NPR News

President Trump inherited it with the presidency, and now is putting the albatross that is Afghanistan around his own neck.

On Monday, Trump became the third consecutive commander in chief to authorize a major deployment of American troops. He explained his reasoning following months of deliberation — which followed years of skepticism before he launched his political career.

Five years ago, before he was a candidate for president, Donald Trump was pretty sure he knew what to do about Afghanistan. It was a losing proposition, "a complete waste" in terms of "blood and treasure."

"Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back?" he asked on Twitter in 2012. "Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!"

More recently, candidate Trump was less certain about exactly when the U.S. should exit the struggle he railed against continuing.

The list of charities and nonprofits that have canceled fundraising events at Mar-a-Lago continues to grow. At least 20 groups now have pulled out of galas that had been scheduled for President Trump's country club in Palm Beach, Fla.

In announcing the cancellations, many of the groups cited the controversy surrounding Trump's recent comments that "both sides were to blame" for the violence that occurred during a white supremacists' rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Eclipses are among the most predictable events on the planet. This one was known about for many decades before it crossed the U.S. earlier Monday.

Accordingly, people had been planning eclipse road trips for weeks in advance. They piled into planes and cars and made their way to the 70-mile-wide swath of land where the total eclipse would be visible. They checked online calculators, which told them the time of totality down to the second.

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