Nicole Lafond

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.

Articles by Nichole

After Donald Trump was elected as then-President Barack Obama’s successor, Obama processed the news with short dashes of anger and self reflection, according to a New York Times review of longtime Obama adviser Benjamin Rhodes’ new book.

“What if we were wrong,” Obama reportedly asked aides after reading a column about the gap between liberals and middle America conservatives. “Maybe we pushed too far. … Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”

In the days following the 2016 election, Obama attempted to cheer up his crestfallen staff. He sent Rhodes a note saying “There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth,” the former deputy national security adviser recalls. But Obama’s tone with staff fluctuated between optimism and irritability, Rhodes wrote.

At one point Obama told staff that “maybe” Trump is “what people want.”

“I’ve got the economy set up well for him,” Rhodes remembers Obama saying. “No facts. No consequences. They can just have a cartoon.”

During Trump’s first visit to the White House after the election, Rhodes said the President-elect was hellbent on maneuvering the conversation back to himself and his popularity at campaign rallies. He reportedly admitted that he knew that he and Obama could draw a big crowd, but that Hillary Clinton could not, per the Times.

Read the Times’ full report here. 

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday called Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet “inappropriate” and said “no one is defending” the comments before reading a prepared statement calling out media personalities for not apologizing to the White House for attacks on President Donald Trump.

“The President is simply calling out the media bias, no one is defending what she said,” Sanders said. “The President is the President of all Americans and he’s focused on doing what is best for our country.”

In response to news that ABC had cancelled the “Roseanne” reboot and called the Obama administration officials whom Barr attacked — Valerie Jarrett — to apologize for Barr’s tweet, Trump made the debacle about him.

In a smug tweet, Trump questioned why the CEO of Disney (which owns ABC) had not called him to apologize for all the “HORRIBLE” things ABC had said about him.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to deliver an on camera press briefing at 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday. Watch live below:

Less than 24 hours after one of President Donald Trump’s favorite ABC shows was canceled, the President offered his two-cents on the “Roseanne” racism scandal via Twitter on Wednesday.

In an less-than-subtly smug tweet, Trump mused about why Disney CEO Bob Iger (Disney is the parent company of ABC) took the time to call former Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett to apologize for the racist comments ABC star Roseanne Barr tweeted about her, but never apologized to him for the “HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC.” It’s unclear what “statements” Trump is referencing in the tweet, but it likely relates to ABC News’ coverage of his presidency.

“Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” he asked.

While ever the Barr enthusiast, Trump did not appear to defend her or her comments about Jarrett that led to the demise of her show.

Early Tuesday morning, Barr responded to a Twitter thread about the Obama administration with a racist comment about Jarrett: “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,”

Barr apologized for the tweet about Jarrett’s “looks,” but her reboot, highly rated show on ABC was cancelled hours later. Barr has since asked her followers not to defend her remarks, while asserting that she didn’t know Jarrett was black and claiming she was “Ambien tweeting” when she made the remarks.

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In a series of tweet quoting Rep. Trey Gowdy’s (R-SC) comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Fox News Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump admitted he wished he had picked a different lawyer to lead to Justice Department.

“I wish I did!” he said.

The tweet comes amid a report from the New York Times Tuesday evening that Trump asked Sessions to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation last March. Sessions declined, according to the Times.

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After losing her self-titled reboot show “Roseanne” and apologizing to Valerie Jarrett for what Roseanne Barr claimed was an unintentionally racist tweet, Barr blamed “Ambien tweeting” for the insolent remark.

In a since-deleted tweet, Barr asked her followers to stop defending her for comparing Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, to the “muslim brotherhood” and the “planet of the apes.”

“It was 2 in the morning and I was Ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible,” Barr said in the deleted tweet. “I made a mistake I wish I hadn’t but…don’t defend it please.”

Just hours after Barr apologized for the remark and vowed to leave Twitter, ABC cancelled her recently rebooted, highly rated show. The show, which focuses on “Roseanne,” a President Trump supporter and her family, who are not, has garnered the attention of the President himself, who bragged about her ratings in a speech in Ohio in March.

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President Donald Trump led the crowd at a campaign-style rally in Nashville on Tuesday in booing Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as Trump, again, attacked the senior senator for his “no” vote on repealing and replacing Obamacare last year.

“We had it done, folks, it was done, and then early in the morning somebody turned their hand in the wrong direction,” Trump said, referencing McCain without using his name. “The person that voted that way only talked repeal and replace. He campaigned on it.

The jabs on Tuesday evening were the first time Trump has spoken publicly about McCain since it was reported that one of Trump’s communications aides made a morbid joke about McCain “dying” during an internal White House meeting. McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer last year and has been in Arizona recovering from treatment in recent weeks.

Rather than apologize for the remark or discipline the staffer, Kelly Sadler, the White House has used the incident to crack down on leaks by decreasing the number of people invited to participate in daily communications briefings and reportedly making plans to downsize the communications department.

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Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), told Fox News on Tuesday that after attending the President Trump-mandated classified Justice Department briefing last week, he’s “convinced” the FBI acted correctly in deploying an informant to meet with Trump campaign officials.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got and that it has nothing to do with Trump,” he said Tuesday evening.

The senior House Republican on the Intelligence Committee also said that after sitting in on the classified meeting, he thinks the FBI was actually just following directives from Trump himself.

“It looks to me like the FBI was doing what President Trump said: ‘I want you to do, find it out,’” Gowdy told Fox News. “President Trump himself in the Comey memos said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it.’ Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”

Gowdy’s comments represent a small rift among Republicans who don’t align with Trump’s reaction to reports that an FBI informant met with officials on his campaign during the election. Just last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) appeared to break with the President as well, contending that an “informant is not a spy.”

Trump and his allies have seized on reports of the informant to perpetuate the narrative that a “spy” infiltrated his campaign. Deeming the whole ordeal “spygate,” Trump is convinced the news solidifies his belief in a “deep state” within the Justice Department working to undermine him.

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Before spending a full year publicly berating his attorney general and his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump tried to get Jeff Sessions to change his mind about the probe, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Sessions was reportedly dispatched to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2017 to try to get the President to make an important decision about his travel ban. Instead Trump scolded Sessions about his recusal and asked him to “reverse his decision,” in the Times’ words.

Sessions refused and the Mar-a-Lago conversation is now being probed by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Trump’s attacks on his attorney general this past year and his attempts to get Sessions to leave the administration.

Trump was fixated on Sessions’ recusal for months last year and even floated the idea of Sessions reversing his decision to aides, people briefed on the matter told the Times. Trump reportedly argued that former President Barack Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, “would never have recused himself from a case that threatened to tarnish” Obama, and Trump told advisers he wanted that same brand of allegiance from his attorney general, according to the Times.

While Sessions and Trump used to be friends — they often had meals together and regularly spoke on the phone before the recusal, per the Times — the two now rarely speak outside of meetings and even took separate flights to attend the same event in New Hampshire in March, according to current and former White House officials who spoke with the Times.

Trump has also reportedly told friends he wants to get rid of Sessions, but won’t because Senate Republicans have signaled they won’t approved another attorney general.

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Hours after Roseanne Barr issued a Twitter apology for making racist comments about an ex-Obama administration official, Valerie Jarrett, ABC announced Tuesday it was canceling her self-titled reboot show, “Roseanne.”

In a statement tweeted by ABC News, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey called the tweet “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

On Tuesday morning, Barr apologized for “making a bad joke about (Jarrett’s) politics and her looks,” after responding to a conspiracy-laden Twitter thread claiming Jarrett and the Obama administration spied on the French president.

“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr tweeted early Tuesday morning, a clear attack on Jarrett’s race as an African-American.

The relaunch of “Roseanne,” a sitcom originally aired in the 1980s about a working class family in Illinois, was met with high ratings and criticism. The reboot episodes have been primarily focused on the tension between Roseanne, a Trump supporter, and her family. The relaunch even earned a tweet from the President.

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