By Robert A. Vella
Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris launched their presidential campaign yesterday with pointed speeches detailing the Democratic Party strategy to win back the White House. Their target was focused squarely on Donald Trump, an approach consistent with prevailing public sentiment to define the 2020 election as a national referendum on the president. Specifically, they both criticized Trump for his egregious refusal to mobilize the federal government against the coronavirus pandemic crisis, for the resulting economic collapse which has devastated millions of workers and small businesses, for his divisive behavior on racial issues which is aggravating relations between communities and police, and for his narcissistic abuses of the high office he swore an oath to serve.
Characteristically, Trump responded to Harris with a racist and misogynist slander – euphemistically inferring that she is an “angry black woman” (see: Trump calls Kamala Harris ‘mad woman’ and bizarrely claims Democrats want to abolish ‘any kind of animals’ and tear down Empire State Building).
Meanwhile, Trump’s raging megalomania took another turn today when he admitted that he is deliberately sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service as a way to undermine voting by mail. Think about that for a moment, folks. The President of the United States is bragging about his intent to suppress the vote of American citizens. That’s not just antithetical to democracy, that’s downright fascist. Has any U.S. President in history ever came close to uttering such an un-American statement? It’s unimaginable.
In today’s news, we’ll also cover a new opinion poll showing public confidence in police falling to a 30-year low, the latest COVID-19 developments, and some court rulings.
Biden/Harris campaign launches
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris appeared together for the first time as running mates Wednesday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware, where much of the focus was on Harris, the first Black woman and Asian American woman on the ticket of a major political party.
Showing some of her skills as former prosecutor, she argued the case against the Trump administration by slamming the president’s coronavirus response.
“Let me tell you, as somebody who has presented my fair share of arguments in court, the case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut,” she said. “This virus has impacted almost every country, but there’s a reason it has hit America worse than any other advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s failure to take it seriously from the start.”
“Because of Trump’s failures of leadership, our economy has taken one of the biggest hits out of all the major industrialized nations,” she continued. “But let’s be clear. This election isn’t just about defeating Donald Trump or Mike Pence. It’s about building this country back better.”
“The President’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we’re experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience to the streets of our country demanding change,” Harris said at the afternoon event in Wilmington, Delaware.
“America is crying out for leadership. Yet we have a President who cares more about himself than the people who elected him,” said Harris, who abandoned her own bid for the White House less than a year ago before a single vote was cast. “As someone who has presented my fair share of arguments in court, the case against Donald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut.”
In her speech, she made a direct contrast between Trump — who recently shrugged off the more than 165,000 American Covid-19 deaths by saying, “It is what it is” — and what she described as Biden’s qualities of “empathy, his compassion, his sense of duty,” adding that she and the former vice president were both “cut from the same cloth.”
She charged that Trump’s failure to take the virus seriously, to get coronavirus testing up and running, to offer a national strategy for ending the pandemic has led to 16 million people without jobs, “a crisis of poverty, of homelessness” that is “afflicting Black, brown, and indigenous people the most” and “more than 165,000 lives cut short, many with loved ones who never got the chance to say goodbye.”
“It didn’t have to be this way,” she said.
Harris also sought to convey an understanding of what average families are dealing with by pointing to the “complete chaos” over when and how to open schools: “Mothers and fathers are confused, uncertain and angry about child care and the safety of their kids at schools — whether they’ll be in danger if they go or fall behind if they don’t.”
She eviscerated Trump’s leadership failures by noting that his family’s wealth had paved his way to power, charging that he had “inherited the longest economic expansion in history” from the Obama administration “and then, like everything else he inherited, he ran it straight into the ground.”
“Today is not only the day I’m proud to introduce Senator Harris … it’s also the third anniversary of that terrible day in Charlottesville,” he said.
Hundreds of people descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, three years ago today to protest the removal of a Robert E Lee statue. The rally was led by white supremacist and white nationalist organisations, some of whom were wearing Nazi symbolism and spewing anti-semitic and racist rhetoric.
Mr Biden said it was ”a wake-up call for all of us as a country” before attacking how President Donald Trump handled the rally.
“For me, it was a call to action … at that moment I knew I couldn’t stand by and let Donald Trump, a man who went on to say … ‘there are very fine people on both sides’ … No president of the United States have ever said something like that,” he added.
Trump admits to sabotaging the Post Office
President Trump admitted in a Thursday morning Fox Business interview that he will block additional USPS funding and election assistance to sabotage mail-in voting.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Trump said he would not sign off on a future relief bill that includes emergency federal funds for the USPS and more money to process election mail.
“They want $25 billion. Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said on Thursday.
“But if they don’t get those two items that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting.”
Under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the cash-strapped USPS is implementing cost-cutting measures that could negatively impact the delivery of election mail.
Trump goes after FBI director [Christopher] Wray, whom he appointed, and issues warning to [Attorney General William] Barr [for not being aggressive enough to discredit DOJ investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election]
Americans lose confidence in police
Americans’ confidence in the police fell to the lowest level recorded by Gallup in the nearly 30 years it’s been tracking this data, driven in part by a growing racial divide on the issue.
Around 48% of Americans said they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police, down from 53% the previous year and all time high of 64% in 2004, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
The poll was conducted in the weeks after George Floyd was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer sparking a protest movement against police brutality and systemic racism across the country that continues today. Gallup began tracking this question in 1993, the year after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.