Boeing, Trump and the Harlem Honeys and Bears: The Morning Rundown

Three countries grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 jets one day after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
Image: Members of the search and rescue mission carry dead bodies at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
Members of the search and rescue mission at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people on Sunday. Tiksa Negeri / Reuters

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

All eyes are on Boeing after the second deadly crash of one of its 737 Max 8 planes in five months. President Donald Trump is gearing up for another budget battle with the Democrats. And meet Harlem's Honeys and Bears, a synchronized swimming team that's defying stereotypes.

Here's what we're watching today.


'We cannot rule out anything,' Ethiopian Airlines CEO says

Aviation experts say it may be too early to draw conclusions about the similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and a jet of the same make and model that went down off the coast of Indonesia five months ago, killing all 189 people aboard.But Ethiopian, Chinese and Indonesian officials aren't waiting.

Ethiopian Airlines grounded its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, a day after 157 people were killed, including eight Americans, when one of the planes crashed shortly after takeoff.

China and Indonesia followed suit — suspending the commercial operation of the aircraft as well.

"It is a brand new airplane with no technical remarks, flown by a senior pilot, and there is no cause that we can attribute at this time," Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said at a news conference Sunday. "We cannot rule out anything."


Trump ups ante and will ask Congress for $8.6 billion more for wall

The demand, part of the administration's budget request for fiscal year 2020, is more than six times what Congress allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years.

The request faces a steep uphill battle as Democrats, who oppose the wall as unnecessary and immoral, control the House, making the request's passage unlikely.


It's 'distracting': Back in Minnesota, Rep. Ilhan Omar's constituents see her comments differently

While the freshman Democrat's comments about Israel have consumed Washington, there has been far less outrage in Minnesota’s diverse 5th Congressional District, a pillar of progressivism that handed Omar a decisive victory in November's midterm elections.

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"She looks different, she speaks different, she dresses different, and she worships different," said Hassan Jama, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Islamic Association of North America. "But, luckily, she is in America, and she has a voice, and she's serving the people who elected her."

Did you miss Meet the Press? Watch the highlights below in under one minute. Rep. Liz Cheney, R- Wy., explains why she didn't vote for the Democrats' anti-hate resolution.


Plus


THINK about it

The Clash were a rare breed, a band with a progressive, inclusive political message that still resonates strongly today, writes songwriter and journalist Jeff Slate. But are they still "the only band that matters"?


Quote of the day

"We can promise you nothing will happen to our jaguar. She’s a wild animal and there were proper barriers in place to keep our guests safe."

The Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park in Arizona said after a woman was attacked while she tried to take a selfie inside the big cat's enclosure.


In Memoriam

Julia Ruth Stevens, the last surviving daughter of Hall of Fame baseball slugger Babe Ruth and a decades-long champion of his legacy, has died at age 102.

"As long as there is baseball, Daddy's name is always going to be mentioned. He was one of a kind," Stevens once said. "My goal in life is to keep his name alive."

Julia Ruth Stevens sits with her father, Babe Ruth.Courtesy of Julie Ruth Stevens via AP

One fun thing

A synchronized swimming team called the Harlem Honeys and Bears is made up of mostly African Americans who are 55 and older. The team is united by a love of swimming and dance — and a tough coach who has little time for fun and games.

Lettice Graham, who at 96 is the most senior member, calls it "the best therapy in the world."


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra