Female Lifeguard Who Identifies as Male Exposes 'Bare Breasts' in Front of Children at City Pool
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A transgender lifeguard applicant — a female who identifies as male — exposed “bare breasts” in front of “several dozen children” at a pool in Jacksonville, Florida, last week, WJAX-TV reported.

The station said the incident occurred at Cecil Aquatic Center during a group tryout for the lifeguard position and that the city received complaints.

Here’s a statement from the city about what happened, WJAX said:

This incident happened Thursday of last week at Cecil Pool. A transgender person, a female who identifies as male, removed their shirt exposing their bare breasts, and completed a portion of the training with 20 other trainees. While we cannot confirm the age of the individuals participating in the training, JaxParks recruits lifeguards starting at age 15. This occurred within view of several dozen children and their parents sharing the same pool at the same time.

Two City Hall sources told the station the City of Jacksonville will not hire the lifeguard candidate in question.

‘Kids don’t sexualize breasts’

Cielo Sunsarae, executive director and founder of Queer Trans Project, told WJAX the city is being unfair to the transgender lifeguard applicant who was “coming for a position to protect the children and people at the pool” and was “denied” the job for a reason “completely not related to it.”

“Kids don’t sexualize breasts,” Sunsarae added to the station. “It’s the adults that are making it out bigger than what it is. What is the difference if the person had top surgery or not?”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s perspective on the matter struck a distinctly different tone. WJAX noted his statement:

Through a citizen expressing concerns, my administration became aware of an incident where a biological female trainee in a lifeguard program was topless at one of our public pools.

After consideration of the incident, I believe it is wrong for our public pools to be a place where Jacksonville families are forced to explain to their children why a person hired to protect public safety is exposing her breasts.

I see no reason for our lifeguards to be forced to make changes to existing rules mandating that biological females cover their chests. Our parks and public pools are meant to be a place where families can feel safe to enjoy themselves. We shouldn’t force parents of young children to be caught in the crossfire of battles over wokeism.

Sunsarae added to the station that more education about the LGBTQ community is needed: “We can’t move past this as a community without the proper education, and the advocacy, and just the basic respect. No matter how much you don’t agree with someone’s ideals, just respect them.”

The WJAX story on the incident found its way onto Yahoo! News, and more than 2,600 comments and counting have rolled in since Tuesday. As you might guess, the commenters are fired up. The following are but a few of them:

  • “This world is out of control,” one commenter said. “She he is sick.”
  • “If they want to be respected, they need to be respectful,” another commenter wrote. “Indecent exposure is against the law, respect it or be arrested. The noise being made by a very small population, is starting to annoy the larger population.”
  • “Now the person will try to sue for discrimination, cost tax payer dollars, and try to absorb as much attention as possible,” another commenter said. “There’s a huge mental health crisis in our country.”
  • “A rational person needs to ask: why exactly are these people so insistent and eager to be indecent around young kids?” another commenter asked. “Seems like there might be an alternative agenda here besides just ‘being their true selves.'”
  • “There is no such thing as transphobia. There are, however, normal folks who know the difference between normal biology and gender delusion and don’t mind reminding the biologically confused of the facts,” another commenter stated. “Removing one’s genitals, having massive cosmetic surgery, and then injecting the wrong hormones for the rest of one’s life is the 21st-century equivalent of Dr. Frankenstein’s creation…part human and part artificial. And the LGBTQ+ community insist[s] on using kids while hiding behind the lie of losing their rights and everyone hating them and saying it’s inhumane. This all because 0.005% of the population has a mental health issue that they insist should be accepted as normal. And ignore that it’s a mental health issue.”

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Israel Strikes Houthi Targets in Yemen After Drone Attack on Tel Aviv

Israeli fighter jets conducted an air strike in Yemen on Saturday in retaliation for the Houthi drone attack on Tel Aviv last Thursday, U.S. and Israeli officials said.

This is the first time that Israel has directly attacked Yemen, a country more than 1,000 miles away.

The Houthis, an Islamist militant group backed by Iran, have harassed and attacked commercial ships in the Red Sea for months in response to Israel’s war in Gaza.

Houthi officials said the Israeli strike hit oil facilities in the port of Hodeidah, which is controlled by the rebel group.

The Saudi television channel al-Hadath reported three people were killed and 15 wounded in the Israeli strike.

Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant spoke to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday and told him Israel was likely to respond to the Houthi attack, which killed one Israeli and wounded several others, a U.S. official said.

Israeli and U.S. military officials spoke several times on Saturday ahead of the strike, the official said.

An Israeli official confirmed the strike and said it was conducted in coordination with the U.S. and an international coalition formed to counter Houthi attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the security cabinet on Saturday to approve the strike — a highly unusual meeting, with many religiously observant ministers arriving on the Sabbath.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement: “IDF warplanes recently attacked military targets of the Houthi terrorist regime in the Hodeida port area in Yemen, in response to the hundreds of attacks against the State of Israel in recent months.”

The Houthis claimed in a statement that the Israeli strike targeted civilian facilities, oil tanks and the electricity station in Hodeidah. “The aim was pressuring Yemen to stop supporting Gaza, which is a dream that will not come true. This will only increase the determination of the Yemeni people and their armed forces to support Gaza,” the Houthis said.

Gallant said in a statement: “The fire that is currently burning in Yemen, is seen across the Middle East. The first time that the Houthis harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required.”

A senior Israeli official said the strike in Yemen was a purely Israeli action.

“This was a targeted operation at the port of Hodeida. We carried out the strike after many months of restraint in the face of Houthi attacks that included the firing of dozens of items, including surface-to-surface missiles,” the official said.

“Israel will act everywhere to protect its citizens and its sovereignty.”

The official added that the port of Hodeida is “terrorist infrastructure and a legitimate military target” that he claimed is used by the Houthis for obtaining weaponry.

The official said the port was previously “granted immunity” because humanitarian aid is delivered there. In practice, the official claimed, most of the aid goes to the Houthis and not to the citizens of Yemen.

“Israel has nothing against the citizens of Yemen. Israel does not want a regional war but will continue to protect its citizens from attacks. The attack by the Houthis on Tel Aviv crossed all the red lines and that is why we responded to it after nine months of restraint,” the official said.

The official said the international community must increase its military activity against the Houthis, ramp up economic pressure through sanctions and demand that Iran restrain the militants and stop supplying them with weapons.

A White House official said President Biden received a briefing on developments in the Middle East and the strike against the Houthis from deputy national security adviser Jon Finer.

“We’ve been in regular and ongoing contact with the Israelis following the strike in Tel Aviv that killed an Israeli civilian on Friday morning. We fully recognize and acknowledge Israel’s right to self-defense. The United States was not involved in today’s strikes in Yemen, and we did not coordinate or assist Israel with the strikes,” a National Security Council spokesperson said.

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Trump Holds 1st Rally Since Assassination Attempt, with Vance in Michigan

Donald Trump got back to business on the campaign trail Saturday, with reportedly “unprecedented” security on hand for his first rally since the failed attempt on his life — and notably sporting a smaller ear bandage after he was grazed by a bullet.

Beefed-up security measures were taken both in and around the Van Andel Arena., where the Republican presidential nominee and his new running mate, Ohio Sen. JD Vance, were welcomed by roughly 14,000 adoring supporters — including many who traveled from other states and camped outside overnight to get prime spots inside.

Trump, 78, took to the stage to enormous cheers and “USA” chants from the crowd — and notably with a smaller bandage covering his ear wound from the shooting.

By this time next year, he declared, the US’s borders will be secure, “inflation will be in full retreat, our economy will be roaring back [and] optimism will be surging.”

The former commander in chief remarked that it was “one week ago today almost to the hour, even to the minute” that he narrowly survived the assassination attempt.

“What a day it was,” he recalled. “I stand before you only by the grace of almighty God. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be here.

“I took a bullet for democracy,” he said moments later to raucous cheers.

Trump asked the crowd to keep the family of “hero” firefighter Corey Comperatore, who was killed in the heinous shooting while protecting them, in their thoughts.

“He was a big Trumper, and we will never forget him,” the ex-president said as the crowd erupted into chants of “Corey.”

Trump, who spoke for nearly two hours, tried to distance himself from the Heritage Foundation’s controversial far-right agenda, “Project 2025,” calling it “extreme.”

The Democrats, he said, are “going around trying to make me sound extreme — I’m not an extremist at all.

“Some on the severe right came up with this Project 2025 .. they’re very very conservative,” he said. “They’re kind of the opposite of the radical left, they’re the radical right.”

“They are extreme, it sure is extreme,” he added.

Trump quipped that immigration saved his life — as he had just turned to point to a massive chart showing his administration’s immigration policies last Saturday when he narrowly dodged a bullet from the would-be-assassin Thomas Matthew Crooks.

“I owe immigration my life. It’s true,” he said.

Later in his remarks, he said he said he plans a “mass deportation” of illegal migrants once he reclaims the White House.

The former president took a lighter tone at points, lauding his “darling” wife Melania for her support at the Republican National Convention.

He also interrupted his speech to joke about his iconic hair.

“See the screen up there with me? That’s looking very severe with me, this combover. It looks OK from the other side — but that is very severe, I apologize,” Trump said after asking to have “the cameras turned off.”

“I looked up there and said ‘Woah!’ That’s like a work of art!”

Vance in the spotlight

Trump spoke after Vance took the podium and immediately attacked Vice President Kamala Harris.

“What has she done other than collect a check from her political offices?”

“She did serve as Border Czar during the biggest disaster open borders we ever had in this country,” he said. “Let’s get President Trump back there, close back that border, and bring some common sense and security to this country.”

He also called on voters to back GOP tickets nationwide.

“We got an opportunity to win a lot of races up and down the ballot, to reestablish American dominance in energy – to drill, baby, drill – and kick out the drug cartels of our country,” he said.

During his remarks, Trump said that he “made the right pick” with Vance.

“He’s so great. He’s really stepped up,” he added.

Toward the middle of his speech, he brought up Michigan GOP Senate candidates Sandy Pensler and former House Rep. Mike Rogers. Pensler announced he was ending his campaign to back Rogers, who was endorsed by Trump.

“Mike’s going to make a heck of a senator,” Pensler said.

Trump and Vance are riding a wave of momentum growing for their ticket following the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee days earlier, where Trump urged unity following the July 13 shooting in Butler, Pa., that left him with a bloodied right ear and killed one man in the crowd and seriously injuring two others.

Polls continue to show Trump taking back the White House in November by beating President Biden, whose re-election campaign is reeling following his disastrous debate performance last month and cries from fellow Democratic lawmakers not to seek a second term.

As rumors swirl about Vice President Kamala Harris potentially replacing Biden, 81, on the Democratic ticket, Trump joked Saturday: “When you vote for Biden you’re indirectly voting for Harris whether you like it or not.”

Police presence was strong throughout the downtown Grand Rapids area on Saturday, including teams of cops who patrolled on bicycles.

Former Secret Service agent Jason Russell told to expect a “pretty unprecedented level of police officers” for the event considering the assassination bid raised serious questions about the Secret Service and local law enforcement’s ability to protect candidates and attendees from attacks.

”I think you can already see they’ve doubled down in a big way,” former Michigan congressman and retired FBI agent Mike Rogers told The Post.

“It is a little easier to secure an enclosed building than an open-air building. You’ll see a heightened sense of security at all levels. But even with that said, I have not seen this many police and Secret Service in a very long time.”

By 11:30 a.m., thousands of Trump backers squeezed into metal gates outside the 12,000-seat arena awaiting entry, according to Others waited on a line stretching about six blocks. Many had arrived Friday afternoon and camped overnight in vehicles.

As Trump was campaigning in Wolverine State, Biden was holed up this weekend at his vacation house in Rehoboth Beach, Del., where he was battling COVID.

The president has said he plans to return to the campaign trail next week despite a groundswell of Democratic lawmakers urging him to step aside so another candidate can run against the surging Trump.

Michigan – a historically Republican stronghold that has trended increasingly blue in recent elections – is one of the crucial swing states expected to determine the outcome of the presidential election.

In 2016, Trump narrowly won the state by just over 10,000 votes. But Democrat Joe Biden flipped it back in 2020, winning by 154,000 votes en route to the presidency.

Earlier Saturday, former White House physician and current Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Tx.) said Trump is “doing well” and recovering after a bullet fired by failed assassin Thomas Matthew Crooks came “less than a quarter of an inch from entering his head.


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Pelosi Privately Favors Open Nomination Above Harris Endorsement

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly favors an open nomination process rather than selecting Vice President Kamala Harris as the candidate at the Democratic National Convention next month if President Joe Biden steps aside.

According to a report in Politico, four people familiar with private discussions involving Pelosi earlier this month say that she and several other members of the California delegation discussed the political disadvantages of having party elites noncompetitively name Harris as the next party nominee.

These discussions reportedly took place during a July 10 meeting of the California delegation, just shy of two weeks after Biden’s poor debate performance when faced with Trump.

However, the discussions did not involve Harris’s weakness as a candidate. Rather, they emphasized that an uncompetitive selection process would chill voter support in November.

Pelosi, along with current House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), have played a large role behind the scenes in encouraging members of their party to publicly call for Biden to drop out of the race.

The former House Speaker said in an interview two weeks ago that it is “up to the president to decide if he is going to run” but that “time is running short” to make a final decision.

Several questions remain for the Democratic Party about whether Biden should drop out of the race.

Not only is it a question of whether Biden will endorse his vice president to take his place in the general election, but many Democrats also wonder if she will be able to win.

A new poll published Friday found that six in 10 Democrats believe Harris would do a good job as president, but only three in 10 overall believe similarly.

Furthermore, the Democratic Party hasn’t had an open convention since 1968, following the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy almost three months before the convention. Kennedy, in that election, also had the most delegates from the primaries.

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Secret Service Officials Denied Trump Security’s Requests for Additional Resources: Report

Secret Service officials repeatedly denied requests for additional resources made by former President Donald Trump’s detail prior to the July 13 assassination attempt, the Washington Post reported.

Trump was slightly wounded in the right ear on July 13 when a gunman fired multiple shots during the attempted assassination at the Butler County, Pennsylvania, rally, killing former volunteer fire chief Corey Comperatore and wounding two other attendees. The Post reported that for at least two years prior to the deadly incident, Trump’s detail was denied resources, including counter-sniper teams for a 2023 appearance in Pickens, South Carolina, where a number of buildings surrounded Trump’s stage.

“It’s just true — we don’t have the resources to secure him [Trump] like we did when he was president,” one official told the Washington Post, which reported that events involving President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were competing for resources last week. Agents were also involved in advance work for the Republican National Convention, according to the Post.

One former Secret Service agent placed the blame on top leaders for the resource shortage.

“I hate to dumb it down this much but it is a simple case of supply and demand. The requests get turned down routinely,” retired Secret Service agent Bill Gage told the Post. “A director has to finally come forward to say we are way understaffed and we cannot possibly continue with this zero fail mission without a significantly bigger budget.”

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray Thursday, saying that whistleblowers have informed his committee that Trump’s detail was short-handed due to the NATO summit in Washington, D.C. and Jill Biden’s campaign event in Pittsburgh. Wray is slated to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Since the July 13 assassination attempt, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. received Secret Service protection after it was previously denied.

Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle has faced multiple calls for her resignation and is expected to testify at a House Oversight Committee hearing investigating security lapses at the July 13 rally Monday.

Trump survived an assassination attempt during his 2016 campaign for the White House during a campaign event in Las Vegas, when a 20-year-old man tried to take a police officer’s gun to shoot the then-presumptive GOP nominee during a June 2016 campaign event in Las Vegas.

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Trump Disavows Project 2025 as Proposals Risk Becoming Political Drag

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ripped the Heritage Foundation‘s policy proposals for his hypothetical second administration as President Joe Biden‘s campaign uses the conservative think tank’s recommendations against him.

“Some on the right, severe right, came up with this Project ’25,” Trump told a crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Saturday. “I don’t even know, I mean, some of them I know who they are, but they are very, very conservative. They’re sort of the opposite of the radical left. You have the radical left, and you have the radical right.

“They read some of the things, and they are extreme,” he said. “I mean they’re seriously extreme, but I don’t know anything about it. I don’t want to know anything about it, but what they do is misinformation, disinformation.”

The Biden campaign has amplified Project 2025, which the former president and his campaign have tried to distance themselves from, as a way to remind the public what a second Trump term could be like.

“We were promised a new Donald Trump who would unite the country — instead all we saw tonight was the same Donald Americans keep rejecting over and over: He’s peddling the same lies, running the same campaign of revenge and retribution, touting the same failed policies, and — as usual — focused only on himself,” Biden campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa told reporters. “The only unity we saw today was between Donald Trump, J.D. Vance, and their Project 2025 agenda.”

Project 2025, also known as the 2025 Presidential Transition Project, was founded in April 2022 to provide Trump with the groundwork for his second transition, a process that was disorganized under his leadership before he took office in 2017. One of the most criticized components of the project is its attempts to consolidate presidential power, including empowering more political appointees at the Justice Department and dismantling the Department of Education.

“Under the Biden administration, the federal government has been weaponized against American citizens, our border invaded, and our institutions captured by woke ideology,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts wrote in a statement last month. “The task force launched by House Democrats only underscores the Left’s fear of losing its grip on their authoritarian bureaucracy.

“If their strategy is to resort to scare tactics instead of tackling the genuine concerns of Americans regarding the unsustainable cost of living, rampant crime, border crisis, and global unrest spawned by their left-wing policies—well, they’re more than welcome to try,” Roberts added. “We will not give up and we will win.”

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Alabama Father ‘Shoots Dead His Wife and Four Children Under the Age of 10’

A father allegedly shot dead his wife, their two kids, and his young niece and nephew minutes after one of the children’s birthday party.

Brandon Allan Kendrick, 32, faces five counts of capital murder after the mass shooting at his pastor grandfather Allan’s property in rural Alabama.

His wife Kelse Kendrick, 24, was found dead alongside their son Kaleb, 6, and Kynli, 2, and their cousins Colton, 8, and Haley Daniels, 6, on Thursday night.

Kelse and her side of the family were celebrating Colton’s ninth birthday, but she returned about 7pm after Kendrick demanded she come home.

All five were shot in the head and found dead at the scene, other than Haley, who was still breathing and rushed to hospital, but did not survive.

Kendrick allegedly gunned down his family at the garage apartment they lived in on Allan Kendrick’s property in West Blocton, about 40 miles south of Birmingham.

Allan is the pastor of Oasis of Praise Church in nearby Bessemer, and called 911 about 8.18pm on Thursday after finding the bodies.

Kelse’s uncle Eli Morrow and his wife Brittany said the party was held at family patriarch Bill Morrow’s house ahead of Colton’s birthday on Tuersday.

Kendrick was at not at the party because his schizophrenic episodes had worsened over the previous two weeks.

‘All of the children were supposed to spend the night at [Bill’s] home,’ Brittany told

‘Brandon repeatedly begged and pleaded with her to come home and she gave in… within an hour they were all shot in the head.’

Brittany explained that Colton and Haley’s mother Jessica Morrow, 35, was having major surgery the next morning, so there was no option but to send them with Kelse.

‘We live 45 minutes away. I wish to God they had asked us to take them for the night,’ she said.

‘What we are struggling with the most, is that it was a last-minute decision to take them over there, it was never in the plan because they knew he had been acting crazy.’

Kelse’s car was broken down so Jessica dropped all five of them off at home on Green Tree Drive about 7pm.

Kelse is Eli’s niece by his older sister, who has since died, and Bill’s grandfather, and the Morrow and Kendrick families have been intertwined for generations.

Eli had custody of Colton and Haley from January 2021 until last November, when a judge allowed them to return to Jessica.

‘Jessica finally got her kids back, and then this happens,’ Brittany said.

‘I am devastated and destroyed… Eli and I had full custody of them for almost three years and they were my babies.’

Police rushed to the scene and arrested Kendrick after discovering the bodies, Bibb County Sheriff Jody Wade said.

‘It’s absolutely horrible. It’s unimaginable what the family is going through, what the friends of the family are experiencing, what the community is feeling right now,’ he said.

‘It was just a horrific scene that even seasoned officers told me it is the worst thing they’ve ever seen.

‘As officers are going, they are saying there are more children that have been shot.’

Wade said Kendrick was yet to tell police why he did it, but ‘I don’t know what motive he could give us that would justify what he did anyway’.

Kendrick was booked into the Bibb County Jail about 3.30am and denied bail.

He is charged with four counts of capital murder of a child under 14, and one count of capital murder in the killing of two or more people in one act.

Oasis of Praise Church held a prayer vigil with more than 300 members on Friday night, saying proceeds from the collection plate would go to the families.

‘Pastor wanted us to relay to all those asking if they can do anything: “Tell everyone asking if they can do something that they can be at church Sunday at 10am”,’ the church wrote on its Facebook page.

Eli Morrow instead started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the funerals, with his wife explaining the family didn’t want Allan’s money.

‘None of the family feel comfortable having him pay for anything, he’s offered to have them cremated and have a memorial at his church, but the family has declined,’ Brittany said.

‘But we started the fundraiser because we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for five funerals.’

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Chick-fil-A Falls Off Perch as America’s Favorite Fast Food Restaurant — Del Taco Takes Top Spot

Chick-fil-A no longer rules the roost.

The “Eat Mor Chikin” restaurant chain specializing in chicken sandwiches is no longer America’s No. 1 fast food restaurant.

After nearly a decade on top, Chick-fil-A — which announced in March it would be shifting away from antibiotic-free chicken starting this spring due to supply chain issues — has dropped to No. 3, according to USA Today’s annual reader-ranked survey.

Mexican chain Del Taco was voted the best fast food chain of 2024, while KFC came in second.

In a surprise, Del Taco also notched USA Today’s No. 1 spot for best fast food fries with its crinkle cut fries.

“This popular taco stop, which serves all kinds of satisfying Mexican fare including burritos, quesadillas, and nachos, also offers burgers and fries,” the publication said.

“In addition, Del Taco has a dedicated breakfast menu, as well as a vegan and vegetarian menu.”

On its list of best fast-food chicken, Chick-fil-A finished No. 7. Filipino joint Jollibee, which has 100 stores in North America, landed the top spot.

Every year USA Today’s editors select a final set of nominees for the Readers’ Choice Awards, and readers vote on the overall winners.

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Madonna’s Son Is ‘Scavenging’ for Food, Living in the Bronx After Moving Out of Mom’s Home

Madonna’s 18-year-old son David Banda says he’s “scavenging” for food after moving out of his mom’s multi-million dollar home.

“I love it. I’m not on my own, I’ve got my girlfriend. But I love it,” Banda, who is dating 21-year-old model Maria Atuesta, said on recent session on Instagram Live.

“It’s lovely to experience it being nine o’clock at night, me being hungry and realizing that I don’t have enough money to get food and scavenging. It’s fun to be young.”

Banda is purportedly living in The Bronx and making his own money by teaching guitar.

His new way of life seems to be a far cry from that of his mother’s, who is reportedly worth a whopping $850 million and boasts an impressive bicoastal real estate portfolio.

Banda charges $200 a pop for his guitar lessons, which can be booked through his Instagram page.

He has also worked as a model.

Banda — who is one of Madonna’s six children — also confirmed that his superstar mom is “not single” and that she’s “dating a guy.”

Last year, Madge, 65, was linked to boxer Josh Popper, 29, but in May the couple reportedly called it quits. Despite reports that the pop star was getting close to fighter Richard Riakporhe, 34, he has since denied the rumors, claiming the pair are just friends.

Currently on her Celebration Tour, Madonna has included four of her kids on stage.

“I think what my children learned the most in this year of rehearsing and performing is that if you want to follow your dreams, you have to work hard for them,” she said an interview with W magazine.

“And if all of them choose something different later in life, they will never forget this year of blood, sweat, and tears.”

In a previous interview with Vogue back in 2019, the Grammy winning artist gushed over Banda’s work ethic and talent.

“What he has more than anything is focus and determination,” Madonna said of Banda, who was adopted as an infant with her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie.

“I’m pretty sure he got it from me. He’s the one I have the most in common with. I feel like he gets me; he has more of my DNA than any of my children so far. Let’s see what happens – it’s still early days for everyone.”

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Florida Man Arrested Over Death Threats to Trump, Vance

A man in Florida has been arrested after he made threats to kill former President Trump and Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio), Trump’s newly named vice-presidential pick.

The Jupiter Police Department in Florida announced Friday that Michael Wiseman had been arrested on charges of Written Threats to Kill after an investigation found that he wrote threats on social media against Trump, Vance and their families.

Police said they were alerted to the threats through “multiple online crime tips as well as residents who expressed their concern in person.”

Jupiter police investigated and found he had made threats to Trump, who officially became the Republican Party’s presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention, and threats to Vance, who was named Trump’s running mate at the convention.

“Threats were also made concerning bodily harm to members of the Trump and Vance families,” police said.

Jupiter police said it coordinated the investigation with the Secret Service and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.

“JPD officers took Wiseman into custody without incident,” the police said.

The arrest follows last Saturday’s assassination attempt against Trump. A gunman allegedly climbed a roof at Trump’s Butler, Pa., rally and had a clear line of vision to the former president when he began firing.

A bullet grazed Trump’s ear. One event attendee was killed and two others were critically injured. The gunman, identified as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, was killed by police.

The assassination attempt happened just days before the convention.

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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Dies After Battle with Cancer

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, has died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer, her family announced on Friday.

“Today, with incredible grief for our loss yet deep gratitude for the life she shared with us, we announce the passing of United States Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of the 18th Congressional District of Texas,” her family said in a statement.

“A local, national, and international humanitarian, she was acknowledged worldwide for her courageous fights for racial justice, criminal justice, and human rights, with a special emphasis on women and children,” the statement said.

Jackson Lee announced in June that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment.

The longtime congresswoman served in the House since 1995 and leaves a legacy of pushing for legislation related to civil rights.

Jackson Lee was the lead sponsor of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, and she pushed for the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, as well as the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act.

“This is America’s holiday. And America’s holiday is not just for Black people,” Jackson Lee said of Juneteenth in a 2023 MSNBC interview. “It is about freedom, and it is about democracy.”

The Texas Democrat introduced legislation for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which President Joe Biden signed in 2022.

Jackson Lee was born in Queens, New York. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia Law School, she worked as a lawyer in private practice and as a staff counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

She went on to serve in Houston’s government as a member of the City Council and municipal judge before being elected to Congress, where she sat on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Budget committees.

Jackson Lee ran for Houston mayor in 2023 but ultimately lost in a runoff to state Sen. John Whitmire. She was later reelected to her House seat.

Congressional colleagues and political figures from both sides of the aisle remembered Jackson Lee and her commitment to her constituents.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a post that Jackson Lee was “a proud Texan and a tireless advocate for the people of Houston.”

“Her legacy of public service and dedication to Texas will live on,” he said.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of his friend and colleague. “I will always cherish our friendship & the laughs we shared throughout the years,” Cruz said.

“No one worked harder for her community and if Houston needed something, she got it done,” Sen. Colin Allred, D-Texas, said.

Former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, whom she ran to succeed last year, wrote that Jackson Lee’s work on the ground as well as “her uncanny ability to be everywhere, working every day for those who needed a champion, made her truly exceptional.”

Jackson Lee’s family said that funeral arrangements for the congresswoman are pending.

“She will be dearly missed, but her legacy will continue to inspire all who believe in freedom, justice, and democracy,” her family’s statement concluded. “God bless you Congresswoman and God bless the United States of America.”

She is survived by her husband, two children and two grandchildren.

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Trump and Zelenskyy Hold Phone Call — And Ukraine Says It Liked What It Heard

Former President Donald Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and unlike their last controversial phone call, both sides claimed to be satisfied with how the conversation went.

Trump said that it was a “very good call” and that he will work to negotiate a peace deal between Moscow and Kyiv. A person close to Zelenskyy who requested anonymity to discuss the private conversation said it went “exceedingly well” and that Trump pledged to “achieve a just peace in Ukraine” if he wins back the White House.

Zelenskyy wrote in a post on X that he and Trump agreed to schedule a “personal meeting” to discuss “what steps can make peace fair and truly lasting.”

Trump has pledged to swiftly end the war in Ukraine if reelected in November, going so far as to state he would negotiate peace before he assumes office in January, and has disparagingly called Zelenskyy “the greatest salesman of all time” for his efforts to secure billions of dollars in military, economic and humanitarian aid from Washington.

The war in Ukraine was not a major topic of discussion at the Republican National Convention this week in Milwaukee, though as Trump accepted the Republican nomination on Thursday night, he boasted that “I will end every single international crisis that the current administration has created, including the horrible war with Russia and Ukraine, which would have never happened if I was president.”

The conversation came just a few days shy of the five-year anniversary of the phone call between the two leaders that led to Trump’s first impeachment, after he asked Zelenskyy to consider investigating Joe Biden on discredited allegations.

According to both sides, Friday’s call was more traditionally diplomatic, with Zelenskyy congratulating Trump on officially becoming the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

Zelenskyy initiated the call nearly a week ago after the assassination attempt against Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, the person close to Zelenskyy said. Zelenskyy himself was the subject of an assassination attempt by Russia in the early days of Moscow’s full-scale invasion in 2022.

The prospect of Trump’s reelection has alarmed officials in Europe and Ukraine who are concerned that his administration will halt U.S. military and economic support for Kyiv.

Those anxieties only increased in recent weeks as Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington and picked Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) as his running mate.

Vance once described Zelenskyy’s efforts to restore Ukraine’s 1991 borders as “fantastical” and has stated that he “doesn’t care” what happens in Ukraine.

A Trump spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

Though Trump’s recent foreign policy comments have been cause for concern in Kyiv and other EU capitals, Zelenskyy’s aides and advisers were thrilled by how well the call went, according to the person close to Zelenskyy.

“I, as your next President of the United States, will bring peace to the world and end the war that has cost so many lives and devastated countless innocent families,” Trump wrote on Truth Social after he got off the phone with Zelenskyy.

“Both sides will be able to come together and negotiate a deal that ends the violence and paves a path forward to prosperity,” Trump added.

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Thomas Crooks Used Drone to Scope Out Rally Grounds Just Hours Before Trump Speech

It has been revealed that the gunman who attempted to assassinate Trump at a Pennsylvania rally last week flew a drone over the site just hours before the shooting.

Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, was able to navigate the drone over the western Pennsylvania fairgrounds and obtain aerial footage on July 13 – the same day as Trump’s Butler rally.

Crooks allegedly flew the drone on a programmed flight path earlier in the day, and officials say that the predetermined path suggests Crooks had flown the small aircraft more than once in order to scope out the site of the rally.

The shocking revelation was made on Friday – almost a week after the ill-fated campaign event – by law-enforcement officials, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It was yet another example of how the Secret Service failed to do an adequate job of securing the area, leaving the MAGA crowd and the former president exposed to the subsequent dangerous situation.

Trump sustained a wound on his ear from a gunshot graze and one spectator was killed when at least six rounds of ammunition were fired by the assassin.

Crooks was killed following the shooting after a Secret Service sniper team returned fire.

The Secret Service have come under intense scrutiny since they botched the job – with many calling for the resignation of its director, Kimberly Cheatle.

The incident is being described as an enormous security failure with an increasing list of things that went wrong leading up to and during the assassination attempt.

Terrifying video from TMZ captured the moment Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, lay down on the roof of a nearby building, in full view of horrified Trump supporters, and fired towards the stage.

He had previously been spotted and then watched by law enforcement at the Trump rally site because they sensed something wasn’t right, according to reports. But then they lost sight of him before the carnage unfolded.

Witnesses say they warned cops about a man armed with an AR-style rifle climbing on top of a building, but he was still able to open fire.

In a damning statement on Saturday night, FBI Special Agent Kevin Rojek said it was ‘surprising’ Crooks managed to fire off so many shots.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., became the first lawmaker to say that Cheatle ‘needs to go.’

Speaking to ABC News on Tuesday, Cheatle claimed that agents were not positioned on top of the sloped building, deeming it too dangerous – despite images from the scene showing Secret Service snipers set up on a sloped roof behind where Trump was delivering his speech.

President Joe Biden, addressing Americans from the White House Sunday, promised an ‘independent review’ into what happened at the rally.

‘I’m directing an independent review on national security [at] yesterday’s rally to assess exactly what happened, and we’ll share the results of that independent review with the American people as well,’ Biden stated.

Former Secret Service agent Joseph LaSorsa said there will be an ‘intensive review’ and ‘massive realignment’ in the agency. ‘This cannot happen’ he said.

He told that it was very lucky Trump turned his head at the last second so the bullet only hit his ear.

A shocking animation has shown just how close Trump came to death has the bullet whizzed past his brain and impacted his ear.

Days later, Cheatle was shielded by her own officers after furious US senators pursued her down the corridors of the RNC, demanding she explain how a gunman was able to get a clear shot at Donald Trump.

She was in the Milwaukee convention hall to oversee security arrangements on Wednesday evening – just hours after making a ‘cover-your-a** call’ to senators about the shooting in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee led the chase, complaining that they had not had a chance to put their questions to Cheatle during the call.

A frustrated Barrasso then issued an ultimatum to the security chief.

‘You put him within less than an inch of his life,’ Barrasso yelled at Cheatle. ‘So resignation or full explanation.’

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Shooting Victim Speaks Out After Surviving Trump Assassination Attempt

Five days after the shooting that nearly took the life of former President Donald Trump, one of the surviving victims released a statement on the horrific scene that had played out at a Pennsylvania campaign rally.

James Copenhaver, who is just a few days from celebrating his 51st wedding anniversary, described his feelings on the shooting that upended what should have been a fun and peaceful day rallying for a political candidate.

Fox News anchor Shannon Bream shared the full statement in a post to X, along with a note stating that Copenhaver had expressed his desire to celebrate his anniversary somewhere other than the hospital — “No offense to the hospital.”

“First and foremost, me and my family continue to extend the most heartfelt condolences to the family of Corey Comperatore,” Copenhaver began, paying his respects to the firefighter hailed as a hero for shielding his family with his own body before he was struck by the bullet that killed him.

“We also continue to offer our thoughts and prayers for the full and speedy recovery of Mr. David Dutch and for the full recovery of President Donald Trump,” he continued. “I am thankful for all of my amazing caregivers who have done a wonderful job saving my life and helping me on my road to recovery. Recovery will be slow, but steady.”

He went on to offer personal thanks to his best friend, who was the first to tend to his injuries in chaos and the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

“I hope to get back onto my Harley Davidson someday and go for a ride with my best friend Randy, who attended the rally with me that day and was the first person to care for me after being shot,” he said, adding, “I cannot express enough gratitude and love for my wife, who has been by my side for not only the past few days but also for over half a century. I look forward to spending our 51st wedding anniversary together this Sunday, even though I wish we didn’t have to spend it in the hospital. No offense to the hospital.”

He concluded with a message about his support for former President Trump and called on Americans to reject violence as a political expression.

“The events that transpired on Saturday, July 13, 2024 at the rally were tragic and completely unnecessary. No person should be fearful to express their support for a candidate or attend an event,” he said.

“My unwavering support for President Trump will continue and I am happy and unafraid to support him on his way to becoming the 47th President of the United States of America. I will close by saying thank you again for the outpouring of support from so many people across the country. The thoughts and prayers have made each day a little easier. My hope is that despite the differences we may have politically, we will always remain UNITED as Americans.”

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Historic First Baptist Church in Dallas Burns in Four-Alarm Fire

A massive downtown four-alarm fire at historic First Baptist Dallas has been “knocked down and contained,” fire officials said late Friday.

The initial call reporting the fire at 1717 San Jacinto St. came in just after 6 p.m. Friday. Fire officials upgraded it from a three-alarm fire to a four-alarm fire at about 8:15 p.m.

A spokesman for the church initially said heavy smoke was coming from the historic sanctuary.

“The structure has largely collapsed, which has caused many void spaces with ‘hot spots,'” Dallas Fire-Rescue said in a release just before 10 p.m. “While there is no indication that the fire will escalate, DFR is expected to maintain an extended presence on the scene to extinguish all lingering areas of fire and to maintain a safe perimeter around the unstable building.”

No injuries have been reported. The fire’s cause is under investigation, Dallas Fire-Rescue said.

The sanctuary was opened in 1890 and was in use until they moved into their new facility in 2013, said Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 16,000-member, 156-year-old church.

Considered a significant landmark in downtown Dallas, the church said the sanctuary was “the site of visits from Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush. President Donald Trump visited the new worship center of the church in 2021.”

“We are grateful that no life has been lost that we know of even though we just had 2,000 children and volunteers on campus for Vacation Bible School earlier in the day,” said Jeffress, who grew up in First Baptist Dallas, was baptized in the sanctuary there at age 9 and ordained there at age 21.

“As tragic as the loss of this old sanctuary is, we are grateful that the church is not bricks and wood but composed of over 16,000 people who are determined more than ever before to reach the world for the gospel of Christ.”

According to the Dallas Fire Department, crews arrived at 6:09 p.m. to heavy smoke and fire. A second alarm was requested at 6:20 p.m. It was upgraded from a two-alarm to a three-alarm fire at about 7:30 p.m. and then to a four-alarm fire at about 8:15 p.m.

According to CBS News Texas meteorologist Jeff Ray, smoke and heat from the fire could be picked up on radar.

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WaPo Deletes Post Scolding American Hostage Parents for Not Being Critical of Israel

The Washington Post came under fire after it scolded the parents of an American hostage in Gaza for not publicly criticizing Israel’s “assault” there and admitted Friday that its social media post was “unacceptable.”

“Omer Neutra has been missing since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. When his parents speak publicly, they don’t talk about Israel’s assault on Gaza that has killed over 38,000 Palestinians, according to local officials. Experts have warned of looming famine,” the Post wrote on X.

The post linked to an interview the paper conducted with Omer’s parents, Orna and Ronen Neutra, ahead of their speech on day three of the Republican National Convention.

The Post’s social media post attracted fierce criticism before the paper took it down hours later.

In another X post published Friday morning, the paper explained that it deleted the initial post because it had “mischaracterized the efforts of Neutra’s parents.” The paper followed up hours later with a more thorough explanation.

“A previous post referencing the below story was unacceptable and did not meet our editorial standards, and The Post has deleted it. The reporter of the story was not involved in crafting the tweet. We have taken the appropriate action regarding this incident,” The Post wrote on X.

Omer, 22, grew up in Long Island, New York, and was a dual American-Israeli citizen serving in the Israel Defense Forces. He is believed to have been abducted by Hamas on October 7 during its horrific terrorist attack.

A new version of the original post now reads, “Omer Neutra, an American hostage in the Israel-Hamas war, has been missing since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. His parents have mounted a relentless effort to get him released, speaking to anyone who might be able to support their cause.”

While the social media post was taken down, a similar paragraph remains in the body of the full story posted on the Post’s website.

“When the Neutras speak publicly, they don’t talk about the ferocity of Israel’s counterattack, which has killed more than 38,000 Palestinians and left nearly 90,000 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Swaths of the territory have been pulverized and international experts have warned of looming famine,” the article reads.

Immediately after this graph, the Post quotes the Neutras expressing empathy for Gazans.

“What’s happening in Gaza is ‘horrible,’ Orna said, but Hamas could end it by releasing the hostages. Ronen echoed that sentiment: Hamas is ‘not only holding hostage our son, they’re also holding hostage the people of Gaza,’” the story continues.

The paper has come under fire from Jewish groups for its reporting on the war in Gaza since the Hamas terror attack last October.

An antisemitism nonprofit accused the paper of “aligning” itself with pro-terrorist groups since the October 7 attacks after publishing a sympathetic story in April about individuals who’d lost their jobs for defending Hamas.

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Top UN Court: Israel’s Presence in Palestinian Territories Illegal

The International Court of Justice ruled on Friday that Israel’s presence in the occupied Palestinian territories is “unlawful” and called for it to end swiftly.

The court’s panel of 15 judges issued its nonbinding opinion, which is more likely to affect international sentiment toward Israel than change its behavior in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel’s “unlawful policies and practices are in breach of the Israeli government’s obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination,” the court said, adding that it should be ended as “rapidly as possible.”

The International Court of Justice said Israel should cease all new settlement activities, evacuate settlers from Palestinian territories, and provide reparations to Palestinians.

The International Court of Justice, which is based at The Hague in the Netherlands, had been looking into Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories following a request from the United Nations General Assembly that predates Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel and Israel’s subsequent response in Gaza.

Israeli officials have long claimed international bodies discriminate against them, and they did so again in response to the International Court of Justice’s ruling Friday, which is different than South Africa’s case in front of the court accusing Israel of carrying out a genocide in Gaza — a claim both Israel and the U.S. denies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the court’s decision as “false,” adding, “The Jewish people are not conquerors in their own land,” referring to Jerusalem and the West Bank. “No false decision in The Hague will distort this historical truth, and likewise, the legality of Israeli settlement in all the territories of our homeland cannot be contested.”

Alternatively, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry called the opinion “a watershed moment,” adding that the “international community is under an obligation not just to reaffirm the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination but to see to it that this right is implemented immediately.”

Earlier this week, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state, a dramatic vote considering the long-term overwhelming support for a two-state solution.

The Biden administration has argued repeatedly that regional stability can be achieved through the two-state solution, which it argues has to come through direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis as opposed to unilateral recognition.

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Largest IT Outage in History: Airlines, Banks, Health Care Disrupted

Major airlines, medical facilities, businesses and police forces around the world are currently being affected by a massive information technology glitch affecting Microsoft cloud computing services early Friday.

The cybersecurity company CrowdStrike said Friday that the outages were the result of one of its routine software updates gone wrong, and was “not a security incident or cyberattack.”

CrowdStrike, which provides cybersecurity services and software for many large corporations that use Microsoft systems, has issued a new software update that has automatically fixed some computers. But some others must be manually restarted and patched, causing massive delays.

Microsoft announced late Friday morning that its 365 apps and services have recovered. Some individual customers may still be impacted, however.

The glitch has brought chaos to a number of key institutions and businesses around the world that may take some time to clear up.

Many flights have been grounded across the globe and stores and broadcasters in several countries went offline. According to aviation technology company FlightAware, the tech glitch was responsible for more than half of the U.S.’s 1,352 flight delays and cancellations before 8 a.m. (ET) on Friday.

Major carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, all issued ground stops Friday morning citing communications issues. Passengers traveling to the United States from as far away as Japan have had their flights canceled. Delta has ordered a “global ground stop,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House subcommittee on cybersecurity.

George Kurtz, president and CEO of CrowdStrike, said the problems could persist for some time yet.

“It could be some time for some systems that just automatically won’t recover,” he told NBC’s “TODAY” this morning.

Kurtz said the company was “deeply sorry for the impact that we’ve caused to customers, to travelers, to anyone affected by this,” adding the issue has been fixed on their end.

“Many of the customers are rebooting the system, and it’s coming up, and it’ll be operational because we fixed it on our end,” he said. “We’re just trying to sort out where the negative interaction was,” he said of the faulty update that affected Windows PCs.

Earlier, in a post on X, Kurtz said that the outages were due to a “defect found in a single content update for Windows hosts.”

In Europe, Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport said there would be delays to passenger check-ins “because of a technical fault,” and Aena, which manages 46 airports in Spain, said “an incident in the computer system” could cause delays. Several budget airlines in South Korea reported technical problems and delays, The Associated Press said. Sydney Airport, one of Australia’s largest, said there would be delays.

Paris’ airport authority said in a statement that while its systems were not affected ahead of next week’s Olympic Games opening ceremony, “this situation has an impact on the operations of airlines at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports: delays in check-in, delays and temporary suspension of some flights,” according to the AP.

The Paris Olympics organizing committee told Reuters that while the outage was slowing its operations, its ticket sales remained unaffected. Elsewhere in the world of sports, British soccer team Manchester United delayed a ticket release scheduled for Friday, blaming problems with Microsoft.

That was just one of many businesses affected across the United Kingdom, with train operators blaming IT outages for cancellations Friday morning and the London Stock Exchange saying that a “3rd party global technical issue” for stopping its regulatory news service posting any new items.

The country’s National Health Service posted on X that “the NHS is aware of a global IT outage and an issue with a [general practitioner] appointment and patient record system.” The statement added that the health system’s emergency phone service was still operating.

In Israel, too, at least 15 major hospitals have been affected, according to local media. However, most medical centers have now either returned to normal operations or reverted to manual operations. The emergency line of the country’s ambulance service is also affected.

At 2:20 a.m. (ET), Alaska State Troopers said that 911 and non-emergency phone numbers across the state were not working “due to a nationwide technology-related o kouts and countless websites.

The glitch has affected news outlets, too, including NBC News. Sky News, NBC News’ British partner broadcaster, was temporarily unable to air live news. Broadcasters in Australia also reported problems.

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Biden’s Family Discussing His Exit Plan from Race — White House Denies

Members of President Joe Biden’s family have discussed what an exit from his campaign might look like, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

The overall tone of the conversations has been that any exit plan — should Biden decide to take that step, as some of his closest allies increasingly believe he will — should put the party in the best position to beat former President Donald Trump while also being worthy of the more than five decades he has served the country in elected office, these people said.

Biden’s family members have specifically discussed how he would want to end his re-election bid on his own timing and with a carefully calculated plan in place. Considerations about the impact of the campaign on his health, his family and the stability of the country are among those at the forefront of the discussions, the people familiar with those discussions said.

The prospect of Biden’s considering stepping aside, much less that his family is gaming out a possible exit plan, is an extraordinary development that comes after he has repeatedly said he would not relinquish his position as the presumptive nominee of the party.

But concerns have mounted among party leaders, donors and even officials who are part of his re-election effort with every day that has passed since a devastating debate three weeks ago. At the same time, Democrats are watching Republicans rally around Trump, who just survived an assassination attempt and accepted his party’s nomination Thursday night.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates denied that any such exit discussions are happening among the family.

“That is not happening, period,” he said. “The individuals making those claims are not speaking for his family or his team — and they will be proven wrong. Keep the faith.”

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon acknowledged that the campaign has seen some “slippage,” but she said it’s been “a small movement” and insisted Biden is “absolutely” still in the race.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former White House chief of staff and an adviser to him for decades, said in an interview that Biden is hearing the public and private calls for him to exit the race.

“I think he’s feeling the pressure,” said Klain, who has spoken to Biden recently. “I want him to stay in.”

Klain’s take is that it makes no sense for Biden to be pushed aside. He said some in his party underestimate Trump at their own peril and undervalue the fact that Biden is the only one who has beaten him.

Biden and the people closest to him have felt burned by efforts to push him out that they see as backhanded and disrespectful. The family is distraught and moving through the stages of anger and grief over how people they perceived to be friends have treated the president.

“There was a much more dignified way to do this if this is what they wanted,” a Biden ally said. “This is no way to treat a public servant who has done a lot for this country.”

Discussions about how to game out a fitting plan for Biden to step aside have also played out among senior staff members, not just the president’s family, according to a person close to the re-election effort. Bates also denied these discussions are happening.

The family members Biden has relied on most include first lady Jill Biden, his son Hunter and his sister, Valerie Owens, as well as a few longtime close aides who have been at the core of the discussions.

The conversations about Biden’s political future have raged while he remains at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sidelined after he tested positive for Covid on Wednesday.

On Thursday, some of Biden’s closest aides were calling trusted allies to get a sense of where they thought his political standing is, according to a person familiar with the phone calls.

A Democratic lawmaker described Biden in this moment as “reflective.” A third person close to Biden described the president as politically “fighting for his life.”

There are growing expectations among some allies that if Biden were to exit, it could be in the coming days. But they also caution that it still is up to him to make the decision and that he is not wired to quit even when he faces seemingly insurmountable adversity.

About the possibility any announcement is imminent, a person close to the Bidens said, “We don’t even know what we’re doing tomorrow.”

Still, Biden is not insusceptible to the mounting pressure from his own party, and he has said himself since the debate that he may consider leaving the race if there were no path for him to win.

“I think it’s inevitable,” a second person close to the re-election effort said of Biden’s withdrawing from the race.

As reports surfaced, including from NBC News, that Biden had shown signs that he could budge from his insistence that he remain the nominee, rumors and reports — some that the president’s allies flatly denied — began to fly. They included speculation about timing of a potential exit, whether Biden would immediately endorse Vice President Kamala Harris and who was on the shortlist to be her vice presidential running mate.

Among the reports: that longtime speechwriter and historian Jon Meacham was writing Biden’s exit remarks.

Meacham rebuffed the account.

“The report is totally false,” he said.

Amid the turmoil the Biden campaign sent out talking points to Democrats, according to a Democratic strategist: “President Biden has not spoken to congressional leadership today. The president is his party’s nominee, having won 14 million votes during the Democratic primary. He’s running for re-election, and that will not change until he wins re-election.”

As many in his own party turned against him, Biden continued this week to check in with allies and gauge their sentiments.

“With all the rumors that I’m leaving, I’m not,” Biden told the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader and MSNBC host, in a phone call Monday, Sharpton said.

“I will support whatever you decide,” Sharpton said he told the president.

Sharpton said in an interview Thursday that legacy is something Biden “has to think of” as he contemplates his political future. “If there’s anyone that could make a comeback … it’s Joe Biden. Whether he chooses to or not, I don’t know.”

Some in Biden’s camp had hoped he would be able to weather the storm of pressure for him to step aside — that news events, including the Republican National Convention, would turn the national conversation away from whether and when he might end his campaign. But even the attempted assassination of Trump on Saturday did little to quell the furor around Biden. If anything, Democrats have since turned up the heat.

A major factor driving the private pressure on Biden is the fear among Democrats that his candidacy could rob them not only of the White House and the Senate but also of a chance to flip the House to their control. That helps explain why senior lawmakers have pushed on Biden to reconsider his decision to stay in the race.

“The House is on the brink,” said Brian Wolff, the treasurer of the House Majority PAC, the main super PAC supporting House Democratic candidates. “These candidates don’t deserve that.”

Wolff said Democratic incumbents and challengers in tough races cannot risk splintering their own voter coalitions by publicly taking one side or the other as Biden considers his options.

“They can’t afford to alienate the base that wants to support Biden or the base that wants someone else,” he said.

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Whistleblowers: Most of Trump’s Security Detail Were Not Secret Service

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote on X Friday that “whistleblowers tell me that MOST of Trump’s security detail working the event last Saturday were not even Secret Service.

“DHS assigned unprepared and inexperienced personnel,” he added, posting a letter he sent today to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Whistleblowers who have direct knowledge of the event have approached my office. According to the allegations, the July 13 rally was considered to be a ‘loose’ security event. For example, detection canines were not used to monitor entry and detect threats in the usual manner,” Hawley wrote.

“Individuals without proper designations were able to gain access to backstage areas. Department personnel did not appropriately police the security buffer around the podium and were also not stationed at regular intervals around the event’s security perimeter.”

“In addition, whistleblower allegations suggest the majority of DHS officials were not in fact USSS agents but instead drawn from the department’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). This is especially concerning given that HSI agents were unfamiliar with standard protocols typically used at these types of events, according to the allegations,” Hawley also said.

Hawley used the letter to ask Mayorkas to respond to multiple questions regarding security at the Trump campaign event.

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LIST: 6 People Kamala Harris Could Choose for Her VP

Cries for President Joe Biden to drop his reelection bid have politicos bracing for movement from the president as soon as this weekend. If he does step down, Vice President Kamala Harris is considered the favorite to replace him.

And while Biden hasn’t announced anything yet, a future new Democratic Party ticket has already been speculated. Harris will need her own running mate.

Here are a few options for Harris if she takes the helm of the party, though there will be some notable omissions, including Govs. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), who are reportedly not interested in being vice president.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY)

The southern governor’s name has been floated often as someone who could convince Republicans who are shaky about former President Donald Trump to vote for the Democratic ticket, given his history of capturing those votes in deep-red Kentucky.

He’s viewed as a good counterbalance to Harris, who showed very progressive views as a California senator.

Former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue said Beshear fit the prototype of a “moderate, middle-of-the-road” Democrat unbeholden to the far Left.

“I do think he can be vice president,” she said.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ)

Kelly is the twice-elected senator of swing state Arizona who would bring his expertise and appeal as a veteran and former astronaut to the ticket if selected. Similar to Beshear, he’s considered a more centrist Democrat who could expand Harris’s voter base.

Kelly has routinely pushed for stronger border security measures, normally a strong part of the Republican platform, which could appeal to voters who don’t think the Democratic Party cares enough about the border crisis.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC)

Cooper is also similar to Beshear, more so than Kelly, given his status as a southern Democrat who found electoral success in a state that doesn’t usually vote blue in the presidential election.

North Carolina has only voted for a Democrat once since 1980 but has been considered a swing state in the past few election cycles, which have been very closely contested. If North Carolina voters who feel Cooper represents them on the national level and vote for the ticket, he could be invaluable to its success.

He recently campaigned with Harris in North Carolina, saying, “I know she is a fighter, I know she gets the job done, and I know that she and Joe Biden need four more years to finish the job.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-PA)

Shapiro’s state is also invaluable to a possible Democratic victory in November. He’s also a rising star in the party who has cultivated his own popularity enough to be a candidate to replace Biden in his own right, which may affect his efforts to join Harris on the ticket.

Another complication is the fact Shapiro still has plenty of time to serve as his state’s governor, given he was recently elected for the first time in 2022. But if these matters were overcome, Shapiro could offer his services as a moderate who has been able to work across party lines.

Because of Shapiro’s popularity and how much time he has left serving his state, he could be the most unlikely pick for Harris’s running mate.

Gov. JB Pritzker (D-IL)

Pritzker doesn’t offer the bonuses other governors do. He isn’t the governor of a swing state, and he’s not as centrist as other Democratic governors, but he comes with his own outstanding personal wealth as a billionaire, which could serve Harris’s campaign well.

He’s a possible presidential replacement for Biden as well given his built-in campaign war chest, but has stuck by the president in public.

One undeniable appeal to Pritzker is that he is a midwestern governor who could relate to some of the blue wall states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and his home state of Illinois.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg ran for president in 2020 and has been floated as a candidate to replace Biden as well. Unlike the others, Buttigieg already has a position within the Biden administration, which could make it easy for him to become vice president.

He also likely has a working relationship with Harris that not many of the other vice presidential candidates do, and he is 42 years old, only three years older than Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), Trump’s running mate.

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