May 6, 2017

Why the White House fired the first woman usher

AP

The White House fired its chief usher, Angella Reid, the first woman and second African American to hold the position, the WashPost's Ashley Parker and Krissah Thompson scooped: "Reached by phone, Reid declined to comment, saying only, "I think it's best if the White House explains.'"

Scoop: Here's Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story," from our inside sources:

  • Reid was great with President Trump and the First Lady, but was considered mean by nearly everyone else (White House and household staff).
  • The workers — who are proud of where they serve and are not paid a lot — did not feel respected. Morale was low. People were in tears on a few occasions.
  • When her departure was announced to the residence staff yesterday morning, workers burst into applause.
  • Reid had been fired the night before and allowed to clean out her belongings when the staff was gone. She received a generous severance package, and the White House will give a glowing recommendation to anyone who asks.

Reid oversaw the residence and events "at the 132-room mansion and its staff of over 90 plumbers, electricians, butlers, cooks and others," AP's Darlene Superville explained.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who got strong reviews for her on-camera debut as fill-in White House briefer, while Sean Spicer was on Navy Reserve duty) confirmed the departure but wouldn't say why.

History note ... "Backstairs at the White House" was the title of a weekend column by the late Helen Thomas, when she — and UPI — were big deals.

Go deeper

Concern over coronavirus spread: Italy, South Korea and Iran report more cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain each reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus, Al Jazeera first reported, as infections in South Korea, Italy and mainland China continued to increase on Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 mins ago - Health

In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump was addressing a massive rally after arriving with members of the U.S. first family in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday for a two-day visit.

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is demonstrating the importance of the visit by holding a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 52 mins ago - World

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy