daughter Sara and Harris were going to visit the body of Sammy Weaver, which family members had moved to a nearby shed, an FBI sniper shot Randy Weaver in the armpit. As the three ran back into the house, the sniper fired a second shot that hit Harris in the chest and went through the door and fatally struck Vicki Weaver, who was standing behind the door while holding the family’s infant daughter.

As the fatal drama played out for days up at the cabin, all public updates came through FBI officials who kept reporters and the public at a checkpoint about a mile and a half from the scene. All told, writer Walter estimates, more than 200 members of federal, state and local law enforcement were involved in the standoff.

“There were two standoffs. There was one at the cabin and there was one down at the roadblock where the protesters had gathered,” Walter said of a mix of people that included locals and outsiders who had traveled to the remote spot in Idaho to show their support of the Weavers or condemn the government.

The updates from the FBI were not always accurate, as they did not initially have - and therefore did not disclose - correct information. For instance, Vicki Weaver was fatally shot on the second day of the standoff, which wasn’t publicly disclosed until day nine.

“The whole roadblock felt like dried kindling,” Walter said. “It would just take one lightning strike and this could really get worse.”

“The most terrifying night was when they announced that Vicki Weaver had been killed.”

“Angry self-described patriots would run up to the roadblock and they'd scream things like, ‘This means war’ and ‘Baby killer,’” Walter said, though no babies died in the standoff.

A civilian negotiator became involved and coordinated communications between the Weavers and federal authorities. The negotiator helped arrange for Harris to be brought out of the cabin on a stretcher so that he could be treated for his injuries. On Aug. 31, the day after Harris was removed, Weaver surrendered.

Randy Weaver and Harris were arrested on numerous charges, though Weaver was later acquitted of all charges except for the original charge of missing his court date. Harris was also acquitted of charges related to the death of the marshal, and a later murder charge in connection to the marshal’s death was dismissed in 1997 on the grounds of double-jeopardy.

In 1995, the Weaver family received an out-of-court settlement from the federal government in a wrongful death suit. Randy Weaver received $100,000 and his three daughters received $1 million each. The government did not admit any wrongdoing in the deaths of Vicki and Sammy Weaver.

Investigations by the Department of Justice and the FBI followed for years after the standoff, and Ruby Ridge was the subject of a 1995 hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee that focused on FBI actions at the scene and the agency’s handling of the subsequent investigations.

Sara Weaver, who is the only Weaver child who has previously spoken to the media about the incident, declined to be interviewed for this story and ABC News has been unable to reach Harris and Randy Weaver.

In the shadows of the standoff

The standoff at Ruby Ridge was not the only flashpoint between disaffected Americans and government officials around that time.

The deadly FBI siege in Waco, Texas, began in February 1993, about five months after the standoff at Ruby Ridge, and the bombing of an FBI office building in Oklahoma City occurred in April 1995.

Beirich, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, called the three incidents a “pattern” of “the same kind of events,” while Walter recalled that Waco and Oklahoma City rekindled interest in Ruby Ridge.

ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts noted, “The overreaction of the government, and in the end, the deaths of three people and a dog [at Ruby Ridge], convinced people who hated the government that they were right. So it just played into that whole paranoid view and then when Waco was added on, [it] spawned a whole new society of anti-government groups.”

“I think the FBI learned a great deal from it,” Roberts said, noting that the reviews and investigations of the incident likely led to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies’ realizing “how not to do that again.”

The FBI field office that covers Idaho did not immediately return ABC News’ request for comment.

Reverberations of Ruby Ridge today

In the end, Walter told ABC News, “The fallout from Ruby Ridge was [that it] sort of mainstreamed some of those really right-wing conspiratorial beliefs and, in many ways, when you have conspiracy buffs saying the government’s out to kill you, and then a case like that happens, it just continues to reverberate and echo.”

One of the best-known, self-declared members of the so-called alt-right told ABC News that Ruby Ridge was a "particularly stunning example" of federal government overreach.

Jared Taylor, the editor of the American Renaissance magazine and leader of the associated group that he has described as a white advocacy organization, told ABC News that Ruby Ridge was "an outrage" and he instantly recalled specific details about the standoff, including the name of the FBI sharpshooter who killed Vicki Weaver.

The standoff "was an extraordinary example -- just like the Waco attack on the Branch Davidian -- of overweaning federal power,” he said. “This is something that many Americans, I think, legitimately fear.”

"Americans have short historical memories... but this was something that was so outrageous that in certain circles it has real notoriety," Taylor said, noting that the groups in question are likely those who "have a general distrust of government."

Taylor, who is a white nationalist and believes white identity is under attack, did not recall any Neo-Nazi protesters assembling at the roadblock in support of the Weavers, but he thinks that the issues connected to Ruby Ridge are not solely of interest to members of his ideology.

"Yes, I am a racial dissident, and because the federal government is very much in the business of making decisions that are objectively not in the interest of white [people], I am suspicious of that power but I want to make it very clear that it is not only people like myself that share that suspicion," Taylor told ABC News.

Walter, the reporter, said that while “the radical right-wing becomes mainstreamed every once in a while, and never more than now,” he doubts that the 2016 campaign, election or the administration of President Donald Trump “mainstreamed those beliefs, so much as those beliefs are always out there.”

Beirich partly disagrees, telling ABC that “these ideas -- whether they're the anti-government ideas or the racial ideas -- were pretty much kept to the margins of American politics ... until recently.”

There’s been “a slow march through the institutions of the right-wing through the ‘90s, the first decades of the 2000s,” Beirich said, but it has reached a new point in the past two years, when there was a presidential candidate “who was openly racist, openly anti-Muslim, openly anti-immigration, openly anti-U.N., openly anti-globalization.”

“Those are all of the ideas from the extreme right and they finally made it into the mainstream,” she said.

When asked whether she expects that some people might celebrate or commemorate Monday’s 25th anniversary of the beginning of the standoff, Beirich said, “I’m sure they will.”

“These people have been talking about Ruby Ridge the whole way through,” she added.

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a tweet seemingly responding to the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, on Thursday, President Donald Trump referenced a factually inaccurate anecdote about combatting Muslim enemies that he often repeated on the campaign trail.

Thirteen people were killed when a van drove through a crowd of pedestrians on a busy street in Spain's second largest city Thursday. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the act that left 100 people injured as well.

"Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught," wrote Trump, less than four hours after the attack. "There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!"


Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017


The president's post was apparently in reference to a legend about World War I-era Army Gen. John J. Pershing that he first told publicly during a campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina, in February 2016. According to Trump, Pershing dipped the bullets used to execute Muslim terrorists in pig blood. The Quran prohibits the consumption of pork, which is considered to be "impure."

"They had a terrorism problem and there's a whole thing with swine and pigs and you know the story they don't like them ... and Gen. Pershing was a rough guy and he sits on his horse and he's very astute, like a ramrod. ... And he caught 50 terrorists that did tremendous damage and killed many people ... and he dipped 50 bullets in pig's blood," Trump explained.

"And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people," he continued. "And the 50th person he said, 'You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.' And for 25 years there wasn't a problem, OK? Twenty-five years there wasn't a problem!"

At the time the story was told, Politifact, an organization that fact-checks the claims of politicians, evaluated Trump's tale and concluded it to be "ridiculous." Politifact cited eight historians who not only noted that the evidence for the blood-dipped bullet aspect of the story "is thin," but also that violence and unrest continued in the referenced region in the Philippines for years during and after U.S. involvement.

It is unclear why Trump's original claim of "25 years" without "a problem" increased to "35 years" in his tweet Thursday.

Snopes, an additional fact-checking outlet, similarly rated the story as false. In its analysis, Snopes writes of a 1927 Chicago Daily Tribune story noting Pershing "sprinkled some prisoners with pig's blood," which was ultimately "more powerful than bullets" as a warning before releasing the prisoners, as well of a separate account that "attributed the deed to someone other than Pershing."

At a press conference from Trump Tower in New York Tuesday, the president outlined his stance on adhering to factual information in response to a question about his hesitancy to condemn hate groups following violent protests last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it's a very, very important process to me," said Trump, continuing, "So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts."

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