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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

Tom Embury-Dennis,Joe Sommerlad,Justin Vallejo
Saturday 20 February 2021 00:12 GMT
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.


Putin seeking to weaken Nato, says Biden

“He wants to undermine the trans-Atlantic unity and our resolve. Because it’s so much easier for the Kremlin to bully and threaten individual states than it is to negotiate with a strong and united trans-Atlantic community,” says Joe Biden.

“That’s why standing up for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine remains a vital concern for Europe and the United States.”

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 16:37

World can’t return to Cold War, says Biden

“We cannot and must not return to reflective opposition and rigid blocs of the Cold War,” says Biden.

“Competition must not lock out cooperation on issues that affect us all.”

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 16:39

Trump years ‘have been hard’, says Biden

“The last four years have been hard, but Europe and the United States have to lead with confidence once more, with faith in our capacities, a commitment to our own renewal with trust in one another and the ability of Europe and the United States to meet any challenge to secure our futures together,” Biden says.

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 16:44

BREAKING: Biden rallies G7 allies on Russia, China and climate crisis following ‘strained’ Trump era

President Joe Biden has urged US allies to work together against autocratic threats and to meet economic challenges posed by Russia and China in a message to G7 partners that underscored his “America is back” rallying cry in stark contrast to his predecessor’s “America first” agenda.

The US president sought to rally allies and repair bonds scorched by Donald Trump and his nationalist administration in a virtual address to the Munich Security Conference from the White House on Friday, his first major remarks on the global stage since taking office last month.

"I know the past few years have strained and tested our trans-Atlantic relationship,” he said. “The United States is determined ... to re-engage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trust and leadership."

Alex Woodward reports.

Biden rallies G7 allies on Russia, China and climate crisis following ‘strained’ Trump era

President Joe Biden has urged US allies to work together against autocratic threats and to meet economic challenges posed by Russia and China in a message to G7 partners that underscored his “America is back” rallying cry in stark contrast to his predecessor’s “America first” agenda.

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 17:05

Biden plans on visiting Texas but doesn’t want to be a ‘burden'

From the White House press pool on Joe Biden’s plans to visit Texas:

“The answer is yes. The question is I had planned on visiting Texas in the middle of next week but I don’t want to be a burden. When the president lands in a city in America it has a long tail,” he says.

House representative for New York City’s Bronx neighbourhood, AOC, however, will be there to deliver her fundraising.

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 17:20

China’s culturally ‘different norms’: Gang-raped, shackled and broken students inside Uighur detention camps

After Joe Biden came under heavy criticism for seemingly downplaying China’s genocide as “different norms”, more “horrific” detail has emerged from inside the Uighur detention camps.

While Biden said during a CNN town hall that the US would speak out about what China is doing with the Uighurs, he repeated the justifications used by Xi Jingping China’s policies.

“If you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been, the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home… so the central — well, vastly overstated — the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that,” Biden said.

“Culturally there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow,” he continued.

In an interview with CNN, a woman has given a rare glimpse into what goes on behind their closed, locked and guarded doors.

Qelbinur Sidik said she was routinely teaching Mandarin to classes of “shackled” students inside two government-run camps and recalled hearing screams of tortured detainees. She was told of guards raping inmates and detainees that “fit, robust and bright-eyed” but quickly became sick and weak.

Sam Hancock has more on the so-called “different norms”.

Inside China’s ‘horrific’ Uighur detention camps

Teacher recalls hearing screams above her classroom which guards admitted were ‘detainees being tortured’

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 17:40

China admits to casualties in hand-to-hand border clash with India for first time

China was a feature of Joe Biden’s major foreign policy speech earlier today, characterizing them as long term competition.

Over in India, that competition has escalated to hand-to-hand combat at the disputed border of Ladakh.

On Friday, Chinese media reported for the first time that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lost four men during its June 2020 clash with Indian forces in the Galwan valley, during which 20 Indian soldiers also died.

Mayank Aggarwal has the full story.

China admits to casualties in hand-to-hand border clash with India for first time

India-China military commanders to meet on Saturday to further the disengagement process

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 18:00

White House not weighing in on Cruz

As press secretary Jen Psaki told the White House press pool, via Reuters:

"We’re not spending any time, energy or breath analyzing Sen Cruz’s whereabouts or his group chat."

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 18:23

Six police officers dismissed over Capitol riot

Six police officers from the US Capitol Police department have been dismissed after a probe found they broke rules of conduct on 6 January.

A department spokesperson said on Thursday that 29 other US Capitol Police officers were also suspended with pay, pending further investigations into police conduct.

Jon Stolnis, a spokesperson, told CNN that "Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman has directed that any member of her department whose behaviour is not in keeping with the Department's Rules of Conduct will face appropriate discipline.”

It comes after Ms Pittman, the acting chief of US Capitol Police department, said in January that the department was "actively reviewing video and other open source materials of some USCP officers and officials that appear to be in violation of Department regulations and policies."

Gino Spocchia reports.

Six police officers dismissed over Capitol riot

Analysis of court documents shows that 29 rioters told FBI police failed to stop them entering Congress, with some being ‘escorted’ inside

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 18:25

Weather delays 6 million Covid vaccine doses

About 6 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been delayed due to winter weather, according to White House adviser Andy Slavitt.

Slavitt told the Associated Press that the weather led to delays of shipping by three days, but that they remain safe in warehouses and wouldn’t spoil.

Freezing temperatures and unprecedented weather from Texas to the North East forced injection sites to close, with Slavitt saying 1.4 million doses shipped on Friday while the backlog would be cleared over several days.

“We as an entire nation will have to pull together to get back on track,” Slavitt told reporters at the White House coronavirus briefing.

Justin Vallejo19 February 2021 18:36

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