As it happenedended1613779967

Trump and Biden: Democrat opposes key Cabinet pick as president apologises to G7 for predecessor

Follow for all the latest from the White House, Congress and Mar-a-Lago

Trump: Biden is lying or 'mentally gone’ on vaccines

Joe Biden said the world can't return to a Cold War with Russia and China and must seek ways to cooperate on global challenges like the Covid pandemic even as the two countries pose security risks to the western alliance.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization while apologizing to European leaders for the last four years under Donald Trump.

That apology came with the Biden administration returning the US to the Paris climate accord, another reversal of Trump-era policies of the past four years.

The focus on foreign policy came as the Biden administration continued to face domestic crises in its first weeks, including unprecedented winter weather that delayed 6 million doses of Covid vaccine.

While Biden toured the Pfizer vaccine manufacturing plant in Michigan, Republican senator Ted Cruz stayed out of the spotlight after coming under intense scrutiny for fleeing Texas for the warmer climes of Cancun.

Congress continued going through its motions, with Democrat Joe Manchin announcing his opposition to the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management & Budget, Neera Tanden.

The White House has refused to withdraw her nomination, hoping instead to convince Republicans to confirm her post.

Trump himself, meanwhile, “did things that were terrible” when contradicted on the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci has said in an interview.

Fauci said Trump entirely lost interest in tackling Covid-19 as it became clear he had lost November’s presidential election.

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Biden administration imposes penalties on Belarus officials

Secretary of state Antony Blinken announced overnight the State Department has imposed visa restrictions on more than 100 Belarusian officials it says were involved in the fraudulent elections last year that saw leader Alexander Lukashenko extend his 26-year rule, and the subsequent violent crackdown on protesters.

“The Belarusian people deserve free and fair elections,” Mr Blinken said.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 11:21
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Donald Trump Jr and other conservatives defend Ted Cruz

Texas senator Ted Cruz faced widespread criticism after flying to Cancun amid a deadly winter storm in his home state which left millions without heat or power - but some prominent conservatives have jumped to his defense.

They claimed that, as senator, Mr Cruz could only play a minimal role in aiding his own constituents while the historic storm devastated Texas and sent local officials scrambling following the failure of the state power grid.

At least 21 people have been reported dead as a result of the freezing temperatures and severe conditions.

Read more here:

Donald Trump Jr and other conservatives defend Ted Cruz after he flew to Cancun

Republican allies come out swinging — by suggesting senators ‘don’t do a whole lot’ in their positions during local disasters

Chris Riotta19 February 2021 11:39
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Ted Cruz says he’s doing ‘everything’ to help Texas hours after being caught holidaying in Cancun

Ted Cruz has told Fox News he is doing “everything” to ensure Texas, which is suffering under a devastating cold snap, gets its access to energy restored.

It comes after the GOP senator was caught holidaying in Cancun while millions of Texans were stuck without power, and many without drinking water.

Mr Cruz blamed his daughters for the trip, claiming it was them who insisted on taking the vacation.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 11:59
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Obama’s oldest daughter Malia working on TV show alongside Donald Glover

Malia Obama, the elder of the two daughters of the former US president Barack Obama, is reportedly going to start working as a writer for Donald Glover’s project for Amazon.

The 22-year-old has been recruited to be the part of the writers room for a series on Amazon’s Prime Video.

The American actor’s deal with Amazon includes several projects and one potential series among them could be “Hive”, a programme revolving around a personality like Beyoncé, reported The Hollywood Reporter.

Read more here:

Mayank Aggarwal19 February 2021 12:21
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Early Biden backer announces run for Senate

Democratic Pennsylvania state representative Malcolm Kenyatta, an early supporter of Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy, has announced he is running for the Senate.

The US needs to not just “talk about justice and fairness for all, but actually make it real”, Mr Kenyatta tells MSNBC’s Joy Reid.

“And it’s with faith in that mission and joy in my heart that I’m announcing here tonight that I’ll be a candidate for the United States senate to represent the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 12:39
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US officially back in Paris Agreement

The United States has officially returned to the Paris Agreement, just 107 days after it left as President Joe Biden fulfils his promise to reverse the withdrawal ordered by his immediate predecessor, Donald Trump.

The Paris Agreement, signed by 192 countries, aims to hold global heating at an increasingly ambitious 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and preventing catastrophic climate breakdown.

On his first day in office last month, President Biden rejoined the multilateral deal, starting a 30-day bureaucratic process.

Read more here:

US officially back in Paris Agreement

The climate deal aims to hold global heating at an increasingly ambitious 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by cutting global greenhouse gas emissions, and preventing catastrophic climate breakdown

Louise Boyle19 February 2021 13:01
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AOC ‘doing more for Texans than Texas senator Ted Cruz'

It’s fair to say Ted Cruz’s attempted escape to Mexico during the crisis in his own state of Texas is not comparing well to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fundraising efforts to help struggling Texans.

The Democratic congresswoman, of New York City, has raised more than $1 million in the space of hours, which will go directly to local community organisations in the state.

Mr Cruz, meanwhile, is spending much of his time on a PR campaign to minimise the reputational damage after it was discovered he had jetted away to Cancun earlier this week.

Here are just a handful of the pointed comparisons between the two lawmakers.

Tom Embury-Dennis19 February 2021 13:19
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Dr Fauci: Trump ‘did things what were terrible when I contradicted him’

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the popular US infectious diseases expert offered a damning insight into the ex-president’s pandemic response team.

“When it became clear that in order to maintain my integrity and to get the right message [across] I had to publicly disagree with him, he did things - or allowed things to happen - that were terrible,” Fauci said.

“Like he allowed Peter Navarro to write an editorial in USA Today saying that almost everything I’ve ever said was wrong.”

“To this day I have to have armed federal agents guarding me all the time,” he said of the consequences Trump’s questioning of him have had on his personal life.

The physician also alleges that Trump lost all interest in tackling the coronavirus when it became clear he had lost the election.

“We were trying, but we were acting almost alone, in the sense of without any direction,” he said.

“When President Biden walked into the White House we were having 300,000 to 400,000 cases per day, 4,000 deaths per day, and our hospitals were on the brink of being overrun.”

Joe Sommerlad19 February 2021 13:40
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Biden to tell allies ‘America is back’ and urge them to take on China and Russia together

Nearly two years ago, Joe Biden stood behind a lectern at the 2019 Munich Security Conference and made a promise.

The start of America’s 2020 election was just under a year away. The world had not yet been brought to a standstill by a global pandemic, but thanks to Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda, tensions on both sides of the ocean had not been higher in decades.

But Mr Biden, then simply a former vice president of the United States who said his role that day was merely to “speak as a citizen,” vowed that better days would come.

Read more here:

Biden to tell allies ‘America is back’ and urge them to take on China and Russia together

President will make virtual appearance at Munich Security Conference from White House

Joe Sommerlad19 February 2021 14:00
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Reince Priebus ‘seriously exploring’ Wisconsin governor bid

Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, is “seriously exploring” a run for the governorship of Wisconsin, his home state, according to Politico.

Mr Priebus, who is also a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, has reportedly been making calls to senior GOP figures in the state.

He would apparently have the former president’s support, despite the fact he was sacked by Mr Trump back in 2017.

Joe Sommerlad19 February 2021 14:20

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