Biden and Trump news live: Latest updates as ex-president ‘returns to New York’
Biden and Trump news live: Latest updates as ex-president ‘returns to New York’
Biden marks ‘Bloody Sunday’ by signing voting rights order, and other top stories in politics from March 08, 2021.
Former President Donald Trump has returned to New York City for the first time since departing the White House in January.
The former US leader was spotted in a vehicle enroute to Trump Tower on Sunday evening amid reports of his expected return.
It is unclear how long the former president plans to stay in the city.
Meanwhile, his successor President Joe Biden is expected to mark International Women’s Day with two new executive orders that will establish a gender policy council within the White House and demand a review into Trump-era changes to guidance on how colleges should handle sexual assault allegations.
Mr Biden is also expected to sign his ambitious Covid-19 relief bill into action later this week. The $1.9 trillion relief package is expected to sail through the House on Tuesday and then will be sent to the president’s desk for a final signature.
White House issues statement on Papal vist to Iraq
US president Joe Biden has praised both Pope Francis and Iraq for the first-ever Papal visit to the country by a pontiff, after the official visit came to a close on Sunday.
In a statement released by the White House on Monday morning, Mr Biden described the four-day visit as “historic”, and that Pope Francis’s visit to the city of Mosul was “a symbol of hope for the entire world”, after it was seized by Islamic militants in 2014.
“To see Pope Francis visit ancient religious sites, including the biblical birthplace of Abraham, spend time with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, and offer prayers in Mosul — a city that only a few years ago endured the depravity and intolerance of a group like ISIS — is a symbol of hope for the entire world,” said the White House statement.
Mr Biden also praised the Iraqi government for planning the visit, which saw thousands attend Mass with the Pope at a stadium in Irbil on Sunday.
Gino Spocchia8 March 2021 13:06
Some Americans could receive Covid stimulus checks this week
The US government is expected to start sending-out $1,400 stimulus checks almost immediately after the $1.9 trillion relief package is confirmed by Congress, and signed by US president Joe Biden, on Tuesday.
It means that some Americans could see direct payments as soon as this week if the House of Representatives finalises the relief package as expected on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
Nearly 160 million households are expected to get payments, the White House estimates. It follows several months without a bill being passed by Congress under former president Donald Trump last year, despite unemployment highs and the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before the last Covid relief bill, which was signed by Mr Trump in December, Congress had spent half a year negotiating a package.
A Biden administration spokesperson said the US “Treasury stands ready to implement the direct payment check program as soon as the American Rescue Plan is passed” on Tuesday.
Gino Spocchia8 March 2021 12:44
John Kerry meets UK ministers as US climate envoy
John Kerry, the United State’s presidential envoy for the climate, took part in one-on-one meetings with the UK’s COP26 president, Alok Sharma, among others, on Monday morning.
The meeting, which was believed to be one of the first in-person trips abroad by a member of Joe Biden’s cabinet, comes several months before the UN Climate Summit, COP26, which is scheduled to take place in November in Scotland.
Mr Kerry requested the face-to-face meetings with the UK’s ministers, according to Politico. With similar discussions due to be hand with his EU counterparts in Brussels on Tuesday, where the former US secretary of state will discuss president Biden resigning the Paris climate agreement.
The Biden administration, with the help of Mr Kerry, is expected to take a leading role at COP26.
Gino Spocchia8 March 2021 12:30
All options on the table for US decision on Afghanistan: Report
The US government has reportedly said that all options remain on the table for what the plan might be for the country’s 2,500 troops still in Afghanistan.
A State Department spokesperson told Reuters on Sunday that the US had “not made any decisions about our force posture in Afghanistan” beyond its military commitment to 1 May.
“All options remain on the table,” the spokesperson said.
The comments came after reports that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had made a push for a UN-led peace effort which included a warning that the US military could withdraw its troops by 1 May.
Mr Blinken was reported to have sent a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani asserting that the Biden administration was “considering the full withdrawal of forces by May 1st as we consider other options”.
In addition to Mr Ghani, the letter was reportedly also addressed to Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the peace council, and was outlined to Afghan leaders by US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad during a visit to Kabul last week.
The State Department spokesperson did not confirm the letter.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 11:51
Jill Biden to help honour women from 15 countries for their courage fighting for justice
First lady Jill Biden is expected to help honour 21 women being recognised by the State Department with the International Women of Courage Award today.
Marking International Women’s Day with the award, the honour is given to women for their courage in making the “intentional decision” to pursue and demand justice, despite the risks in doing so.
Among the 21 women being recognised are seven from Afghanistan who will be receiving posthumous honours, according to The Associated Press.
The 14 living recipients “are from Belarus, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela,” AP reported.
In prepared remarks shared with the press agency, the first lady says that the women being honoured might seem like “mythical heroes or angels among us,” but, she stresses that they are ultimately human beings who simply want to be able to enjoy equal rights.
“Some of these women have spent their lives fighting for their cause. Others are just starting out on a journey they didn’t ask for,” Ms Biden says. “Some were called to service, and some couldn’t escape it,” she continues. “They are fighting for their own lives and for their children. They want to right the wrongs of our past, to build a brighter future for everyone. They aren’t immune to fear. No one is.”
“These women made an extraordinary choice, to persist, to demand justice, to believe that, despite the obstacles and fear they faced, there is a future worth fighting for,” Ms Biden says.
The ceremony is expected to be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 11:24
Trump motorcade arrived in NYC at 9pm last night: Report
President Donald Trump reportedly returned to New York for the first time since his presidency ended on Sunday night.
A motorcade arrived at the Trump Tower in Manhattan at around 9pm on Sunday, according to the New York Post, which shared a photo of the former president waving from the backseat of a vehicle.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 11:07
Pence to give first public address since leaving White House
Former Vice President Mike Pence is set to deliver his first public address since his departure from the White House.
Mr Pence is expected to travel to South Carolina, where he will keynote a dinner hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, a Pence aide has told The Associated Press.
The aide reportedly spoke on the condition of anonymity as they did not have permission to discuss the plans publicly.
The Palmetto Family Council lobbies for what it views as “biblical values”, including heterosexual marriage. The council also recently helped push forward a ban blocking most abortions in the state, which is facing a court challenge.
It is unclear what Mr Pence is expected to say during the address.
Since leaving the White House, he has been working with the Heritage Foundation and Young America’s Foundation.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 10:59
Biden to mark International Women’s Day by formally establishing White House Gender Policy Council
President Joe Biden is expected to mark International Women’s Day with the establishment of a Gender Policy Council within the White House.
The council is expected to be established through an executive order that will be signed alongside a separate order demanding a review into Trump-era changes to guidance on preventing sexual assault and harassment at US colleges.
The council is part of “a government-wide focus on uplifting the rights of women and girls in the United States and around the world,” a White House fact sheet on the matter says, according to Reuters, which has reviewed the document.
Jennifer Klein of Time’s Up, is expected to cochair the council, along with Julissa Reynoso, a lawyer who previously served as a diplomat and deputy assistant secretary of state under the Obama administration.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 10:30
Biden to order review of Trump-era changes on how colleges should handle sexual assault allegations
President Joe Biden is set to order a review of changes his predecessor President Donald Trump’s administration made to rules on how colleges should handle sexual assault allegations today.
The president is expected to sign an executive order directing the US Education Department to review all of its existing guidance and “policies for consistency with the administration’s policy to guarantee education free from sexual violence,” according to a White House fact sheet provided to Reuters on Sunday.
The review will look at the Trump administration’s reversal of Obama-era guidance on how schools should work to prevent sexual assault and harassment on campuses.
Trump‘s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, had argued that the guidelines led to students being falsely charged and treated unfairly.
The president is also expected to formally establish a White House Gender Policy Council, the press agency has reported.
The development comes as the world marks International Women’s Day.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 10:13
Feinstein says Biden’s voting rights executive order will help fight ‘election misinformation’
An executive order signed by President Joe Biden on Sunday aimed at expanding voting access will help fight “election misinformation”, Democratic California Sen Dianne Feinstein has said.
Sharing a statement on the EO, which was signed on the 56th anniversary of 1965’s “Bloody Sunday,” which saw state troopers and police attack civil rights demonstrators as they marched against racial injustice at the voting booths, Ms Feinstein said: “This order is needed not only because it’s incumbent on the government to protect the people’s ability to take part in democracy, but also because election misinformation continues to be spread by those who seek to undermine our free and fair elections.”
In her full statement, the senator said she wanted to “applaud President Biden’s executive order directing federal agencies to ensure Americans have better access to voting information so they can more fully participate in the electoral process.”
“On the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when John Lewis and others marched across the Edmund Pettis Bridge to be met by attack dogs and state troopers, we’re reminded the fight for equality continues. As part of that fight, we must ensure all Americans have free and fair access to voting.
“Today, I hope all of us remember the sacrifices made before, during and after Bloody Sunday. There is much more work to be done,” she said.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 09:51
Joe Manchin says filibuster is necessary to ‘make sure the majority is getting it right’
Democratic West Virginia Sen Joe Manchin has said that he will not end his support for the filibuster, the rule forcing most legislation to gain bipartisan support to move forward.
“I’m not going to change my mind on the filibuster,” Mr Manchin said during an interview with “Meet the Press.”
“It takes listening to the minority to make sure the majority is getting it right,” he asserted.
However, the moderate Democrat did also suggest during an interview with Fox News Sunday that he would be open to making the talking filibuster more “painful” to use.
“The filibuster should be painful, it really should be painful and we’ve made it more comfortable over the years,” he said. “Maybe it has to be more painful.”
His comments come as progressives continue to pressure Senate Democrats to abolish the filibuster, something Mr Manchin has pushed back against. “I’m willing to look at any way we can, but I’m not willing to take away the involvement of the minority,” he said.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 09:34
Susan Rice burning sage in office previously occupied by Stephen Miller
Susan Rice, the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, is reportedly burning sage in her new office, which was previously occupied by controversial figure Stephen Miller.
Mr Miller served as the architect of much of former President Donald Trump’s hardline immigration agenda, including helping drive the former US leader’s widely condemned “zero tolerance” family separation policy.
Sage has long been used by Indigenous peoples to cleanse spaces from negativity and to promote healing. And according to The New York Times, it is now being put to use by Ms Rice.
Graig Graziosi has more here:
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 09:06
Top New York Democrats urge Cuomo to consider stepping down amid harassment allegations
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing growing calls to resign after fresh sexual misconduct allegations were lodged against him over the weekend.
Mr Cuomo’s former press aide Karen Hinton told The Washington Post that she had been made to endure a “very long, too long, too tight, too intimate” hug from the governor while in a dimly lit hotel room back in December 2000.
She said Mr Cuomo embraced her and then pulled her back towards him when she tried to move away.
Ana Liss, a former policy and operations aide to the governor, accused Mr Cuomo of calling her a “sweetheart” and asking inappropriate questions about her love life.
Mr Cuomo has so far remained defiant, denying the allegations against him and refusing to step down.
Top New York Democrats, however, have come forward to demand his resignation, with state Senate majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins asserting that the state does not need the “daily distraction”.
“We need to govern without daily distraction,” she said in a statement. “For the good of the state, Governor Cuomo must resign.”
Assembly speaker Carl Heastie supported the call, asserting that Mr Cuomo needs to “seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York”.
Read more on the allegations against Mr Cuomo here:
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 08:48
Biden’s Covid-19 relief package expected to sail through House
President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill is expected to be signed into action this week.
The bill is expected to get final approval from the House on Tuesday before being sent to the US leader himself for a signature.
Democrats are seeking to get the bill on the president’s desk before March 14, when unemployment aid programs are set to expire.
The plan received Senate approve in a 50-49 vote along party lines, with some Republicans pushing back against the hefty spending package.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 08:29
NYPD providing additional security around Trump Tower amid ex-leader’s return
NYPD officers were pictured outside Trump Tower in New York City on Sunday night ahead of former President Donald Trump’s return to the city.
In photos published by Getty, a number of NYPD officers and police vehicles can be seen outside the building, with local media reporting that the police force will be providing additional security during Mr Trump’s visit.
The former president appeared to arrive in NYC on Sunday evening, with photos showing Mr Trump waving from from the backseat of a vehicle.
It is unclear how many officers have been assigned to providing security.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 08:24
Donald Trump returns to NYC for first time since leaving White House
Former President Donald Trump appears to have returned to New York City in his first visit to the Big Apple since his departure from the White House back in January.
Video published online also appears to show the same vehicle driving down the streets of Manhattan as a lone supporter shouts “Welcome back to New York Mr Trump!”
It is unclear how long the former president will remain in the city.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 08:16
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live blog following the latest in US politics as former President Donald Trump returns to New York City, while his successor President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 relief package is set to sail through the House.
Chantal Da Silva8 March 2021 08:08