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President Trump honors fallen service members

President Trump gave a Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen service members and unidentified soldiers. He thanked Robert Kelly, son of Secretary John Kelly, and Senator Bob Dole for protecting and serving the country. Watch his full remarks. Read More »

Top Activities To Do This Week In Orange County – May 29

This week kicks off with Memorial Day, giving locals the chance to honors those who have passed away while serving our country. Celebrate the holiday by picking a Memorial Day activity, parade or other event. Later in the week, check out the L.A. Times Food Bowl, catch some rare photos of Frida Kahlo or play bingo. When the weekend hits, it’s time to celebrate some culture with a Pacific Symphony tribute to famed composer John Williams. On Saturday, Irvine will host the Studio Arts Festival and Sunday brings an animal adoption event that all ages can enjoy. Monday, May 29 (credit: Fairhaven Memorial Park) Attend A Memorial Day Service Fairhaven Memorial Park 1702 Fairhaven Avenue Santa Ana, CA 92705 (714) 663-1442 Drawing on the theme “From Sea to Shining Sea,” the Memorial Day service at Fairhaven Memorial Day is a great way to honor those who have lost their lives serving our country. More than 3,500 guests are expected to attend the tribute event that will remember fallen service members. Now in its 25th year, the event will include speeches from war veterans, a presentation by an honor guard and a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” by a student from Santa Margarita High School. There will also be a flyover of World War II-era planes and a white dove release throughout the day. The event is free and will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 30 (Credit: Anne Watson) Food Bowl SOCO and The O.C. Mix 3303 Hyland Avenue Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (949) 760-9150 Part of the LA Times’ month-long Food Bowl festival, this event at SOCO and The O.C. Mix gives locals the chance to get up close and personal with the center’s culinary experts. The event starts at 5 p.m., beginning with Mark Lowry introducing the O.C. Food Bank, which will host the event. From there, the food bank will lead talks with SOCO’s chefs, giving the audience chances to ask their own questions and taste the expert’s creations. The free event will also feature live music in the courtyard. It ends at 8 p.m., when guests are encouraged to head to one of the center’s restaurants and try some more fare for themselves. Wednesday, May 31 (Credit: ©Frida Kahlo Museum/Banco de México Fiduciario en el Fideicomiso Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo) “Frida Kahlo: Her Photos” Bowers Museum 2002 North Main Street Santa Ana, CA 92706 (714) 567-3600 Frida Kahlo remains one of the world’s most famous artists. The Mexican painter passed away in the 1950s, but her legacy continues to impact artists and non-artists across the world. This exhibition is comprised of 241 photographs organized by Kahlo herself as part of a 6,000-image collection. While some are of her and her loved ones, still others depict Mexican culture and local politics as well as art, nature and history in the early to mid-20th century. Following her death, Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera kept the images within her Mexico City home, but they were recently collected and curated by photographer and image historian Pablo Ortiz Monasterio. This showcase includes photographs from famous names like Edward Weston, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Kahlo herself. Thursday, June 1 (Credit: Valerie Soule) Bingo Anaheim Town Square 2180 East Lincoln Avenue Anaheim, CA 92806 (714) 956-3411 Starting this Thursday, dedicate your Thursday evenings to an exciting Bingo event for the whole family. Taking place each Thursday in June from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Anaheim Town Square, this free event features—you guessed it—Bingo! This fast-paced game is fun for all ages, and makes the perfect chance to socialize with neighbors and make new friends. Enjoy the sunshine as you lounge in front of Cancun Juice while you play. Winners will receive prizes, including $20-$50 certificates from local vendors. There will also be a free raffle, free popcorn and free face painting on site. Friday, June 2 (Credit: Pacific Symphony) John Williams Tribute Segerstrom Center for the Arts 600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 556-2787 For two nights (Friday and Saturday) catch the Pacific Symphony at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts as they pay tribute to beloved composer John Williams. Having won both Academy and Grammy awards, Williams has created film scores that are recognized worldwide. Conducted by Richard Kaufman, the symphony will play some of his biggest standouts, including music from films like “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones” and “Jaws.” Williams also crafted the music for “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jurassic Park” and some of the “Harry Potter” movies. In addition to film compositions, Williams is a classical guitarist. Tickets start at $35 and both shows start at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 3 (Credit: City of Irvine) Studio Arts Festival Heritage Park 14301 Yale Avenue Irvine, CA 92604 (949) 724-6880 For one day only, the Irvine Fine Arts Center will host the Studio Arts Festival. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., stop by to visit a juried art festival filled with work by Southern California-based artists. Admission and parking are free, and visitors will be lucky enough to view ceramics, jewelry, photography, glassware and sculptures in addition to paintings. The exciting art-focused event features a chance to purchase artwork as well as view demonstrations by the artists themselves. Learn how their stunning pieces are produced while enjoying live music from folk duo Alpha Mule. As part of the festival, guests can also purchase ice cream in special handmade collectible bowls made by a local ceramicist. Sunday, June 4 (Credit: Irvine Animal Care Center) Super Pet Adoption Irvine Animal Care Center 6443 Oak Canyon Irvine, CA 92618 (949) 724-7740 Now in its 11th year, Irvine’s Super Pet Adoption will bring more than 40 pet rescue groups and animal shelters to the event. With over 600 homeless animals on site, it’s the perfect place for O.C. residents to adopt dogs, cats, rabbits and other small pets. Every available animal is micro chipped, evaluated by a vet and spayed or neutered before being released to his or her new home. They are also given vaccines, if of appropriate age. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will include more than just pet adoptions. Animal-related vendors will be selling goods and services while low-cost micro chipping will also be hosted at the event. Participate in a silent auction and enjoy food from gourmet food trucks while you’re there. Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine. Read More »

Southern Rock Legend, Founding Member Of Allman Brothers Band Gregg Allman Dies At Age 69

SAVANNAH, Ga. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69. Allman died Saturday at his home in Savannah, Georgia, publicist Ken Weinstein said. Allman had cancelled some 2016 tour dates, announcing on Aug. 5 that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues.” Later that year, he canceled more dates citing a throat injury. And in March 2017, he canceled performances for the rest of the year. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, the rock star known for his long blond hair was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band. It is with deep sadness we announce that Gregg Allman, a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band, passed away peacefully at his home — Allman Brothers Band (@allmanbrothers) May 27, 2017 The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky blues inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as “Whipping Post,” ”Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider,” helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band. In his 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. The two boys endured a spell in a military school before being swept up in rock music in their teens. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ. They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Based in Macon, Georgia, the group featured Betts, drummers Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oakley. They partied to excess while defining a sound that still excites millions. Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their seminal live album “At Fillmore East” in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom. Duane Allman had quickly ascended to the pantheon of guitar heroes, not just from his contributions to the Allman band, but from his session work with Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and with Eric Clapton on the classic “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” album. But he was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, just months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley’s life. In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence. “I can tell when he’s there, man,” Allman said. “I’m not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he’s there.” The 1970s brought more highly publicized turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards. In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later. Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977. The Allman Brothers Band likewise split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years. A changing cast of players has included Derek Trucks, nephew of original drummer Butch Trucks, as well as guitarist Warren Haynes. Starting in 1990, more than 20 years after its founding, the reunited band began releasing new music and found a new audience. In 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for “Jessica” the following year. In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance and he hasn’t played with the band since. Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities said he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home. In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt “brand new” at the age of 50. “I never believed in God until this,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1998. “I asked him to bring me out of this or let me die before all the innings have been played. Now I have started taking on some spiritualism.” However, after all the years of unhealthy living he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010. After the surgery, he turned music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years “Low Country Blues” in 2011. “I think it’s because you’re doing something you love,” Allman said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press. “I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You’ve been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you’re just totally engulfed.” The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012. (© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Read More »

Fleet Week Festivities Continue At Manhattan’s Intrepid Museum

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City Fleet Week means New Yorkers have the chance to get up close and hands on with some very cool military gear. Even though the stars of Broadway commandeered the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Saturday, the true showstopper was floating right next door. “This is the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), which is an amphibious assault ship,” U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Mike Phillips told 1010 WINS’ Andrew Falzon. Phillips says all 844 feet of the ship — from stem to stern — is open to the public. “It’s a combination of air capability and landing craft capability, so it both has a flight deck that looks like an aircraft carrier but inside there’s a pluggable well deck,” he said. The public can even climb aboard and tour the hovercraft that’s sitting inside the ship’s flood deck, where a grateful Petty Officer Evan Kerrick is happy to answer questions. “New York has just been great,” he said. “It’s been kind of great to get out and see this part of the country.” Read More »

Study Reveals Why Women Find It Harder To Pay Off Student Loans

LOS ANGELES ( —  Channel McLewis is a doctoral candidate at UCLA with big dreams and big debt. While many of her undergraduate expenses were largely covered by scholarships from the United Negro College Fund, two years at Columbia University for a master’s degree has left her nearly $40,000 in debt with student loans. Her student debt continues to grow with each passing day at UCLA. “The debt is something that you think about constantly,” McLewis says. McLewis is not alone. According to a study just released by the American Association of University Women, female students represent just over half of the student body, but they hold almost two-thirds of the country’s $1.3 trillion student debt. The study concludes women take longer to pay their student loans back, in part, because women are paid about 20 percent less than their male counterparts once they get out of college and into the workplace. McLewis is working on a doctorate in higher education and organizational change. “I think my greatest wish is that we have more folks who just care about people as human beings, what it means to think beyond ourselves and invest in each other I think that would be my greatest wish,” So what can students do to minimize their debt? According to one veteran college guidance counselor we spoke to, they can spend their first two years in a community colleg or, find a college in a location where housing costs are low. Spend time looking for scholarships and find a degree that leads to a career with expanding job opportunities. Read More »

Study Reveals Why Woman Find It Harder To Pay Off Student Loans

LOS ANGELES ( —  Channel McLewis is a PHD student at UCLA with big dreams and big debt. While many of her undergraduate expenses were largely covered by scholarships from the United Negro College Fund, two years at Columbia University for a Masters degree has left her nearly $40,000 in debt with student loans. Her student debt continues to grow with each passing day at UCLA. “The debt is something that you think about constantly,” McLewis says. McLewis is not alone. According to a study just released by the American Association of University Women, female students represent just over half of the student body, but they hold almost two thirds of the country’s $1.3 trillion student debt. The study concludes women take longer to pay their student loans back, in part, because women are paid about 20 percent less than their male counterparts once they get out of college and into the workplace. McLewis is working on a PHD in higher education and organizational change. “I think my greatest wish is that we have more folks who just care about people as human beings, what it means to think beyond ourselves and invest in each other I think that would be my greatest wish,” So what can students do to minimize their debt? According to one veteran college guidance counselor we spoke to, they can spend their first two years in a community college, find a college in a location where housing costs are low. Spend time looking for scholarships and find a degree which leads to a career with expanding job opportunities. Read More »

New Helmet Technology Isn’t A Cure-All For Football’s Concussion Issues

Ryan Mayer Head trauma. Two words that have become synonymous with the country’s most popular sport. The looming shadow of the long-term health effects of concussions and the violent collisions that NFL players undertake for our enjoyment each weekend has lurked in the background, all too willing to remind us, and players of the potential consequences in their later years. It has been the driving force behind league rules, research, and new technology associated with the game all in an attempt to make the sport safer. Last week, we got a glimpse at a pair of new helmets that are being introduced at different levels of football in an attempt to continue down that path of safety. The Zero1 helmet, introduced by Seattle startup Vicis, is a leap forward in helmet design. According to the “Play Smart, Play Safe” initiative established by the NFL — in conjunction with the NFLPA — the helmet was determined to be the highest performing helmet of the 33 tested in the lab and it has reportedly been purchased by 25 teams in advance of this upcoming season. According to the company’s website , the helmet is designed so that “multiple layers work together to slow impact forces. The helmet features a soft outer shell and an underlying layer of columns designed to mitigate collisions from multiple directions.” Vicis released a promotional video that helps explain how the helmet works that you can see above. By any measure, this technology looks to be a step forward in the fight for better safety for football players of all ages. In addition, at the college level, the University of Texas unveiled new helmets that incorporate Riddell’s InSite technology, that allows the training staff, via sensors within the helmets, to monitor hits taken by the players during the course of practice or a game. Both of these new pieces of tech look impressive, and should continue helping the ball roll towards a safer version of football. But, helmet technology isn’t a panacea for the problems that the game faces. It is at best, a tool to help improve the conditions. “New helmet technology may be beneficial for football’s problem of concussions. However, I do not believe that any new helmet can ultimately thoroughly solve the problem, as individuals will still be experiencing head collisions and impacts,” said Dr. Teena Shetty, a neurologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City via email. “Even if these helmets lessen the force of the blow, repeated force over time (including sub-concussive blows) may imply consequences that we are still trying to understand.” Dr. Shetty is hopeful that the new tech, particularly the helmets with sensors being introduced by Texas, will contribute to a better understanding of the cumulative amount of force that a player experiences over the course of a season. But, she also cautions that, just because we have more data available to us, that doesn’t mean that we can make overarching conclusions about what amount of force is a safe impact for players, because as with many things in the realm of human health, there’s a certain amount of individuality at play. “This technology has the possibility to lead to change in the sport. However, one detail that makes this data analysis difficult is the individuality of mild Traumatic Brain Injury, or concussion,” said Dr. Shetty. “Whereas one blow with a small amount of force may lead to a concussion in one individual, another player may sustain repeated hits to the head over a season and experience no concussive symptoms.” This isn’t to take away anything from the two companies, Vicis and Riddell, who are both pouring money into attempting to produce helmets that address the largest issue facing the sport. Their new helmet designs are sure to help better our understanding of head trauma and concussions. However, the onus for more effectively slaying the specter of danger facing the sport falls on the players and coaches. “One of the most powerful ways to minimize risk is to create an atmosphere where players feel safe and comfortable reporting symptoms of a head injury,” said Dr. Shetty. “The most dangerous scenario is when a player returns to the field before they are fully recovered, as a second impact if not fully recovered can be devastating. I have seen the sport begin to change in this direction, as players are automatically removed from play after a hit to the head, but there is still a ways to go to make sport even safer.” As we’ve seen in recent days, players who are at the top of the sport, such as New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees or former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson , have acknowledged that they either have or would hide concussions from the training staff. This is the part of the sport that no matter what changes in technology, rules, or improvements in the spotting and diagnosis of concussions can combat. If players don’t feel safe to report concussions, or are worried that they will lose their spot by being injured, then the problem is unlikely to be solved. We can revel in the advances made in helmet tech and applaud those companies for it. The understanding among players of the seriousness of concussions and head trauma is continuing to improve. But, until we get to a place where players feel completely comfortable telling someone that something feels off, the sport’s problem will remain. Read More »

‘Mom’ Star, Producer Spearhead Donation Campaign For Planned Parenthood

LOS ANGELES ( —    The news for Planned Parenthood around the country has been grim of late. In the past few days, Wyoming’s only chapter announced it was closing. Iowa announced two more closures. New Mexico said Thursday it was closing three more. Multiple Emmy winner Allison Janney and “Mom” creator Chuck Lorre announced Thursday that they are spearheading a donation effort to keep Planned Parenthood strong and healthy. The Republican-led U.S. Senate is currently considering legislation that would block low-income patients from going to Planned Parenthood for preventive care, like birth control and cancer screenings. Lorre, who also created such hits as  “Big Bang Theory,” “Mike & Molly,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Dharma & Greg,” and Janney are asking fans and concerned citizens to stand with Planned Parenthood and help with donations or spreading the word via the and rallying support by using the #StandwithPP hashtag throughout social media. (credit: CBS) “In Los Angeles County alone, we answer approximately 2,000 calls each day from people asking us for help,” says Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “Across the country, millions of women and men are relying on Planned Parenthood health centers for their basic care — like birth control, life-saving cancer-screenings, and STD testing and treatment. We are committed to being here for them, no matter what. Generous support from our community fuels this work, and we are honored that the team behind ‘Mom’ is launching this campaign at this critical time.” In lieu of spending money on an Emmy “For Your Consideration” campaign, the show instead is donating $250,000 to the effort. Janney, a longtime advocate for the embattled group, says The Mominitiative furthers her family’s support for the organization “for generations.” Giving back to social causes near and dear is not new for Janney, Lorre and “Mom” star Anna Faris. The three are known  to be tireless and generous when it comes to healthcare-related charities and educational efforts. Lorre has been a long-standing benefactor of the Venice Family Clinic, where he established the Robert Levine Family Health Center in his father’s name. Faris supports The Global Alliance to Prevent Premature and Stillbirth, a global effort to drastically prevent prematurity and stillbirth. Critically acclaimed for tackling serious topics such as substance abuse, addiction, suicide, death, depression and infidelity, “Mom” follows single mom Christy (Faris), who’s trying to get her life back on track after years of questionable choices. Testing her daily is her mother, Bonnie (Janney), who Christy still considers the root of her troubles. As they both deal with sobriety to varying degrees, they try to mostly survive each other. To join the “Mom” campaign to support Planned Parenthood, click here. For more information about Planned Parenthood, click here. Read More »

Community Rallies To Support Homeless Veteran Couple Who Are Having A Baby — Any Second

VENICE ( —   Richard Campbell and Catherine Schultiz served their country and now  some Good Samaritans are helping to serve them. The two veterans are homeless. And, as KCAL 9’s Erica Mandy reports, the couple is soon going to become a trio. Catherine is due any minute. They’ve been homeless for two years, living on the streets of Venice. The couple says after serving in the military, their lives went downhill. He lost a job, she suffers from PTSD related to an abusive childhood. “I haven’t been able to see a doctor this pregnancy,” she says. Richard has made his own sacrifices. “I go hungry at times to make sure my wife and baby eat,” he says. The fact they have dogs also made it difficult for them to find apartments and get services. Catherine sells art and poetry on the Boardwalk but it hasn’t been enough.  With each passing day, they’ve become more worried about their baby. That’s when Chaplain Regina Weller of the Homeless Task Force stepped in to help. “I thought it was life-threatening so I told the officers we would take care of them,” sas Weller. The LAPD also reached out to help the organization, based in Venice. Regina and Steven Weller put the couple up in a motel in Hollywood that accepted pets. They also found them a trailer in Hemet they could live in. “I think this is going to be awesome for us,” says Richard. That will be the place they bring the baby. Their new home. “Just to give them a kick start, a new start, which means some stability,” said Weller. The couple is excited. “I have an opportunity to start over and get things where they need to be, and the help up Regina has given us, will help me, stay off the streets,” said Catherine. The couple needs clothes, baby supplies and money to keep renting their trailer space They’re doing what they can before the baby arrives. ” I’m actually happy, for once, in my life,” Richard says. RELATED LINKS: To donate clothes, baby supplies and grocery store gift cards: Venice Foursquare Church 1400 Riviera Ave, Venice, CA 90291 (310) 452-4328 To find out more information about the couple, click on their GoFundMe link, click here. Read More »

California Could Spend $220M To Upgrade Driver’s Licenses

SACRAMENTO (AP) — With a deadline looming, California is planning to spend more than $220 million to bring driver’s licenses and state identification cards up to federal standards. Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal includes money to help process an expected flood of applications for cards that comply with the U.S. Real ID Act. The act was enacted in 2005 to make IDs more secure in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The original deadline was 2008, but it repeatedly was extended because states had trouble complying. California and about 20 other states were granted extensions. But the stakes have risen because the Trump administration has set a deadline of Oct. 1, 2020. After that, air travelers won’t be able to use non-complaint cards as proof of identification at airport security checkpoints. The new cards, which carry special markings, will be available in California as of next Jan. 2. But people must apply for them in person at Department of Motor Vehicle offices — not online or by mail. Judging by the experiences of other states, about 20 million people could apply, the Sacramento Bee reported. “When you’re dealing with the number of driver’s licenses we have in California, by definition the numbers are going to be large,” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance. Applicants must provide more documentation than currently needed, including a birth certificate or other proof of birth and more proof that they are legal California residents and have a Social Security number. A California law that took effect two years ago allows people in the country illegally to obtain licenses, but they cannot be used to board airplanes or enter federal facilities. Brown’s budget would provide $220.6 million to hire 2,700 workers over the next six years, fund a marketing campaign about the cards and pay for overtime and other costs of keeping more DMV offices open on Saturdays to meet the demand. DMV officials said they have been working on Real ID-compliant cards for years. “The DMV has been implementing practices that make our cards some of the best-protected in the country,” spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez said. (© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Read More »

President Trump Delivers Commencement Address At Liberty University

LYNCHBURG, Va. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Donald Trump delivered the first commencement address of his presidency at Liberty University, the Christian school whose leader was among Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters. Drawing parallels to what was widely viewed as a longshot bid by Trump for the presidency, he urged the more than 18,000 graduates to fight for what they believe in and to “challenge entrenched interests and failed power structures.” A crowd of more than double that size filled an outdoor stadium on campus to welcome just the second sitting president to address the university’s commencement. Trump told graduates that they should “relish the opportunity to be an outsider,” saying outsiders “change the world and make a real and lasting difference.” The president said his message to those in the audience was “never, ever give up” and “never stop fighting for what you believe in.” “The more a broken system tells you that you’re wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead,” he said. Before making his remarks, Trump received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree. “For his unwavering determination to make America great again,” Liberty University’s President Jerry Falwell Jr. said. Trump was an outsider who challenged the political establishment on the way to winning the White House. He told students that they should “be totally unafraid to challenge entrenched and failed power structures.” He then asked, “Does that sound familiar, by the way?” Falwell helped Trump win an overwhelming 80 percent of the white evangelical vote. The president’s remarks Saturday on the Lynchburg, Virginia, campus were his first extended public appearance since he fired James Comey as FBI director this week. Trump has stayed largely out of public view since Tuesday, when he removed the head of the agency that is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election, along with possible ties between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. Trump lashed out at Comey on Friday , tweeting that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” More From CBS News Trump’s chief spokesman refused to comment Friday on whether active listening devices are in the Oval Office or elsewhere in the building, a non-denial that drew comparisons to the secretly taped conversations and telephone calls that led to President Richard Nixon’s downfall in the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. Trump had earlier criticized Comey as a “showboat” and a “grandstander,” and the president’s warning prompted new accusations of interference with the FBI’s Russia investigation. In his weekly address to the nation, Trump said he was “delighted to be participating first hand in the excitement” as students and faculty celebrate Liberty’s more than 18,000 graduates. The commander in chief typically addresses graduates of one of the U.S. military service academies and Trump is scheduled to speak at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut on Wednesday. “To young Americans at both schools, I will be bringing a message of hope and optimism about our nation’s bright future,” Trump said. Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty’s president, helped Trump win an overwhelming 80 percent of the white evangelical vote. A recent Pew Research Center survey marking Trump’s first 100 days in office, a milestone reached on April 29, found three-quarters of white evangelicals approved of his performance as president while just 39 percent of the general public held the same view. Christian conservatives have been overjoyed by Trump’s appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, along with Trump’s choice of socially conservative Cabinet members and other officials, such as Charmaine Yoest, a prominent anti-abortion activist named to the Department of Health and Human Services. But they had a mixed response to an executive order on religious liberty that Trump signed last week. He directed the IRS to ease up on enforcing an already rarely enforced limit on partisan political activity by churches. He also promised “regulatory relief” for those who object on religious grounds to the birth control coverage requirement in the Affordable Care Act health law. Yet, the order did not address one of the most pressing demands from religious conservatives: broad exemptions from recognizing same-sex marriage. Still, Falwell, who endorsed Trump in January 2016 just before that year’s Iowa caucuses, praised Trump’s actions on issues that concern Christian conservatives. “I really don’t think any other president has done more for evangelicals and the faith community in four months than President Trump has,” Falwell told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Falwell became a key surrogate and validator for the thrice-married Trump during the campaign, frequently traveling with Trump on the candidate’s plane and appearing at events. Falwell often compared Trump to his later father, the conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell, and argued that while Trump wasn’t the most religious candidate in the race, he was the man the country needed. Trump has spoken at Liberty University before. He courted Christians there in January 2016 with a speech that drew laughs from some in the audience when referred to one of the Bible’s books as “Two Corinthians” instead of the more common “Second Corinthians.” In that speech, Trump promised: “We’re going to protect Christianity, and I can say that. I don’t have to be politically correct.” Newly elected U.S. presidents often give their first commencement addresses at the University of Notre Dame, the country’s best-known Roman Catholic school. Presidents Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush did so during their first year in office. But this year, Vice President Mike Pence will speak at Notre Dame’s graduation, becoming the first vice president to do so. University spokesman Paul Browne declined to say whether Trump had been invited to the May 21 ceremony, saying it was against school policy to reveal who had turned down offers. In his Saturday speech, Trump said the more that people say something can’t be done, “the more you should be absolutely determined to prove them wrong.” (© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Read More » USA, LLC
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