Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Steve Bannon, who was ousted from his role as White House chief strategist on Friday, will return to his former home of Breitbart News, the right wing news website that has served as a platform for white nationalists.

“The populist-nationalist movement got a lot stronger today,” Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow said in a statement Friday announcing Bannon’s return just a few hours after Bannon’s White House exit. “Breitbart gained an executive chairman with his finger on the pulse of the Trump agenda.”

Bannon led Breitbart’s Friday evening editorial meeting, where he told staff to work hard to advance a conservative agenda, Bloomberg News reported.

Upon his ouster, Bannon said that he plans to fight for President Donald Trump, just from the outside.

“In many ways, I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on,” Bannon told the New York Times. “And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with.”

One of his first battles will reportedly be over funding the border wall. Bannon has told associates that he plans on urging Trump to demand that any spending resolution include funding to begin building the border wall, according to the New York Times.

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The White House has announced that Steve Bannon would leave his role as chief strategist on Friday, after reports indicated for several weeks that Bannon’s star in the Trump administration was fading.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day. We are grateful for his service and wish him the best,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The confirmation from the White House came shortly after the New York Times reported that Trump was telling his aides that he was preparing to fire Bannon.

Minutes before the Times published its piece, the Drudge Report also telegraphed that Bannon was on his way out:

Bannon represented the nationalist, hard-line anti-immigrant wing of the White House. As chief strategist, he helped craft the executive order barring travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries and unsuccessfully pushed for Trump to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Bannon reportedly clashed with Jared Kushner, the President’s adviser and son-in-law, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Through Bannon and former chief of staff Reince Priebus seem like unlikely allies, they both had been aligned in opposition to hiring financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director. All three men are now out at the White House.

The news of Trump’s plans to force Bannon out comes after rumors swirled all week that his time in the Trump administration could soon come to an end.

Bannon submitted his resignation on Aug. 7, the New York Times reported, but Trump had not yet accepted that resignation before Friday.

The American Prospect published an interview with Bannon earlier this week in which he declared that the U.S. is in an “economic war” with China, bragged that he would oust officials from the State and Defense Departments who disagreed with him and dismissed white nationalists as a “fringe” part of the Republican Party.

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This post has been updated.

Nearly all of the remaining members of the Presidential Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned in protest on Friday, citing President Donald Trump’s failure to fully denounce white supremacists following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Of the 17 remaining members on the council, who were all holdovers from previous administrations, 16 members signed a letter to Trump announcing their resignations and strongly condemning his response to the car attack carried out by an apparent white supremacist that left one woman dead and at least 19 others injured.

“Reproach and censure in the strongest possible terms are necessary following your support of the hate groups and terrorists who killed and injured fellow Americans in Charlottesville. The false equivalencies you push cannot stand,” they wrote in the letter. “The Administration’s refusal to quickly and unequivocally condemn the cancer of hatred only further emboldens those who wish America ill. We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wind advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions.”

“Elevating any group that threatens and discriminates on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, disability, orientation, background, or identity is un-American,” the members added.

Members of the committee who resigned include actor Kal Penn, artist Chuck Close and author Jhumpa Lahiri.

The mass resignations follow the dissolution of two of Trump’s jobs advisory panels, the manufacturing council and the Strategy & Policy Forum, after prominent business leaders spoke out against Trump’s pandering to white nationalists. The disbanding of those panels began when Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned from the manufacturing council and issued a blistering condemnation of Trump. Several CEOs on the council followed suit, and members of the Strategy & Policy Forum privately discussed leaving the panel. As the advisory councils began to fall apart, Trump abruptly announced he was disbanding them himself, in an apparent attempt to prevent further public fallout.

The members of the arts commission decided to resign this week and spent the past few days drafting the letter, according to the Washington Post.

Andrew Weinstein, a lawyer appointed to the committee by former President Barack Obama, told TPM on Friday that Kal Penn reached out to the group this week about quitting in protest. Weinstein also confirmed that the members of the committee purposefully spelled out the word “resist” with the first letter of each paragraph, crediting Penn with that idea.

“For a President who has crossed so many lines, this was just one too many,” Weinstein told TPM of his decision to quit the committee now. “They’re all too many, but this in particular.”

He also noted that he submitted his resignation in January, but that it was never recorded. He said he then agreed to stay on to help the committee finish some work, but since the inauguration, the panel hasn’t heard from the Trump administration at all. The committee made efforts to safeguard certain programs they managed by transferring them to different agencies, but has been mostly inactive this year, Weinstein said.

“We weren’t interacting with the Trump administration,” he told TPM.

The members went beyond Trump’s comments on the Charlottesville violence in their letter, however, criticizing him for attacking the press, threatening arts and humanities funding and pulling out of the Paris climate agreement as well.

“Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions. We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” the members concluded. “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on your to resign tour office, too.”

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After disbanding two White House advisory jobs panels on Wednesday, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that they would no longer move forward with plans to form an infrastructure advisory council.

“The President has announced the end of the Manufacturing Council and the Strategy & Policy Forum. In addition, the President’s Advisory Council on Infrastructure, which was still being formed, will not move forward,” a White House official said in a statement distributed to reporters on Thursday evening.

The dissolution of the advisory panels comes after several CEOs spoke out against President Donald Trump’s failure to offer a full-throated condemnation of white nationalists after the deadly attack in Charlottesville.

After Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier slammed Trump’s comments earlier this week and quit the White House manufacturing council, several other business leaders on the manufacturing jobs advisory panel followed suit and quit in protest.

Then, as those CEOs publicly left that board, and members of another jobs panel, the Strategy & Policy Forum, worked behind the scenes to dissolve that group, Trump abruptly disbanded both panels.

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This post has been updated.

First, CEOs abandoned President Donald Trump by quitting White House advisory councils. Now, charities have begun to ditch Trump’s business by canceling fundraisers planned at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

In the wake of Trump’s failure to fully denounce white nationalists following the violence in Charlottesville, sixteen charities have cancelled events planned for Mar-a-Lago next year.

The Cleveland Clinic, a hospital network, pulled its 2018 fundraising gala from Trump’s Palm Beach club early Thursday afternoon. The clinic did not share its reasoning behind canceling plans to hold the event at Mar-a-Lago.

Then the American Cancer Society announced Thursday afternoon that it would no longer hold its annual fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in February. The charity did not mention Trump by name, but noted its commitment to diversity.

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

Later Thursday, American Friends of Magen David Adom, a group that supports medical first responders in Israel, announced that it would no longer hold its annual fundraiser at Mar-A-Lago in 2018. The group, which held its fundraiser at Trump’s club last year, did not offer specific reasoning for pulling the event from the Trump family venue.

“After considerable deliberation, AFMDA — an apolitical and humanitarian aid organization — will not hold its 2018 Palm Beach Celebration of Life Gala at Mar-a-Lago,” the group said in a statement.

Four charities announced plans to move their venues from Mar-A-Lago on Friday, including several major national foundations.

The American Red Cross, which was scheduled to hold an event in February of next year, announced that it pulled the event from Mar-A-Lago “as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters.”

“We believe this action will allow us to continue to put the focus on our lifesaving mission and the people we serve. The Red Cross provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle,” the organization said in a statement.

The Salvation Army, which was set to hold a fundraiser at Trump’s Palm Beach club in December, said Friday that the venue had become a distraction.

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

The Susan G. Komen Foundation, a charity that fundraises for breast cancer research, told the Washington Post that they would change the venue for its event planned for January 2018, but did not offer a specific reasoning for doing so. The Autism Project of Palm Beach County also told the Washington Post on Friday that they would no longer hold a planned event at the club.

By Friday afternoon several other charities had decided to pull events from Mar-A-Lago as well, bringing the total to 16 organizations, according to an updated list from the Palm Beach Daily News.

Charities ditching Trump’s businesses is the latest bit of fallout from his comments pandering to white nationalists in the wake of the deadly Charlottesville attack. Trump on Wednesday dissolved two White House advisory boards as the CEOs on the councils began to object to Trump’s comments and leave the panels.

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James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of Rupert Murdoch, on Thursday sent an email to friends criticizing President Donald Trump’s failure to fully condemn white nationalists in the wake of the Charlottesville violence and pledging a $1 million donation to the Anti-Defamation League.

Murdoch wrote in the email first reported by the New York Times that while he rarely weighs in on public events, “what we watched this last week in Charlottesville and the reaction to it by the President of the United States concern all of us as Americans and free people.”

“These events remind us all why vigilance against hate and bigotry is an eternal obligation — a necessary discipline for the preservation of our way of life and our ideals,” Murdoch wrote. “The presence of hate in our society was appallingly laid bare as we watched swastikas brandished on the streets of Charlottesville and acts of brutal terrorism and violence perpetrated by a racist mob.”

“I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so,” he continued.

Murdoch’s condemnation carries weight given that his father, Rupert Murdoch is an ally and informal adviser to the President.

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The Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit health care network, announced on Thursday that it no longer plans to hold a 2018 fundraising gala at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s exclusive Palm Beach, Florida club.

“After careful consideration, Cleveland Clinic has decided that it will not hold a Florida fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in 2018. We thank the staff of Mar-a-Lago for their service over the years,” the clinic said in a statement.

The clinic would not elaborate on the reasoning behind pulling the fundraiser from Mar-a-Lago, but the decision comes in the wake of Trump’s failure to deliver a full-throated condemnation of white supremacists in the immediate wake of a car attack at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The clinic’s CEO, Toby Cosgrove, was a member of Trump’s business advisory council called the Strategic and Policy Forum, which disbanded on Wednesday. That panel, as well as the White House’s manufacturing council, was dissolved after several CEOs criticized Trump’s response to the Charlottesville attack and made moves to leave the jobs panels.

Once a top destination for fancy charity fundraisers in Palm Beach, Mar-a-Lago has taken a hit since Trump’s election when it comes to booking those types of events, as the Washington Post reported back in June. Although the resort appears to be flourishing otherwise, several charities have decided against holding large banquets at the club, citing the burden of increased security there.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity, has donated nearly $6 million to New York University School of Law to launch a center to help state attorneys general defend policies to combat climate change and protect the environment, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center will offer support to state attorneys general working on climate change and environmental issues and help coordinate attorneys general in several states who have similar interests. The center will also help set up the offices of state attorneys general with NYU fellows who can serve as special assistant attorneys general.

David Hayes, who served in the Department of the Interior as deputy secretary and chief operating officer for both former Presidents Bill Clinton Barack Obama, will serve as the center’s executive director.

“State attorneys general have a unique role in defending the citizens of their states from environmentally destructive actions and advancing the clean energy, climate change, and environmental interests of their constituents,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to working in close cooperation with state attorneys general around the country to support their efforts to address complex energy and environmental matters.”

Several state attorneys general have already filed lawsuits against the Trump administration over environmental regulations, such as a delay in implementing new efficiency standards for appliances like air conditioners.

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As President Donald Trump has dug his feet in following his initial failure to fully denounce white nationalists after a car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump has been acting out of anger and has become increasingly isolated in the White House this week.

After his initial statement failed to offer a full-throated condemnation of white nationalist and other hate groups, Trump was pressured by his aides to follow up with a more forceful statement. But after doing so, the President became angry and suspicious about attempts to control his messaging, prompting him to follow up with an impromptu news conference Tuesday that went off the rails when he blamed both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Politico reported.

Trump felt vindicated following that presser, according to the Washington Post.

The President’s anger over the past few days has been apparent. As business leaders fled White House advisory panels over Trump’s Charlottesville response, Trump responded by abruptly announcing on Twitter that the jobs panels would be disbanded. This came only after he personally attacked the first CEO to quit his manufacturing council, and threatened that he could easily replace any other CEOs who quit the panels.

He also has lashed out at his critics in the Republican Party, aiming angry tweets at Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Thursday morning.

Trump’s outburst and resulting press conference blaming both the “alt-right” and that he called the “alt-left” for the violence in Charlottesville has left his newly-minted chief of staff, retired Gen. John Kelly, “dismayed,” the Washington Post reported. Trump’s Tuesday press conference and frustration with his aides’ opinions on how he should respond to the Charlottesville attack has left him “further isolated,” according to the newspaper.

While the President defiantly stews in his own anger, his staff has become increasingly wary of remaining in the administration, though most have come to the conclusion that now is not the time to leave, according to the Washington Post and CNN.

Gary Cohn, the top economic advisor to Trump, who is Jewish, was very upset with Trump’s comments on the attack, but he has not threatened to resign, the Post reported, citing unnamed people close to Cohn.

CNN reported that White House aides have been sorting through whether to leave Trump’s administration, but that most had decided that leaving now would only hurt them.

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John Dowd, one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, on Wednesday forwarded an email to several journalists and government officials that argues there is “no difference” between George Washington and Robert E. Lee, according to the New York Times.

Dowd received the email with the subject line “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” on Tuesday night and forwarded it to several people on Wednesday in an apparent attempt to defend Trump’s comments about the attack, the New York Times reported.

“You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington, there literally is no difference between the two men,” the email forwarded by Dowd reads, per the Times.”

The email also notes that both Washington and Lee owned slaves and argues that both “rebelled against the ruling government.” The email was penned by Jerome Almon, who pushes government conspiracy theories and claims that Islamic terrorists have infiltrated the FBI, according to the Times.

Asked about the email he allegedly forwarded, Down told the Times that he often forwards along emails he receives.

“You’re sticking your nose in my personal email?” he told the Times. “People send me things. I forward them.”

Read the New York Times’ full report here.

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