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Friday
Aug162019

Rep. Rashida Tlaib will not travel to Israel, citing 'oppressive & racist policies'

MicroStockHub/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., will not travel to Israel after all, she announced Friday on Twitter and in a statement, rejecting an earlier approval by the government that would have allowed to come on a "humanitarian visit."

The Michigan congresswoman cited "oppressive & racist policies" for not going to Israeli-occupied West Bank -- and not seeing her grandmother.

"The Israeli government used my love and desire to see my grandmother to silence me and made my ability to do so contingent upon my signing a letter – reflecting just how undemocratic and afraid they are of the truth my trip would reveal about what is happening in the State of Israel and to Palestinians living under occupation with United States support," she said in a statement.

"I have therefore decided to not travel to Palestine and Israel at this time. Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart," Tlaib's statement continued.

"Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in--fighting against racism, oppression & injustice," she added on Twitter.

Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri responded on Twitter, "Just yesterday [Tlaib] sent me a letter, asking to visit her 90 year old grandmother saying, 'it might be my last chance to meet her.'"

He continued in a second tweet, "I approved her request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel. Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother."

Israel had told Tlaib, as well as fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., on Thursday they would not be allowed to visit the country due to their outspoken support for the "boycott, sanctions and divestment" movement.

Both women are Muslim and vocal supporters of the Palestinians. Israeli officials said they would only be able to visit if willing to pledge they would do so as "humanitarians" and not speak out against Israel.

Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, sent a letter to government officials late Thursday, which was approved Friday, the Israeli Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Friday to approve the entry of US Congresswoman Rashida Talib on a humanitarian visit of her 90-year-old grandmother," the statement reads. "Congresswoman Talib sent a letter to Minister Deri tonight pledging to accept Israel's demands, respecting the restrictions imposed on her during the visit, and promising not to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit. In light of this, and in accordance with his commitment yesterday, Minister Deri decided to allow her entry into Israel and expressed hope that her commitment and visit would indeed be for humanitarian purposes only."

Omar is still banned from visiting.

Omar pushed back on criticism of her and Tlaib's intentions with a long thread on Twitter in which she detailed "what we would have seen," including a list from their apparent itinerary and a list of resources and articles.

"Denying visits to duly elected Members of Congress is not consistent with being either an ally or a democracy. We should be leveraging that aid [money to Israel] to stop the settlements and ensure full rights for Palestinians," she concluded.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter Thursday that Israel is "open to any critic and criticism, with one exception: Israel's law prohibits the entry of people who call and operate to boycott Israel."

President Donald Trump voiced his support for Netanyahu and the ban both in an interview prior to traveling to New Hampshire for a Thursday night rally, and on social media.

"Well, I'm only involved from the standpoint of they are very anti-Jewish and they're very anti-Israel," Trump said before departing New Jersey for New Hampshire. "I think it's disgraceful, the things they said. ... What they've said about Israel and Jewish people is a horrible thing, and they've become the face of the Democrats Party."

"I can't imagine why Israel would let them in," he added.

While he made no mention of Tlaib at the rally, he did briefly criticize Omar.

Tlaib and Omar are both freshmen representatives and the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Grouped with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., the four has been called the "Squad."

Ironically, the four women became the targets of Trump's racist Twitter attacks last month when he urged them to "go back" to the countries where they came from, although only Omar was born outside the United States.

Tlaib's mother was born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, while her father was born in East Jerusalem. Her parents eventually immigrated to Detroit, where she was born.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug162019

Trump calls supporter after mocking his weight at rally

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, New Jersey) -- President Donald Trump phoned up a supporter whose weight he mocked at a rally, a White House official said, after the president mistook the attendee for a protester.

"That guy's got a serious weight problem," Trump said during a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday night, as a protester was removed from the arena. "Go home. Start exercising. Get him out of here please. Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us."

But the person about whose weight Trump joked about turned out to be a supporter not a protester.

The president called the supporter about the moment and left a voicemail during his Thursday night flight on Air Force One back to New Jersey, where he is spending the week at his golf club, the official said.

The supporter told ABC News that the president did, in fact, call him and leave a voicemail. He said Trump thanked him for his support and for coming to the rally.

Asked if the president apologized, the supporter replied, "No, why would he apologize?"

The White House official was unaware if the supporter had been invited to the White House or to another rally, referring questions about a possible rally invite to the campaign.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug162019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren rolls out policy on Native American communities

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly addressed the most well-known cloud over her campaign -- the senator's controversial claims of Native American heritage and subsequent DNA test -- in two ways: with an apology and a determination to move forward as a partner to tribes.

On Friday, Warren’s campaign put forth a lengthy and exhaustive policy plan aimed at addressing injustices in the Native American community that attempts to do the latter.

"As I said when I spoke to the National Congress of American Indians in 2018, Washington owes Native communities respect – and much more. Washington owes Native communities a fighting chance to build stronger communities and a brighter future," Warren wrote.

Warren left out any mention of the stories of family lore which she repeatedly says led her to identify as Native American over the years. The claims fueled one of President Donald Trump's most oft-repeated insults on the trail, where he frequently refers to the senator as "Pocahontas."

He has used the nickname, which Warren and others have called a racial slur, 18 times on Twitter since 2016, and countless times at rallies, including Thursday night in New Hampshire.

As she said in the 2018 speech she referenced in her policy plan, Warren grew up hearing that her mother’s family was part Native American. The DNA test she took earlier this year, which was poorly received by tribes and which she later apologized to the Cherokee Nation for, showed ancestry "likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago" but does not, as Warren has noted, give her any claim to tribal citizenship.

The plan rolled out Friday both charts a way forward for Native American communities and gives Warren a platform to demonstrate her understanding of issues that she’s been criticized for disrespecting by claiming Native American ancestry. Warren apologized to the Cherokee Nation in February for her decision to take a DNA test to prove her family history.

"We must ensure that America’s sacred trust and treaty obligations are the law of the land - binding legal and moral principles that are not merely slogans, but instead reinforce the solemn nation-to- nation relationships with Tribal Nations," Warren wrote. As in each of her plans so far, the senator from Massachusetts invoked her trademark message: "Accomplishing this will require structural change."

The plan calls for a Cabinet-level position for Native American affairs; an influx of money toward housing, education, health care and infrastructure on tribal lands; a restoration of lands to indigenous communities; and for more attention to be given to the high rates of murdered and missing Native American women.

"The story of America’s mistreatment of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians is a long and painful one, rooted in centuries of discrimination, neglect, greed, and violence. Tribal Nations robbed of more than a billion acres of land. Resources seized and sacred sites desecrated. Native languages and religions suppressed. Children literally stolen from communities in an effort to eradicate entire cultures," Warren wrote. "Native history is American history -- and we must be honest about our government’s responsibility in perpetuating these injustices for centuries."

Warren wrote in the plan that she doesn't expect roughly 19 pages of policy to fix everything.

"This legislation will not address every major policy issue of concern to Tribal Nations and indigenous communities. But it will represent an urgently needed and long-overdue step toward ensuring that the United States finally, and for the first time, fully meets its resource obligations to Indian Country," she wrote.

Among the key points addressed in the plan, Warren calls for criminal justice reform on tribal lands. She cited current law that prohibits tribes from prosecuting non-natives when the crime is committed on sovereign land.

"Consider just one example. In 2003, a 19-year-old Native woman reported a rape by an Army recruiter. Because the recruiter was not a citizen of a tribe, tribal authorities could not prosecute him," Warren wrote in the plan. "There are countless heartbreaking stories like these. 96% of Native female sexual assault victims have experienced violence at the hands of a non-Native person."

In addressing this issue -- and specifically the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women -- Warren proposed a Department of Justice task force "to investigate the epidemic of sexual assaults and murders committed against Native women and prosecute offenders." She would also create a system similar to Amber Alerts, which send widespread messages when children go missing, specifically for Native American women, according to the plan.

"America faces an epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women. This crisis affects Native women and girls everywhere -- on reservations, in cities, and in rural communities," Warren wrote, citing statistics from the National Crime Information Center that 5,712 indigenous women and girls were reported missing in 2016 and that 84% of indigenous women have experienced violence in their lifetime.

"This is a moral failing and a stain on our country," Warren wrote.

Warren also proposed marijuana legalization on tribal lands, which she cited as part of building up financial infrastructure.

The senator acknowledged that not every tribe is interested in "the economic opportunities associated with changing laws around marijuana," but said "a number of Tribal Nations view cannabis as an important opportunity for economic development."

On the issues of physical infrastructure investments, Warren calls for tripled funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Indian Energy and significant "set-asides" for improving water tribal drinking water.

Over 25% of rural Native Americans have "experienced electricity problems at their residences," Warren’s policy plan noted, while nearly 40% of homes in the Navajo Nation "do not have access to running water."

The policy is paired with legislation Warren is introducing in Congress alongside Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, one of the first Native American women to be elected to Congress and a Warren ally. The legislation, called the Honoring Promises to Native Nations Act, will not head to the floor until after a "public consultation period" where tribal governments, citizens, experts and the entire public can offer "input and suggestions," Warren wrote in the policy plan.

Warren’s policy to address issues in the Native American community comes ahead of her appearance at a Native American presidential forum in Sioux City, Iowa, on Monday. She’ll speak alongside a handful of other presidential candidates, though her appearance there is especially noteworthy and will mark the first time in the presidential campaign that Warren will address the issue before a Native American audience.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Aug162019

Trump officials abused, retaliated against career State Dept. employees: IG report

Kiyoshi Tanno/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Career State Department employees in one of the agency's critical bureaus faced harassment, mistreatment and retaliation by its top Trump appointees, according to a new inspector general report.

The report on the Bureau of International Organization Affairs centers around two senior officials, Mari Stull, a food and beverage lobbyist turned wine blogger under the name "Vino Vixen," and the bureau's head, Assistant Secretary of State Kevin Moley.

According to the report, Stull harassed career employees who she thought were "disloyal" to President Donald Trump and, together with Moley, they removed some from their responsibilities and even one senior official from her post. Approximately 50, including senior officials, left on their own because of their management style.

In addition to the retaliation, the IG report found that Moley and Stull treated employees in a "harsh and aggressive manner," engaged in "disrespectful and hostile treatment," and created a "negative and 'vindictive' environment." Stull and Moley "frequently berated employees, raised their voices, and generally engaged in unprofessional behavior toward staff."

The report, rich in detail, is based on the 40-plus interviews that the IG office conducted. Stull initially asked the IG to investigate her own claims of fraud, waste and abuse in the office, but later declined to be interviewed. She left the State Department in January 2019, so she no longer has to comply or faces any penalty.

Moley is still serving as assistant secretary and denied several of the accusations, telling the IG office, "The behavior attributed to me regarding raising my voice, berating employees and contributing to a hostile work environment does not represent the person I am or have ever been."

The State Department told the IG that he has received counseling from department leadership "on appropriate leadership and management of the bureau. Further discipline will be considered."

It also accepted other recommendations, including developing a "corrective action plan to address the leadership and management deficiencies" within 60 days.

The International Organization Affairs, or IO, bureau is a lesser known one within the State Department, but its critical function is to be the primary interlocutor with the United Nations and other important international bodies, covering human rights, nuclear issues, climate change, global health and more.

One of the more salacious details that has been reported in the news -- that Stull kept a loyalty list -- was not confirmed by the IG, but it seems in principle she kept one. Employees say in the report that she called them or others in the office "traitors," "Obama holdovers" or "disloyal."

While working at a different agency, Stull sought an IO employee's help with a personal matter. On the advice of the State Department's legal team, he declined. But once at IO, Stull harassed both the employee and his manager for not helping, according to the report. That included bad-mouthing them to senior leaders, assigning a junior employee to "monitor" their phone calls, attempting to take away job responsibilities and barring the employee from traveling to important events like the U.N. General Assembly.

Another employee said working with Stull meant "six to eight hostile interactions per day," per the report. In one instance, she called an employee's report on other nations' U.N. contributions "garbage" and threw it at another employee. In another, she and Moley berated a junior employee until she cried.

When the bureau's principle deputy assistant secretary, a career Foreign Service officer, raised concerns with Moley about Stull and his management, she was eventually removed by Moley -- which the IG report says was a retaliatory move that broke department policy.

Beyond this senior official, Moley dismissed concerns from other employees about Stull and his management, according to the report; Moley said no one ever raised any issues with him. Even when senior officials above Moley's rank raised concerns with him, he "did not undertake any meaningful efforts to address these concerns." In fact, some of the actions described in the report happened after an intervention in June 2018.

When concerns were raised with Stull, she said she was the real victim and told at least one employee that "raising such concerns was pointless because the Trump administration 'has my back.'"

There is a second IG report on similar personnel issues that has yet to be released. That one deals with senior members of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's staff who allegedly retaliated against employees in the secretary's office, including one for being of Iranian descent. One of those staffers, Brian Hook, remains a top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug152019

Trump claims 'prices haven't gone up' due to China tariffs in 2020 pitch to New Hampshire voters

adamkaz/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump kicked off his campaign rally in New Hampshire by defending his administration's escalating trade war with China and taking familiar jabs as his potential 2020 Democratic opponents.

The president ran down a list of candidates including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden, who he seemed to save most of his venom for.

“What about a sleepy Joe Biden rally? Right? Boy, he’s made some beauties,” the president said. "I sort of hope it’s him.”

“I don't mind any of them. You got Pocahontas is rising. You got Kamala, Kamala is falling. You got Beto. Beto is like, gone,” Trump added.

The president, who delayed additional tariffs on certain Chinese goods this week stated China was “eating the tariffs” and pushed claims that "prices haven’t gone up." But economists insist the China trade war has hit both sides as the tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports are passed on to American business and, through price increases, to U.S. consumers

He applauded farmers, who have been caught in the crossfire of the escalating trade war as China has asked its imports to halt agriculture purchases.

“I would have been great our great Farmers have been so incredible because they've been targeted by China,” the president said.

The president's latest "Keep America Great" rally at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, marks what the Trump campaign said will be its first big step in ensuring what it couldn't do in 2016: Flip the Granite State red.

Losing New Hampshire in 2016 has appeared to be a sore spot for the president, but the reelection team said it's confident he will carry the state in 2020 despite potential indicators otherwise.

"New Hampshire is absolutely part of our winning strategy," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director, told ABC News.

The campaign also hopes to flip New Mexico, Nevada, Minnesota and Oregon.

And the president's New Hampshire loss won't be the only 2016 relic hovering over the rally on Thursday: Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has said he's "seriously considering" a 2020 Senate run in the Granite State. And Lewandowski is set to travel on Air Force One Thursday for the rally, with rumors swirling about a possible announcement.

The president will make his case to voters in New Hampshire, a state with a serious independent streak, on the heels of ramping up divisive rhetoric and as critics and 2020 Democratic candidates have blamed that rhetoric for inspiring violence against minorities, including the recent massacre in El Paso, Texas.

And while the president lost New Hampshire by fewer than 3,000 votes, in 2020 it could be a taller task as Democrats have flipped the state's House and Senate since 2016.

The president's support remains underwater but steady in New Hampshire, with a 53% disapproval rating, a 42% approval rating contrasted and 5% unsure, according to a recent University of New Hampshire poll.

Trump's campaign said the president is banking on appealing to voters in New Hampshire by pushing for more manufacturing jobs and by touting steps he's taken toward battling the opioid epidemic, in addition to the economy.

"We are working to retain the supporters and voters that he had in 2016, and bring in new ones," Murtaugh said.

Just two weeks after winning in 2016 but losing New Hampshire, Trump tweeted that there was "serious voter fraud" there.

After taking office, the president created a short-lived Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity that found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, according to a former member of the Trump administration's now-disbanded commission.

The president's campaign declined to comment to ABC News when asked whether Trump still believes he lost the state because of voter fraud.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug152019

House Democrats subpoena Lewandowski, Dearborn for testimony

Luka Banda/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have issued subpoenas to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn, Trump's former White House deputy chief of staff for policy for their public testimony next month as part of the panel's ongoing probe into potential obstruction of justice and public corruption.

"It is clear that any other American would have been prosecuted based on the evidence Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller uncovered in his report. Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn were prominently featured in the Special Counsel’s description of President Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice by directing then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel, and then by ordering him to lie about it," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement.

The subpoena comes the same day that Lewandowski will join the president at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, amid speculation that he will formally announce a run for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire in 2020.

In a tweet, Lewandowski said, "Congress needs to get back to work on the issues important to the American people. Together, we can Keep America Great!"

Mueller's report describes Trump dictating a message to Lewandowski to give to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of the special counsel's investigation to only election interference. As Mueller's report states, Lewandowski never delivered the message and instead asked Dearborn to do so.

"Dearborn also said that being asked to serve as a messenger to Sessions made him uncomfortable," Mueller's report says. "He recalled later telling Lewandowski that he had handled the situation, but he did not actually follow through with delivering the message to Sessions, and he did not keep a copy of the typewritten notes Lewandowski had given him."

 Sources told ABC News that Lewandowski would be willing to testify publicly before the committee, but his attorney is encouraging him only to speak about his time working for Trump on the campaign, not about any conversations he had with Trump as president.

The subpoena requests Lewandowski and Dearborn's testimony on Sept. 12.

Democrats see public testimony from them and other prominent Trump figures as key elements of their post-Mueller obstruction of justice investigation as they determine whether to take up impeachment against the president.

The two were on the list of a dozen subpoenas the committee authorized in June, requesting documents and testimony from twelve current and former administration officials and associates of Trump related to their obstruction investigation, but also to the administration's immigration policy.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug152019

Corey Lewandowski joining Trump at New Hampshire rally amid Senate run speculation 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will join him Thursday evening at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, amid speculation that he will formally announce a run for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire in 2020.

Ahead of his rally, Trump told the radio show "New Hampshire Today" he didn't think that Lewandowski had made a decision yet on whether to run, but praised him.

"I think Corey is a fantastic guy. And I don't think he's made that decision yet. I will say this, if he ran, he would be a great senator," Trump said. "If he ran and won, he'd be a great senator. He would be great for New Hampshire."

Lewandowski told ABC News earlier this month that he was "seriously considering" running for Senate, with hopes of unseating incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen who is up for re-election next year.

"I'm seriously considering it," Lewandowski said. "Senator Shaheen has failed the people of New Hampshire by voting in lock step with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. The people of New Hampshire deserve better. If I run, I would be a voice for all the people of New Hampshire."

In a confidential memo obtained by ABC News, veteran pollster Tony Fabrizio, who also conducts polls for the Trump campaign, found from a survey of 400 likely 2020 primary voters in New Hampshire, that Lewandowski was leading the current GOP field, though roughly half of those who responded were undecided.

"Corey Lewandowski would enter the race as the GOP front-runner -- leading the field by double digits due to his stronger personal ratings," the August 13 memo stated. "He could clearly see his lead expand even further with an endorsement from President Trump, who is extremely popular with these GOP voters."

The poll also included other Republican Senate candidates including Ret. Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc and New Hampshire state Rep. Bill O’Brien. Lewandowski had the highest unfavorability rating among those polled.

While the president hasn't formally endorsed him, he has retweeted Lewandowski's tweets of reports that he is leading the GOP Senate field in polls in New Hampshire. Sources told ABC News that Lewandowski would greet the president at the airport in New Hampshire along with his wife and kids and then discuss a potential announcement Thursday night about a run.

Lewandowski, who served as Trump's first campaign manager until he was fired in June of 2016, has remained close to the president and the West Wing, serving as an outside adviser to Trump since his election.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party released a statement earlier this month calling him a "craven lobbyist who has been credibly accused of assault many times."

During the 2016 campaign, Lewandowski was charged with battery for grabbing former Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields, at a Trump campaign event. The case was eventually dropped.

"Corey Lewandowski is a craven lobbyist who has been credibly accused of assault many times and is chomping at the bit to strip away Granite Staters' health care," New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said. "Meanwhile, Senator Shaheen is making a difference for New Hampshire families, leading efforts in the Senate to expand access to health care and taking on the big drug companies to lower the costs of prescription drugs. The contrast couldn't be more clear."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug152019

John Hickenlooper ends 2020 White House bid

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- John Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor, announced the end to his 2020 presidential campaign in a video Thursday morning.

"While this campaign didn’t have the outcome we were hoping for, every moment has been worthwhile and I’m thankful to everyone who supported this campaign and our entire team," he said in the video.

Campaign sources previously confirmed his intentions to ABC News.

Stubbornly low poll numbers, a lack of donors, a mostly new campaign staff following a rash of departures in July and the likelihood of missing the Democrats' third debate all contributed to his decision, according to his campaign.

A self-described "pragmatic-progressive," Hickenlooper struggled to gain momentum while pushing a centrist campaign message focused on restoring the middle class.

Hickenlooper has not decided yet whether he'll consider a Senate run against Colorado incumbent Cory Gardner, sources told ABC News. Democratic leadership is looking to flip that seat, which could tilt the balance of power in the Senate.

In a May interview on ABC News' This Week, Hickenlooper expressed confidence in such a candidacy to George Stephanopoulos.

"I think I'd be a difficult candidate [to beat] as a senator," he said. "I spent my whole life putting teams together, both as an entrepreneur in the private sector, but also as a mayor and a governor. And by building those teams, we have been able to bring people together and do the big, progressive things that people said couldn't be done."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug152019

Cardi B, Bernie Sanders discuss immigration, police brutality in new campaign video

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders has enlisted the help of chart-topping rapper Cardi B in a newly released campaign video.

The unlikely pair filmed last month at a black-owned nail salon named TEN Nail Bar in Detroit, Michigan while the Vermont senator was in the city for the second round of Democratic presidential debates.

In a social media post, Cardi said she fielded questions from her more than 49 million Instagram followers to prepare for her meeting with the senator from Vermont.

“You know, what I'm trying to do is I'm trying to advocate the youth and my community because I feel like there's a serious problem right now in America,” said Cardi B.

In the nearly 12-minute video, Sanders shared his plans to combat police brutality, eliminate student debt and tackle immigration reform with the “Bodak Yellow” rapper.

“We're not only talking about Mexico, immigrants from all around the world that are facing the same problem,” said Cardi B when discussing DACA recipients.

“What we do is we will reestablish the legal protections that the 1.8 million young people in this country today had under DACA,” said Sanders. “So they once again will have those protections and I think we’re going to expand that program to their parents as well.”

Cardi B. also asked Sanders about the cornerstone of his campaign, Medicare-for-all. Sanders acknowledged, as he has in the past, that his proposal would result in a tax increase, but one that would be offset for the "overwhelming majority" of people due to the elimination of other health care payments.

“So people have to understand that no more premiums, no more copayments, no more deductibles. You can go to any doctor you want,” said Sanders. “And you do pay more in taxes, depending on your income. The overwhelming majority of the people will end up paying less than they're currently paying in healthcare. Their taxes will go up but their not going to be paying premiums, deductibles, copayments.”

The Bronx rapper hasn’t shied away from talk about the race for the White House. On a red carpet in April, she expressed support for 2020 presidential candidate Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan’s health care platform and last month she posted an altered Rolling Stone magazine cover to social media that replaced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is also running for president.

Earlier this year, Cardi B. spoke about Sanders on a red carpet and she tweeted in July that she was "really sad how we let him down in 2016."

“Imma always be with Bernie,” she said. “Bernie don't say things to be cool. There's pictures of him being an activist from a very, very, very long time."

Her support of Sanders goes back years -- in a video from the 2016 presidential election cycle, she tells her viewers to, “Vote for Daddy Bernie.”

In the video released Thursday, the pair additionally discussed their shared affinity for the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with Cardi B describing her appreciation for the 32nd U.S. president's ability to rehabilitate the nation's economy while it was engaged in World War II and additionally the social and public works programs of the New Deal.

"It just amazed me that he came up with all of those things, plus personal problems, that, you know, he had polio and everything. This is like, god damn, I love him. He is my favorite," she says.

"Well, I want to be your favorite after I'm elected, but we'll see," Sanders responds.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Aug152019

Beto O'Rourke relaunches campaign from El Paso hometown in wake of mass shooting

ABC News(EL PASO, Texas) -- Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke gave a speech in El Paso, Texas Thursday, looking to revive his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, in the wake of a mass shooting in the city that resulted in the deaths of 22 people.

"We must take the fight directly to the source of this problem," O'Rourke said, naming President Donald Trump. "I want to be the leader for this country that we need right now and we do not have ... I want to be the kind of leader for this country that El Paso has raised me and taught me to be."

O'Rourke said that during the rest of his campaign, you'll find him in "places that Donald Trump has been terrorizing and demeaning" -- here meaning immigrant communities.

It's a more unconventional campaign approach to focus less on early primary states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, and more on areas with large immigrant populations. But O'Rourke said he wanted to be there for them, explaining, "Anyone that this president puts down, we're going to do our best to lift up."

The former congressman will be returning to the trail after his El Paso speech, first in Mississippi on Friday, in the aftermath of historic immigration raids, and then in Arkansas for the Democratic Party's Clinton Dinner on Saturday.

With this reboot, he will be calling out the "injustices" of the Trump administration, The New York Times reported Thursday morning and his campaign confirmed to ABC News. Gun control will be at the heart of his campaign.

"I'm confident that if at this moment, we do not wake up to this threat, then we as a country will die in our sleep," he said Thursday. "The response to this has to be that each of us make a commitment to see clearly… and to act decisively in this moment of truth."

O'Rourke said he sees "more clearly than ever" that there are too many guns and too many people who have them "and threaten us with them." He said not only universal background checks, red flag laws and an assaults weapons ban are needed, but also a policy for the government to buy those weapons back.

"To this point, we have a Congress too craven to act, a democracy not up to the task, that favors those who can pay for access," he said, adding there's a "complicity and silence of those who are in a position of public trust."

O'Rourke raised considerable attention for his strong response to the shooting, which included traveling to El Paso and cancelling all presidential campaign events, including eschewing the famous Iowa State Fair.

In the nearly two weeks he's been off the campaign trail, O'Rourke has attended local vigils, high school memorials and protests against Trump's visit to the city. He also crossed the border to the city of Juárez to visit with the family of a Mexican national who was killed in the shooting.

The alleged shooter in the heavily Hispanic city admitted to law enforcement that he was the shooter and was specifically targeting "Mexicans," according to a police affidavit, and O'Rourke said Trump bears responsibility for the shooting in an interview on ABC's This Week the day after the shooting.

"We have a racism in American that is as old as America itself ... But we have always tried, until now, to change that, until this president," O'Rourke said in his speech Thursday. "What he says, and what he does does not just offend our sensibilities … it changes who we are as a country."

During his time in El Paso, O'Rourke has faced some calls to drop out of the presidential race and instead run for Senate again, after coming close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. The Houston Chronicle wrote an editorial titled, "Beto, come home. Texas needs you," asking him to consider switching races.

O'Rourke addressed this in his speech, saying that wouldn't "be good enough."

"The kind of challenges that we face in this country at this moment of crisis require an urgency unless we want to reap the consequences of failing to meet them, consequences that we lived and I hope learned form in El Paso on Aug. 3," he said.

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