Happening Today: Trump, CPAC, Trans Rights, W…

What to Know

  • President Trump will speak to the nation’s top conservatives at the CPAC conference today

  • Celebrities joined other advocates for trans rights in condemning a decision by the White House to roll back bathroom protections

  • A banned chemical weapon killed the estranged half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, officials said

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Trump Splits GOP and Dems, Poll Shows

Fifty-four percent of Americans somewhat or strongly disapprove of the way President Donald Trump is handling the presidency after a month in office, while 43 percent approve somewhat or strongly, according to the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll. NBC News reported that Trump enjoys broad support from within his party, but few outside of it, with evident divisions along gender and racial lines as well. Nine of 10 Republicans or people who lean Republican approve of Trump’s performance as president.

Trump to Address Top Conservatives

Trump’s upcoming speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference is designed to be one of appreciation, White House senior strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday. “He understands, at CPAC there are many, many, many voices,” he said. “This is the room where he got his launch.” Bannon said Breitbart News, which he led before joining Trump’s team last summer, and other conservative outlets first took note of the brash billionaire at his CPAC debut. And that’s where Trump first began understanding the conservatives who years later would help him win the presidency. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence and top aides delivered one overriding message to the thousands of conservative activists gathered for their annual conference outside of Washington: Don’t blow it.

Celebs Blast Rollback of Trans Rights

Caitlyn Jenner late Thursday joined a chorus of celebrities criticizing President Trump’s decision to roll back a federal rule saying public schools had to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender identity. The rule had already been blocked from enforcement, but transgender advocates view the Trump administration action as a step back for transgender rights. Meanwhile, New Yorkers rallied in support of transgender students at the famed Stonewall Inn Thursday as Gov. Cuomo issued a directive urging the state Department of Education to make clear to all school districts that transgender students be shielded from discrimination and harassment.

White House: Crackdown on Legal Weed Likely

The Justice Department will step up enforcement of federal law against recreational marijuana, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday, offering the Trump administration’s strongest indication to date of a looming crackdown on the drug, even as a solid majority of Americans believe it should be legal. “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said in response to a question during a news conference. But he offered no details about what such enforcement would entail.

Nerve Agent Killed Kim Jong Nam: Officials

The banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean ruler’s outcast half brother who was attacked by two women who rubbed the substance on his face at the airport in Malaysia’s capital last week, police said Friday. Authorities were checking the Kuala Lumpur airport for traces of the toxin, 11 days after the attack. But news that a powerful nerve agent was used to kill someone in a crowded airport raised serious questions about public safety.

Stream of Pregnant Giraffe Causes Stir

YouTube apparently restored an upstate New York zoo’s livestream of a giraffe preparing to give birth that had been abruptly suspended Thursday after animal activists complained about “nudity and sexual content” in violation of the site’s policy. More than 20 million had been viewing the cam, placed in the stall of “April” the giraffe at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, in anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf. Then suddenly, the stream stopped

Beyonce Backs out of Coachella

Beyonce, who is pregnant with twins, will not perform at Coachella this year, but will headline the festival in 2018. In a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday, Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment and festival producer Goldenvoice said the pop star had to pull out of the famed festival under doctor’s orders. It was not clear who will perform in her absence. Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar will also headline the two-weekend festival in Indio, California.

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