Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ratcheted the Trump administration’s criticism of China to new heights Sunday, asserting the Chinese Communist Party has become “much more aggressive” over the past decade in attempts to undermine America on the world stage.
“This is a Chinese Communist Party that has come to view itself as intent upon the destruction of Western ideas, Western democracies [and] Western values,” Mr. Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“It puts Americans at risk,” the secretary of state said, asserting that the list of actions taken by the government in Beijing is “long, whether it’s stealing American intellectual property, destroying hundreds and millions of jobs here in the United States, or their efforts to put at risk sea lanes in the South China Sea, denying commercial traffic the opportunity to move through, armed encampments in places that China has no right to be.”
“For the first time,” Mr. Pompeo said, “we have a President of the United States who is prepared to push back against that and protect the American people.”
He praised Mr. Trump’s announcement Friday that the administration is preparing to impose sanctions on China over its announcement of a new state security law aimed at crushing dissent and democracy in Hong Kong. The president made the announcement after the State Department declared that Washington officially assesses that Hong Kong no longer enjoys the legal and economic freedoms China promised it would tolerate when Great Britain gave the territory back to Beijing back in 1997.
The back-and-forth over Hong Kong marked the latest in Washington-Beijing tensions that have risen throughout Mr. Trump’s time in office, underscored by the president’s imposition of tariffs aimed at drawing China into a more equitable trade relationship with the United States.
The tensions have soared in the COVID-19 era, with the Trump administration accusing Beijing of mismanaging and lying about the virus after it originated in China. U.S. officials say Beijing has engaged in a disinformation campaign aimed at blaming the virus on Washington in a bid to undermine America’s image around the world.
“They’ve become more aggressive in their efforts to do disinformation campaigns like we saw when the coronavirus was moving around the world, when they closed down their own province but allowed travel around the world, infecting hundreds of thousands of people,” Mr. Pompeo said Sunday. “We saw the disinformation of that campaign trying to deflect attention.”
“We’ve seen their increased cyber activity as well, their efforts to be in a position to do true destructive harm in different places all across the world,” the secretary of state said. “This is a Chinese Communist Party that is very aggressive.”
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Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it. During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” But a moment later, he said:…
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it.
During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”
But a moment later, he said: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward. You’re not going to build plants that in fact are great polluting plants.”
Moderator Chris Wallace interrupted, saying, “You support the Green New Deal?”
Mr. Biden replied: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”
President Trump jumped in with, “Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s a big statement,” predicting that Mr. Biden had just lost “the radical left.”
Mr. Biden explained, “I support the Biden plan that I put forward, which is different than what [Mr. Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”
The exchange deflated environmentalists on social media who champion the Green New Deal, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who sponsored the House resolution, insisted that, “This isn’t news.”
“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force — so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet,” tweeted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real.”
In 60 seconds Joe Biden said he doesn’t support the Green New Deal… then he DID support the Green New Deal.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 30, 2020
This isn’t news, Kellyanne.Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
Mr. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, the companion to the measure introduced by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the House.
The Biden campaign website says, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” although Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan is less ambitious than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.
Mr. Biden’s plan calls for limiting but not abolishing hydraulic fracturing; replacing fossil fuels on the electrical grid by 2035, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2020
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Trump blasts ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ at Mount Rushmore |NationalTribune.com
United States President Donald Trump railed on Friday against “angry mobs” that tried to tear down statues of Confederate leaders and other historical figures, warning thousands of supporters at Mount Rushmore that protesters were trying to erase the country’s history. The speech and fireworks on the eve of the US Independence Day came against the…
United States President Donald Trump railed on Friday against “angry mobs” that tried to tear down statues of Confederate leaders and other historical figures, warning thousands of supporters at Mount Rushmore that protesters were trying to erase the country’s history.
The speech and fireworks on the eve of the US Independence Day came against the backdrop of a pandemic that has killed more than 125,000 people across the country.
The event drew 7,500 people, packed tightly into an amphitheatre. Many did not wear masks, defying the advice of public health officials who have urged people to avoid large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Trump, speaking underneath the famed landmark depicting four US presidents, warned that recent demonstrations over racial inequality threatened the foundations of the country’s political system.
“Make no mistake, this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution,” Trump said.
“Our children are taught in school to hate their own country,” he added.
Attendees listen as Donald Trump speaks at South Dakota’s US Independence Day Mount Rushmore fireworks celebrations [Tom Brenner/Reuters]
The president announced that he would create a “National Garden of American Heroes”, which he described as a large outdoor park featuring statues of “the greatest Americans who ever lived”. He did not provide further details.
In the nationwide unrest following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, protesters in several cities have vandalised the statues of Confederate generals that led a rebellion against the US government during the 1861-65 Civil War.
Protesters in one instance unsuccessfully tried to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US, outside the White House. Jackson, known for his populist policies, owned slaves and forced thousands of Native Americans from their homes.
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said.
“They think the American people are soft and weak and submissive. But the American people are strong and proud, and they will not allow our country, and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them.”
He lamented “cancel culture” and charged that some on the political left hope to “defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children”.
“There is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted, and punished. Not gonna happen to us,” he added.
Trump has opposed proposals to rename US military bases that are named after Confederate generals and promised harsh punishment for people who damage statues.
The evening programme was not an official campaign event, but Trump’s remarks touched on key campaign themes meant to energise his political base ahead of the November 3 election.
Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from the city of Alexandria in Virginia, described Trump’s speech at Mount Rushmore as a “political call to arms”.
“A couple of facts though,” she said. “First, a lot of the statues that have been targeted by anti-racism protesters were in fact then removed by local governments. And the other is that these statues in large part celebrated people who fought for the confederacy, which sought to enshrine slavery as a political and economic reality in the southern half of the US. And those statues were raised not in the 19th century. But in the middle of the 20th century, during the last prominent wave of civil rights activism in this country.
She added: “Now, that doesn’t matter to Donald Trump. He is running for re-election and his numbers are down.”
Trump has presided over several large-crowd events – in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at an Arizona megachurch – even as health officials warn against large gatherings and recommend face masks and social distancing. He plans a July Fourth celebration on the National Mall in Washington, DC despite health concerns from the city’s mayor.
James Warren, the executive editor of News Guard, told Al Jazeera that Trump had showed a total disregard for the health crisis facing the country.
“This was as Trumpian as you can get. He took this iconic backdrop and you had a president who was clearly and in a somewhat self-absorbed way likening himself to those four great folks. And doing it, as you will notice, without a mask, on a day in which we had broken national records for those testing positive,” he said.
“It was, even by Trumpian standards, rather rhetorically bombastic, to liken the protesters – people who symbolised the great presidents behind him – to fascists and totalitarians.”
Mount Rushmore, which depicts US Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, has not hosted a fireworks spectacle since 2009 because of environmental concerns.
Trump advocated for a resumption of the display, and the state says the surrounding Black Hills National Forest has “gained strength” since then and that fireworks technology has advanced.
Native American protesters were arrested after blocking a road to the South Dakota landmark, according to video livestreamed on social media. They have criticised Trump’s visit for increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and for celebrating US independence in an area that is sacred to them.
South Dakota, a solidly Republican state, has not been hit as hard as other states by COVID-19, but cases in Pennington County, where Mount Rushmore is located, have more than doubled over the past month.
Trump blasts Biden over loyalty to blacks, mental fitness at Tulsa rally
President Trump stormed back onto the campaign trail with a full-throated attack on Joseph R. Biden, challenging the presumed Democratic nominee’s fidelity to black voters and mental fitness for office. “America should not take lectures on racial justice from Joe Biden, Sleepy Joe, a man who praised … segregationists, shipped millions of black Americans’ jobs…
President Trump stormed back onto the campaign trail with a full-throated attack on Joseph R. Biden, challenging the presumed Democratic nominee’s fidelity to black voters and mental fitness for office.
“America should not take lectures on racial justice from Joe Biden, Sleepy Joe, a man who praised … segregationists, shipped millions of black Americans’ jobs overseas and everyone else’s jobs too,” the president said. “Biden is now smearing as racists tens of millions of people like yourselves. Racial justice begins with Joe Biden’s retirement from public life.”
The rally Saturday in Tulsa — the presidents first since the coronavirus crisis put political campaigns on hiatus — also opened new lines of attack for the Biden camp, including saying that Mr. Trump had called to slow coronavirus testing, which Democrats said underscored the president’s self-serving and chaotic leadership.
The rally itself came to embody the 2020 debate, with both sides trading accusations of politicizing the coronavirus crisis.
Trump allies accused Democrats and the news media of applying a double standard for coronavirus social distancing when condemning the rally and glorifying Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
Democrats said Mr. Trump set a bad example by hosting a political rally at this time and also pounced on his claim, which the White House said was tongue-in-cheek, that he had slowed coronavirus testing because it was showing too many cases.
“Donald Trump’s debacle of a rally last night will long be remembered, lest we not forget, the president’s campaign required that folks who were attending his rally sign a waiver so that if I were to get sick the coronavirus, that the campaign would not be held liable,” Symone Sanders, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, told “Fox News Sunday.”
Ms. Sanders also pushed back against Mr. Trump’s description of Mr. Biden as holed up in the basement of his home in Delaware and carefully managed by staff who write his speeches and tell him what to say.
Mr. Biden, who has been assailed by the Trump campaign for a pattern of gaffes and rambling non-sequiturs, hasn’t held a press conference in 80 days, though he has done TV interviews.
Mr. Trump said the former vice president isn’t running his campaign.
“People are running his campaign. I see quotes all the time that he said this, he said that about me, and they’re long, beautiful, flowing sentences. I said, Joe didn’t make that statement and Joe doesn’t even know the statement was made,” said Mr. Trump.
Ms. Sanders called it an “unfounded, salacious lie from the president and his campaign that Vice President Biden isn’t up to the challenge.”
“He’s absolutely up to it,” she told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “Vice President Biden would tell you if he were sitting right here that he can’t wait to see Donald Trump on the debate stage and he can’t wait to campaign.”
An uptick in new cases of COVID-19 across the South and Southwest sparked fears of a second wave of the deadly disease in the mostly GOP-run states that were among the first to reopen.
Republican governors in states such as Oklahoma and Florida blamed the higher count of new cases on increased testing, noting that the new cases were younger people who are usually asymptomatic and rarely die from the virus.
Mr. Trump told a less-than-capacity crowd at BOK Arena in Tulsa that testing was “a double-edged sword.”
“We’ve tested now 25 million people. It’s probably 20 million people more than anybody else,” he said. “Here’s the bad part, when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases. So, I said to my people ‘slow the testing down, please.’ They test and they test.”
Ms. Sanders and other Democrats pounced Sunday, calling that the “most damning thing” from the rally.
“That’s what will be remembered long after last night’s debacle of a rally,” she said. “The admission of the president that he slowed testing for his political benefit, and it’s not for the American people.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the chorus of Democrats slamming Mr. Trump for those words.
“Testing, tracing, treatment and social distancing are the only tools we have to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but President Trump orders his Administration to slow down the testing that saves lives,” the California Democrat said in a statement Sunday. “The American people are owed answers about why President Trump wants less testing when experts say much more is needed.”
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro downplayed the fuss to CNN “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper, saying the president’s remarks at the rally were made in a “light moment.”
“Come on now Jake, you know that was tongue-in-cheek. I know that was tongue-in-cheek,” Mr. Navarro said of the often off-the-cuff president. “Come on, it was a light moment.”
Mr. Navarro said that the president takes the pandemic and the death toll “absolutely seriously.”
Mr. Trump’s critics also relished the less-than-expected turnout for the rally. They said it signaled fading enthusiasm among his base.
There were many empty seats in the upper portion of the 19,000-seat arena, and open space on the floor as well. The campaign canceled plans for Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to address expected overflow crowds outdoors that never materialized.
The president and Trump campaign officials blamed anti-Trump protesters for preventing supporters from getting to the site.
The president and his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, had bragged earlier in the week about more than 1 million people requesting tickets. Mr. Parscale said an auxiliary stage was being built outside the arena so the president and Mr. Pence could address the massive crowd.
Opponents of the president said the campaign had been duped by teenagers across the U.S. who registered for tickets to undermine the president. Steve Schmidt, a collaborator in the “Lincoln Project” of Republican operatives opposing the president, suggested the group was responsible for undermining the rally attendance.
“I’m dead serious when I say this. The teens of America have struck a savage blow against @realDonaldTrump,” tweeted Mr. Schmidt. “All across America teens ordered tickets to this event. The fools on the campaign bragged about a million tickets. lol. @ProjectLincoln.”
The campaign reportedly began among younger fans of Korean pop music and spread to the TikTok application, earning a big thumbs-up from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat.
“Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID,” she wrote at the Trump campaign on Twitter.
At the rally, the president addressed the civil unrest that has roiled the U.S. since the death on May 25 of George Floyd, a black man, as a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
Demonstrators have been tearing down statues of historical statues around the country — not only Confederate individuals, but others such as Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
“The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrating our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control,” said Mr. Trump.
He declared, “We’re not conforming. That’s why we’re here, actually.”
The president said the “cruel campaign of censorship and exclusion violates everything we hold dear as Americans.”
“They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose their new oppressive regime in its place,” Mr. Trump said of the protesters. “They want to defund and dissolve our police departments. Think of that.”
He said Mr. Biden “will always bow to the angry mob.”
“Joe Biden will always let you down, that’s been his history,” Mr. Trump said. “Biden is a puppet for China … allowing them to rip off America for many years.”
The president proposed a year in prison for anyone who burns the American flag.
“Do you want to bow before the left-wing mob or do you want to stand up tall as Americans?” Mr. Trump said. “We will never kneel to our national anthem, to our great American flag — we will stand proud and stand tall.”
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