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Ben Carson calls poverty 'a state of mind'

Retired neurosurgeon and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is certainly no stranger to controversial statements.

>> Read more trending news

Carson’s latest controversial comment was captured during a Wednesday appearance on a Sirius XM radio show.

“I think poverty, to a large extent, is also a state of mind,” he said. “You take somebody that has the right mindset, you take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you could give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom.”

>> Related: Ben Carson calls slaves 'immigrants'

Carson suggested that parenting plays a large role in determining poverty.

“A lot of it has to do with what we teach children ... You have to instill into that child the mindset of a winner,” he said. “If everybody had a mother like mine, nobody would be in poverty. She was a person who absolutely would not accept the status of victim.”

Carson said government can help.

“It can provide the ladder of opportunity. It can provide the mechanism that will demonstrate to them what can be done,” he said.

>> Related: Ben Carson has a new plan to decrease government dependence, and it starts with a change to public housing

Several people criticized Carson and said he is out of touch.

Carson’s full comments can be heard below.

Sean Hannity speaks out after Fox News retracts Seth Rich story

Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was shot and killed in 2016 in what authorities have said was an attempted robbery.

Since his death, some conservative media outlets have suggested that Rich had been in contact with WikiLeaks – a claim Rich's family said it had "seen no evidence" of – and may have been killed for political purposes, CNN reported. Recent developments regarding former FBI Director James Comey’s firing and the investigation into any potential collusion between President Donald Trump’s administration and the Russian government also were met with stories suggesting a cover-up in Rich’s death.

>> Read more trending news

The slain DNC staffer’s family has since asked outlets to stop touting the conspiracy theory, according to CNN.

On Tuesday, Fox News retracted one of its stories about Rich.

Many wondered how Fox News anchor Sean Hannity would react, as he has spent a great deal of time discussing the conspiracy theory.

On Tuesday, Hannity told his radio audience that he would stay the course.

“I feel so badly for this family and what they have been through and what they are going through,” he said, mentioning the family’s desire to “find the truth.” Hannity also said he sent his “thoughts and prayers.”

>> Listen here

From there, Hannity said finding a connection between WikiLeaks and a whistleblower in the DNC – “take Seth out of it” – was important as “the Russia collusion narrative is hanging by a thread.” Hannity suggested that the existence of the whistleblower would show that the source of the WikiLeaks revelation came from an internal source, not Russia.

“These are questions that I have a moral obligation to ask,” he said, promising to “do the mainstream media’s job.”

“And all you in the liberal media, I am not FoxNews.com. I retracted nothing,” he added.

Audio from Hannity’s show was shared by several sources, including liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America. The Fox News anchor accused the organization of trying to get him fired, referencing its published list of his advertisers:

But later Tuesday evening, Hannity appeared to soften his tone during his television show.

"Out of respect for the family's wishes for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time," Hannity said.

He added, “To the extent to my ability, I am not going to stop trying to find the truth. ... And at the proper time, we shall continue and talk a lot more." 

>> Watch the clip here

Photos: Trumps meet Pope Francis at Vatican

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their entourage – including first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner – met Pope Francis at the Vatican during the president’s trip to Italy.

Monica Lewinsky rips Roger Ailes for launching 'culture of exploitation'

Monica Lewinsky penned an op-ed piece in the New York Times ripping former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who died last week.

She opened her piece by saying her words are not meant to be another obituary for Ailes, but "I hope, instead, an obituary for the culture he purveyed — a culture that affected me profoundly and personally,” she wrote.

>> Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes dead at 77

She continued, “Just two years after Rupert Murdoch appointed Mr. Ailes to head the new cable news network, my relationship with President Bill Clinton became public. Mr. Ailes, a former Republican political operative, took the story of the affair and the trial that followed and made certain his anchors hammered it ceaselessly, 24 hours a day.”

>> Medical examiner: Roger Ailes' death was accidental

She emphasized that their tactic worked like a charm. The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal hooked viewers as it unraveled, turning casual viewers into Fox loyalists. Fox cemented itself as the No. 1 news station, where it has remained for the last 15 years. Lewinsky also said that last year, the network made about $2.3 billion.

Lewinsky called it “a culture of exploitation,” and she railed on the environment fostered at Fox News and other cable news networks that use titillating stories to drive ratings.

"Their dream was my nightmare. My character, my looks and my life were picked apart mercilessly,” Lewinsky wrote. “Truth and fiction mixed at random in the service of higher ratings. My family and I huddled at home, worried about my going to jail — I was the original target of Kenneth Starr’s investigation, threatened with 27 years for having been accused of signing a false affidavit and other alleged crimes — or worse, me taking my own life. Meantime, Mr. Ailes huddled with his employees at Fox News, dictating a lineup of talking heads to best exploit this personal and national tragedy."

>> Read more trending news

Lewinsky said the firing of Ailes after sexual harassment allegations, and more recently the firing of disgraced former Fox News ratings king Bill O’Reilly following multiple sexual harassment allegations and some $13 million in settlements paid to women, shows that Fox News’ culture extended beyond the ratings game.

“The irony of Mr. Ailes’s career at Fox — that he harnessed a sex scandal to build a cable juggernaut and then was brought down by his own — was not lost on anyone who has been paying attention,” Lewinsky wrote.

Trump condemns 'evil losers' behind Manchester attack

President Donald Trump on Tuesday slammed the perpetrators behind Monday night’s suicide bomb attack in Manchester, England, that claimed 22 lives and injured nearly 60 other people.

>> Read more trending news

Greater Manchester police said a person detonated a suicide bomb Monday near one of the entrances to Manchester Arena, following an Ariana Grande concert. Police said children were among those killed or injured.

Speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump offered his condolences and condemned the “wicked ideology” that led to the attack.

“(There were) so many young, beautiful, innocent people -- living and enjoying their lives -- murdered by evil losers in life,” Trump said. “I won't call them monsters, because they would like that term. They would think that's a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that's what they are: losers.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack, although authorities said they had yet to uncover any connections between suspected suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, and any wider terrorist organization.

“The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever,” Trump said. “This wicket ideology must be obliterated, and innocent life must be protected. All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and peace.”

The White House said Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May after the attack and offered his condolences and support on behalf of the United States.

"We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom," Trump wrote Tuesday morning in a tweet.

Trump’s remarks came during his first foreign trip as president, a sweep of five countries over nine days. The president was in Rome on Tuesday for a meeting with Pope Francis. He has already visited Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Conspiracy-theory website InfoWars gets White House press pass

The website owned by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, InfoWars, received a press credential to cover the White House, its man in Washington tweeted Monday.

The pass was apparently a temporary, one-day pass but that did little to tamp down the outrage.

It’s the latest entrée into the mainstream for Jones, a man who turned a show on an Austin, Texas, public access channel into a conspiracy theory-pumping media empire, funded by hawking survivalists products — and who has come under increasing scrutiny as his fame has grown. 

>> Read more trending news

Jones shot to national prominence after declaring the 2012 shooting deaths of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, was a government hoax designed to take away gun rights. Connecticut’s U.S. senator, Chris Murphy, took to Twitter to blast InfoWars getting the press credential. 

Beyond the Sandy Hook conspiracy, Jones recently retracted two conspiracy theories he peddled under threat of legal action: One claimed that the basement of a local Washington, D.C., pizza joint served as the nerve-center of a child abuse ring allegedly linked to Hillary Clinton. (For starters, the building has no basement.) The other claimed that Idaho yogurt company Chobani was caught “importing migrant rapists.”

Those retractions came as Jones fought to retain sole custody of his children in a Travis County family court, where his attorneys argued that his show persona was just an act. (Jones’ ex-wife would go on to win joint custody.)

Meanwhile, Jones’ man in Washington, Jerome Corsi has a long and controversial track record as well. In 2011, he authored “Where’s The Birth Certificate?" which was published three weeks after President Barack Obama released his birth certificate to combat the conspiracy theory he was not born in the United States.

That theory was promoted by Jones and made famous by now-President Donald Trump.

Years earlier, in 2004, Corsi was a central figure in the “Swift Boat” attacks on then-Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts that included co-authoring a book questioning Kerry’s war record.

Watch: Melania Trump appears to slap away president's hand in Israel

An awkward moment played out on the tarmac of an airport in Israel on Monday after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived as part of the couple’s first trip abroad since the president’s inauguration.

>> Read more trending news

As news crews from around the globe documented the couple’s walk from Air Force One, Donald Trump reached back to offer his wife his hand. After he turns to look forward, Melania Trump appears to swat the president’s hand away.

Donald Trump smooths over his tie and adjusts his coat after the rejection.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz slowed down the moment for anyone who missed the flick. No doubt echoing the thoughts of an untold number of viewers, the newspaper tweeted the video with a single word: “Ouch.”

It’s not the first time Melania Trump’s reactions to her husband have come under scrutiny.

>> Related: Melania Trump’s scowl on inauguration day sparks ‘Free Melania’ hashtag

A clip of the first lady went viral in January after Donald Trump’s inauguration. In the clip, Melania Trump shoots a bright smile at her husband as he appears to mouth words at her. As soon as the president turned his back, however, the smile slipped from his wife’s face.

Trump budget proposal includes 25 percent cut to food stamps: report

President Donald Trump will propose a more than 25 percent cut to food stamp funding in a budget proposal expected Tuesday, according to a report.

>> Read more trending news

The president will propose $193 billion worth of cuts over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program, The Associated Press reported, citing talking points circulated by the White House.

The program currently serves about 42 million people, according to numbers released in February by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cuts would drive millions of people off food stamps through changes in eligibility guidelines and the implementation of additional work requirements, according to The AP.

SNAP’s current work requirement is aimed at cutting benefits to the “most able-bodied adults who don’t have children,” The Washington Post reported.

About 44 million people spread across 21 million households got benefits through SNAP last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Officials said participants got an average of $125 per month, while households got an average of $258. The program cost $70.9 billion in 2016.

Trump’s budget proposal is also expected to include large cuts to Medicaid, federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies.

Sinkhole opens outside Trump's Mar-a-Lago in Florida

A sinkhole has opened in front of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, according to an email alert from the Town of Palm Beach in Florida.

>> Read more trending news

The sinkhole is just west of Mar-a-Lago’s southern entrance, where workers are gathered.

The 4-foot by 4-foot hole is in front of the club and appears to be near a new water main on Southern Boulevard, the alert said. Utility crews from West Palm Beach secured the sinkhole and likely will be doing exploratory excavation today.

A worker on scene said crews cut around the sinkhole and will dig to find the problem. It’s unclear how long that will take.

>> See the latest updates from the Palm Beach Post

It was unclear from the alert if traffic would be affected, or if the road is damaged.

Billy Bush opens up about Trump 'Access Hollywood' tape

It’s been almost seven months, and Billy Bush is ready to talk.

Bush opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about the infamous “locker room talk” tape involving President Donald Trump that resulted in Bush losing his job at NBC. In the column, he said that he’s seen the tape only three times, once just before it was leaked and twice ahead of the interview with THR.

He admitted that seeing the tape left him feeling “totally and completely gutted.”

>> Read more trending news

“Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic,” he said. “(Trump) liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”

Bush also claimed that “plenty of people” knew about the tapes at NBC.

“I was kind of bopping along, and I don’t know if it was God or what that said, ‘OK, you’ve developed. You’re a pretty good guy. Let’s see how you handle this.’ And ka-boom!” he said. “It all comes apart.”

Despite being fired, Bush said he remains in contact with "Today” show co-hosts Matt Lauer and Hoda Kotb. As for his plans for the future, Bush said he is still hoping to get back into TV.

He has been pitching a new series to focus on pop culture, sports and celebrity interviews and said he hopes to show fans his softer, more empathetic side.

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