May 18, 2022

US primary elections: Dr Oz tied with McMcCormick in test of Trump’s influence on Republicans

  • The Republican primary for Senate in Pennsylvania between heart surgeon-turned-TV celebrity Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick remains neck-and-neck, with thousands of absentee ballots still left to be tallied.
  • Jake Sullivan, national security advisor, took to the podium today for the White House press briefing to preview the meeting tomorrow between Joe Biden and the president of Finland and the prime minister of Sweden. This comes as these traditionally neutral countries submit their applications for Nato membership.
  • Sullivan also previewed Biden’s first trip to Asia as president, in which he will be visiting South Korea and Japan, and meeting with the South Korean president and Japanese prime minister. Biden will not, however, be making a visit to the DMZ this trip.

Sullivan on North Korea: “Our intelligence does reflect the genuine possibility that there will be either a further missile test…or a nuclear test-or frankly both- in the days leading into…the President’s trip to the region.”

“We are preparing for all contingencies,” he says

— Olivia Gazis (@Olivia_Gazis) May 18, 2022

  • Biden visited Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to receive a briefing from his senior leadership team on efforts to prepare for and respond to hurricanes this season.
  • The House is moving on the nationwide infant formula shortage, with two bills scheduled for a vote tonight. In addition, a bipartisan group of 20 members is urging the president to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost formula production.
  • First daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be traveling with the first lady, Jill Biden, to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath made an impassioned pro-choice speech on the floor today in the aftermath of the leak of a draft opinion that essentially strikes down the protections enshrined by Roe v Wade.

McBath spoke about the trauma and heartbreak of suffering three miscarriages, and how the treatment for miscarriage sometimes requires the same abortion drugs that some states and pro-birth activists are advocating to make illegal.

“It’s hard to describe the agony of a miscarriage: its heartbreaking, its helplessness, its pain, and its profound sadness,” McBath said. “Millions of women suffer from them, and I’ve heard from many who felt guilty like I did, who felt as though we weren’t worthy of having a child. Those are the same feelings that crept through my mind and every time I’ve had these difficult discussions with other women, I remind them that they are strong and they are powerful beyond measure and their worth is far more than their ability to procreate, however it may seem that those in support of this ruling may disagree.”

McBath’s voice cracked as she described the circumstances of her third miscarriage: a stillbirth.

“My doctor felt it would be safer to end the pregnancy naturally,” she said. “For two weeks, I carried my dead fetus and waited for to go into labor. For two weeks, people passed me on the street, telling me how beautiful I looked, asking how far along I was, and saying they were so excited for me and my future with my child. For two weeks, I carried a lost pregnancy and the torment that came with it. I never went into labor on my own. When my doctor finally induced me, I faced the pain of labor without hope of a living child.”

She ended her testimony by declaring that though this was uniquely her story, her story was not unique. “Millions of women in America, women in this room, women at your home, women you love and cherish, have suffered a miscarriage

“So I ask, on behalf of these women, after which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned? Would it have been after the first miscarriage, after eoctors used what would have been an illegal drug to abort the lost fetus?”

“Would you have put me in jail after the second miscarriage, perhaps that would have been the time, forced to reflect in confinement at the guilt I felt, at the guilt so many women feel after losing their pregnancies. Or would you have put me behind birth after my stillbirth, after I was forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks?”

McBath continued: “The same medicine used to treat my failed pregnancies is the same medicine that states like Texas would make illegal. I ask because if Alabama makes abortion murder, does it make miscarriage manslaughter? I ask because I want to know if the next woman who has a miscarriage at three months, if she will be forced to carry her dead fetus to term.”

“After which failed pregnancy should I have been imprisoned?”@RepLucyMcBath suffered from a string of miscarriages. It is a heartbreaking story. pic.twitter.com/pZF1QjFk0G

— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) May 18, 2022

Stephanie Grisham, the former White House press secretary and chief of staff for Melania Trump, is reportedly appearing again today before the House select committee tasked with investigating the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

Stephanie Grisham, the former White House Press Secretary & Chief of Staff to Melania Trump, is appearing today for a second time before the Jan. 6 committee, sources tell me & @Santucci

— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) May 18, 2022

Elon Musk said he will no longer vote Democratic and will now vote Republican.

In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party.

But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican.

Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold … ?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2022

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer will force a procedural vote on the domestic terrorism prevention act, which would create federal offices focused on domestic terrorism:

Schumer says he will force a procedural vote next week on the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which is expected to pass the House today. The bill, which creates federal offices focused on domestic terrorism, is opposed by House Rs who contend it gives DOJ too much power

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 18, 2022

The White House hemmed a bit when asked about this legislation, listing a variety of actions that the Biden administration has taken to combat domestic terrorism but not quite committing to saying whether they support the actual legislation.

“It’s a growing and evolving threat, and one that the Biden administration has taken very seriously since our first day in office,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “We have said we have been studying the details of different proposals and there are a range of ideas that have been proposed in Congress that could improve our ability to respond to these threats.”

Joe Biden will not be visiting the DMZ on this trip to Asia, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

At today’s White House press briefing, Jake Sullivan, national security advisor, previewed Joe Biden’s first trip as president to Asia.

Biden will head to South Korea first, where he will meet with president Yoon Suk-yeol and “engage with technology and manufacturing leaders”, as well as meet with US armed forces stationed out there.

After South Korea, Biden will travel to Japan and meet with prime minister Fumio Kishida. “We believe the US-Japan alliance, at this moment, under these two leaders, is at an all-time high,” Sullivan said. “This visit can take us even higher.”

“On this trip, [Biden will] have the opportunity to reaffirm and reinforce two vital security alliances, to deepen two vibrant economic partnerships, to work with two fellow democracies to shape the rules of the road for the 21st century and to thank his allies in Korea and Japan for their remarkable and in some ways unexpected contributions to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable,” Sullivan said.

Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, took the podium for today’s White House press briefing to preview the meeting tomorrow between Joe Biden and Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland, and Magdalena Andersson, prime minister of Sweden, one day after their countries applied for Nato membership.

“This is a historic event, a watershed moment in European security,” Sullivan said. “Two nations with a long tradition of neutrality will be joining the world’s most powerful defensive alliance and they will bring with them strong capabilities and a proven track record as security partners.”

Joe Biden is at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to receive a briefing from his senior leadership team on efforts to prepare for and respond to hurricanes this season.

He noted that 2021 “was the third most active hurricane season ever recorded”, and amid the climate crisis, they would only get worse.

“Given the climate crisis, we expect another tough hurricane season,” Biden said. “Storms are going to be more intense. We’re going to have shorter notice … That’s why the work of these women and men are so important.”

Biden continued: “This isn’t about red states or blue states. It’s about helping communities prepare, having their back when a hurricane strikes and being there to help clear the road, rebuild the main streets so families can get back to their lives.”

The House is moving on the nationwide infant formula shortage, with two bills scheduled for a vote tonight:

The House is slated to vote on 2 bills tonight to address the infant formula shortage: one to increase flexibility on which formulas WIC recipients can buy, and one to give the FDA an additional $28 billion for more inspectors and resources to keep fraudulent products off shelves

— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) May 18, 2022

…and use the logistics capabilities of the federal government to get formula on shelves faster.

The WIC bill looks poised to pass with bipartisan support.

— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) May 18, 2022

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of 20 House members is urging Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost formula production.

The way the 1950 law works is that it authorizes the federal government to direct the private sector to increase production of certain goods in response to national emergencies – Axios reports that most recently, Biden has used the law to boost the production of critical minerals.

Today, I’m leading a group of 20 in the House to urge the President to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost baby formula production & ensure it gets to all regions of the nation.

No baby should go hungry & no mother or father should have to struggle to feed their child. pic.twitter.com/JpOVQ5mTXI

— Rep Josh Gottheimer (@RepJoshG) May 18, 2022

Vice-president Kamala Harris was at the US Coast Guard Academy today, delivering the commencement address to graduates about the “critical work” they will do in an “unsettled” world where “long-established principles now stand on shaky ground”.

“Around the world, we see additional attempts to undermine the rules-based order: nations that threaten the freedom of the seas. Criminal gangs and traffickers who skirt the rule of law, and fuel corruption and violence. Those that manipulate and undermine the foundations of international commerce,” she said.

Harris spoke about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.

“Every single American – in addition to you cadets – has a role to play in bettering our nation,” Harris said.

First daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not be traveling with the first lady, Jill Biden, to Ecuador, Panama and Costa Rica.

Per pool, First Daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for COVID and will not be traveling with @FLOTUS to Ecuador, Panama, and Costa Rica.

Ashley missed the First Lady’s trip to Europe earlier this month out of an abundance of caution after she had a close COVID contact.

— Sally Bronston Katz (@sbronstonkatz) May 18, 2022

Via pool: Ashley Biden is not considered a close contact of @POTUS or @FLOTUS per spox @MichaelLaRosa46

— Sally Bronston Katz (@sbronstonkatz) May 18, 2022

It’s been a lively morning in US political news and there’s more to come in the next few hours.

Right now, here’s where things stand:

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