Posts tagged with "Joe Biden"

Trump allies squirm as they spin Proud Boys remarks he made at presidential debate

October 1, 2020

White House and GOP campaign aides struggled on Wednesday morning, September 30, as they attempted to clean up Donald Trump’s comments made a night earlier at the first presidential debate. Going head-to-head with Democrat Joe Biden, the POTUS declined to explicitly condemn (even at Biden’s urging) white supremacy; instead directing the far-right hate group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” The Hill reports.

Multiple Trump surrogates faced questions about the remarks during cable news hits, where they downplayed his calls for the group to “stand by” and pointed to the president’s past denunciations of white supremacists.

“I don’t think that there’s anything to clarify,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said on Fox News.

“He’s told them to stand back. This president has surged federal resources when violent crime warrants it in cities. He’s leading. He doesn’t need any sort of vigilantism,” she continued. “That’s never what we’ve called for. What we’ve called for is Democrat mayors and Democrat governors to call up the resources we’re prepared to make available.”

Pressed on if Trump missed an opportunity to condemn white supremacy, Farah noted that the president said “sure” when asked at the outset whether he would tell white supremacists to “stand down.”

“What the president’s referring to there is when we see unrest in our streets and private citizens try to defend themselves or their businesses, that’s a right that they have,” she added.

Hogan Gidley, the national press secretary for the Trump campaign, was more forceful, The Hill noted—both in his own condemnation of the Proud Boys and his interpretation of the president’s words.

“He wants them to get out of the way. He wants them to not do the things they say they want to do,” Gidley commented.”This is a reprehensible group.”

Multiple Trump allies have argued that Trump has on multiple occasions condemned white supremacist groups. The president has in fact done so, including in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, last year, but he has typically only denounced them after being repeatedly coaxed to do so.

On the debate stage on Tuesday night, however, Trump stopped short, The Hill said..

Moderator Chris Wallace asked if Trump was willing to condemn “white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down.”

Trump responded that he would be willing to, but when Wallace and Democratic nominee Joe Biden urged him to actually do it, the president asked for a name of a group to condemn.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said after Biden named the far-right group. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”

The group celebrated Trump’s comments. One social media account affiliated with the self-described “white chauvinist” organization added Trump’s comments to the Proud Boys logo.

The group’s Telegram account took Trump’s remarks as an order. “Standing down and standing by sir,” the account wrote.

A prominent Proud Boy posted on conservative Twitter-alternative Parler that “Trump basically said to go f— them up! this makes me so happy.”

“President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!” the organizer added.

Founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes in the midst of the 2016 election, the Proud Boys are known for their white nationalist pandering, blatant anti-Muslim rhetoric and close ties with more publicly violent extremists.

The male-only group, named after a song from the Aladdin musical, gained national prominence for its involvement in the 2016 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It has staged multiple counter-rallies aimed at disrupting the anti-police brutality protests that have swept the country since the police killing of George Floyd in May.

According to The Hill, “Trump’s invocation of “antifa” to dodge condemning white supremacists fits into a pattern of the president trying to equivocate right- and left-wing violence. Antifa, short for anti-facist, refers to a loose collection of primarily far-left activists. FBI Director Christopher Wray in a hearing earlier this month pointed out that the term refers to an ideology, not an organization.”

Indeed, the president’s reluctance to unequivocally condemn white supremacists on the debate stage exasperated some of his allies on Wednesday.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R) called it a “huge gaffe,” while Fox News host Brian Kilmeade lamented that Trump whiffed on “the biggest layup in the history of debates” by failing to condemn white supremacy.

GOP Senator Tim Scott (South Carolina) the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said the president should “correct” his comments.

“I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak,” Scott said.

Research contact: @thehill

Trump refuses to commit to peaceful power transfer on January 20

September 25, 2020

It’s the scenario that comedian Bill Maher has predicted—and feared-for four years: On September 23, .President Donald Trump said that he wouldn’t commit to a peaceful transfer of power if a tally of ballots shows Democrat Joe Biden has won the November election.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said in response to a reporter’s question at a White House news conference on Wednesday evening. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the [mail-in] ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

Trump has been criticizing the legitimacy of mail-in voting, which is being offered in a number of states as officials seek to limit the spread of the coronavirus at packed polling places.

As Bloomberg reported this week, the president has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mail-in voting is more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting on Election Day. Lawyers representing Trump’s campaign are challenging mail-in voting rules in several states.

What’s more, the president is threatening to simply stay put in the Oval Office, with no transfer of power in the works: “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a transfer—a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly,” Trump said on Wednesday. “There’ll be a continuation. The ballots are out of control, you know it. You know who knows that better than anybody else? The Democrats know that better than anybody else.”

Trump is trailing Biden in national polls and in key states.

“What country are we in?” Biden said when asked about Trump’s remarks as he returned to Delaware from campaigning in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’m being facetious. What country are we in? Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about that.”

A few Republicans spoke out to condemn Trump’s remarks.

According to the Bloomberg report, on Thursday morning, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted: “The peaceful transfer of power is enshrined in our Constitution and fundamental to the survival of our Republic. America’s leaders swear an oath to the Constitution. We will uphold that oath.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted Thursday that “at noon on January 20, 2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.”

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah was the first member of Trump’s party to speak out on Wednesday. “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable,” he said on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Romney, who has often been critical of Trump and was the lone Republican to vote to convict him in this year’s Senate impeachment trial, said he supported proceeding with the president’s plan to quickly replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme

Research contact: @Bloomberg

Insufficient funds? Trump defends his campaign’s spending as cash advantage evaporates

September 9, 2020

Just like the nation and the electorate he serves, President Donald Trump is experiencing a cash crunch that can be traced to the Oval Office.

On Twitter on September 7, the president defended his campaign’s financial decision-making, after a report that surfaced in The New York Times provoked new scrutiny of his reelection team’s spending habits. Reportedly, Trump has squandered his cash advantage over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“My Campaign spent a lot of money up front in order to compensate for the false reporting and Fake News concerning our handling of the China Virus,” Trump tweeted on September 8. “Now they see the GREAT job we have done, and we have 3 times more than we had 4 years ago – & are up in polls. Lots of $’s & ENERGY!”

According to Politico, the president’s social media post came after the Times published a story detailing how the Trump campaign has already spent more than $800 million of the $1.1 billion it raised in coordination with the Republican National Committee from the beginning of 2019 through July.

The Times report raised questions about former campaign manager Brad Parscale’s financial stewardship of Trump’s war chest, which was once viewed as an historic asset ahead of the fall’s general election campaign. Among the campaign’s expenses were a car and driver for Parscale, who was replaced atop the campaign in July by Bill Stepien.

Biden, meanwhile, has seen his fundraising soar in the final weeks of the campaign. Last month, the former vice president and the Democratic National Committee raked in a record $365 million in contributions — doubling Trump’s $165 million record haul from July and also surpassing the $193 million raised by Barack Obama in September 2008, Politco notes.

Trump has yet to report his August fundraising numbers, and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Tuesday that he did not know when that campaign announcement would come. “I don’t know. I have zero visibility into that decision,” he said.

Research contact: @politico

 

Reuters/Ipsos poll: No bounce in support for Trump as Americans see pandemic, not crime, as top issue

September 3, 2020

It’s the pandemic, stupid! President Donald Trump’s attempt to mobilize his base by making civil unrest a central theme of his re-election campaign has yet to boost his political standing, as a majority of U.S. voters remain sympathetic to protests against racism, according to findings of a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday, September 2.

Conducted between August 31 and September 1, the national opinion poll found that 40% of registered voters support Trump, a Republican; compared with 47% who said they will vote for his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. Biden’s lead over Trump has remained largely unchanged over the past three weeks—a time during which both parties held their nominating conventions.

Trailing Biden in most national opinion polls since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus this year, Trump has sought to change the subject from a pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 Americans, blaming Black Lives Matters protesters for violence in the cities and accusing Biden of being weak on crime, Reuters notes.

However,  in the poll, the majority of respondents— 78% — remained “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the coronavirus. Nearly 60% said Trump is at least partly responsible for the protracted school and business closures due to the virus, as well as for the high number of coronavirus cases in the United States. More than 6 million Americans have been infected with the virus, more people than in any other country.

By contrast, most Americans do not see crime as a major priority and do not think it is increasing in their communities, the poll showed. Only about 8% of American adults listed crime as a top priority for the country, compared with 30% who said it was the economy or jobs, and 16% who said it was the healthcare system.

What’s more, 62% of registered voters—including 62% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans—said crime was not increasing in their communities

According to the poll, 53% of American adults said they remain sympathetic to people out protesting against racial inequality, nearly unchanged from 52% in a similar poll that ran in late July.

While support for the protesters has declined overall since the immediate aftermath of the police killing in May of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked a national conversation on race, the poll showed more than half of suburban Americans and more than half of undecided registered voters are still sympathetic to them.

“The simple truth is Donald Trump failed to protect America. So now he’s trying to scare America,” Biden said in Pittsburgh this week.

Research contact: @Reuters

Biden camp: Over 3,500 Americans died from COVID during GOP convention

August 31, 2020

Donald Trump covered a lot of ground in his lengthy speech accepting the Republican party’s presidential nomination on  August 27;  but Joe Biden’s campaign said that the one subject he didn’t mention—and that the Trump Administration has steadfastly tried to ignore—was a plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic..

“Since the beginning of the Republican convention, at least 3,525 Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement picked up by NBC News .

“Instead of a strategy to overcome the pandemic, or any concern for the unbearable suffering in our country right now as a result of his ongoing failures, what we heard was a delusional vision completely divorced from the crushing reality that ordinary Americans face,” she added.

Trump spoke to over 1,000 guests on the South Lawn of the White House, where chairs were arranged close together and few wore masks.,

Biden himself released a statement earlier, asking, “Is Donald Trump even aware he’s president?” The statement referred to a major theme of the GOP convention that warned Biden’s election would lead to looting and rioting. But Biden noted that’s happening now.

“These are not images from some imagined ‘Joe Biden’s America’ in the future. These are images from Donald Trump’s America today,” Biden said. “The violence we’re witnessing is happening under Donald Trump. Not me. It’s getting worse, and we know why.”

Biden got some outside help as the Republican convention wrapped up.

The Golden Star father of the first person to die in combat under President Trump’s watch, Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, slammed the president for ordering the botched raid in a new video released by the Democratic veteran’s group VoteVets.

“Trump ordered Ryan’s SEAL team into Yemen — not from the Situation Room, with all the intelligence assembled, but sitting across a dinner table with Steve Bannon,” Bill Owens, a veteran himself, says. “There was no vital interest at play. Just Donald Trump playing ‘big man going to war.'”

“And when it went horribly wrong,” Owens continued. “Donald Trump demeaned my son’s sacrifice.”

Instead of taking responsibility, Trump blamed his generals at the time. “They lost Ryan,” Trump told Fox News at the time.

What’s more, NBC News reports, two more large groups of former Republican officials broke party ranks to support Biden.

Over 100 former aides to deceased Senator John McCain of Arizona announced the formation of the group McCain Alumni for Biden. The group includes several of McCain’s former chiefs of staff and some of his longest-serving and most senior congressional staffers.

“Though we could not always live to his example, John trusted us to know when it was time to put our country before our party; Joe Biden is the right choice for our country,” said Joe Donoghue, McCain’s former legislative director and longest-serving aide.

A similar group of former administration officials and campaign aides to former President George W. Bush released its own list of Biden endorsers nearly 300 names long.

Research contact: @NBCNews

No stalking or sneering! Pelosi says there shouldn’t be any presidential debates this year

August 28, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated on August 27 that there should not be any presidential debates this year between Joe Biden and Donald Trump—adding that the president would debase the debate stage with poor behavior.

“I don’t think there should be any debates. I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody should [who] has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday.

“I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” she added, according to a report by Politico.

Biden and Trump are set to face off during three debates before Election Day, with the first scheduled to take place on September 29 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Pelosi acknowledged that Biden, who has expressed enthusiasm about a face-off with the president, didn’t share her view on the debate. But she still told reporters about her personal distaste for Trump’s past debate performances.

Pelosi called Trump’s 2016 debates with then-candidate Hillary Clinton “disgraceful,” emphasizing how he loomed behind her on the stage as she spoke. Clinton later admitted that Trump’s lurking made her “skin crawl.”

“He’ll probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency,” Pelosi said. “He does that every day.”

Research contact: @politico

Trump spreads racist ‘birther’ conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris

August 17, 2020

Few Americans have forgotten the completely unfounded “birther” conspiracy theory that Donald Trump spread about his predecessor, President Barack Obama. That same incendiary and false storyline is now being promoted by the Trump White House against Senator Kamala Harris (D-California).

Indeed, the 45th president now is asserting that the presumptive Democratic vice-presidential nominee—who was born in Oakland, California, in 1964, several years after her parents had immigrated from India and Jamaica—is not eligible for the vice presidency or presidency because of her lineage, The New York Times reports.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, August 13, Trump nevertheless pushed forward with the attack—so reminiscent of the lie he perpetrated for years that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump said of Harris.

“I have no idea if that’s right,” he added about the statement he had just made. “I would have thought, I would have assumed, that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.”

Trump appeared to be referring to a widely discredited op-ed article published in Newsweek by John C. Eastman, a conservative lawyer who has long argued that the United States Constitution does not grant birthright citizenship.

By contrast to his outrageous claims about Obama, this time around, “Trump has legions of followers who have been spreading similar theories about Harris,” the Times reports.

In the hours after Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate, a new crop of memes and conspiracy website postings began proliferating online, suggesting that Harris was an “anchor baby,” a disparaging term for a child born in the United States to immigrants.

But constitutional law scholars say that the immigration status of Harris’s parents at the time of her birth is irrelevant because, under the Constitution, anyone born in the United States automatically acquires citizenship.

The 14th Amendment makes it clear: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

In an interview with the Times on Thursday, Laurence Tribe, a professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, compared Eastman’s idea to the “flat earth theory” and called it “total B.S.”

“I hadn’t wanted to comment on this because it’s such an idiotic theory,”. Tribe said, “There is nothing to it.”

Mr. Tribe pointed out that the theory still quickly landed in the hands of a president who has used his pulpit to spread a number of conspiracies against his political enemies, particularly those who do not have white or European backgrounds.

Research contact: @nytimes

Biden to address nation—reviling Trump’s actions against protesters, vowing to heal racial wounds

June 3, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would speak to the nation on Tuesday, June 2—seeking to console Americans nationwide who are horrified by yet another death of a black man at the hands of police, as well as by subsequent nights of protest and violence.

Biden is expected to bluntly criticize President Donald Trump’s decision on the evening of June 1 to clear protesters from a Washington, D.C., street so that he could pose with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, The Washington Post reported.

“When peaceful protestors are dispersed by the order of the President from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House — using tear gas and flash grenades — in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee plans to say, according to the excerpts released by his campaign.

“More interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care,” he plans to add. “For that’s what the presidency is: a duty of care — to all of us, not just our voters, not just our donors, but all of us.”

The remarks will be delivered at Philadelphia’s City Hall. Philadelphia also was where Barack Obama delivered a heralded speech on race relations more than 12 years ago, entitled “A More Perfect Union.”

Part of the Biden speech will speak to the nation’s concerns over police brutality, with plans to use the words of George Floyd — “I can’t breathe”— as a mantra. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis.

“George Floyd’s last words. But they didn’t die with him. They’re still being heard. They’re echoing across this nation,” Biden plans to say.

“They speak to a nation where too often just the color of your skin puts your life at risk. They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment — with a disproportionate number of these deaths and job losses concentrated in the black and minority

“It’s a wake-up call for our nation,” he adds. “For all of us.”

Biden’s speech will take on Trump directly, criticizing him for both rhetoric and actions.

“Look, the presidency is a big job. Nobody will get everything right. And I won’t either,” he says in the excerpts. “But I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain.”

It is unclear whether Biden will outline new policies in the address, the Post says, but he will allude to the challenges ahead if he is elected president.

“I’ll work to not only rebuild this nation,” he says in the excerpts. “But to build it better than it was.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Trump retreats into White House bunker as protests rage

June 2, 2020

Unlike ill-fated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy—who in 1968 famously took to the Detroit streets to calm mobs after the assassination of Martin Luther King—(or even current Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who took to the streets of Delaware over the weekend); President Donald Trump has retreated from public appearances as “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” protesters fill the streets of Washington, D.C., and other cities nationwide.

Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night, May 29, as hundreds of protesters of all creeds and colors gathered outside the executive mansion—some of them throwing rocks and heaving police barricades, The Washington Post reports.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies such as terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who spoke with the news outlet on the condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to the Post, “The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House—where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend; and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.”

Friday’s protests were triggered by the alleged murder of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by white Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. Indeed, the news outlet reports, they sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the September. 11 attacks in 2001.

Ultimately, 50 Secret Service agents were rumored to have been injured during the protests at the White House.

“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president’s move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to speak to the American public.

Research contact: @washingtonpost