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2024 U.S. Election of President and Vice President

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  • DOR
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post


    Maybe not, but one thing is for sure, and that is there has never been a choice where it is so black or white.
    A-Freaking-Man!

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post


    Maybe not, but one thing is for sure, and that is there has never been a choice where it is so black or white.
    Hear hear!!

    Leave a comment:


  • tbm3fan
    replied
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    Like it or not (and I don't, not by an order of magnitude) these 2 will be the "choices" we have this year.

    Maybe not, but one thing is for sure, and that is there has never been a choice where it is so black or white.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Biden vs. Trump: What Kind of Leader Do We Want on the World Stage?
    Biden builds coalitions and acts with steady seriousness. Trump’s motto seems to be ‘Ask not what is good for the country. Ask what is good for me.’



    THE PAST TWO WEEKS have put on vivid display the differences between President Joe Biden and his predecessor—and would-be successor—former President Donald Trump in the area of national security. Biden quietly made some deft moves aimed at building a safer world. Trump leveraged his power in MAGA congressional circles to obstruct our national security for his personal gain. In terms of both style and substance, the contrast is enormous.

    Let’s start with Biden and his mode of handling the enormous complexities of the Middle East. First, he has been deeply involved in the behind-the-scenes movement toward a two-month humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war. On Thursday, Biden announced that he was sending CIA Director William Burns overseas—to Paris it turns out—for talks related to the proposed ceasefire plan. On Friday, the president spoke with Egyptian and Qatari leaders about the developing plan. Then on Monday, NBC reported agreement among Israeli, Qatari, Egyptian, and American officials in Paris on a ceasefire framework that also lays out a timetable for securing the release of the more than one hundred remaining hostages.

    Second, on Thursday, Biden administration officials let it be known that they had alerted Iran before the January 3 terror attack in which explosions killed more than 80 mourners at a memorial service for Qasem Soleimani, the murderous head of Iran’s Quds Force. (Iran has denied it received any warning.)

    In announcing that Iran had been given a “heads-up” before the attack, Biden administration officials said they were following “a longstanding ‘duty to warn’ policy that has been implemented across administrations to warn governments against potential lethal threats.” Even so, Biden risked political attack at home because Trump has made a political piņata of the Iran policies of both Biden and President Barack Obama.

    Maybe Biden’s recent warning didn’t have its desired effect; the Iranian government blamed the United States for the terrorist attack before ISIS took credit and continues to blame the United States now. In addition, the attack in Jordan this past weekend by an Iranian proxy that killed three American servicemen can be interpreted as at least partial retaliation. Biden has said that “We shall respond” and that he holds Iran “responsible.”

    Meanwhile, Biden has taken seriously the American role in defending international shipping, forming a coalition to respond to the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels based in Yemen. Striking a balance between the need for strong deterrent action and the desire to avoid escalation requires seasoned, sensible leadership.

    In an environment of rapid foreign policy crises, there have, of course, been exceptions to Biden’s steady and effective foreign policy. The disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan stands out. On the other side of the ledger, however, Biden’s declassification and sharing of intelligence prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine united NATO and other free countries before the invasion (in contrast to Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008 and of Ukraine in 2014), enabling a swifter and more forceful response.

    In Europe, while Biden’s rhetorical leadership in response to the largest war there since 1945 could have been more forceful, and his decision-making about when and how to arm the Ukrainians more ahead of the curve, his international leadership is a major reason Ukraine has survived and seen some successes so far.

    Biden’s Obama-like attempts to reach a modus vivendi with Iran as it cruises toward a nuclear weapon have been ill-fated for myriad reasons, but his support of Israel after October 7 and deterrence of Hezbollah have been firmer than anyone could have expected from any Democratic president arguably since Harry Truman. And Biden’s repeated promises to defend Taiwan and his revitalization of the Quad with Australia, Japan, and India are supporting deterrence in the Indo-Pacific.

    Before the 2020 election, Republicans frequently quoted Robert Gates’s 2014 assertion that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” One national security expert predicted in 2020 that Biden would “pull our troops from the Middle East and South Asia,” “slash defense spending,” and be dragged along by the “Democratic Party’s hostility to the state of Israel.” Biden’s foreign policy record hasn’t been perfect—no president’s is—but that prediction was way off, and his overall approach has been admirably sober and serious.

    BY CONTRAST, TRUMP SPENT LAST WEEK, like so many prior weeks, serving his personal political prospects at the cost of American national security. He’s been working overtime to stymie a once-in-a-generation opportunity to legislate a border security deal in exchange for aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. A bipartisan resolution of these issues, so goes Trump’s apparent logic, would be good for the country and therefore help Biden. For personal gain, Trump flogs the border issue while he clogs the deal that might help solve it—and America’s allies and global security pay the price. Put more plainly, Trump wants the same outcome from the congressional negotiations as Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and the leadership of Hamas.

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters on Friday:
    .
    The fact that [Trump] would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is . . . really appalling.”

    North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis called this approach “immoral.”

    Republicans have repeatedly claimed that border security is national security. Now Biden is calling their bluff. He told Republicans on Friday, “If you’re serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill and I will sign it.”

    The implications for national security are even clearer with respect to Ukraine aid. As the Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum has written, “The allied fight against Russia in Ukraine has damaged Russia’s ability to project negative power in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.” She has also noted that “Part of the Republican resistance to helping Ukraine fight an American adversary is simply the perverse desire to see President Joe Biden fail.”

    And let us not forget the record of Trump’s dangerous actions:
    • He illegally withheld military support for Ukraine in its war against Russia (resulting in his first impeachment).
    • He announced to the world that he considered Putin more reliable than the intelligence community.
    • He risked our key alliances with South Korea and Japan over a small amount of money.
    • He leaked sensitive intelligence from the Israelis to the Russians.
    • He tweeted classified photos of Iranian missile sites.
    • He willfully mishandled nuclear secrets.
    • He diverted money from the Defense Department to a border wall that he never built (also likely illegally).
    • He surrendered to the Taliban.
    • He abandoned American allies in Syria.
    • He held off-the-record conversations with Putin on multiple occasions.
    • He indicated that he would withdraw from NATO in a second term.
    • And just last week, he cozied up to Chinese president Xi Jinping by strongly suggesting on Fox that he (Trump) would not defend Taiwan if China invaded.
    Oh, and he attempted a coup.

    IN THIS YEAR’S ELECTION, the country faces a choice between a president willing to take political risks for the country in national security matters and a former president who wants to win regardless of the risks to the country.

    The foreign policy records of Biden and Trump are reminders that, as important as it is to consider a candidate’s policy proposals and experience, what really matters is character. Confronting surprises, emergencies, catastrophes, and crises is a major—perhaps even the predominant—aspect of the president’s job.

    The candidates, like the voters, cannot see the future. The most important thing is for us to try to choose a president who will respond to the unforeseen with honor, strength, integrity, and prudence. Back in 2020, California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff summed up Trump’s character succinctly when he argued for Trump’s conviction for high crimes and misdemeanors:

    “You know you can’t trust this president to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump.”

    Americans should keep that truth in mind whenever he delivers a campaign promise, and particularly when it comes to our national security.
    __________

    Like it or not (and I don't, not by an order of magnitude) these 2 will be the "choices" we have this year.

    Leave a comment:


  • Monash
    replied
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    I think it'll be a woman candidate....Kari or Elise. Like you said, he needs help with suburban women.
    The highlighted bit.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by statquo View Post
    Who are our guesses for Trump’s Vice President? Now that evangelicals think he’s a religious figure, he won’t need an evangelical like Pence.

    Tim Scott? Logic being it’ll help him with African Americans.
    Haley-type? Logic being it’ll help him with suburban women
    Kari Lake? Logic being it’s a shoutout to the ardent supporters who have stuck it out with him


    My prediction, which I’m going to stick with, is following the QAnon Trump-Kennedy ticket. No of course JFK Jr isn’t alive. I’m talking Robert Kennedy. Logic being he used to be a Dem, so Trump can be seen as “reaching across the aisle” to bridge the gap, while Kennedy still holds similar views on Covid and conspiracies that most Trump supporters hold. Kennedy also comes with name value to people who harken back to the good old days.
    I think it'll be a woman candidate....Kari or Elise. Like you said, he needs help with suburban women.

    Leave a comment:


  • statquo
    replied
    Who are our guesses for Trump’s Vice President? Now that evangelicals think he’s a religious figure, he won’t need an evangelical like Pence.

    Tim Scott? Logic being it’ll help him with African Americans.
    Haley-type? Logic being it’ll help him with suburban women
    Kari Lake? Logic being it’s a shoutout to the ardent supporters who have stuck it out with him


    My prediction, which I’m going to stick with, is following the QAnon Trump-Kennedy ticket. No of course JFK Jr isn’t alive. I’m talking Robert Kennedy. Logic being he used to be a Dem, so Trump can be seen as “reaching across the aisle” to bridge the gap, while Kennedy still holds similar views on Covid and conspiracies that most Trump supporters hold. Kennedy also comes with name value to people who harken back to the good old days.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Exit DeSantis



    And just like that, before a single vote had been cast in the first primary, Ron DeSantis is out, ending his campaign by citing a bogus Churchill quote as he bent the knee to Donald Trump. From shambolic launch to the final sad trombone slide into oblivion, it was all so on-brand.

    Last week, the man from Florida declared “you could be the most worthless Republican in America,” but “if you kiss the ring, Trump will say you are wonderful.”

    Seven. Days. Later. He kissed the ring.




    By then, of course, the campaign had devolved from the Great Hope of anti-anti-Trump redemption into a wretched death march. So, it was hardly surprising that it ended with a whimper. The GOP wannabe alpha was a thorough beta when it mattered, and now the long, endless slog of self-abasement begins. (While Mickey Mouse breaks into a much-deserved happy dance.)

    As my colleague Sonny Bunch noted last night, “Again, the theory of DeSantis’s candidacy just never made sense.”
    .
    “I’m not Trump, I’m more effective than Trump, but I’ll never criticize Trump because I’m terrified of his voters who don’t actually want effective Trump, they want vaguely racist, entertaining Trump. Vote for me?”

    Who knew it would be such a spectacular, historic fail? Well, pretty much everyone around here.

    Sarah Longwell summed it up: “A talentless candidate with a dumb strategy who said ‘God made a fighter’ but refused to fight Trump at every turn. Now he endorses Trump (and rags on Nikki) to try and preserve the tatters of his political career. This guy is done.”

    Here’s my campaign obit from last night:
    .
    The obituaries are almost too easy to write.

    What killed the presidential candidacy of Ron DeSantis, suspended on the Sunday before New Hampshire? Let us count the causes.

    There was, of course, his shambolic super PAC; campaign infighting; his reckless spending on private jets; his disastrous rollout with Elon Musk; his serial strategic and tactical blunders. His campaign operation was both incompetent and tone-deaf, totally misreading the dynamics of GOP primary politics.

    But the proximate cause of his demise was pretty obvious: DeSantis was a bad candidate with a lousy message, as unlikeable in person as he was on television. He was, in the memorable words of GOP consultant Stuart Stevens, “Ted Cruz without the personality.”

    And he refused to actually run against the man he had to beat.

    The Florida governor was not, of course, the first fantastic-on-paper presidential contender who failed to flourish in the spotlight. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Florida’s Jeb Bush (!) blundered and floundered their way to presidential asterisk status over the past few decades. Indeed, political history is full of could-have-beens who imploded in the heat of a presidential contest: Democrat Ed Muskie in 1972; Gary Hart in 1984; Rudy Giuliani in 2008; and who could forget the hopes dashed by the collapse of the Fred Thompson boomlet that same year?

    Even so, there is something rather extraordinary about DeSantis’ defenestration.

    Amid an otherwise bleak midterms for the GOP, he won re-election in a landslide in one of the nation’s biggest and most crucial states.

    The timing could hardly have been more propitious: Trump had been defeated, disgraced, and was facing serious legal peril, and the GOP looked poised to finally move on. The smart kids in the anti-anti-Trump wing of party — including much of Conservatism Inc. and its media allies — moved quickly to embrace DeSantis’ candidacy.

    DeSantis eagerly tried to seize the mantle of Trumpism without Trump, picking fights with “woke” corporations, banning books and abortion, bullying and insulting critics, and using migrants as pawns. In his performative aggression, DeSantis imagined that he was checking all the right boxes, even if it meant using the power of government. He may have abandoned the notion of “small government” and “free markets,” but he was making the right enemies, and that was what MAGA really wanted, he thought.

    He lined up as many right-wing influencers as he could, including anti-CRT activists like Chris Rufo and writers like Nate Hochman (whom he had to later fire after Hochman tweeted Nazi imagery). Last year, The Daily Beast reported on what it called DeSantis’ “Secret Twitter Army of Far-Right Influencers,” a decidedly deplorable group that included aself-described “alpha-male giga chad,” an unregistered arms dealer and an ex-Trump digital strategist who has said some very, very racist things.

    But in the end, none of it worked. MAGA wanted what MAGA wanted. And that was Donald Trump.

    This was DeSantis’ most fundamental miscalculation, and one that he alluded to in the video announcing the end of his campaign. Rather than go for soft Trumpers, or Republicans who were skeptical of the former president, DeSantis went hard for the hardcore base. That meant continually moving to the right, embracing a reactionary pugilism and draconian reactionary policies that he thought would wean MAGA loyalists from their orange Messiah.

    But the MAGA faithful didn’t care about the policies or the legislation. They wanted the show.

    Trump gave them the show. DeSantis was stiff, shrill, unlikeable and, worst of all, boring.

    _________

    “In a matter of weeks, Ron will bend the knee and endorse Donald Trump.”

    — Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), at his debate with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

    Nailed it lol.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Trump Confuses Haley and Pelosi, Accusing Rival of Jan. 6 Lapse
    Donald Trump has often accused former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of failing to provide adequate security for the Capitol. On Friday, he inexplicably substituted Nikki Haley’s name for Ms. Pelosi’s.


    Nikki Haley at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H., on Friday.


    Former President Donald J. Trump on Friday appeared to confuse Nikki Haley for Nancy Pelosi during a speech in New Hampshire, accusing Ms. Haley of failing to provide adequate security during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol and connecting her to the House committee that investigated it.

    Ms. Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and a former ambassador to the United Nations, has never served in Congress and was working in the private sector during the Capitol riot.

    On Friday night, Mr. Trump was in the middle of mocking Ms. Haley for the size of the crowds at her events, and criticizing the news media, when he pivoted to how he gave a speech in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the Capitol attack.

    “You know, when she comes here she gets like nine people, and the press never reports the crowds,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Haley, whose crowds have lately been, at the very least, in double digits.

    Then, he changed subjects. “You know, by the way, they never report the crowd on Jan. 6,” he said. “You know, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley, Nikki Haley.”

    Mr. Trump then repeated his frequent claim that the bipartisan House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack — including Mr. Trump’s actions that day — “destroyed all of the information, all of the evidence.”

    Then, he claimed that Ms. Haley was in charge of security that day, and that she and others had turned down his offer to send troops to the Capitol.

    “Nikki Haley was in charge of security,” he said. (She was not.) “We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guards, whatever they want. They turned it down. They don’t want to talk about that.”

    Mr. Trump, 77, often attacks President Biden, 81, over his age and suggests that Mr. Biden is mentally unfit for office. “He can’t put two sentences together,” Mr. Trump said on Friday. “Can’t put two sentences together. He needs a teleprompter.”

    A spokesman for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Mr. Trump has frequently tried to lay blame for the Jan. 6 riot with Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats. There is no evidence, however, that Mr. Trump ever offered to have troops deployed to the Capitol, or that Ms. Pelosi, then the speaker of the House, rejected him.

    At 3:52 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, Ms. Haley reposted photos of besieged officials inside the Capitol, writing on Twitter, “An embarrassment in the eyes of the world and total sadness for our country. Wake up America.”
    _________

    Guess the whole "Ray Epps was responsible for Jan 6" thing was getting kinda stale.

    Meanwhile, Cult45 adjusts as necessary:

    "Trump didn't say that and if he did, he didn't mean it and if he did you misunderstood it, and if you didn't, then it's not a big deal and if it is, others have said worse"

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    Originally posted by DOR View Post

    Kidnapping is a pretty serious felony, and the actual circumstances under which migrants were moved from place to place (e.g., NYC, Mass.) would seem to qualify for prosecution. Seriously, I don't understand why the FBI isn't all over this.
    Optics

    It would show an area which is perceived to be a failing of the Biden Administration (utter bullshit) and using the FBI as a weapon against GOP governors.

    Leave a comment:


  • DOR
    replied
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Can he seriously face any ethics issues over the misuse of these state governmental assets?
    Kidnapping is a pretty serious felony, and the actual circumstances under which migrants were moved from place to place (e.g., NYC, Mass.) would seem to qualify for prosecution. Seriously, I don't understand why the FBI isn't all over this.

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Can he seriously face any ethics issues over the misuse of these state governmental assets?
    Nah, I seriously doubt it. Such a thing would probably have to be brought up before the state congress, and they're basically in his back pocket.

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    Can he seriously face any ethics issues over the misuse of these state governmental assets?

    Leave a comment:


  • TopHatter
    replied
    Opinion: The reckoning for Ron DeSantis is here
    Nate Monroe, Jacksonville Florida Times-Union


    COMMENTARY | It was no great shock the squadron of bleary eyed government employees and legislators who schlepped up to Iowa failed to move the good people of that state to the floundering campaign of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, he of fake smiles and fake laughs and all around weird behavior. But the jarring presence of Florida state employees at the Iowa caucuses— including regulators like the head of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the leaders of important agencies like the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Juvenile Justice, all of whom are supposed to be carrying out non-political work — revealed the degree to which DeSantis has deformed the notion of public service in Florida.

    And for what? So Ronald Dion DeSantis could limp out of the Iowa caucuses merely 30 points behind Donald Trump? Was it worth it? How many tens of millions did DeSantis burn, how many ruinous culture-war battles did he wage, how many times did federal and state judges need to clean up his messes, how many colleges did he need to ruin, how many lives did he need to blithely toss aside — all so he could end up out of money and out of time? Did you see his pallid face Monday night? Did his ticket look punched to you?

    Taciturn, awkward: Plenty will suggest, with some justification, that DeSantis's peculiar demeanor did him in, or that he failed to articulate the case against Trump, that he tried to be Trump but wasn't Trump — the fundamental error all the Trump derivatives who fill the ranks of the Republican Party these days seem to make.

    But DeSantis began planting the seeds of his humiliating downfall years ago, even before he became Florida governor. See, here in Northeast Florida, the region DeSantis once represented in Congress, there are some pretty well-known stories. One is about his lack of personal loyalty: After winning a congressional seat in 2012, DeSantis froze out the consultants who ran his campaign. There was no real reason for it. This is simply what he does.

    And after he won the race for governor in 2018, he did it again. DeSantis ousted a coterie of advisers, including Susie Wiles, who helped him salvage his once-faltering gubernatorial campaign and had become the architects of his surprisingly moderate first act in office. It wasn't enough to merely oust Wiles, a Jacksonville consultant who'd become a trusted confidant of mayors, governors and a president. DeSantis's administration sought to make her unemployable, to humiliate her.

    Again, there wasn't really a reason for this except that DeSantis seems to possess crippling paranoia about the people around him. For this reason he has virtually no inner circle, save for Casey, his wife, the former host of a mid-morning talk show on First Coast News in Jacksonville. The pandemic completed this closure. Beset by media coverage he considered unfair, facing a complex problem for which there were few clear answers, and nurturing a powerful personal ambition, DeSantis began filling his administration's ranks with loons and yes-men — incompetent, conspiratorial, but intensely loyal to the man offering them lucrative government employment. They helped him craft laws stifling speech and expression that immediately hit roadblocks in the federal courts; they made him crueler, more distant, more online — distinctly un-Floridian — until he had become an abstraction, somehow even less relatable than his bionic predecessor, Rick Scott.

    These are the allies who swooped to DeSantis's aid in Iowa this week. Characteristically, this all ended in embarrassment.

    And who was that Trump called out during his victory speech, that diminutive figure standing at the periphery of his entourage on stage? Susie Wiles, the adviser DeSantis cast out, is one of Trump's most trusted confidants. Oops.

    This was not inevitable, but faced with inflection points in his career, DeSantis has always chosen poorly. He values loyalty over competence. He does what's easy over what's hard; during the pandemic, contrary to the mythology peddled by his campaign, DeSantis merely outsourced the hard decision-making about school closures and mask mandates and business closures to city and county officials, who made brave calls with virtually no guidance from their state leadership. DeSantis always chooses cruelty over kindness, dog whistles over empathy, divisiveness over grace.

    These moral compromises have turned him into a husk. Last summer, when Jacksonville needed a leader in the wake of a series of racist murders at a Dollar General, it only got this listless vessel of a man. It was "unacceptable," he said of this shocking act of violence. DeSantis had nothing left for his own people. So he decamped to Iowa, eventually taking a large portion of the leadership of Florida's government with him. His campaign, under the badly mistaken impression that exposing its icy leader to as many people as possible would increase his odds, visited all of Iowa's 99 counties.

    It, of course, made no difference. This prince of the modern conservative movement had turned into a pumpkin long ago. All that money, his reputation, all that time he could have been making a difference in Florida — to lower its debilitating cost of living, to extend health care to millions who are without it, to fight for consumer protections and overdevelopment and algal blooms — gone forever. Sure, he can continue to soldier on, as he pledged to Monday night, while his broke campaign shrivels in front of us all. But this goose is cooked right and good.

    This tragedy is not DeSantis' to claim. The tragedy is what Floridians had to lose just so this man could get trounced by a scofflaw.
    _____________

    Leave a comment:


  • Albany Rifles
    replied
    A lot of news outlets have been mealy mouthed over the reason why President Biden gave his speech in Charleston, SC. AP nails the EXACT reason and reminds us all why it was a perfect location.


    https://apnews.com/article/biden-tru...a8af45b7ad6a6b


    Biden condemns white supremacy in a campaign speech at a church where Black people were killed


    BY COLLEEN LONG, ZEKE MILLER AND DARLENE SUPERVILLE

    Updated 8:00 AM EST, January 9, 2024


    CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Courting Black voters he needs to win reelection, President Joe Biden on Monday denounced the “poison” of white supremacy in America, declaring at the site of a deadly racist church shooting in South Carolina that such ideology has no place in America, “not today, tomorrow or ever.”

    Biden spoke from the pulpit of Mother Emanuel AME Church, where in 2015 nine Black parishioners were shot to death by the white stranger they had invited to join their Bible study. The Democratic president’s speech followed his blunt remarks last Friday on the eve of the anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, in which he excoriated former President Donald Trump for “glorifying” rather than condemning political violence.

    At Mother Emanuel, Biden said “the word of God was pierced by bullets of hate, of rage, propelled not just by gunpowder, but by a poison, a poison that has for too long haunted this nation.”

    That’s “white supremacy,” he said, the view by some whites that they are superior to other races. “It is a poison, throughout our history, that’s ripped this nation apart. This has no place in America. Not today, tomorrow or ever.”


    It was a grim way to kick off a presidential campaign, particularly for someone known for his unfailing optimism and belief that American achievements are limitless. But it’s a reflection of the emphasis Biden and his campaign are placing on energizing Black voters amid deepening concerns among Democrats that the president could lose support from this critical constituency heading into the election.


    Biden’s campaign advisers and aides hope the visit lays out the stakes of the race in unequivocal terms three years after the cultural saturation of Trump’s words and actions while he was president. It’s a contrast they hope will be paramount to voters in 2024.

    Biden also used his second major campaign event of the year to thank the state’s Black voters. After an endorsement by Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the U.S. House, the state made Biden the winner of its Democratic presidential primary in 2020. That, in turn, set him on a path to become the party’s nominee and defeat Trump to win the presidency.

    “I owe you,” he said.

    Biden was briefly interrupted when several people upset over by his staunch support for Israel in its war against Hamas called out that if he really cared about lives lost he would call for a cease-fire in Gaza to help innocent Palestinians who are being killed under Israel’s bombardment. The chants of “cease-fire now” were drowned out by audience members chanting “four more years.”

    The president also swiped at Republican presidential candidates Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, and Trump, without naming either one.

    Haley was governor at the time of the shooting and gained national attention for her response, which included signing legislation into law removing the Confederate flag from the state Capitol. But she has been on the defensive recently for not explicitly naming slavery as the root cause of the Civil War when the question was posed at a campaign event. Her campaign responded Monday with a list of comments attributed to Biden that it said showed he’s racially insensitive.

    Biden called it a “lie” that the war was about states’ rights. “So let me be clear, for those who don’t seem to know: Slavery was the cause of the Civil War. There’s no negotiation about that.”

    Haley, speaking at a Fox News Channel town hall on Monday, pushed back that it was “offensive” for Biden to give a political speech at the church. She also raised Biden’s ties to Democratic segregationist senators early in his career.

    During his successful 2020 run for the White House, Biden faced criticism from fellow Democratic contenders for alluding to his work with Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia while trying to make a point about lost civility in national politics.

    “I don’t need someone who palled around with segregationists in the ‘70s and has said racist comments all the way through his career lecturing me or anyone in South Carolina about what it means to have racism, slavery, or anything related to the Civil War,” Haley said.

    On more current events, Biden noted the scores of failed attempts by Trump in the courts to overturn the 2020 election in an attempt to hold onto power, as well as the former president’s embrace of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

    “Let me say what others cannot: We must reject political violence in America. Always, not sometimes. Always. It’s never appropriate,” Biden said. He said “losers are taught to concede when they lose. And he’s a loser,” meaning Trump.

    It was June 17, 2015, when a 21-year-old white man walked into the church and, intending to ignite a race war, shot and killed nine Black parishioners and wounded one more. Biden was vice president when he attended the memorial service in Charleston.

    Biden’s aides and allies say the shootings are among the critical moments when the nation’s political divide started to sharpen and crack. Though Trump, the current Republican presidential front-runner, was not in office at the time and has called the shooting “horrible,” Biden is seeking to tie Trump’s current rhetoric to such violence.

    Two years after the attack, as the “Unite The Right” gathering of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted in violent clashes with counterprotesters. Trump said merely that “there is blame on both sides.”

    Biden and his aides argue it’s all part of the same problem: Trump refused to condemn the actions of the white nationalists at that gathering. He’s repeatedly used rhetoric once used by Adolf Hitler to argue that immigrants entering the U.S. illegally are “poisoning the blood of our country,” yet insisted he had no idea that one of the world’s most reviled and infamous figures had used similar words.

    And Trump continues to repeat his false claims that he won the 2020 election, as well as his assertion that the Capitol rioters were patriotic and those serving prison time are “hostages.”

    At Mother Emanuel, Biden revisited themes from the Jan. 6 anniversary speech he delivered Friday.

    Biden has repeatedly suggested that democracy itself is on the ballot, asking whether it is still “America’s sacred cause.”

    Trump, who faces 91 criminal charges stemming from his efforts to overturn his loss to Biden and three other felony cases, argues that Biden and other top Democrats are themselves seeking to undermine democracy by using the legal system to thwart the campaign of Biden’s chief rival.

    South Carolina is the first official Democratic nominating contest where Biden wants another strong showing.

    In an interview with The Associated Press before Biden’s appearance, Malcolm Graham, a brother of Charleston church victim Cynthia Graham-Hurd, said the threat of racism and hate-fueled violence is part of a needed national conversation about race and American democracy.

    “Racism, hatred and discrimination continue to be the Achilles’ heel of America, of our nation,” said Graham, a city councilman in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Certainly, what happened to the Emanual Nine years ago is a visible example of that. What happened in Buffalo, years later, where people were killed under similar circumstances, shows that racism and discrimination are still real and it’s even in our politics.”

    After the speech, Biden met privately with religious leaders and family members and survivors of the church shooting. He also dropped in at Hannibal’s Kitchen, a soul food restaurant, to shake hands.

    Later Monday, Biden flew to Dallas to make a brief stop at a memorial service for Eddie Bernice Johnson, the influential former Texas congresswoman who died on New Year’s Eve. Johnson was 89.

    Biden said in a statement last week that he and Johnson had worked together during her 30 years in Congress and he was grateful for her friendship and partnership.

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