Author: Sarah McCammon

For Trump’s Evangelical Advisers, Prison Reform Becomes a Front-Burner Issue

NPR Enlarge this image President Donald Trump speaks during an event on prison reform in the East Room of the White House, Friday, May 18, 2018. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption toggle caption Evan Vucci/AP When targeting his message to white evangelical voters, President Trump has often focused on traditional priorities for social conservatives, such as abortion and religious freedom. But in recent months another issue – criminal justice – has become a priority for Trump’s influential group of evangelical advisers. Several of them attended a prison reform summit at the White House on Friday, where President Trump told the...

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The Anti-Abortion Group That’s Urging Clinic Workers to Quit Their Jobs

NPR At a secluded retreat center outside Austin, about a dozen, mostly middle-aged women are gathered in a quiet conference room. Some huddle under blankets to ward off the chill from an unusual Texas cold spell. Abby Johnson founded the anti-abortion group And Then There Were None after leaving her job running a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas in 2009. Courtesy Abby Johnson hide caption toggle caption Courtesy Abby Johnson This session’s topic: guilt and shame. “Does anybody feel like they’re still dealing with, like, shame? Like, feeling bad about yourself as a person, because of what you’ve done...

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Trump Scorns Mainstream News, But Not The Christian Broadcasting Network

NPR Enlarge this image Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is accompanied by Pat Robertson after speaking at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., in February 2016. Steve Helber/AP hide caption toggle caption Steve Helber/AP Attacks on the press are a hallmark of President Trump’s style and he’s avoided much of the media, often preferring Twitter to sit-down interviews with journalists. But a religious TV network has scored interviews with Trump and members of his administration this year, surpassing more prominent networks and news organizations in its access to the administration. The Christian Broadcasting Network, or CBN, is best known...

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Trump Skips Gridiron Dinner As His Staffers Get Roasted

Enlarge this image Vice President Mike Pence, seen here at a Feb. 24, 2017 speaking engagement in Las Vegas, was the highest-ranking administration official to attend the Gridiron Dinner on March 4, 2017. Ethan Miller/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Ethan Miller/Getty Images Vice President Mike Pence came to the annual Gridiron Dinner looking ever-so-slightly underdressed. “I thought I’d be okay wearing a black tie tonight,” he joked. “Then Nancy Pelosi asked me to refill her coffee.” Pence was the highest-ranking official at the annual white-tie event hosted by the Gridiron Club, an exclusive group of Washington’s top political reporters. At a time when tensions between President Trump and the press are as high as ever, Trump declined his invitation, instead spending the evening at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. He’s also made known he will be the first president in decades to skip another traditional event with Washington journalists, the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in April. Pence and the press In keeping with a long Gridiron tradition, the vice president cracked jokes and took digs in his speech at politicos on both sides of the aisle. To White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose combative demeanor with reporters has been famously skewered on Saturday Night Live and was a punchline of several jokes and skits throughout the night: “Sean, I really want to apologize that you didn’t...

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On The Trail, Trump Avoids Lingering Questions About Birther Stance

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to patrons on Tuesday at Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro, N.C. Evan Vucci/AP When in North Carolina, never pass up barbecue and cherry cobbler. That was Donald Trump’s approach between campaign rallies in the battleground state on Tuesday. The Republican nominee stopped for lunch and a few handshakes at Stamey’s Barbecue in Greensboro. Retail stops like this are common in politics – especially during the primary season – and they’re often a chance for both voters and reporters to ask questions. But at this stage of the campaign, they feel more choreographed – requiring careful planning and a team of Secret Service agents scouring the place beforehand. Nonetheless, there was a measure of spontaneity for diners and servers who came to the restaurant anticipating a barbecue sandwich or a routine day at work – certainly not a visit from the Republican presidential nominee. Katie Cook, who works in the kitchen, audibly gasped several times as Trump walked in. “It’s awesome – definitely he’s got my vote,” Cook said. She’d only heard Trump was coming about 10 minutes beforehand, and she said it was a surprise. As the real estate developer made the rounds flanked by staffers and his security team, journalists shouted, “Mr. Trump, will you take some questions?” The AP’s Jill Colvin called out, “Mr. Trump, when did you change your mind about the...

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For Many Black Voters, Trump’s ‘What Do You Have To Lose?’ Plea Isn’t Enough

“It’s been in my lifetime that I could not register and vote freely,” said Flonzie Brown-Wright.  Sarah McCammon/NPR Like a lot of people’s grandmothers, Flonzie Brown-Wright keeps a candy jar in the living room of her single-story home, which is also adorned with potted plants and family photos. For Brown-Wright, 74, this jar is a reminder of the absurd questions — questions with no real answers — that she and other African-Americans had to answer before registering to vote in Mississippi in the 1960s. “‘How many jelly beans in a pound of candy? … ‘How many feathers are on a chicken?’ And I got a bar of soap somewhere – but anyway, how many bubbles in a bar of soap?'” she recalled. Brown-Wright says you could pass or fail those tests on the whim of an election commissioner. She failed the first time, but eventually became election commissioner herself in nearby Madison County, Miss. — a groundbreaking achievement for a black woman in the Deep South in the late 1960s. Now Brown-Wright is not pleased with the current political climate she says Donald Trump is fostering — and she’s not alone. Trump has been promising to help bring jobs and security to black neighborhoods. But his poll numbers with African-Americans are in the low single digits, and many say his message is insulting. Brown-Wright now gives workshops on voting...

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