MSNBC sounds the alarm on Bloomberg’s ‘doctored’ debate video mocking 2020 Dems

A segment on MSNBC Friday slammed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg over a video he shared this week that was clearly mocking his debate opponents. The video has been described as “deceptively edited.”

During Wednesday night’s Democratic debate, Bloomberg was the target of several attacks, but the moment he touted his own business background had his opponents speechless.

“Maybe you want to talk about businesses. I think I’m the only one here who ever started a business, is that fair?” Bloomberg looked over at his opponents, none of whom responded.

A moment later, Bloomberg quipped, “OK,” and carried on with his remarks.


Bloomberg had some fun on Thursday at the expense of his Democratic rivals, sharing a clip of that exchange but overtly embellished the response from the other candidates on the debate stage, showing blank facial expressions from Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, over a lengthy 20 seconds with the sounds of crickets being heard throughout.

“Anyone?” Bloomberg captioned the tweet.

During a segment about Twitter’s latest crackdown in “disinformation,”  MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle slammed the Bloomberg campaign for sharing what she described as a “doctored” video.

“This isn’t just about rightwing conspiracies or something far to the left because just yesterday, Mike Bloomberg’s campaign played a doctored video from the debate,” Ruhle said.

Ruhle played a portion of the clip, which she claimed afterward to viewers “wasn’t true” and that the cricket noises were added for “dramatic effect.”

“The campaign has said it was tongue-in-cheek, but when somebody sends you that clip, that looks very good for the mayor and looks really bad for everyone else, and it’s not true,” Ruhle said.


NBC News reporter Ben Collins also pushed back on the Bloomberg campaign for the video, which is something Collins said Twitter said would “flag” with the rollout of its new attempt to prevent the spread of disinformation.

“There was about a second or two of silence, not 20 seconds of silence or whatever, that’s the sort of thing, without the crickets, people might take seriously,” Collins told Ruhle. “And that’s how disinformation sort of steamrolls and if nobody is going to stop it, it can change narratives. It can change the outcome of the election. We’ve been there before.”

MSNBC wasn’t the only mainstream media outlet to blast Bloomberg, as CNN also called out the satirical video.


“He’s making another mistake. His campaign [is] making another big one today and that is there’s a video that his campaign tweeted this morning, it’s gotten a million views — that didn’t happen,” CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash had said. “It is a deceptively edited video.”

CNN then aired the entire clip, which Bash reminded viewers “didn’t happen.”

“His campaign is saying, ‘C’mon, it was tongue-in-cheek,’ but in today’s day and age where we are so concerned about things that are doctored, deep fakes on the Internet,” Bash added.

34 people test positive for coronavirus in US

The University of Hong Kong The University of Hong Kong

There are 34 people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the United States, according to an announcement Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This includes 21 cases among repatriated individuals, as well as 13 US cases.

“We are keeping track of cases resulting from repatriation efforts separately because we don’t believe those numbers accurately represent the picture of what is happening in the community in the United States at this time,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Friday.

About the cases: The 21 repatriated include 18 former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Japan, plus three who had been previously evacuated from China. There are 10 additional passengers among the Diamond Princess evacuees who tested positive for the virus in Japan, and who Messonnier said will likely be added to the official US count once the Japanese test results have been adjudicated. 

The 13 US cases include seven in California, one in Massachusetts, one in Washington state, one in Arizona, two in Illinois and one in Wisconsin. Among these cases, there are two instances of person-to-person transmission, one in Illinois and one in California.

The 13th US case was confirmed overnight in Humboldt County, California. County officials offered few details but said a close contact with symptoms was also undergoing testing, and both are self-isolating at home. 

Students gear up for 21st annual Leaders in Life conference

Teenagers have a lot to juggle on a daily basis — school work, tests, extracurricular activities and a social life. Add on planning an entire daylong conference for students, and it seems nearly impossible to handle it all.

But after 20 years in the community, about 100 students involved in Leaders in Life show it is indeed possible, especially since they know their work directly affects their peers.

Leaders in Life will have its 21st annual conference from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. March 12 at the Mechanics Bank Convention Center.

For more than two decades, this event has given Kern County students in sixth through 12th grades the opportunity to discuss and evaluate issues they face in a positive environment through workshops.

This year’s conference welcomes A’ric Jackson as keynote speaker, whose mission is to teach, inspire and encourage youth and help others pursue their goals and dreams. Workshop topics include student leadership and advocacy, tobacco and drug use prevention, youth voice to improve school climate, college and career exploration and issues faced by teens (relationships, social media, stress, bullying, etc.).

The success of today’s conference can be tracked back to 1998, when businessman Morgan Clayton attended the Bakersfield Business Conference and wanted to find a way to inspire community youth. An idea popped into his mind: why not let students create a conference for their peers that tackles issues they care most about?

“In February 1999, 35 students came together, we brainstormed and had our first conference in 2000. It turned out to be fantastic,” Clayton said. Since that first conference, “we’ve helped over 40,000 students.”

With this year’s main event anticipating about 2,100 attendees, students have held several general planning and subcommittee meetings throughout the school year. Tuesday was their final full gathering, where students were busy putting together goody bags, going through speakers lined up for workshops and finalizing other details.

Many students have been involved with Leaders in Life for several years, which has allowed them to gain skills they’ll use later in life.

“I came from a really financially disadvantaged school district so it was mainly to give us more leadership skills on how to combat the issues we had in our schools and be a better example to other students in my area,” said Golden Valley High School senior Amariun Tyiska, who has been a part of the conference for six years.

Putting a focus on youth voice, a safe and supportive environment and diversity has been at the forefront. Because thousands of students from schools across the county attend the event, it’s important to hear from everyone and know what issues affect them most, explained Kylie Whitlock, a junior at Frontier High School. That comes into play when deciding what topics to cover during workshops. 

Vaping and drug use has become an epidemic that has affected their classmates, so student organizers felt it was necessary to hold workshops that teach their peers about the dangers of tobacco and driving under the influence. The organization Students Working Against Tobacco will also speak at the conference.

Anti-bullying, overcoming fears with public speaking and how to get a head start on career plans are other workshops students have designed.

“That’s definitely one of my favorite parts — listening to everyone else’s stories from other schools and comparing how different they are,” explained Whitlock. “I like knowing people from other schools and what’s going on in their lives and what issues they’re facing so when I see it coming up at my school, I can put an end to it as soon as possible.”

Other than having another conference under his wing, Tyiska said he is most looking forward to seeing all the diversity when thousands of students come together. It might even encourage other minority students like him to want to join the general and executive planning committees.

For Clayton, every year makes him look forward to all that is to come with these future leaders.

“They really step out and find their spark,” he said. “I think they’re the best model for us moving forward.”

Rita Walters, a fierce advocate for equality and trailblazing elected official, dies at 89

During the tumultuous battle over mandatory busing in Los Angeles public schools in the late 1970s and 1980s, Rita Walters served as the only black member of a school board whose majority opposed forced integration. When her pro-busing side won in court, she expressed dismay over an integration plan that excluded the black children of Watts.

“I find it very interesting that the lines around the black community correspond almost to the street to the lines of the curfew area during the Watts uprising,” she said in a 1980 interview, referring to the five days of rioting in 1965. “It becomes another stigma, another burden, that black people are asked to bear.”

Walters, a trailblazing African American leader who advocated fiercely for racial equality on the L.A. school board from 1979 through 1991, and then on the L.A. City Council in the 1990s, died Monday in hospice care in Los Angeles of complications from Alzheimer’s disease and an infection. She was 89.

Walters was largely on the losing side of the city’s bitter integration wars, but she never gave up on her belief that children of different backgrounds would benefit by going to school together. Through decades of public service she extended her commitment to fighting for black workers and other minorities to gain equal access to employment.


“We have overcome against all of those odds and we’re going to keep on doing it,” she said. “It’s not going to happen today. It’s not going to happen tomorrow. And it probably won’t happen in my lifetime. But the struggle has to be kept up.”

During her time on the school board the district’s limited mandatory busing never fully took effect. A state ballot initiative in 1979 ultimately relieved the district of that obligation.

But Walters recalibrated — embracing a voluntary integration program that resulted in sought-after magnet schools, although she challenged their placement in predominantly whiter and more affluent areas.

“Rita brought all the issues of inequality in the education system right to the fore and her passion was in dealing with those issues,” said Howard Miller, who left the board as Walters was joining it.


“She was sometimes a difficult person to work with because she had strict beliefs she didn’t bend on, but students in the district never had a better advocate,” said Jackie Goldberg, who served on the school board with her and recently returned to the board.

In 1991, Walters became the first black woman elected to the Los Angeles City Council, winning by just 76 votes. Her council colleague, Zev Yaroslavsky, recalled her as an early champion of questioning the police use of force against people of color and for making sure that the city hired a diverse workforce.

“She was unintimidated by the chief of police and there was a time when that was a refreshing thing,” Yaroslavsky said, adding that Walters forcefully rejected political influence peddling.

“She made a lot of adversaries because of that,” he said, “but her mission was to represent everybody, not just the people who had access to her.”

Former City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who served as a council chief of staff to Walters, recalled watching her corner then-Mayor Richard Riordan in an elevator and tell him she wanted a park built on a Department of Water and Power lot at Slauson and Compton avenues.

“They weren’t necessarily the best of friends so he tried to disregard what she said,” said Perry. “But in the end, she got what she needed for the community.”

“She was always assertive, all the time,” Perry added.

Walters drew citywide attention over her opposition in 1997 to a planned downtown sports arena in her district. Earlier, Walters supported the plan for what is today known as Staples Center, but ultimately cast a vote against it because she worried that the city-subsidized project would plunge Los Angeles into debt.


Rita Delores White was born in Chicago, the oldest of five children on Aug. 14, 1930. The family moved to Kansas soon after. Her father Henry worked as a Pullman porter. Her mother Verter cleaned houses.

The future leader was determined to get an education, being among the first to integrate a local community college and then going to college in Alabama for a year before the family called her home to work. She caused a stir as the first black salesgirl at a jewelry store, said her daughter Susan. Until then, the black workers had to stay out of sight in the back.

Rita followed friends to Los Angeles in 1955 in search of opportunity and found work as a clerk with the county probation department. In L.A. she met Wilbur E. Walters, who would forge a career as an aerospace engineer. They married on New Year’s Eve of 1955.

Walters left the work force for 14 years to focus on raising three children and was outraged when her son’s elementary school wanted to expel him permanently because of his learning disability. She refused to accept that fate, he stayed in school, and David Walters now works as a campus aide at a school for children with disabilities.

She ran for the school board twice and lost, winning her seat on the third try. By this time, she was divorced and gradually completing an education that would culminate in a master’s in business administration at UCLA.

During the integration wars, Walters once publicly speculated about whether her anti-busing board colleague Roberta Weintraub was a racist. Yet the two gradually developed a mutual respect and later a friendship that continued for the rest of their lives.

Walters even insisted that her daughter get to know Weintraub and Tom Bartman, another anti-busing board member.


“She would make me talk to Tom and Roberta,” Susan Walters recalled. “She wouldn’t let me be angry about them.”

Walters also is survived by her third child, Philip.

Public memorial arrangements are being organized by the local office of Rep. Karen Bass.

Dakota Smith and Scott Wilson contributed to this report.

Newt Gingrich: 2 winners and 1 big loser in Democratic presidential debate

The amazingly combative – and perhaps personally destructive – debate among six Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night in Las Vegas produced two winners and a big loser.

The biggest winner was President Trump.

There is a huge stature gap between the president’s recent speeches and rallies and the petty bickering and bitter attacks we saw on the debate stage. It will be easy for voters to differentiate the powerful incumbent and the confused, tiny opponents yammering in the background.


The Democrats in the debate Wednesday in Las Vegas were: Self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg; former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

When Bloomberg said that Sanders would be a disaster in the general election, he gave the Trump reelection campaign a perfect ad for this fall if Sanders is the Democratic presidential nominee.

Every time the Democrats describe their more radical positions they further isolate themselves from the independent voters and moderate Democrats they need to defeat Trump in November.

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When the Democrats support gun confiscation, extremely late-term abortion, massive tax increases, taking away people’s private health insurance, the Buttigieg proposal to legalize heroin and methamphetamine, and Iranian terrorist commanders (over brave American soldiers), they lose more and more rational Americans.

The more you listen to the Democratic presidential candidates, the more you realize just how radical they have become. Real moderates have been driven from leadership positions and only exist on the sidelines as fossilized reminders of the Democratic Party that used to exist.

I’m not alone in this assessment. Several Democratic analysts watching the mess on stage said the big winner was President Trump. They were right.

The second big winner was Sanders. He won more votes in Iowa than anyone else. A fluke in the weird way Iowa counts delegates allowed Buttigieg to claim more state-level delegates, but the fact is that Sanders got more votes.

Sanders came in first in New Hampshire. Given the size of the crowds he is getting – and the recent polls – there is a good chance Sanders will win the Nevada caucuses Saturday.

The next major test for Sanders will be South Carolina a week later. The most recent polls show him within two points of Biden, who now is the front-runner in the state.

Since South Carolina is Biden’s supposed firewall, where his expected support from African-Americans is going to keep him in the race, it will be a catastrophic outcome for the former vice president if he finishes only one or two points ahead of Sanders.

And since there is plenty of time for people to digest the Nevada results, it is conceivable that a Sanders victory there will propel him to victory in South Carolina over Biden.

Further, if Sanders wins Nevada his national front-runner status will be so formidable that the other candidates may have to shift their attacks from Bloomberg to Sanders in the upcoming debate Tuesday in Charleston, S.C.

This position of strength means you have to score Sanders as the other winner in the Wednesday night debate in Las Vegas. Other than Bloomberg asserting that Sanders can’t win, no one really laid a glove on Sanders.

The intensely personal Buttigieg-Klobuchar exchange weakened both of them. By definition, this helped Sanders.

Every time Warren hammered Bloomberg, Sanders must have been smiling to himself. As a seasoned veteran, Bernie must have stood there and watched in amazement as his competitors gave him a pass and fought each other.

So if the president and the socialist had a good night, who was the big loser?

Well, Bloomberg was the most battered. Klobuchar and Buttigieg were the most childish. Warren was the most effective as the rage candidate, but she was ineffective at drawing votes to herself (rage drives people away, it doesn’t attract them). And Biden had a decent but inadequate night.

Clearly, the big loser was the Democratic Party.

Coming after the absurdity of the Iowa caucus meltdown – and with warnings that Nevada may also have counting problems – the Democrats do not need to look incompetent or deeply divided. Yet, incompetent division is exactly what came out of the Nevada debate.


The simple fact is: There is a deep division between the socialist-radical wing of the Democratic Party (Sanders and Warren) and the capitalist-radical wing of the Democratic Party (everyone else).

It is a falsehood for the national media to suggest that any of the Democratic presidential candidates are moderates. They all espouse positions that are opposed by a substantial majority of Americans.

All the Democratic candidates represent an elite left-wing cultural view that believes America is a bad country of ignorant “deplorables.” They all believe their mission is to use government to profoundly change America – even if it is against the wishes of many millions of Americans.


At the same time, this radical Democratic Party proved Wednesday night that it has no coherent policy for creating jobs, solving problems or defending America.

This is why the Democratic Party was the big loser.

To read, hear, and watch more of Newt Gingrich’s commentary, visit


At least 2,126 people are now dead from the virus

Airport crew members check the fuselage of a SkyUp Airlines plane during a refueling stopover at Kiev's Boryspil International Airport in Ukraine, following the evacuation of Ukrainians and foreign nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday.Airport crew members check the fuselage of a SkyUp Airlines plane during a refueling stopover at Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport in Ukraine, following the evacuation of Ukrainians and foreign nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan on Thursday. Credit: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images

A plane carrying Ukrainian citizens and other nationals evacuated from Wuhan, China, arrived today at Kharkiv Airport in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

The statement said border guards provided clearance for 94 people arriving on the special flight: 22 crew members and accompanying medical personnel, along with 72 passengers. The ministry said the passengers included 45 Ukrainian citizens and 27 citizens of other countries, including Argentina, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Montenegro, Panama and Israel.

Video released by the ministry showed border control inspectors carrying out their inspections in full protective gear.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky defended the move, describing security measures on the flight as “unprecedented.” Passengers on board the aircraft, he added, were all healthy but would be quarantined and monitored over a period of 14 days at a medical facility belonging to the Ukrainian National Guard in the town of Novi Sanzhary.

Video circulating on social media showed local residents in the town protesting the arrival of evacuees, blocking roads and confronting police. In a Facebook post, Zelensky called on citizens to stop “attempts to block routes, block hospitals, not allow Ukrainian citizens into Ukraine.”

“The evacuees will live at the National Guard’s private medical center in Novi Sanzhary,” he said. “It will be completely isolated and put into strict bacteriological safety. Within two weeks it will probably be the safest object in the country. I sympathize with our evacuees, because I already know what it is like to be under personal protection, and their protection will be much more serious than that of the president.”

There are currently no diagnosed cases of coronavirus in Ukraine.

Federal judge shortage ‘will seriously hinder the administration of justice’ in Kern

Take a self-tour through the multi-story federal courthouse in Fresno, suggests Bakersfield attorney Matthew Clark.

What you don’t find might surprise you.

“Walk through the halls,” he says. “There’s no one there.”

Clark is exaggerating, but just barely.

The U.S. Eastern District Court of California, the federal judicial district that includes Bakersfield and the southern San Joaquin Valley, has instituted a judicial emergency order that federal Judge Dale A. Drozd asserts “will seriously hinder the administration of justice” throughout Bakersfield and Kern County and other parts of the district.

“These are uncharted waters for this court,” Drozd writes in his order, signed Feb. 3. “The emergency procedures … are being implemented reluctantly.”

The emergency is already affecting hundreds of local cases and local families, possibly thousands, including cases The Californian has covered in years past.

The district, which serves 8 million Californians is supposed to have six full-time judges, although it has been recommended that the number be doubled to 12.

“We have one judge,” Clark says.

“We are the single most impacted district in the country.”

What does that mean for individuals and families with cases pending?

For William “Lee” Johnson and his family, it’s a matter of survival. Johnson, now 60, was nearly killed in a December 2018 explosion at a compressed natural gas fueling station in Buttonwillow.

The accident has made him unemployable, and his wife, Joan, has had to tap her retirement fund to keep the family stable financially.

Joan Johnson has penned letters to local elected officials, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Lindsey Graham, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, addressing the judicial emergency.

“Until this is handled, the danger is out there for everybody,” Lee Johnson says.

Others affected include the family of Nancy Joyce Garrett, who was killed in September 2014 when Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Clerico ran a red light and slammed into Garrett’s car. Nearly six years later, that civil case is ongoing.

Lee Johnson’s son, Jerrad Johnson, lays the blame squarely on politicians. Federal judges are nominated by presidents and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. But the job has not been getting done, and he’s frustrated, as is every family member affected.

“There are over 1,000 civil cases now on hold,” Clark says. “That’s a thousand more families going through the same thing.”

Says Jerrad Johnson, “And more daily.”

What Newsom didn’t mention: To really address homelessness in California, a tax hike is inevitable

OK, I’m waiting to hear about the tax increase that will be needed to pay for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ambitious plan to solve homelessness.

A tax hike is inevitable, but the T-word was conspicuously missing from Newsom’s frequently applauded State of the State address on Wednesday to a joint session of the California Legislature, which is tightly controlled by fellow Democrats.

Not that a tax increase wouldn’t be justified to remedy what Newsom correctly called “a disgrace” in the richest state of the richest nation. But that would depend on details — about who gets taxed and how the money is spent — and probably require a special interest-sponsored ballot initiative.

For the Legislature to place a measure on this November’s ballot or to raise taxes on its own would require a two-thirds majority vote. And that’s not likely to happen, especially in an election year.


“There are 1.6 million fewer Californians living in poverty today than in 2011,” Newsom said, “but no amount of progress can camouflage the most pernicious crisis in our midst, the ultimate manifestation of poverty, screaming for our attention: homelessness….

“As Californians, we pride ourselves on our unwavering sense of compassion and justice for humankind. But there’s nothing compassionate about allowing fellow Californians to live on the streets, huddled in cars or makeshift encampments.”

The governor received a standing ovation with cheers for that line.

“The problem has persisted for decades — caused by massive failures in our mental health system and disinvestment in our social safety net, exacerbated by widening income equality and California’s housing shortage.


“The hard truth is we ignored the problem.”

And Newsom went on like that for several hundred words, redundantly reciting the problem and scolding everyone for averting their eyes — or at least trying to.

Then deep into the speech, he tucked in a vague allusion to taxes:

“The public has lost patience, you have all lost patience and I’ve lost patience,” he said. “To reverse decades of neglect and turn around a crisis this deep-rooted, we’re also going to need more than one-time funding. We need significantly sustainable revenue. It’s the truth. I know this is always the toughest thing….

“I pledge to work closely with you to identify this ongoing revenue to provide the safer, cleaner streets our communities deserve. It’s time to muster the political will to meet the moment. The people of California are demanding bold, permanent solutions….

“In order to get the job done, we’ve got to match this new money with a new legal obligation to address this crisis head on [while] requiring that our new funding isn’t replacing existing spending but creating new solutions.”

Check the code words: “sustainable revenue,” “ongoing revenue,” “new money” that “isn’t replacing existing spending.” That’s a roundabout way of spelling T-A-X.

There’s no way to acquire new money that’s ongoing and doesn’t replace existing spending without raising taxes.


I can’t see the governor and Legislature raising taxes on everyone, particularly the middle class. There’s talk of once again slamming million-dollar earners, who are already paying by far the highest state income tax rate in the nation: 13.3%. Hey, good thinking. Drive more job producers out of the Golden State.

Homelessness is everyone’s problem. And if higher taxes are needed — and maybe they are, but it’s yet to be proved — then all of us should pay for it. Targeting the rich is cowardly.

Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) plans to introduce legislation that would allocate $2 billion a year to fight homelessness. But he hasn’t identified the money source.

Meanwhile, there’s growing criticism in the Capitol about how money is being spent to combat homelessness, and it’s not coming mainly from Republicans.

Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco this week advocated a hard look at homelessness spending.

“No one today can tell me how much money is being spent on homelessness in California on all levels,” the legislator complained.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) reported Wednesday that “we have set aside $7 billion for housing solutions in recent years.”

This year, Newsom has proposed spending an additional $750 million to move homeless people into shelters. He’s also asking for nearly $700 million to expand homeless services under Medi-Cal, the healthcare program for the poor. That’s on top of the $1 billion the state has already been doling out to address homelessness.


Recently, the nonpartisan legislative analyst criticized Newsom’s budget proposal on homelessness, asserting it “falls short of articulating a clear strategy.”

That presumably was what the governor’s State of the State address was all about.

“We will reduce street homelessness quickly and humanely through emergency actions,” Newsom vowed.

“We will be laser-focused on getting the mentally ill out of tents and into treatment. We will provide stable funding to get sustainable results. We will tackle the underproduction of affordable housing. And we will do all of this with real accountability and real consequences.”

And they will raise taxes. But that wasn’t said.

Melania Trump honored by Palm Beach Atlantic University with ‘Woman of Distinction’ award

First Lady Melania Trump received a standing ovation as she took the stage to accept the award as Palm Beach Atlantic University’s (PBAU) 2020 “Woman of Distinction” on Thursday.

The private Christian university, located in West Palm Beach, Fla., usually honors two women per year who “cherish community and family and want to preserve these ideals for others,” it says. This year, Trump was the sole recipient.

The first lady, who switched her residence from New York City to Palm Beach along with her husband last year, said she was “grateful” to accept the award.


As the recipient, the first lady highlighted her #BeBest public awareness campaign, which she said focuses on children’s well-being, online safety and opioid abuse.

“It’s our job as adults to pass along wisdom and build children’s confidence so they have the best opportunity to succeed in life,” Trump told a room full of about 550 people during the event. “Technology has become a daily part of children’s lives. We live in an age where too many people allow the number of retweets and ‘likes’ to define their self-worth.”

“When we teach our children to cherish our values and care for each other, they are better prepared to carry on Americans’ legacy of compassion, service and patriotism,” the first lady added.

Trump said she had met with tech companies such as Microsoft to discuss their work in creating safer online experiences for children, and that 48 states had recently signed online safety laws into action.


Switching to the opioid abuse pillar of her Be Best campaign, Trump told the crowd she was “proud to announce” that for the first time in 29 years, drug overdose deaths have dropped by more than 4 percent, after her campaign had committed $6 billion to fight opioid abuse.

“America’s first lady has sounded the call for action,” PBAU President Bill Fleming said. “She serves as a role model with brilliance, elegance and grace.”

Global death toll from coronavirus exceeds 2,100

Jan Swartz speaks in 2017.Jan Swartz speaks in 2017. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The president of the company that owns the stricken cruise ship Diamond Princess greeted disembarking passengers in Tokyo on Wednesday, acknowledging that customers had endured a “challenging” situation following an outbreak of coronavirus on the vessel. 

“This is an unprecedented situation,” Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises, said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.

“Nobody going on vacation thinks that they’re going to be notified in the last days that they’ve got an extension … and they’re not going to be allowed to leave their cabins,” she added.

The Diamond Princess ship became a floating quarantine zone earlier this month. Dozens of passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus, effectively trapping more than 3,000 people, including 428 Americans, on board. 

A total of 624 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been linked to the boat — the largest outbreak outside of China.

Swartz also specifically highlighted the actions of the ship’s crew. Japan’s government did not allow the roughly 1,000 crew members to be quarantined unless they took ill, instead asking them to work and serve the rest of the passengers throughout the two-week period. 

“I think the guests and our crew who came together to help support each other, from 57 different countries and regions around the world really lifted each other’s hearts, as did social media play a critical role in that.”

“Our guests shared stories about living in the cabin for 14 days, clearly it was an uncomfortable, challenging situation,” Swartz added.

Even though the departing passengers have tested negative for the virus and endured the 14-day quarantine, there is mounting evidence from infectious disease experts that they could unknowingly be carrying the virus back into their communities.

On Monday, the United States evacuated more than 300 American passengers who had tested negative for the virus from the Diamond Princess, only to discover that more than a dozen of them were infected. 

Canada, Australia and Hong Kong have arranged charter flights to take their citizens home after they leave the ship.

Princess Cruises, which operates a fleet of 20 ships, is the third largest cruise line in the world.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak onboard the Diamond Princess, the company has canceled dozens of sailings, and is moving one of its ships, the Sapphire Princess, from Shanghai to Australia.

Shares in Princess Cruises’ parent company Carnival Corporation are down nearly 16% for the year. Carnival said last week that the hit to global bookings and canceled voyages “will have a material impact” on its finances. 

Carnival runs its flagship Carnival Cruise Line, the Princess Cruises brand and the Holland America Line, whose fleet includes the Westerdam, a ship that has been linked to one confirmed case of the coronavirus.

Passenger weeps after leaving cruise ship quarantine: