Posts tagged with "Former president"

WaPo offers five takeaways from Biden’s forceful January 6 takedown of Trump

January 10, 2022

About a month after the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol insurrection and with impeachment suddenly in the rearview, President Joe Biden signaled he was “tired” of talking about Donald Trump. A month later, he responded to a question about the former president by sarcastically saying he missed “my predecessor.”

Indeed, Biden largely has avoided mentioning Trump in the following months, reports The Washington Post.

However, on the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot on Thursday, Biden made a huge exception. He delivered a muscular speech aimed at repudiating the former president, whose hold on the Republican Party has proved as strong as ever; according to the Post, as well as the allies who fomented and excused the Capitol riot.

Below are the Post’s takeaways from Biden’s speech.

The Trump focus

Biden’s intention to make his speech not just about the rioters, but also about Trump, was evident from the first minute of his brief speech and continued throughout. After praising those who withstood the attack and marking the somber occasion, Biden almost immediately linked the attack to Trump—and did so repeatedly, with a palpable anger in his voice.

“For the first time in our history, the president had not just lost an election; he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol,” Biden said. “But they failed. They failed.”

Biden added later: “He has done what no president in American history—the history of this country—has ever, ever done: He refused to accept the results of an election and the will of the American people.”

Then Biden went after Trump’s delayed response.

“What did we not see?” Biden said. “We didn’t see a former president who had just rallied the mob to attack, sitting in the private dining room off the Oval Office in the White House, watching it all on television and doing nothing for hours as police were assaulted, lives at risk, the nation’s capital under siege.”

Not just targeting—but goading Trump

Much of Biden’s speech seemed aimed at not just criticizing but also goading Trump. He referred to Trump’s “bruised ego” over losing the 2020 election.

 He’s done so because he values power over principle, because he sees his own interest as more important than his country’s interest and America’s interest, and because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution,” Biden said.

Biden also referenced the 81 million people who voted for him—a seeming reference to Trump and his allies’ regular invocations of the 74 million people who voted for Trump, and the idea that not further scrutinizing Trump’s baseless voter-fraud claims was tantamount to disregarding those voters.

Biden also pointed to those who might otherwise be allies who clearly didn’t back up Trump’s claims. “He can’t accept he lost, even though that’s what 93 United States senators, his own attorney general, his own vice president, governors and state officials in every battleground state—have all said he lost,” Biden said. “That’s what 81 million of you did, as you voted for a new way forward.”

Biden punctuated it all toward the end of his speech by labeling Trump what Trump fears perhaps most of all—a loser. “He was just looking for an excuse, a pretext to cover for the truth: that he’s not just a former president; he’s a defeated former president,” Biden said, emphasizing “defeated” and then repeating it—“defeated by a margin of over 7 million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.”

A recognition that being passive doesn’t work

Biden’s speech might have been for a special occasion, but it also seemed to mark a recognition that Trump is going nowhere, and one can’t pretend otherwise.

At the same time, it echoed previous rebukes of Trump, in that Biden avoided saying his name. There was a word curiously missing from Biden’s remarks: “Trump.” [Biden explained afterwards that he avoided politicizing the speech.]

Throughout the speech, Biden merely cited the “former president”—at least 16 times in a little over ten minutes—as if speaking his name was tantamount to legitimizing him, or that something would happen a la saying “Voldemort.”

The undersold rebuke

According to the Post, toward the end, Biden referred to something that hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention: the implicit GOP idea that the presidential election was somehow stolen, but not other races.

In fact, a few days before January 6, this comparison was pushed by none other than Republican Representative Chip Roy (Texas), who had been Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) former chief of staff. If the election results were suspect, Roy argued, why wouldn’t his fellow Republicans have objected to the seating of members who were elected on the same ballots? So Roy forced a vote, and all but two Republicans voted to seat the members.

What happens now

The question in the aftermath of Biden’s speech is what it means. Was this just about reminding people of an assault on democracy—one day only—or was it about spurring further action?

Democrats have pushed for revamping the nation’s voting laws, citing Republican efforts to rewrite them in the states, but that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Democrats have also shunned GOP leaders’ suggestions that the two sides could meet in the middle, by reviewing the Electoral Count Act that Trump sought to exploit January 6. Democrats have suggested this is a wholly insufficient step.

An alternate political explanation is that Biden understands his agenda probably isn’t going anywhere. That argument suggests that voters must be reminded of what happened in 2020 ahead of the 2022 election—when Democrats’ majorities are severely imperiled—and perhaps ahead of a potential 2024 rematch with Trump (or another Democrat running against Trump).

When the calendar turns to an election year, after all, the Post notes, legislation tends to grind to a halt, and those concerns take precedence. Biden’s goading of Trump certainly doesn’t discount this theory.

Either way, though, it’s a significant entry in the long-standing fight over democracy. And it was the most significant entry on that front from Biden to date.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Nunes quits Congress for Trump Media job

December 8, 2021

Representative Devin Nunes (R-California)—a close ally of former President Donald Trump and the former chair of the House Intelligence Committee—has announced that he will resign from Congress later this month in order to run Trump’s new social media company, reports Politico.

Nunes—a ten-term Congressman first elected in 2002—ascended to chair the Intelligence Committee in 2015. But he recused himself temporarily from an inquiry into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election while the Ethics Committee examined his handling of the committee’s investigation.

He is not leaving totally on his own steam: While the independent commission charged with redrawing California’s congressional map is still completing its work, an early draft tilted Nunes’ Central Valley district toward Democrats—potentially complicating his path to reelection.

The Palm Beach-based Trump Media & Technology Group said in a statement on Monday, December 6, that Nunes would become CEO of the company in January.

“The time has come to reopen the Internet and allow for the free flow of ideas and expression without censorship,” Nunes said in the statement. “The United States of America made the dream of the Internet a reality and it will be an American company that restores the dream.”

While Trump’s fledgling media company makes a logical landing spot for Nunes given his closeness with the former president—and their shared animosity toward the mainstream media—Trump’s media entity also is facing legal headwinds. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority are scrutinizing a special purpose acquisition company working with Trump Media & Technology Group.

According to Politico “In choosing not to remain in Congress, Nunes is achieving on his own terms what California Democrats could not in multiple well-funded attempts to unseat him. A Republican representing California’s agriculture-dominated Central Valley, Nunes has become a primary campaign target for Democrats, given Nunes’ loyalty to Trump.”

Democrats seeking to unseat Nunes have raised millions of dollars in past cycles — much of it from out of state, underscoring the broader fervor for toppling Nunes. But the lawmaker handily turned back those attempts.

Nunes’ pending resignation will set up two elections next year: a special election for the remainder of his term under the old district lines, and the regular election under the new lines for the next Congress beginning in 2023.

Research contact: @politico

WaPo bombshell: Trump exposed 500 people to COVID and kept it secret from close staff

December 7, 2021

The Washington Post has a stunning bombshell out in which it details the seven days from which former President Donald Trump first tested positive for COVID to when he announced his positive test and then hospitalization later that Friday, October 1, reports The Political Flare.

Trump announced his positive COVID test at 1 a.m. (ET) October 1—and by 6 p.m. that same day, he was struggling to walk into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Thus, Political Flare notes, “No one should ever have believed that he didn’t know long before the 1st.”

When he first learned he had tested positive for the coronavirus, President Donald Trump was already aboard Air Force One September 26, en route to a massive rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania. With him on the plane that Saturday evening were dozens of people—senior aides, Air Force One personnel, junior staffers, journalists and other members of the large entourage typical for a presidential trip — all squeezed together in the recirculating air of a jetliner.

“Stop the president,” White House physician Sean Conley told Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to a new book by Meadows set to publish on Tuesday, December 7, that was obtained by the Guardian newspaper. “He just tested positive for COVID.”

But Meadows asserts in his book that it was too late to stop Trump and that a second rapid antigen test —apparently done using the same sample—came back negative. But under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump should have taken a more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm whether he had the coronavirus.

 On Wednesday, during the rally, Hope Hicks, a top Trump aide and close confidante, had started feeling sick. By the time she boarded Air Force One, she discreetly self-quarantined, exiting the plane from the rear entrance when it touched down just after midnight.

Indeed, on the return trip home, Trump ventured back to the press cabin—unmasked—where he spoke with the media for roughly ten minutes.

Political Flare argues, “Everyone knows Trump wasn’t a big “mask” guy, but one has to read the details to truly appreciate his recklessness and lack of care about others.”

During the next few days, he met Amy Coney-Barrett and her family in a reception with Pence and other top staff—all maskless—and he met with all of the members of the Gold Star families.

The Rose Garden ceremony for Coney-Barrett would later become known as an apparent “superspreader event”, with more than a half dozen attendees testing positive for the coronavirus within the week —including Trump, his wife, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Notre Dame President John Jenkins, and Republican Senators. Mike Lee (Utah) and Thom Tillis (North Carolina).

 Trump then went through all the debate prep and the debate while positive and Mark Meadows said that he knew something was wrong, Trump had dark blotches under his eyes.

Trump came in contact with roughly 55 people that Wednesday, according to The Post’s analysis.

One former senior administration official, speaking anonymously to share a candid opinion, remarked,“Everyone spent months trying to reconstruct the Rose Garden and it turns out it was good old Patient Zero, the president.”

 Research contact: @politicalflares