October 22, 2020

Biden condemns Trump as ‘climate arsonist’ as wildfires burn – live

Trump has landed in California, where he will receive a briefing on the west coast wildfires, which have already claimed at least 35 lives.

“There has to be good, strong forest management, which I’ve been talking about for three years with the states, so hopefully they’ll start doing that,” Trump said.

Climate experts have said the recent surge in US wildfires is not due to poor forest management, but rather extreme heat and drought along the west coast.

Moments ago, Democratic nominee Joe Biden warning the fires represent the devastating effects of climate change and criticizing Trump as a “climate arsonist.”

Joe Biden closed his climate speech by noting he continues to pray for Americans on the west coast who have been affected by the wildfires.

“We see the light through the dark smoke. We never give up. Always,” Biden said.

With that, the Democratic nominee concluded his speech without taking any questions from reporters.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden appears to be unveiling a new attack strategy against Trump, arguing the president’s climate policies represent a direct threat to the country.

Biden took direct aim at Trump’s baseless claims that the Democrat’s proposals were aimed at abolishing the suburbs.

“You know what is actually threatening our suburbs? Wildfires are burning our suburbs in the West,” Biden said. “If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?”

Biden went on to say, “If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?”

Joe Biden criticized Trump for injecting politics into his natural disaster response, after one former senior administration official said last month that the president previously wanted to withhold wildfire relief from California because it did not vote for him.

“Here’s the deal: Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid red states or blue states. Wildfires don’t skip towns that vote a certain way. The impacts of climate change don’t pick or choose,” Biden said. “That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon. It’s science.”

Biden once again argued Trump had “failed the most basic duty to a nation” because he had failed to protect the American people.

“This is another crisis, another crisis that he won’t take responsibility for,” Biden said, comparing Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic to his response to climate change.

Altering an attack line from the president, Biden went on to say, “It’s clear that we’re not safe in Donald Trump’s America.”

In his speech on the wildfires, Democratic nominee Joe Biden argued America had to take decisive action to address climate change.

“We have to act as a nation,” Biden said. “It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking, is doomsday here?”

The Democratic nominee noted the wildfires were part of a recent pattern of devastating natural disasters, ranging from hurricanes to intense drought.

“I know this feeling of dread and anxiety extends well beyond the fires,” Biden said. “It’s happening everywhere, and it’s happening now — and it affects us all.”

Democratic nominee Joe Biden is now addressing the west coast wildfires and climate change in a speech at the Delaware Museum of Natural History.

Biden said he was praying for those in California, Oregon and Washington state who had been affected by the wildfires.

The Democratic nominee lamented the “undeniable acceleration of the punishing reality of climate change on our planet and our people.”

Here’s where the day stands so far:

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

The attorney general of South Dakota, Jason Ravnsborg, struck and killed a man on Saturday night while driving home from a Republican fundraising dinner.

The Republican governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, said during a press conference yesterday that Ravnsborg had been involved but uninjured in a fatal car accident, but she did not provide further details.

The South Dakota department of public safety said this today, per the Rapid City Journal:

ABC News will host a town will with Trump tomorrow, two days before Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

ABC said in a statement, “Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will anchor the event, which will provide uncommitted voters a chance to ask the President their important questions before voting.”

The event will be held in Philadelphia, so both Trump and Biden will be in Pennsylvania this week, as the two politicians seek to win over undecided voters in the crucial swing state.

Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 1 point in 2016, becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since 1988.

But recent polls have shown Biden leading Trump by several points in Pennsylvania, buoying Democratic hopes that he will flip the state in November.

In his August conversation with Bob Woodward, Trump was also clearly more focused on the US economy than Americans’ health.

In the audio released by CNN, the president asks Woodward, “So you think the virus totally supersedes the economy?”

”Oh, sure. But they’re related, as you know,” Woodward replied.

“A little bit, yeah,” Trump replied.

”Oh, a little bit?” Woodward asked.

“I mean, more than a little bit. But the economy is doing — look, we’re close to a new stock market record,” Trump said.

When Woodward told Trump that there were parts of the book he would not like, the president again said, “You know the market’s coming back very strong, you do know that.”

“Yes, of course,” Woodward said.

“Did you cover that in the book?” Trump asked.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden has repeatedly insisted that the economy will not truly rebound until the country gets the virus under control.

According to the jobs report released by the labor department earlier this month, 29 million Americans are currently receiving some form of unemployment aid.

Speaking to journalist Bob Woodward last month, Trump insisted he could not have done anything more to help the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Woodward, whose new book “Rage” is being released tomorrow, said during the conservation that the presidential election would be a race between Trump, Joe Biden and “the virus.”

According to audio released by CNN, Trump responded by insisting he had “acted early” to mitigate the spread of the virus. “Nothing more could have been done,” Trump told Woodward.

But the president’s early response to the pandemic has been widely criticized, with many experts saying the US wasted time in expanding testing and contact tracing resources.

Trump himself also admitted to Woodward in March that he had worked to downplay the seriousness of the virus.

Overall, the president spoke to Woodward 19 times for his book, representing a total of nearly 10 hours of conversation.

Vice President Mike Pence is about to speak to a few hundred supporters in a conference room in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Attendees’ chairs were spaced a few feet apart, but most people there were not wearing masks as they awaited the vice president’s arrival.

The event comes one day after Trump addressed thousands of supporters at an indoor rally in Henderson, Nevada, attracting criticism from Democratic officials in the state.

Nevada’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, said in a statement, “The President appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in the crucial swing state of Wisconsin, which Trump won by less than 1 point in 2016.

The vice president will hold a campaign rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, and another in Bozeman, Montana, later today.

Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, released a statement denouncing Pence’s visit to Wisconsin.

President Trump admitted he intentionally downplayed the virus and misled the American people, and Wisconsin continues to pay the price — in lost jobs, lost businesses, and lost lives,” Bedingfield said.

After House speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged she has not spoken to Trump about the wildfires, MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin asked this: have you and the president stopped talking entirely?

“Well, I’ve spoken to his representatives,” Pelosi said, noting Trump has indicated his advisers represent him in the negotiations over the next coronavirus relief package, which remain stalled.

Reports suggest the president and the Democratic speaker have not spoken since last October, as the House impeachment inquiry was intensifying.

So as the country faces a global pandemic, a national reckoning over racism and devastating wildfires, the president and the speaker of the House are simply not communicating.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has not spoken to Trump about the wildfires, which are ravaging her home state of California.

Pelosi said she had no complaints about the federal assistance her state has received to help combat the fires, but the Democratic speaker criticized Trump for ignoring the devastating effects of climate change.

“it’s really quite sad,” Pelosi said of Trump’s approach to climate change.

The speaker also denounced the president for holding an “anti-science rally” in Nevada over the weekend.

Very few people wore masks at Trump’s large indoor rally in Henderson, Nevada, yesterday — with one glaring exception.

The AP has the details:

The president spent months refusing to issue a recommendation to wear face masks, despite mounting evidence that they help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Trump finally did urge Americans to wear masks in July, describing the use of masks as an act of patriotism. However, the president has consistently been seen not wearing a mask in public since he issued that recommendation.

In his first interview since serving as a star witness in Trump’s impeachment trial, Alexander Vindman said he considered the US president to be a “useful idiot” for Vladimir Putin.

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg asked Vindman, a former official on Trump’s National Security Council, if he thought Trump was a Russian intelligence asset.

Vindman replied, “President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin.” By “fellow traveler,” Vindman said he meant both Trump and Putin oppose many democratic norms.

“They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,” Vindman said, when asked if he thought Trump was being blackmailed by Putin.

“They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin.”

Vindman went on to say, “In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for—it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.”

Read the full Atlantic story here: Alexander Vindman: Trump Is Putin’s ‘Useful Idiot.’

Trump dismissed concerns about the possible spread of coronavirus at his indoor rally in Henderson, Nevada, this weekend.

“I’m on a stage and it’s very far away,” the president told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And so I’m not at all concerned.”

Of course, that comment does not address the potential threat posed to the thousands of his supporters who attended the rally.

“I’m more concerned about how close you are, to be honest,” Trump told the Review-Journal reporter, who said she was socially distanced from the president.

Trump said he did not believe he was subject to an order from Nevada’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, mandating that gatherings be limited to 50 people.

The president attacked Sisolak as “a political hack” who was trying to control the November elections in his state, even though the Nevada secretary of state is a Republican.

“The governor totally controls it,” Trump said. “That’s okay, he wants to play the game, we’ll play the game.” (Recent polls show the president trailing by several points in Nevada, which Hillary Clinton won in 2016.)

Sisolak said in a statement, “Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada. … The President appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Bob Woodward continued his publicity tour on Monday, speaking to NBC’s Today, again defending his decision to save tapes of Trump admitting to playing down the coronavirus threat for his new book, which arrives with more than 190,000 dead in the US.

Regarding foreign policy, NBC played a hitherto unheard tape of Trump discussing his relationships with autocratic and repressive world leaders.

“I get on very well with Erdoğan,” Trump said, referring to the president of Turkey. “Everyone says ‘what a horrible guy’ but for me it works out. It’s funny, the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. Explain that to me someday, OK, but maybe it’s not a bad thing.

“The easy ones are maybe the ones I don’t like as much or don’t get along with as much.”

Woodward said “the president just controls foreign relations unilaterally. And he has decided, ‘Oh, I’m gonna get along with Putin, I’m gonna get a long with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, MBS. I’m gonna try to get along with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, but not South Korea and he just smears South Korea, time and time again in my interviews.”