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Andrew Harnik- Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Monday paid their respects to the late Justice John Paul Stevens who died last week at the age of 99.

They paused before the flag-draped casket -- situated atop the 150-year-old platform first used for President Abraham Lincoln -- bowing their heads, and then stopping to view Stevens' official portrait nearby.

Justice Stevens lay in repose steps from the bench where he served for nearly 35 years, making him one of the courts longest-serving members when he retired in 2010. Hundreds of everyday Americans braved the near-record heat in the nation's capital to line up for a chance to pay their respects.

As Stevens' casket was carried into the Great Hall, dozens of his former law clerks lined the steps to the court in tribute. Many in the crowd were sporting bow ties, Stevens' signature neck ware.

During a brief morning ceremony, the late justice was memorialized by his successor, Justice Elena Kagan. "He was a brilliant man with extraordinary legal gifts and talents which he combined with a deep devotion to the rule of law and a deep commitment to equal justice," she said.

Six of Stevens' former colleagues were in attendance, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor. Former Justice Anthony Kennedy was also there. Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Breyer were unable to attend because of prior commitments.

Despite being put on the bench by Republican President Gerald Ford, Stevens became a hero to liberals when he voted to limit the use of the death penalty, uphold affirmative action, broaden the core holding of Roe v. Wade on abortion rights and argued for strict separation of church and state.

After his retirement in 2010, Stevens became extremely vocal on political issues, even being critical of President Trump.

“The president is exercising powers that do not really belong to him. I mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that,” Stevens told the Wall Street Journal in May.

When Justice Stevens penned an op-ed in the New York Times calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment Act, he received backlash from Trump on Twitter.

 

THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018

 

“THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED!" Trump tweeted in all capital letters. “As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens.”

Justice Stevens was lying in repose in the Supreme Court’s Great Hall. He is survived by his children, Elizabeth Jane Sesemann and Susan Roberta Mullen, nine grandchildren: Kathryn, Christine, Edward, Susan, Lauren, John, Madison, Hannah, Haley, and 13 great grandchildren.

He will be laid to rest Tuesday in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the court said.

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Joshua Lott/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In western Iowa, many voters are shopping, taking a hard look at former Vice President Joe Biden — but some say they aren’t necessarily ready to buy.

“In Iowa, we say, ‘Well, if we don’t see them three or four times, we haven’t really made up our minds yet,’” said Mike Earll of Sibley, Iowa on Tuesday.

The Democratic frontrunner recently spent three days traversing the western portion of the state, with stops in Des Moines, Waukee, Manning, Le Mars, Sioux City, and Council Bluffs speaking to mainly older, white crowds of a few hundred people.

Several 2020 Democrats are staffing up in Iowa—with many frontrunners employing paid staffs on the ground of 50 or more — including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. Biden’s team currently employs more than 60 staffers in the Hawkeye State.

An Iowa poll from early June showed Biden with a strong favorability rating and leading the 2020 Democratic pack for the first primary contest of the 2020 season with a strong lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Warren, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend.

But in anecdotal interviews with more than a dozen voters at Biden’s events across the western quadrant of the early-voting state show that while voters have a positive view of the former vice president and think he could beat President Trump in a head-to-head matchup, they aren’t ready to commit to voting for him — at least not yet.

“It’s like trying to pick a favorite child, I have several favorites,” Amy Haskins told ABC News in Manning, Iowa, when asked if she planned to support Biden.

“Joe Biden is probably my number one, but I have a whole lot of number twos and number threes. I haven’t ruled out anybody right yet,” Bill Kelly said at an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Wednesday.

Biden's Competition


Biden has led in national and Iowa state poll since he entered the race in late April. Those who attended Biden’s events said he was among their top candidates if not their favorite — like Mary Klein of Sioux City, who attended Biden’s rally there with a ‘Biden ’08’ sign -- which she amended to include “Liked Joe then, still like Joe.”

“He’s committed to everyday people, he’s committed to his country, he’s very knowledgeable about the world and what’s going on in the world with a wealth of experience. He just brings so much and is eager to get in and roll up his sleeves and work for us. I just have a strong sense of that and I have ever since the first time we met and I followed him all these years,” Klein told ABC News, saying she met Biden during his 2008 campaign.

Though it’s still early in the Democratic primary process most of the people who spoke to ABC News during the swing through the western part of the state listed the same three candidates as their other top 2020 picks, in addition to Biden: Warren, Harris, and Buttigieg.

One candidate that wasn't mentioned among the voters ABC News spoke with was Sen. Bernie Sanders. His staffers tell ABC News they view Biden as competition for the working-class vote.

Biden and three other most mentioned candidates, while holding leading positions in recent national polls, represent an ideological split in the party between progressive and more moderate candidates. When asked about the fact the candidates had different beliefs, voters who spoke to ABC News said that ideology isn’t necessarily their biggest concern.

“It’s less philosophical, and more about who I think can take the fight to Donald Trump. That matters more to me than any policy position. I’m just being honest,” Pete Leo of Manning, Iowa told ABC News.

Emma Shields shared a similar sentiment at Biden’s event in Council Bluffs, saying beating Trump was a priority.

“The majority of the people running have the same ideas of what I would want. Like the majority of people running want to save Roe v. wade and yeah, and Donald Trump is just the opposite of that,” Shields said.

Health care boon?


While in the Hawkeye State, Biden rolled out multiple policy proposals, including his healthcare plan that calls for expanding the Affordable Care Act enacted under the Obama-Biden administration and adding a public option for those who do not receive health care through their employer to buy into.

Biden drew a sharp contrast with some of his 2020 competitors who are calling for a ‘Medicare for all’ system while in Iowa, reminding crowds that a single-payer system, like those pushed by Sanders, Warren and Harris would mean an entirely new health care system.

“In my view, we have to finish the job and make health care a right, not a privilege. Give everyone the peace of mind they deserve, everyone. And for me that means building on Obamacare with a public option,” Biden said in his remarks in Council Bluffs Wednesday afternoon.

“There are a lot of people running into the party who want to get rid of Obamacare start over with something new. Well, folks, I'm not for that and they're well-intended. They're all good people.”

The voters ABC News spoke with in the western part of the state seemed to agree with the Biden approach, liking the incremental and ‘pragmatic’ approach.

“I worked for an insurance company for 36 years, I’m an attorney, and so I think his approach the Obamacare approach is a better approach than what the other folks are talking about,” Pete Leo said in Manning, Iowa.

Earll said that while felt that the country would eventually need to move to a single-payer system, he didn’t think the time was now.

“Ideally, yes, it would be nice to have Medicare for all, I don’t think the country is ready for that. I don’t think a lot of the folks who have their own private health care at this point are ready for that as well. So I think the Vice President’s approach is more pragmatic, it’s also a compromise that can definitely work,” Earll said.

Biden seems keen on making Health care central to his campaign and to the second Democratic Debate —telling voters they would hear ‘a lot about it in the debates we have coming up,” and telling reporters in Sioux City he would be prepared to debate the topic on the stage.

Debate concerns


Biden’s trip to Iowa came a few weeks after the first Democratic debate, and a lackluster performance by Biden— something that weighed on the minds of voters.

Leo said he wanted to see Biden to put to rest any concerns he had about him coming off the debate stage.

“I just wanted to come out and see a little bit more of Joe, his debate performance you know, kind of raised a few questions and I just wanted to come see him live and just see how he does. I like him a lot, I think he could beat Trump. And I kind of want to make sure he has the ability to go the distance, as they say,” Leo told ABC News on Tuesday.

But following Biden’s remarks, Leo said he wasn’t convinced.

“I would say he showed his age,” Leo said, noting that he wasn’t counting Biden out, but would keep the concerns in the back of his mind.

Bill Kelly was also not impressed by Biden’s time on the debate stage.

“I was a little disappointed, I wanted him to be more prepared,” Kelly said Wednesday when asked about Biden’s first debate performance.

“Don’t run from what you’ve done. You’ve been in political life for all these years. And we can all grow. So if you was on an issue that may be considered the wrong side of the issue now, it wasn’t the wrong side of the issue back then, so don’t run. Just be who you are, be truthful, say what you mean and mean what you say. And if it was wrong then, you can say, ‘well you know I’m growing,” Kelly said, referring to Biden’s position on busing, which Harris confronted Biden over in the June debate.

Biden might have the chance to redeem himself in less than two weeks when he shares the stage with another slate of nine candidates at the second Democratic debates in Detroit — including Harris.

The age question


One inescapable consideration is Biden’s age. The former vice president would be 78 on Inauguration Day — the oldest president ever elected, beating the current record holder, Donald Trump.

“It's a legitimate question to ask about my age. And same question was asked to me, ‘was I old enough?’ when I got elected at age 29 before I was, you know, old enough to serve. It's a question whether or not -- you know, hopefully, I can demonstrate not only with age, has come wisdom and experience that can make things a lot better, right. And so what was that for you all to decide not for me to decide,” Biden said on the question of his age on ABC’s The View in April.

A national Quinnipiac poll from June showed Biden enjoys much more support from older Americans than younger. Some 41 percent of voters who said they would support Biden were over the age of 50, as opposed to just 18 percent of voters between 18 and 49.

Older voters who spoke to ABC said the age question did give them pause — but said a young Vice President could be a solution.

“I’m a little afraid, now that I’ve turned 65 — and he’s older than I am — I’m a little afraid that he’s -- you get to a point where you’re not as sharp as you used to be, and I’d like to see maybe the thought of him turning over the reins in four years,” Joel Meade, 65 said at a health care event in Le Mars, Iowa.

“I would like if he is the candidate, I would like a young vice-presidential candidate,” Judy Brower, 73, said in Le Mars, Iowa.

“Me too, definitely. And there’s a number of them he can pick from,” Kipp, 74, agreed.

But 19-year-old Timothy Martin said he preferred Biden’s years of experience to some younger candidates.

“I think older people, they’ve been around the block a few times. So I would definitely have confidence in someone who is older than someone who’s 30, 40 years old, 35, 45 years old.”

To be sure, it’s still early in the election process, and voters in Iowa take their responsibility as the first caucus in the country seriously. With the Iowa State Fair around the corner, one thing is clear: some Iowa voters are looking for more opportunities to meet the candidates before they make up their minds.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Gabbard appeared on The View Monday and once again came to the defense of "The Squad", calling out President Donald Trump for his remarks that four of her fellow female colleagues of color in the House should "go back" to where they came from.

"The president is inciting racism and violence in our country as a whole, this is what's so dangerous about what he's doing. He's using his platform to incite this racism and bigotry," she told the hosts adding. "When President Trump says he's saying love it or leave it, right, what he's really saying is, love me or leave, he's making it about himself."

Last week, she told ABC News' Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer that Trump's remarks had what she described as devastating consequences.

Over the weekend Gabbard traveled to Puerto Rico to show solidarity with protesters calling for the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló following a series of scandals including the leak of controversial group chats involving the Governor and several of his top advisers and cabinet officials.

On Friday, the Hawaii Congresswoman was the first politician to travel to Puerto Rico in support of protests. While there, Gabbard called on her fellow 2020 contenders to travel to the island to support protesters calling for the resignation of Rosselló.

On Sunday, Rosselló said in a Facebook Live video, "I will not seek reelection as governor next year. Additionally, I am resigning as president of the New Progressive Party."

Gabbard however in series of tweets called for the resignation of Rosselló. In a video she said, "whichever one of us is elected will be the leader of the Democratic Party."

She added, "it's important for us to let Democrats know to let all Americans know that we will stand up against corruption and for the people even when that corruption is within our own ranks."

Last week, Gabbard received a big boost after Hip Hop artist Cardi B posted an altered cover of Rolling Stone Magazine on Instagram. The magazine cover from earlier this year originally had the image of Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Jahana Hayes.

For the meme Cardi posted, replaced Pelosi with Gabbard.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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iStock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Navy has identified the USS Abraham Lincoln sailor lost in a "man overboard incident" in the Arabian Sea last week, officials with the Navy's 5th Fleet said.

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana has been listed as Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN), the Navy's term for a missing sailor. Saldana is assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5, part of Carrier Air Wing 7, assigned to the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.

Following reports of the missing sailor last Wednesday, the Abraham Lincoln, along with the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and a Spanish frigate, began conducting search and rescue operations which concluded on Friday.

Saldana's fiancé told the Ohio Times that the sailor's belongings had been found on the side of a ship catwalk early Wednesday morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and shipmates of our lost Sailor,” Vice Adm. Jim Malloy, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet, and Combined Maritime Forces said in a statement. “During this tragic time, I want to thank the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate Méndez Núñez for their assistance in the search operations, and all the Sailors involved in the search for their valiant efforts to find our shipmate.”

The Abraham Lincoln became the most-watched aircraft carrier in the world after it was rushed to the Middle East in early May in response to U.S. intelligence that indicated Iran and its proxies were planning an attack on U.S. forces in the region.

ABC News was among the first group of media outlets permitted aboard the carrier when it arrived in the Middle East. At the time, U.S. officials said the Abraham Lincoln's deployment had deterred Tehran from direct attacks against American interests.

But less than two weeks later, the U.S. blamed Iran for shooting down an American drone over the Strait of Hormuz. And last week, Marines on board the amphibious warship USS Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone in the strait that was "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The embattled governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello has announced that he will not seek reelection in November 2020.

Rossello will step down as the president of the New Progressive Party.

"Apologizing is not enough," Rossello said.

The announcement comes after a week of protest precipitated by the release of explosive text messages between the governor and his top aides and advisers.

Large protests are expected for Monday with protesters planning to gather on a major highway leading to San Juan.

The governor has faced mounting pressure to resign since private online chat messages on the Telegram app were leaked earlier this month in which he and his top aides allegedly made homophobic, misogynistic and sexist comments against opponents and critics, and mocked victims of Hurricane Maria.

Tens of thousands of protesters are expected to descend Monday on a major highway leading to San Juan. On Wednesday, police fired pepper spray to disperse a demonstration near the governor's mansion in San Juan.

Celebrities with Puerto Rican roots such as singer Ricky Martin, "Hamilton" playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Puerto Rican rapper Benito Martinez, known by his stage name Bad Bunny, have participated in the protests in Puerto Rico and New York.

Rossello, 40, the second youngest governor in Puerto Rican history and the son of former Gov. Pedro Rossello, was sworn in as governor of the U.S. territory on Jan. 2, 2017, amid turmoil over a debt crisis and 13 straight years of recession.

Just eight months after his election, Hurricane Maria hit the island and killed an estimated 2,975 people, caused widespread destruction, and sent Puerto Rico deeper into financial turmoil.

Rossello, a Democrat who was swept into office on a pro-statehood platform, began to see his support erode in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria as his administration was accused of mismanagement in handling recovery efforts from the devastating storm.

On July 10, Rossello's administration was plunged into a scandal when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested the governor's former Education Secretary Julia Keleher, and the former head of Puerto Rico's Health Insurance Administration Angela Avila Marrero, on charges of steering federal money to unqualified, politically-connected contractors.

In a 32-count indictment, Keleher and Marrero were accused of fraud involving $15.5 million in federal funds issued between 2017 and 2019.

On the heels of the indictment came the explosive publication on July 13 by the Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Journalism, which included nearly 900 pages of conversations between Rossello and his top male aides, advisers and at least one lobbyist using vulgar language to disparage political opponents, critics and even members of their own party while communicating via a Telegram app chat group.

Among the messages leaked was one by Rossello referring to former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as a "whore" after she slammed Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez for supporting statehood for Puerto Rico.

"A person who uses that language against a woman, whether a public figure or not, should not govern Puerto Rico," Mark-Viverito responded in a statement in Spanish that she posted on Twitter.

Rossello was also caught making fun of an overweight man whom he posed with for a photo.

The leaked chat room conversations also captured Christian Sobrino, a top economic adviser to Rossello, making homophobic remarks about Ricky Martin and saying San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz was "off her meds" and that he was “salivating to shoot” her. Cruz is expected to run against Rossello in the 2020 gubernatorial election.

Rossello also used profanities when discussing the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, created in 2016 by U.S. federal law to oversee Puerto Rico's debt restructuring. Other members of the chat group used emojis with the middle finger to express their disdain for the oversight board.

Members of the group also joked about the corpses that piled up after Hurricane Maria.

Sobrino and Rossello's secretary of state, Luis Rivera Marin, resigned once the chat messages were leaked.

"I'm not proud of what I did," Rossello said in a statement last week. "Those were merely comments, but they were hurtful comments. And I apologize for what I've done. But, I need to move forward, continue on with the work I'm doing for Puerto Rico. I will continue in my job."

Rossello added, "I have not committed any illegal acts or corrupt acts. I committed an improper act."

President Donald Trump has issued several tweets about the upheaval in Puerto Rico, saying in one that "a lot of bad things are happening there."

 

....of which was squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again. This is more than twice the amount given to Texas & Florida combined. I know the people of Puerto Rico well, and they are great. But much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2019

 

But Trump has aimed his remarks more at Cruz than at Rossello. Cruz has strongly criticized the Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria.

The President tweeted that Cruz is "a despicable and incompetent person who I wouldn't trust under any circumstance."

Cruz responded in a statement on Facebook Thursday, saying, “President Trump you never got it; and you never will."

"This is not about you; this is about the dignity of the Puerto Rican people," Cruz said in her statement. "What is happening in Puerto Rico is that a people united by a profound sense of dignity are on the streets protesting corruption and a misogynist, homophobic, two-faced governor."

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William Campbell-Corbis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The chant of "send her back" at President Donald Trump's rally in North Carolina on Wednesday is "a stain on the presidency," Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said on ABC's This Week.

"Any parent, any preacher knows that telling four duly elected congresswomen to go back home is -- it's racist," Bullock said. "Trump just basically soaked in those sounds of those chant -- that's going to be a stain on this presidency."

The Democratic governor was referring to a scene in Greenville, North Carolina, where an energized crowd broke into prolonged boos and chanted "Send them back" and "Traitor" at the president's mention of four minority congresswomen -- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. Three of the women were born in the U.S., and Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee as a child. All four are U.S. citizens and won a popular vote to claim their seats in Congress.

Bullock has been tasked with fighting for Democratic policies in a red state for years. He won his 2016 election at the same time Trump won by about 20 points in Montana, something he often reminds his audiences on the campaign trail. He hopes his experience working with Republican officials and voters who initially voted for Trump can propel him to the Democratic nomination. All three of Bullock's victories in statewide elections have come during an election where Montana voters turned out in majority support for the top Republican on the ticket.

Bullock is not the only candidate, however, who hails from a state that voted for Trump. Of the major Democratic candidates, there are several who check that box: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio; and Texans -- former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., though her state narrowly voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, is also part of that conversation because of her ability to win counties that chose Trump.

In his interview with Stephanopolous on Sunday, Bullock added that he fears public dialogue is "falling into the same traps of 2016" by not focusing on what he sees are setbacks to issues such as health care and education.

"We should also be talking about the fact that, in the last week and a half, he tried to rip health care away from 13 million people as he's trying to undo the Affordable Care Act. Or that [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos is literally trying to funnel money, this past week, to private schools. Or that he's not really doing a damn thing for farmers or factory workers and most Americans. And this is all that we end up focusing on," Bullock said. "So he will try to distract, he will try to divide, but we got to be focusing on also the issues that impact people's everyday lives."

And for the first time, since announcing his candidacy for president just nine weeks ago, Bullock will get to debate 19 of his competitors in Detroit at the end of the month.

He is the only candidate to join this chapter of the debates who was not on stage for the election's first round in May in Miami. Shortly after officially qualifying, a campaign aide said that the governor plans to shake things up by calling out the "unrealistic" ideas of his competitors.

To him, that means declaring Medicare for all a losing strategy for the country, an opinion that he often shares on the campaign trail. He instead believes in overhauling the Medicaid system to provide universal health care to the country and keeping private options alive. He also recently revealed he does not believe in extending public health insurance to undocumented immigrants.

"A lot of the immigration crisis that we're facing right now is a crisis of this administration's making -- the idea of ripping families apart or getting rid of protections for Dreamers," he told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks on the Powerhouse Politics podcast.

The late launch of his campaign was partially due to legislative commitments in a state government that only convenes every other year.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mercedes Schlapp, a Trump campaign senior adviser, defended President Donald Trump amid ongoing and escalating attacks aimed at four freshman congresswomen on Sunday.

"I have worked with President Trump for two years and he is not a racist," Schlapp, who left the White House in June to join the campaign, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week.

"He is a results-oriented president who is focused on helping uplift all Americans -- including blacks, including Hispanics," Schlapp added.

When confronted about the president’s seemingly shifting stance regarding a recent campaign rally crowd erupting in "send her back" chants aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, Schlapp said Trump "made it very clear" that he disavowed the chant, yet "stands with those people in North Carolina."

"The president disavowed the chant. The president made it clear that he wasn’t happy with the chant," the Trump campaign aide said. "He made it very clear he disagreed with the chant, and I will tell you he stands with those people in North Carolina -- across the country -- who support him."

Schlapp's comments follow the president's shifting response to the backlash that erupted after thousands of rally goers at his Greenville, North Carolina, rally chanted "send her back" about Omar last week.

The chants themselves came only days after the president launched an attack on four progressive congresswomen of color -- Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass; and Omar -- telling them to "go back" to the countries they came from.

Three of the representatives were born in the U.S., while as a child Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee.

Earlier Sunday morning, the president again targeted the self-proclaimed “Squad" on Twitter, writing that the progressive members of color are not "capable of loving our Country."

"They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said. They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!" the president wrote.

Schlapp defended the president's attacks, even when confronted about Trump criticizing America during his 2016 campaign.

"Look, they are fundamentally criticizing the United States," the Trump campaign aide said. "They are being anti-American. That, to us, is very concerning."

The former White House aide also took aim at the four progressive congresswomen, arguing that, thanks to their politics, "the Democratic Party is in disarray."

"These Democratic presidential candidates are going to have to kiss the ring of the squad because they are the new voices of the Democrat Party, and that should be concerning," Schlapp said.

While the Trump campaign initially defended the rally chant, the president on Thursday told reporters in the Oval Office that he "was not happy with it" and "I disagree with it." However, Trump appeared to walked back his disavowal of the chant the next day, telling reporters when asked about the chant: "No, you know what I'm unhappy with -- the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country."

"I'm unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things. I'm unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman -- in this case, a different congresswoman -- can call our country and our people 'garbage.' That's what I'm unhappy with," Trump said.

The president also argued last week that he "very quickly" started talking once the "send her back" chants started, despite letting the chant go on for about 13 seconds without saying a word. When pushed by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on why he didn't begin speaking sooner, the president claimed he did.

"If you would have heard, there was a tremendous amount of noise and action and everything else," he said. "I started very quickly. And I think you know that."

The president later tweeted that he "did nothing to lead people on, nor was I particularly happy with their chant." President Trump also continued to praise rally goers as "a very big and patriotic crowd. They love the USA!"

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said chants at a Trump rally on Wednesday were the echo of chants he heard as a child attempting to integrate a pool.

On President Donald Trump's tweets and attacks on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, he said, "I just don’t think this is becoming of the president of the United States of America," in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday.

Trump tweeted an attack on the four freshmen Democratic congresswomen last Sunday, saying, "why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it’s done."

Three of the four congresswomen were born in the U.S. The fourth, Omar, came to the U.S. as a refugee when she was a child.

Cummings joined a chorus of criticism of Trump’s tweets on Twitter Tuesday, calling them "racist, xenophobic, deeply offensive to many Americans," and adding that they "have no place in the dialogue of the world’s greatest democracy."

He also said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that the tweets reminded him of shouts from a white mob as he and other African-American children attempted to integrate a Baltimore pool in the 1960s.

"I don’t think these Republicans or Trump fully understand what it feels like to be treated like less than a dog," Cummings said in that interview.

The president’s tweets led to a resolution in the House of Representatives formally condemning the remarks, which passed on Tuesday.

Supporters chanted "send her back" after Trump criticized Omar at a rally on Wednesday. The next day, the president said he disagreed with the chants.

The president also argued that he "very quickly" started talking once the "send her back" chants started, despite letting the chant go on for about 13 seconds without saying a word. When pushed by ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on why he didn't begin speaking sooner, the president claimed he did.

Also on Thursday, ABC News correspondent Kyra Phillips asked Trump if he thought the chants were racist, and the president said "no."

"You know what's racist to me? When someone goes out and says the horrible things about our country, the people of our country," he said.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- All of the Democratic presidential candidates have condemned Donald Trump's racist comments directed at four congresswomen last week, and the chants of "send her back" directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar at a rally a day later, but Pete Buttigieg took it a step further on Saturday.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was stumping in Iowa over the weekend, where he told ABC News that the issue of white supremacy -- an accusation often lobbed at Trump by the left -- "could be the lurking issue that ends this country."

The mayor said the current climate could escalate, going as far as to mention the Civil War.

"We’ve had a lot challenges in this country, but the one that actually almost ended this country in the Civil War was white supremacy," Buttigieg said. "It could be the lurking issue that ends this country in the future, if we don’t wrangle it down in our time."

The number of hate groups as been on the rise under Trump, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The nonprofit, which tracks hate groups, including white nationalist organizations, released a report this spring saying groups have increased by 30% in the past four years.

"Amid the era of Trump, hate groups have increased once again, rising 30 percent over the past four years," the report says. "And last year marked the fourth year in a row that hate group numbers increased after a short period of decline. In the previous four-year period, the number of groups fell by 23 percent."

Buttigieg has dealt with issues of race throughout his campaign, especially in recent weeks after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in his hometown of South Bend. He even briefly left the campaign trail to return home and address the issue. Buttigieg was greeted by jeers from protesters at a press conference and public forum about the shooting last month.

The officer has remained on paid leave, sparking a petition by residents to get him suspended from the force. Buttigieg has said he does not have the power as mayor to make that decision. Only the Board of Public Safety -- composed of five civilians appointed by the mayor -- can suspend or fire an officer involved in a shooting, he told Nightline earlier this month.

But Buttigieg has been honest about needing to create more diversity in the police department in South Bend. He said he has tried to do so, somewhat unsuccessfully, but will continue to push for it.

"The key to dealing with racial discussions in the country is honesty," Buttigieg said Saturday. "And that means honesty about how we got here. It means honesty about what we are up against."

"Also, in my view, it means treating racial inequality as a specialty issue, as an issue to be talked about with audiences of color only -- but as something that frankly white Americans need to take more seriously," he added.

Buttigieg added further weight to the topic on Saturday, saying, "The entire American experiment is at stake in whether we can manage to deliver prosperity in a way that your race has no bearing on your income, your wealth, your employment opportunities, your experience with criminal justice, your ability to vote."

"We’re just not there, and we won’t get there until we acknowledge that replacing a racist historical structure with a more neutral current one is not enough," he said.

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Christian Vierig/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said on Twitter he had offered to "personally vouch" for A$AP Rocky's bail after the rapper was jailed in Sweden following a street fight.

"Just had a very good call with @SwedishPM Stefan Löfven who assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly. Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump tweeted early Saturday, adding that he would speak again to the Swedish prime minister in the next 48 hours.

The hip hop star, whose given name is Rakim Mayers, is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, and was in Sweden for the European leg of his tour. He has been in pre-trial detention since July 2, following a June 30 street fight in Stockholm. Two other performers he was with, Bladimir Corniel and David Rispers, were also detained.

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The rapper has also found an ally in Kim Kardashian West, who has directly appealed to the Trump. Last summer, Alice Johnson, who had been serving life on drug charges, was granted clemency by Trump and released from prison after West visited the White House and appealed for Trump's help.

Trump also said that First Lady Melania Trump asked him to help the rapper.

The State Department announced on Wednesday that Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch traveled to Sweden and is in the country currently.

The rapper is “suspected of aggravated assault,” according to a press release posted to the website of the Stockholm prosecutor's office. But the rapper's attorney told ABC News that he and his companions were acting in self-defense.

“This is unjust because he is incarcerated because the prosecutor is applying the rule of 'flight right,'' A$AP Rocky’s Swedish attorney, Sloban Jovicic, told ABC News in a phone interview on Friday. "There is no risk for flight risk or escape because A$AP would never jeopardize his career, brand, support from his fans, friends and celebrities all over the world," Jovicic said.

“You have to also see this from his point of view, he came to Sweden to perform for his fans and he was attacked, followed and harassed," Jovicic said on Friday. "My client begged and pleaded with these attackers to stop and he acted in self defense. And now he is the one in jail. That’s unjust.”

Trump's tweets marked the second day of public presidential support for the imprisoned hip hop star. On Friday, Trump told reporters his office had been working with Sweden's Löfven to get the star released.

"A$AP Rocky is a situation in Sweden. Sweden's a great country and they're friends of mine, the leadership. And we are going to be calling, we'll be talking to them, we've already started and many, many members of the African-American community have called me — friends of mine, and said could you help?" Trump told reporters on Friday.

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Gary Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former first lady Michelle Obama rarely weighs in on politics -- even when asked -- but she did take an apparent shot at the current president in a tweet on Friday evening.

Obama tweeted, "What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America."

The comments appear to be in reference to Donald Trump’s recent attacks on "The Squad" -- a group of new congresswomen, including Reps.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. Trump has particularly singled out Omar, who, along with Tlaib, are the first Muslim women to serve in Congress, in recent days.

The crowd at a Trump rally on Wednesday night chanted "send her back" when he brought up Omar -- a reference to a tweet attacking the four congresswomen he had sent the previous day.

Obama praised the country's diversity and said there was a place for everybody. Omar was born in Somalia, but immigrated to the U.S. with her parents as a child.

Trump condemned the chant on Thursday, but defended the crowd as "incredible patriots" on Friday.

The president was asked Friday afternoon as he left for New Jersey for the weekend if he thought the chant was "racist."

"No," Trump said.

"You know what's racist to me? When someone goes out and says the horrible things about our country, the people of our country, that are anti-Semitic, that hate everybody, that speak with scorn and hate, that to me is really a dangerous thing," he said, in an apparent reference to Omar or Tlaib.

Omar apologized earlier this year after she tweeted, "It's all about the Benjamins, baby," in reference to Republican politicians not criticizing Israel due to them taking money from pro-Israel organizations. Trump called the comments "anti-Semitic" for their reference to Jews and money, and said Omar should resign at the time.

Tlaib, who is a Palestinian-American, has also drawn criticism from right-wing politicians for criticism of Israel over its treatment of Palestine.

Trump's initial tweet said the four congresswomen should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Besides Omar, the other three were all born and raised in the U.S.

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iStock(NEW YORK) -- Top Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee are warning President Donald Trump against intervening in a $10 billion cloud computing contract the Department of Defense (DOD) is considering awarding to Amazon, according to a letter first obtained by ABC News.

"While it is understandable that some of the companies competing for the contract are disappointed at not being selected as one of the finalists, further unnecessary delays will only damage our security and increase the costs of the contract," writes Rep. Mac Thornberry, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Trump suggested Thursday at the White House that he could intervene in the process, which would be an unusual move, especially in light of the attacks Trump has launched against Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Companies who submitted bids for the contract included Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle. Amazon and Microsoft are the finalists, and the DOD is poised to make a decision next month. Amazon is viewed as the favorite to win the contract, but the process has been disputed by the competitors.

“I'm getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon," the president said Thursday in the Oval Office. "They're saying it was not competitively bid. This is going a long time, I guess probably before this administration. And we're looking at it very seriously. Great companies that are complaining about it, so we’re going to take a look at it. We'll take a strong look at it.”

Trump has often criticized Bezos, complaining that Amazon takes advantage of the U.S. Postal Service, that the company does not pay enough taxes, and that the Washington Post, which is personally owned by Bezos, covers his administration unfairly.

It is common practice for U.S. companies, especially defense contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to fight and go to court over massive defense contracts. But it is unusual for a president to become involved in the process.

In the letter, committee members say they are in charge of the process.

"Our committee has conducted oversight of this contract from the beginning," it says.

Not all Republicans agree with Thornberry. Senator Marco Rubio wrote a letter to National Security Advisor John Bolton this week, urging a delay in awarding the contract, because it "suffers from a lack of competition."

"Even though 200 companies were initially interested, DOD instituted such a restrictive criteria that only four companies bid on JEDI. DOD then further used the arbitrary criteria to eliminate two of the bidders, IBM and Oracle, leaving only Amazon and Microsoft," Rubio wrote.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also expressed concerns about the process directly to President Trump while they flew on Air Force One together last week. Johnson has raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest in the process, including the involvement of two DOD employees who may have had connections to one of the competing companies, and has encouraged the DOD Office of the Inspector General to investigate the matter.

"Given the significant amount of taxpayer dollars associated with this particular contract, I respectfully request DOD to delay awarding this contract to any company until DOD OIG completes its investigation," Johnson wrote in a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

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JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As tensions rise in San Juan, Puerto Rico following reports of controversial leaked group chats between Gov. Ricardo Roselló and a number of his advisers and Cabinet members, former Obama administration Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro is the first Democratic presidential candidate to call on Roselló to resign.

“Americans in Puerto Rico are holding Governor @ricardorossello accountable for his disgraceful comments & corruption,” Castro wrote in a tweet Friday. “I stand with the Puerto Ricans in the streets protesting for his resignation. Excessive force against them is not acceptable.”

Castro’s Tweet comes after several of his opponents have expressed solidarity with Puerto Rican protesters, but do not match his calls for a resignation.

Among the candidates who have voiced support of the protestors via tweets, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and author Marianne Williamson.

Castro also told Buzzfeed while at event in Manchester, New Hampshire that he doesn’t “think that Rosselló can be effective anymore…The way they’ve treated the people of Puerto Rico, the administration has treated the people of Puerto Rico, I believe that he should resign."

Castro’s calls for a resignation comes after days of dramatic protests shutting down streets in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with protestors demanding Gov. Roselló give up his seat after a series of leaked group texts released by the Center of Investigative Journalism revealed Roselló and some of his closest advisers and Cabinet members speaking about female politicians and reporters in misogynistic terms and making jokes about the number of dead bodies in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Gov. Roselló has said he will not resign.

On Friday, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard arrived on the island to join protesters in front of the Governor's Mansion, tweeting that ""Hawaii and Puerto Rico share many of the same experiences and stories. I stand with Puerto Ricans demanding change, who have had enough of government corruption, and who deserve a government of, by, and FOR the people. El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. #RickyRenuncia"

Also on Friday, New York Rep. Nydia Velasquez and Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez called for Roselló’s resignation. Gonzalez is a member of the same political party as Roselló and is the island’s highest-ranking representative in Washington DC.

"It is time to give stability to Puerto Rico so that we can continue the reconstruction that was planned before the events of the last weeks and return the credibility of the government of Puerto Rico before the Federal Capital, the financial markets, tourism and the whole world," Velasquez said in an open letter to Roselló. But more importantly, it is time to give peace to a people who need it so much."

As a representative of the people of Puerto Rico in the federal capital," she continued in the statement. "I cannot marginalize myself from the reality we live. Your leadership has been questioned to direct the destinies of the island, as well as our recovery after the hurricane. When that happens, the government, the state, loses strength in its credibility and legitimacy."

On Thursday, President Donald Trump weighed in on the protests, tweeting “a lot of bad things are happening in Puerto Rico. The Governor is under siege,” before also attacking San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, who was the target of some of the misogynistic messages. Cruz has said she is on the side of the protesters.

Back in January, Castro’s first trip as a presidential candidate was to Puerto Rico. While there he criticized the federal government’s response to the crisis following Hurricane Maria. Two other candidates who have visited Puerto Rico this election cycle are Sen. Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Puerto Rico participates in primary elections, but they do not ultimately vote in the November 2020 presidential election.

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Erika Goldring/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Angelina Jolie may be a better actress and director, but Michelle Obama's got her beat in one category -- this year, at least.

The former first lady beat out Jolie as the world's most admired woman in an annual study conducted by online research firm YouGov.

Obama topped the list this year, while Jolie -- who was first last year -- came in third.

Oprah Winfrey was second.

Also included in the top 10 of most admired women are Queen Elizabeth II, actress Emma Watson, activist Malala Yousafzai and chemist Tu Youyou.

First ladies had a good showing on the list: alongside Obama, Hillary Clinton came in eighth, Melania Trump is 19th and Peng Liyuan, a singer and the wife of Chinese President Xi JinPing, is seventh.

World leaders, too, were featured on the list, including Queen Elizabeth II, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May.

On the men's side of things, Microsoft founder Bill Gates came out on top, with Obama's husband, Barack, in second. President Donald Trump is 14th on the men's list, while Russian President Vladimir Putin is 10th.

The men's list also features soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at seventh and ninth, respectively.

Unsurprisingly, considering their high placement on the global scale, the Obamas top both the male and female list of most admired people in America alone.

On the men's side, Trump comes second, and on the women's side, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is his parallel. Melania Trump takes third, and Clinton came in eighth.

Just two presidential candidates are featured on either list of America's most admired: former Vice President Joe Biden in sixth and Sen. Bernie Sanders in seventh.

It's been a remarkable 12 months for Obama, whose memoir "Becoming," released last fall, "could be the most successful memoir in history" after selling about 10 million copies, per its publisher, Penguin Random House.

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Sean Rayford/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Governor John Hickenlooper told the hosts of The View that, despite low fundraising figures and polling numbers, he believes "this campaign is wide open."

"I think all politics is about how you communicate things...But you don't quit," he said. "You just keep trying to shake things up... I think this campaign is wide open... if I get my message out - I'm the one candidate who's actually done the big progressive things others are talking about."

He launched his 2020 bid appealing to both sides of the Democratic aisle - those on the progressive wing – and moderates in the center field. With a pitch leaning on his Western roots and decades of experience and success as a purple state businessman, mayor and governor – he attracted initial notice for his ability to bring together warring political factions in a state that swings with the Rocky Mountain winds.

But in the wake of a debate performance where his increasingly middling bid was not re-energized by the spark of a breakout moment - polls after saying he failed to stand out on a crowded stage – even after weeks of volleyed barbs with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., over socialism; his staff began to see an uphill trail and a donation jar half-empty. The campaign’s second quarter FEC filings reveal just $1.15 million raised – and, sources familiar with the situation tell ABC News, just about 13,000 donors - about one tenth what’s needed to qualify for the September debate.

Six key aides abruptly left the campaign - sources telling ABC News, growing frustrated after urging him to withdraw and pursue other options - but the former governor would not be deterred.

“I think most people haven't really started paying attention yet,” he said on The View. “If I get focused on my message, I think that I’m the one person out of all the people running is actually done the big progressive things that everyone else is just talking about.”

The next generation of the Hickenlooper campaign presses on as well and says they undaunted by their currently thin financial margins. His new communications director Peter Cunningham told ABC News he’s now focused on sharpening their message – one they feel voters will respond to – Hickenlooper’s proven record of centrist leadership and contrasting accomplishments with aspirations.

"We're trying to find the lane that gets people to pay attention," Cunningham says. "People want fireworks - they want Kamala Harris and Joe Biden arguing about busing. But that's not the number one issue people are voting on."

Hickenlooper worries that the American Dream is at risk and is focused on jobs, the economy and retirement and the candidate feels that he can offer tangible solutions to save that dream in a way that other candidates simply propose.

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