Key moments from Biden’s joint session of Congress
Joe Biden’s administration came under fire from former president Donald Trump on Thursday morning after the Democrat delivered a first address to a joint session of Congress the night before.
Mr Trump, who accused the Democrat of “destroying our country” in an appearance on Fox Businesses, also praised former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for being “a great patriot” following a raid on the 76-year-old’s apartment on Wednesday by federal investigators.
Mr Giuliani denies allegations that he broke lobbying laws during his work for Mr Trump, and of collecting information on the Biden family in Ukraine in the run-up to the 2020 election — which Mr Giuliani claimed was a fraud.
Mr Biden, meanwhile, has an approval rating of 53 percent among Americans and is performing better than Mr Trump, who scored 44 per cent at the same point in his tenure.
On the pandemic, Mr Biden’s numbers are even higher, with 66 per cent approving of his handling of the coronavirus iris. Even among Republicans, 30 per cent support his pandemic policies – which is 16 per cent higher than their support for him on any other issue.
In general, 53 per cent of Americans say Mr Biden has the right priorities, and 59 per cent say he’s keeping his promises. In both cases, that’s better than presidents Trump or Clinton were doing on their 100th days.
Tim Scott says ‘discrimination is still real’ after saying US ‘not racist’
Senator Tim Scott, who offered a Republican rebuttal of Joe Biden’s speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, was on Fox News furthering his remarks about America ‘not being a racist country’ on Thursday morning.
He told the show’s hosts: “Discrimination is still real, but is being pushed further and further into a small corner in our nation. That’s great news we should celebrate.”
Then, commenting on Thursday morning’s remarks by Kamala Harris, he added: “I will agree with the vice president on one thing. The internal struggle we see in our nation, often [at] times led by the left, is a problem. A problem we can solve together”.
US president Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to “root out systemic racism in our criminal justice system” and said that “the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today is from white supremacist terrorism.”
Ms Harris followed-up on Thursday by saying that she believed the US was ‘not racist’, but that she “applaud[ed] the president for always having the ability and the courage frankly to speak the truth about it”.
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 15:17
Kamala Harris says America not racist, but calls for ‘truth’
The vice president was asked on Thursday morning if she believed the US was a racist country, and said “no”.
Ms Harris told ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “No, I don’t believe that America is a racist country, but we also have to speak truth about the history of racism in this country and its existence today.”
She continued: “I applaud the president for always having the ability and the courage frankly to speak the truth about it”.
The comments came after host George Stephanopoulos questioned the vice president on Senator Tim Scott’s rebuttal of Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, when he said America is not racist.
Mr Biden, in the speech beforehand, pledged to ‘root out systemic racism’ and spoke of the injustices facing Black Americans.
Here’s Oliver O’Connell with the latest:
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 15:01
US calls on citizens to leave India amid Covid outbreak
US citizens in India have been told to leave the country as soon as possible, following the recent outbreak of Covid.
Issuing the second SOS alert for India in almost a week, the US embassy in Delhi asked US citizens to take “advantage of available commercial transportation options now” and leave the country.
It added that the US Department of State “advises US citizens not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so due to the current health situation in country”.
Some 700,000 American citizens live in India, according to White House figures.
It comes as the number of infections in India surpassed 18 million on Thursday, with a number of records for cases and deaths broken in recent days.
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 14:52
Did Joe Biden really travel 17,000 miles with Xi Jinping?
According to fact checkers, the answer to that and several other parts of the US president’s speech to Congress on Wednesday, the answer is ‘no’.
Although the inaccuracies were few and far between, in comparison to former president Donald Trump, there were still a few remarks that were not wholly accurate on Wednesday night.
Oliver O’Connell has that analysis, here:
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 14:29
US economy grows by 6.4 per cent
Figures released on Thursday show the US economy grew at a rate of 6.4 per cent in the first four months of the year.
It is a sign of increasing consumer confidence and of the country’s roll-out of vaccines since Joe Biden took office in January, allowing businesses to open-up for the first time in months, and consumers to spend.
Millions of Americas are also spending some of the Covid stimulus they revived in the wake of Mr Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package.
For Mr Biden, the numbers will be welcomed — particularly when compared to the record breaking 31 per cent contraction of the economy in April to June of 2020, when the Covid pandemic first accelerated in the US.
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 14:16
Biden in Georgia for car rally on 100th day in office
Joe Biden will be marking his 100th day in office by attending a car rally outside Atlanta.
During the “Getting America Back on Track” rally, according to the Georgia Democratic Party, the US president is due to again deliver a speech celebrating his trillion-dollar Covid package for Americans — among other achievements.
The Democrat is also due to meet with former president Jimmy Carter, a close friend of Mr Biden and at the age of 96, the longest living US president.
The outing to Georgia follows Wednesday night’s joint session of Congress, in which Mr Biden called a policy agenda worth around $4 trillion (£2.9tn) a “once in a generation investment in America itself”.
He added: “America is rising anew. Choosing hope over fear”. And Georgia, of course, is the state which swung Democrat for the first in decades, and for Mr Biden, in November.
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 13:49
Trump ‘100 per cent thinking’ about 2024 run
Adding to speculation about another run for office, Donald Trump said on Thursday that he was still “100 per cent thinking about running again”.
In an appearance on Fox Business, the former president downplayed that Florida governor Ron DeSantis would be his future running mate, and falsely alleged that US president Joe Biden was “destroying our country” with his policy on immigration at the US-Mexico border – warning that “murderers” and “rapists” are flooding in from Central America.
In standard fashion, he also claimed to be “the father of the vaccine”, that he “won” the 2020 election, and that Nancy Pelosi was wearing among the “biggest masks” he had ever seen during Mr Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress.
Joe Sommerlad has the report:
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 13:24
Trump says Harris and Pelosi were ‘choking’ on masks
Donald Trump bizarrely claimed that Democrats were “choking” on their masks during Joe Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night.
“It looked like they were choking last night, while he was speaking,” the former president told Fox Business on Thursday. “Nancy’s mask was the biggest mask”.
Mr Trump went on to complain that Ms Pelosi was “nasty” when she tore a copy of his 2020 State of the Union address.
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 12:55
‘I’m the father of the vaccine’
Donald Trump offered-up criticism of the temporary pause of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine on Thursday morning, telling Fox Business: “I’m the father of the vaccine”.
The former president, who recently suggested the vaccine be renamed the ‘Trumpcine’, continued by saying that he “certainly wouldn’t have paused it” and that the decision to do so was “political”.
“And then they do a pause, which got so much publicity, [it] hasn’t recovered yet. What they did there was just terrible,” added Mr Trump.
It follows the decision by US regulators to recommend allowing the Johnson&Johnson jab to be rolled-out across the US, following a review of rare cases of reported blood clotting — among millions of doses administered.
While the Biden administration is responsible for the recent rolling out of vaccines, the Trump administration began the initiative to fast track the development of a number of vaccines, which the former president is taking credit for.
Despite that, Mr Trump — who cited concerns of “public confidence” in the vaccines — admitted in February to receiving a vaccine behind closed doors in January, during his final days in office.
Gino Spocchia29 April 2021 12:23
Four takeaways from Biden’s speech to Congress
After four decades of seeking the nation’s highest office, Joe Biden entered the presidency as a deadly pandemic and an economic crisis prevented him from doing any of the parts of the job that might typically be considered among its perks.
He cannot review the troops, shake hands along a rope line or host a state dinner for a visiting foreign leader. But on Wednesday night, Mr Biden finally participated in one sanctified ritual of the presidency: addressing a joint session of Congress.
The speech itself was hopeful in tone and ambitious in the scope of Mr Biden’s proposals.
Annie Karni runs you through four key points from the president’s speech here:
Clea Skopeliti29 April 2021 11:56