Posts tagged with "Joe Biden"

Delta won’t allow DC-bound passengers to check guns ahead of Biden’s inauguration

January 15, 2021

Delta Air Lines won’t allow travelers flying to the airports serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to check their firearms on flights ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC on Thursday, January 14.

The policy, which starts this weekend and runs through next week, follows the January 6 deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the U.S. Capitol; as well as a spate of politically motivated disturbances on flights and at airports, reports NBC News. Law enforcement officers who are authorized to carry firearms will be exempt.

“We’re all on high alert based on the events over the last couple of weeks in Washington,” Bastian said in an interview on CNBC’s early morning show, “Squawk Box.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that it will take a zero tolerance policy for travelers who are unruly or interfere with flight crew duties, fining them up to $35,000.

Airlines, airports, and hotels are ramping up security ahead of the inauguration. Several airports said they will add more police, while airlines are increasing staffing and booking overnighting crews at airport hotels. American Airlines said late Wednesday it will suspend alcohol sales for D.C. flights.

In addition to the firearms restrictions, Delta has put 880 people on its no-fly list for not complying with its mask requirements and has banned others from flying with the airline for harassing other passengers or unruly behavior related to the U.S. election results, a spokesman told Reuters.

Last week, supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump heckled Utah Senator Mitt Romney on a Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Washington. D.C.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Vladimir veers left: Putin rejects Trump’s criticism of Biden family business

October 27, 2020

Russia, are you listening? Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October 25 that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden’s past business ties with Ukraine or Russia—openly breaking with Donald Trump on one of the POTUS’s key attack lines in the U.S. presidential election.

Putin was responding to comments made by Trump during televised debates with Democratic challenger Joe Biden ahead of the November 3 election.

According to Reuters, the Russian leader made his position clear, saying: “[Hunter Biden] had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don’t see anything criminal about this, at least we don’t know anything about this.”

The unexpected statement of support for the Bidens “could be interpreted as the Russian president trying to offer an olive branch to Joe Biden days out from the election,” said The Daily Beast.

Trump, who is trailing in opinion polls, has used the debates to make accusations that Biden and his son Hunter engaged in unethical practices in Ukraine. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Joe Biden has called them false and discredited.

Putin, who has praised Trump in the past for saying he wanted better ties with Moscow, has said Russia will work with any U.S. leader, while noting what he called Joe Biden’s “sharp anti-Russian rhetoric”.

However, in a clear effort to distance himself from Trump’s claims, the Russian leader added, “Yes, in Ukraine he (Hunter Biden) had or maybe still has a business, I don’t know. It doesn’t concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians,” said Putin.

Putin also reacted with visible irritation when asked about comments Trump has made concerning Putin’s ties to the former mayor of Moscow, and to an alleged payment made to Hunter Biden by the ex-mayor’s widow. Putin said he knew nothing about the existence of any commercial relationship between Hunter and the woman. Joe Biden says the accusation about his son is not true.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to tilt the contest in Trump’s favour, an allegation Moscow has denied. Russia has also dismissed accusations by U.S. intelligence agencies of trying to interfere with this year’s election too.

Research contact: @Reuters

Outside the box: Trump campaign draws rebuke for videotaping Philly voters at ballot drop boxes

October 26, 2020

The Trump campaign has been videotaping Philadelphia voters while they deposit their ballots in drop boxes—leading Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, to warn last week that the campaign’s actions fall outside of permitted poll watching practices and could amount to illegal voter intimidation.

The campaign made a formal complaint to city officials on October 16, saying a campaign representative had surveilled voters depositing two or three ballots at drop boxes, instead of only their own. The campaign called the conduct “blatant violations of the Pennsylvania election code,” according to a letter from a lawyer representing the Trump campaign that was examined by The New York Times. The campaign included photos of three voters who it claimed were dropping off multiple ballots.

“This must be stopped,” a local lawyer for the Trump campaign, Linda A. Kerns, wrote in the letter, adding that the actions “undermine the integrity of the voting process.”

Both the Trump and Biden campaigns are focused on Pennsylvania, seen as one of the most important swing states in the election and where polls show Joe Biden with a seven-point lead.

The Trump campaign’s aggressive strategy in Philadelphia suggests its aim is to crack down on people dropping off ballots for family members or anyone else who is not strictly authorized to do so.

According to the Times reports, Kerns demanded that the names of all voters who had used a drop box in front of Philadelphia’s City Hall on October 14 be turned over to the campaign, and insisted that the city station a staff member around every drop box “at all times.” She also asked for footage from municipal cameras around City Hall.

But city officials rejected the assertion that the voters who had been photographed had necessarily done something improper. The city’s lawyers forwarded the campaign’s complaints to the local district attorney, but did not make a formal referral and cast doubt on the assertions. They also said they do not track which voters use which drop box.

“Third party delivery is permitted in certain circumstances,” Benjamin H. Field, a deputy city solicitor and counsel to the city Board of Elections, wrote in a letter sent to Kerns on October 19. “The Board cannot agree with your conclusion on the basis of the information you provided. Nor can the Board, in exercising its duties, assume that an individual is violating the Election Code when that person can act as an agent for a voter who required assistance.”

Under Pennsylvania law, voters are allowed to deliver only their own ballots to drop boxes, unless they are assisting a voter with a disability or who otherwise needs help. But voting has been upended by the pandemic and many voters are unfamiliar with the rules around drop boxes, which they may be using for the first time.

Earlier this month, a Trump campaign official told The Times that the campaign would be videotaping drop boxes but was only interested in people who were dumping large numbers of ballots — not in those bringing an extra ballot or two. That assertion appears to have been false.

Research contact: @nytimes

Trump’s resolve to attend next week’s debate is seen as part of his ‘pattern of recklessness’

October 8, 2020

President Donald Trump’s tweet on Tuesday, October 6, saying that he looks forward to the October 15 presidential debate in Miami, alarmed some medical and public health experts—who warned that his coronavirus infection might still be contagious at that time and could endanger others, including Joe Biden, The Washington Post reports.

.The tweet came just one day after the president was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following a three-night hospital stay—during which he was put on an aggressive mix of treatments usually reserved for the most severe cases of COVID-19.

But from removing his mask on the White House balcony to refusing to use PPE in the West Wing, Trump immediately tried to project an image of being fully in charge and able to conduct all of his regular activities after returning to Pennsylvania Avenue.

According to the report by the Post, some outside health experts, have characterized Trump’s determination to attend the debate “as part of a pattern of recklessness that has defined his response to the pandemic, with the president and his aides not wearing masks or observing social distancing.”

  At least 19 people in Trump’s orbit have tested positive for the virus during the past week.

On Tuesday, White House physician Sean P. Conley, who is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, continued to give upbeat reports on Trump’s recovery, issuing a three-sentence memo saying the president “reports no symptoms” and has stable vital signs. “Overall, he continues to do extremely well,” the memo said.

Neither Conley nor other White House officials have said how they will determine when it might be safe for Trump to go out in public — for his own health, or for others near him.

Several outside medical experts suggested that the president’s actions indicate he is unchastened by his own experience contracting a virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — or by the spreading infections among his own staff and supporters.

Trump’s removal of his mask moments after returning to the White House on Monday evening, and his subsequent assertion that he would appear at the debate “is irresponsible and reckless, and frankly that borders on malicious,” said Michael Mina, a physician and assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“We should be throwing the kitchen sink at him, not just for treatment, but for ensuring that he is safe to be out in society and he is not imposing a risk to citizens of this country,” Mina said.

Mina noted that the president’s medical team has many ways to determine the status of his infection. Beyond administering the “PCR” test, considered the most definitive way of assessing whether someone has the virus, he said doctors could ask him to cough onto a petri dish to see whether the virus grows, swab his nose to culture the specimen, or administer antigen tests to see whether he has the virus’s protein in his nose.

“The average American doesn’t have tools to go through this,” Mina said, “but the president is a very special person. We have tools to do this.”

Research contact; @washingtonpost

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