NBC receives blowback following Oprah tweet

NBC is facing backlash on social media for a tweet calling Oprah Winfrey the future president.

In response to a Seth Meyers joke at the Golden Globes, the network tweeted “Nothing but respect for OUR future president” to its 1.77 million followers along with a photo of Oprah from the Hollywood event Sunday night.

The tweet seems to reference a well-known meme that went viral in 2017, when people posted various situations along with the caption “Nothing but respect for MY president.”

The network said on Monday morning that the tweet was sent by a “third party agency” for its entertainment division and had been “removed.”


There is speculation that the 63-year-old is considering running for president in 2020 against President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE. The television host, producer and philanthropist has denied she will seek the office, but a fiery speech during the Golden Globes has refueled speculation.

The tweet from the network came after Golden Globes host Seth Meyers said in his opening monologue that his ribbing of Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in 2011 may have been what compelled the real estate mogul to run for president.

“In 2011, I told some jokes about our current president at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Jokes about how he was unqualified to be president. Some have said that night convinced him to run,” Meyers said before delivering the joke’s punchline.

“So if that’s true, I just want to say: Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes!”

Following the joke and NBC’s tweet, the network quickly faced blowback on social media, with some joking she would be the network’s next president.

Oprah was being honored for the annual Cecil B. DeMille Award, marking the first time a black woman has received the honor since it was first awarded in 1952.

“It is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given the same award. It is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them,” Winfrey said to applause. 

–This report was updated at 10:39 a.m.


Small electrical fire breaks out at Trump Tower in New York City

Police stand outside the Fifth Avenue, public, entrance to Trump Tower. | AP Photo

President Donald Trump was in Washington, not New York, at the time of the fire at Trump Tower. | Kathy Willens/AP Photo


Firefighters in New York responded Monday morning to a small fire on the roof of Trump Tower, the Manhattan skyscraper where President Donald Trump keeps an apartment, according to a New York Daily News report.

Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons who helps run the family’s business empire, wrote on Twitter that “there was a small electrical fire in a cooling tower on the roof of Trump Tower,” adding that “The New York Fire Department was here within minutes and did an incredible job. The men and women of the #FDNY are true heroes and deserve our most sincere thanks and praise!”

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Trump was in Washington, not New York, at the time of the fire, having spent the bulk of last weekend at Camp David. News of the fire was also reported by NBC’s “Today” show and ABC News.

The Daily News reported that the fire was quickly handled by firefighters, who continued to examine the scene to ensure the fire did not spread. There were no immediately reported injuries and no immediate word as to the cause of the fire.

In addition to Trump’s personal triplex apartment, the president’s campaign and transition offices were also housed in Trump Tower, as is the office he used as the head of the Trump Organization.


Who’s who in the Bulgarian EU presidency

Bulgaria, one of the EU’s newest and poorest members, faces big challenges as it begins its first ever six-month turn at the helm of the Council of the EU.

Sofia’s presidency motto may be “United we stand strong” but it will have to cope with talks on Brexit and the EU’s next long-term budget while battling problems at home, where its anti-corruption measures have come under fire from all sides, where confidence in politicians is low and where, for the first time in the country’s post-communist history, a populist party (the United Patriots) has made it into government.

The Bulgarian government says its four priorities for the presidency, which kicked off on January 1, are a focus on the future of Europe; improving relations with the Western Balkans (“We want to be a Balkan presidency because we know the area so well,” said EU Affairs Minister Lilyana Pavlova); the digital single market; and security and stability, ranging from refugee policies to defense coordination.

Here’s who to watch out for:

Boyko Borisov, prime minister 

Boyko Borisov | Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Borisov can claim the most interesting CV at the EU summit table. A former bodyguard and karate master, Borisov has twice served as prime minister and is a Brexit dove who broke ranks with other EU leaders in late 2017 to declare that Europe can’t afford a hard Brexit. In his first term as prime minister, Borisov said he hoped that Bulgaria would join the Schengen passport-free zone in 2011, but that still hasn’t happened. Borisov dislikes small talk, usually conducts English conversations via an interpreter and can often be seen playing with his smartphone in meetings.

Mariya Gabriel, European commissioner

Mariya Gabriel | Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

No Bulgarian in Brussels was luckier in 2017 than Gabriel. Plucked from seemingly nowhere (she was an MEP, but a low-profile one) to replace Kristalina Georgieva, who left the European Commission for the World Bank, Gabriel not only won a plum commissioner role, her status as European People’s Party favorite shielded her from ethical and policy scrutiny (though some reviews of her performance on the job were not good). The luck will almost certainly run out in 2018. Gabriel will be forced to prove her policy mettle and take on the unwritten roles of being Bulgaria’s polished face in Brussels, and protecting the EPP brand. Bulgaria has been unable to put to bed questions about the country’s corruption problem, and the current coalition government — led by EPP member Borisov — is propped up by extreme parties. As a former vice president of the party in the European Parliament and wife of François Gabriel, a senior EPP official, Gabriel is well-placed to keep a lid on trouble originating back in Sofia.

Eva Maydell, MEP

Eva Maydell | European Parliament audiovisual

Elected to the European Parliament before she turned 30, Maydell (previously Eva Paunova) is the go-to figure on Bulgaria’s EU integration, and is seen as a rising star and Bulgaria’s safest pair of hands in Brussels. Well respected within EU circles, she was recently elected president of European Movement International, a federalist lobbying association. A digital nerd, she represents a new wave of cosmopolitan Bulgarians breaking free from the country’s communist past.

Dimiter Tzantchev, permanent representative to the EU

Dimiter Tzantchev | European Commission audiovisual

A former child actor (his father, Tzantcho Tzantchev, was a film director) and journalist, Tzantchev comes from one of Bulgaria’s most well-to-do families. He is a former head of the NATO section of Bulgaria’s foreign affairs department and has worked at the World Intellectual Property Organization, which plays a role in controversial copyright debates.

Lilyana Pavlova, EU affairs minister

Lilyana Pavlova | European Commission audiovisual

Pavlova is also the minister responsible for coordinating the Bulgarian presidency and carries an enthusiastic pro-EU message wherever she goes. She told POLITICO in late 2017 that her buzzwords are unity and compromise. “We are really keen on compromise whenever needed. We want common decisions, whether border control or defense union, and application of PESCO [the EU’s new deal on defense cooperation],” Pavlova said.

Mina Andreeva, European Commission deputy spokesperson

Mina Andreeva | European Commission audiovisual

Andreeva, a dual Bulgarian-German national, is Jean-Claude Juncker’s deputy spokesperson. A loyal lieutenant of Juncker’s powerful chief of staff Martin Selmayr, Andreeva hopes to serve as a bridge between Eurocrats, national officials and national media, helping to ensure the country is not overwhelmed by its presidency tasks.

Valeri Simeonov, deputy prime minister

Valeri Simeonov | Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

Simeonov is a controversial figure and a member of the United Patriots coalition, which came third in the snap parliamentary election last March and props up Borisov’s government. In October 2017, Simeonov was found guilty of inciting hate against the Roma community by calling them “arrogant, ferocious anthropoids [sub-humans]” and saying Roma women had “the instincts of stray b–ches.” If anyone is going to embarrass the Bulgarian government during its presidency, it’s Simeonov.

Rumen Radev, president

Rumen Radev | Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

A former air force commander and daredevil fighter jet pilot, Radev is backed by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and ran as Russia’s de facto candidate in the 2016 presidential election. Bulgaria has a long history of promoting Russian interests, and Radev’s election appeared to mark a return to that tradition after the pro-Western presidency of Rosen Plevneliev. Since his election, Radev has shown a surprising degree of independence from his backers, and in the first week of January vetoed a draft anti-corruption law he considered to fall short of its aims.

Georgi Gotev and Krassen Nikolov, journalists

Gotev and Nikolov are the brains behind BulgarianPresidency.eu, a website that claims to “help the understanding of those who are interested in Bulgaria, in Bulgaria’s EU relations and in Bulgaria’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.” Gotev, a long-time Brussels-based journalist for Euractiv, is known for getting under the skin of Commission spokespeople. Nikolov specializes in judicial affairs and works for Mediapool.

Sergei Stanishev, leader of the Party of European Socialists

Sergei Stanishev | Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images

Political parties have a choice during an EU presidency: come together in defense of national pride and interest, or tear each other apart using their EU platform for domestic political gain. With the center-left out of government in Bulgaria, and out of favor across much of Europe, the extent of Stanishev’s generosity toward his political rivals will help determine how the Bulgarian presidency and the country’s future eurozone and Schengen zone prospects are seen once the presidency is in the rear-view mirror.

*An honorary Bulgarian for the purposes of this list is Nicholas Whyte, a senior director at the consultancy APCO, which counts the Bulgarian government among its clients. Whyte used to run the Brussels office of Independent Diplomat, advising Kosovo on achieving independence and Croatia on winning EU membership.


Trump attorneys discussing options for potential Mueller interview: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE‘s legal team is reportedly talking about possible formats in case special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE asks to interview Trump in the Russia probe.

Lawyers for the president have spoken with FBI investigators about a potential interview, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Trump’s legal team has reportedly talked about options for the interview that include written responses to questions instead of a sit-down interview.

A person with direct knowledge of the discussions said they were ongoing and preliminary, according to NBC News.


Trump’s legal team is reportedly looking to find out if Trump would be directly interviewed by Mueller. They are also looking to find out information about the issues that would be brought up during such an interview and how long the potential interview would be.

According to NBC News, Trump’s legal team is also talking about whether the potential interview could be avoided through a compromise.

Talks about the potential interview by members of Trump’s legal team reportedly started last year after Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJudge warns Manafort not to discuss case with media Manafort involved in drafting op-ed defending his Ukrainian work: court papers Trump went off on Manafort for suggesting he should not appear on Sunday shows: report MORE, was indicted.

In late December, members of Trump’s legal team reportedly spoke with with representatives from Mueller’s office.

Mueller is currently investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the Russia investigation as a witch hunt and has denied collusion.


Trump fixes ‘enormously consensual’ presidency tweet

President Donald Trump is pictured. | AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s praise for a newspaper columnist is relatively rare, breaking with his normal modus operandi of attacking reporters and media outlets that he feels cover him unfairly. | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

For a few minutes Sunday night, President Donald Trump claimed his has been an “enormously consensual” presidency.

The claim was a typo, part of a string of tweets excerpting a New York Post column praising Trump’s administration. The original post was soon replaced with a new one that contained the correct word, “consequential,” but that didn’t stop the president’s tweet from becoming the subject of online ridicule.

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“‘His is turning out to be an enormously consensual presidency. So much so that there has never been a day that I wished Hillary Clinton were President. Not one. Indeed, as Trump’s accomplishments accumulate, the mere thought of Clinton in the W.H., doubling down on Obama’s failed policies, washes away any doubts that America made the right choice,” Trump originally wrote, citing a weekend column by the Post’s Michael Goodwin. “’This was truly a change election, and the changes Trump is bringing are far-reaching and necessary.’ Thank you Michael Goodwin! (Please read entire column) mgoodwin@nypost.com”

The tweet stood out in part because multiple women have accused the president of harassment or abuse. Trump was also caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women without consequence. The president has denied the accusations against him.

Trump’s praise for a newspaper columnist is relatively rare, breaking with his normal modus operandi of attacking reporters and media outlets that he feels cover him unfairly. He has regularly attacked The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN and NBC News, among others.

After promising last week to announce them on Monday, Trump announced over the weekend that “the Fake News Awards,” which he has apparently invented as a means to skewer “ the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media” will be handed out on Wednesday.