Biden condemns efforts of extremist ‘Maga crowd’ to overturn Roe v Wade abortion protections – live | US politics

Biden: ‘Maga crowd most extreme political organization in US history’

Joe Biden has just been at the podium in the White House, slamming Donald Trump-supporting Republicans as “the most extreme political organization in American history”.

Billed as an economic progress report to tout what he says is a record reduction in the federal deficit, the president wasted no time in attacking “the Maga crowd”, named for Trump’s ‘make America great again’ electioneering slogan.

He slammed Republicans’ economic policies, and saved his fiercest comments for a question on the draft ruling by Republican-appointed judges on the US supreme court seeking to overturn almost half a century of abortion protections, and assaults on LBGTQ+ rights in Republican controlled states.

What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this Maga crowd is really the most extreme political organization that exists in American history.

This is about a lot more than abortion… What happens if you have a state change the law, saying that children who are LGBTQ can’t be in classrooms with other children? Is that legit?

Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Wednesday.
Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Wednesday. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Biden also laid into “my predecessor” Donald Trump, who failed to reduce the federal deficit at any stage of his single term of office.

It didn’t happen to single quarter under my predecessor, not once. The bottom line is the deficit went up every year under my predecessor before the pandemic and during the pandemic.

And it’s gone down both years since I’ve been here. Period. That’s the facts.

With soaring inflation, and the economy uppermost in voters’ minds ahead of November’s midterms, Biden is keen to showcase his achievements. He said the federal deficit had dropped $350bn in his first in office, and was “on track” for another record $1.5tn drop this year.

But it was his comments on “the Maga crowd” that caught the most attention.

I don’t want to hear Republicans talking about deficits and their ultra Maga agenda. I want to hear about fairness. I want to hear about decency… about ordinary people.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to defend abortion rights as the decades-old battle over the issue exploded anew this week in Canada’s southern neighbor, with the US Supreme Court apparently set to overturn the decades-old ruling that legalized the procedure nationwide, Reuters reports.

A woman’s free choice is a choice to be made by her alone. Every woman in Canada has the right to a legal and safe abortion,” Trudeau told reporters before a meeting of Liberal lawmakers in Ottawa on Wednesday.

A draft supreme court decision, leaked late on Monday, showed a majority of justices prepared to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade decision that protects abortion rights. The court on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document and ordered an investigation.

We know that unfortunately, what we’re seeing with our neighbors in the south and even in debates within the Conservative Party of Canada, that we need to ensure that there are protections in place so that we never see people backtracking on that right,” Trudeau said.

He added that Canada will consider legal options if such rights are at risk of violation in the country.

We have asked the ministers to take a look at this (review of the legal framework) very quickly and we’ll see what the timeline is for that,” Trudeau said.

Canada’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in a historic 1988 ruling. Ostensibly, since then, abortion has been a medical procedure like any other. But barriers to access persist, especially for people living outside urban areas.
Canada’s top court is unlikely to re-criminalize abortion any time soon.

But if the supreme court overturns Roe v Wade, that could embolden anti-abortion movements and galvanize pro-choice activists, Canadian observers and advocates on both sides of the divisive issue noted.

Justin Trudeau attends an Eid celebration in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 2, 2022.
Justin Trudeau attends an Eid celebration in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada May 2, 2022. Photograph: Blair Gable/Reuters

Biden: ‘Maga crowd most extreme political organization in US history’

Joe Biden has just been at the podium in the White House, slamming Donald Trump-supporting Republicans as “the most extreme political organization in American history”.

Billed as an economic progress report to tout what he says is a record reduction in the federal deficit, the president wasted no time in attacking “the Maga crowd”, named for Trump’s ‘make America great again’ electioneering slogan.

He slammed Republicans’ economic policies, and saved his fiercest comments for a question on the draft ruling by Republican-appointed judges on the US supreme court seeking to overturn almost half a century of abortion protections, and assaults on LBGTQ+ rights in Republican controlled states.

What are the next things that are going to be attacked? Because this Maga crowd is really the most extreme political organization that exists in American history.

This is about a lot more than abortion… What happens if you have a state change the law, saying that children who are LGBTQ can’t be in classrooms with other children? Is that legit?

Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Wednesday.
Joe Biden speaks at the White House on Wednesday. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Biden also laid into “my predecessor” Donald Trump, who failed to reduce the federal deficit at any stage of his single term of office.

It didn’t happen to single quarter under my predecessor, not once. The bottom line is the deficit went up every year under my predecessor before the pandemic and during the pandemic.

And it’s gone down both years since I’ve been here. Period. That’s the facts.

With soaring inflation, and the economy uppermost in voters’ minds ahead of November’s midterms, Biden is keen to showcase his achievements. He said the federal deficit had dropped $350bn in his first in office, and was “on track” for another record $1.5tn drop this year.

But it was his comments on “the Maga crowd” that caught the most attention.

I don’t want to hear Republicans talking about deficits and their ultra Maga agenda. I want to hear about fairness. I want to hear about decency… about ordinary people.

DHS secretary ‘delayed Russia intelligence’ to benefit Trump: report

NBC is reporting that Donald Trump’s acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf twice held up intelligence on Russian interference ahead of the 2020 election because it would make the then-president “look bad”.

The network cites a report by the homeland security department’s watchdog, and claims a “Trump political appointee” delayed the release of an intelligence analysis stating that “Russian malign influence actors” were spreading unsubstantiated allegations about the health of then-candidate Joe Biden to reduce voters’ confidence in him.

Chad Wolf.
Chad Wolf. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

Russia, NBC states, was using both overt and covert channels and linked the efforts to similar operations during the 2016 presidential election. But Wolf did not want the analysis released because he felt it would reflect badly on Trump, the network says.

Trump named Wolf as acting DHS secretary in November 2019, and he remained in office until January 2021, despite a federal judge ruling his appointment unlawful in November 2020.

He was not named in the report by the DHS inspector general, but in a Wednesday statement to NBC admitted he was the Trump appointee referenced. He denied his actions were malign.

The IG, Wolf said, “did not find any credible evidence that I directed anyone to change the substance of the report because it ‘made President Trump look bad’.”

“Buried in the report is the fact that the grossly false whistleblower complaint against me was withdrawn”.

The inspector general’s report was sparked by a complaint from a worker concerned that “top DHS officials were violating laws and policies by lying to Congress and manipulating intelligence reports to conform with President Donald Trump’s political agenda,” NBC reported at the time.

Voters in Michigan roundly rejected a Republican candidate for the state’s House who said women being raped should “lie back and enjoy it”.

Party officials criticized Robert Regan for the comments he made during an online roundtable discussion in March.

Robert Regan.
Robert Regan. Photograph: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

“Having three daughters, and I tell my daughters, ‘Well if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it so’. That’s not how we roll, that’s not how I won this election. We go right at it,” he said days after winning his party’s primary for the vacant 74th district seat.

According to preliminary results of Tuesday’s ballot published by the Detroit Free Press, Regan was upset by Democrat Carol Glanville in a district seat that has only ever been served by Republicans, receiving 40% of the vote to Glanville’s 51%.

“West Michigan values of integrity, decency, and care for the common good won tonight,” Glanville tweeted.

Regan, a rightwing extremist, was previously in the news when he announced his candidacy in July 2020, when his daughter urged voters: “For the love of God, please do not vote for my dad,” as reported by the Guardian here.

West Michigan values of integrity, decency, and care for the common good won tonight. The people of the 74th District have spoken, and I hear you. We are united in fundamental ways, and I will take our values and concerns to the Capitol to affect positive change. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/V1fCaRShFG

— Carol Glanville (@caglanville) May 4, 2022

Joan E Greve

Joan E Greve

Author JD Vance won the Senate Republican primary in Ohio on Tuesday, securing a victory after receiving Donald Trump’s endorsement in the hotly contested race.

Vance was leading the crowded pack of primary candidates with 32% of the vote when the Associated Press called the race, about two hours after polls closed. Former state treasurer Josh Mandel looked likely to finish second, and state Senator Matt Dolan, who saw a last-minute surge in support, rounded out the top three.

JD Vance celebrates his senate Republican primary win in Cincinnati, Ohio.
JD Vance celebrates his senate Republican primary win in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Addressing supporters in Cincinnati, Vance thanked Trump for his endorsement and attacked the media for highlighting his past criticism of the former president. “They wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump’s America First agenda,” Vance said. “It ain’t the death of the America First agenda.”

Vance, the bestselling author of the memoir Hillbilly Elegy, will now face Democratic congressman Tim Ryan in November to determine who will fill the seat of retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman. Ryan, who ran for president in 2020, easily fended off a primary challenge from progressive candidate Morgan Harper.

Delivering a message of unity to his supporters on Tuesday, Ryan promised to “build a home for Ohioans” regardless of their political party. “The work is just beginning. The fight is just beginning. We’re going to heal the country – heal Ohio and in turn heal the United States of America,” Ryan said in Columbus.

The Ohio race could prove crucial in determining control of the Senate, as Republicans look to retake the upper chamber this November. The Senate is currently evenly split 50-50, but Democrats have the majority thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Kamala Harris.

If Republicans can pick up just one seat in the midterm elections, they will regain control of the Senate, and holding Portman’s seat will be key to those efforts.

Vance starts his general-election campaigning with a clear advantage in the race, as Trump defeated Joe Biden in Ohio by 8 points in 2020. Democrats across the country are also at a disadvantage, as the president’s party usually loses seats in the midterm elections and Biden’s approval rating has been mired in the low 40s for months.

Read more:

The Guardian’s Lauren Burke was at the supreme court on Tuesday, watching numbers of protestors swell as word spread of justices’ draft ruling on abortion:

Outside the US supreme court the morning after a bombshell leak revealed justices are poised to overturn Roe v Wade, the day began with dozens of protesters. By the afternoon, thousands had arrived to make their voices heard – with many on opposite sides of America’s abortion debate.

The possibility of a repeal of the landmark 1973 decision brought energized and sometimes emotional supporters of Roe to protests in major cities from New York to San Francisco. But the supreme court was ground zero.

Members of the US Capitol police closed the street in front of the supreme court building as protesters filled and took over the area, holding signs and large banners.

It was a tense atmosphere that brought anti-abortion and pro-choice protesters into close range, outside the building where nine of the most powerful individuals in the US decide the nation’s future.

Protestors at the supreme court on Tuesday.
Protestors at the supreme court on Tuesday. Photograph: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“I’m here because I was here in 2016 and couldn’t fucking believe that I had to tell people that women are people – but clearly we do,” said Cindy from Great Falls, Virginia, who asked that her last name be withheld. While she didn’t expect to change the court’s mind, she said, “it’s really nice to see a bunch of like minded people and get the vibe and I’m pissed – that’s why I’m here – I’m pissed”.

“I hope that this will motivate people to vote because I think that’s the only thing that’s gonna help,” she added.

As the number of protesters built steadily throughout the morning, Democratic senators gathered nearby on the Senate steps for a press conference.

“This is a five alarm fire,” said Senator Patty Murray, as demonstrators’ chants rang out across the grassy lawn separating the capitol from the supreme court.

Read the full report here:

An overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of preserving abortion rights, two new polls have found, as the US supreme court moves towards ending almost half a century of protections.

A Politico/Morning Consult study found voters are two to one in favor of preserving the 1973 Roe v Wade opinion that safeguarded protected women’s access to abortions.

The poll conducted Tuesday, shortly after Politico’s bombshell publication of the draft ruling from the supreme court overturning Roe, showed exactly 50% of respondents wanted it maintained. 28% wanted it overturned, and 22% were undecided.

A separate Washington Post/ABC poll reports 54% in favor of preserving Roe, and 28% against, while an even higher number of Americans, 70%, think abortion is a private issue between patient and doctor.

The figures are sure to bolster Democrats who plan to campaign on the abortion issue for the upcoming midterm elections. While the party is unlikely to be able to pass legislation enshrining abortion rights because of opposition in the Senate, its base will be fired up by a wave of resistance, already manifesting itself in protests taking place nationwide.

“Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women, we say, ‘How dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body?’” vice-president Kamala Harris said at a conference on women’s reproductive rights in Washington DC on Tuesday night.

Vice-president Kamala Harris speaks at the Emily’s List national gala in Washington DC on Tuesday evening.
Vice-president Kamala Harris speaks at the Emily’s List national gala in Washington DC on Tuesday evening. Photograph: Yuri Gripas/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

Joe Biden is going further, warning on Tuesday that more freedoms could be at risk.

“It would mean that every other decision relating to the notion of privacy is thrown into question,” the president told reporters on Tuesday of the draft ruling.

“If what is written is what remains, it goes far beyond the concern of whether or not there is the right to choose. It goes to other basic rights, who you marry… whether or not you decide to conceive a child, whether or not you can have an abortion, a range of other decisions, how you raise your child.”

According to the Politico poll, 68% of Democrats and 52% of independents say Roe should not be overturned, and a narrow majority of Republicans, 51%, believe it should.

And as numerous Republican controlled states introduce or harden anti-abortion legislation in expectation of the supreme court’s final ruling, due in late June or July, a majority of respondents in the Washington Post/ABC poll say they are moving in the wrong direction.

Asked if their state should make abortion easier to access, 33% said yes, 25% said it should be harder, and 36% want it left as it is.

Good morning, and welcome to our midweek politics blog. The nation is still reeling from the bombshell news from the US supreme court that justices appear ready to strike down almost half a century of abortion rights, despite overwhelming opposition.

Polling suggests the court’s position is vastly at odds with public opinion. In the wake of the leak of the panel’s draft ruling on Monday night, a Politico/Morning Consult study found voters are two to one in favor of preserving the 1973 Roe v Wade opinion that protected women’s rights to abortions.

Its findings are almost identical to a separate Washington Post/ABC poll that reports 54% in favor of preserving Roe, and 28% against, while an even higher number of Americans think abortion is a private issue between patient and doctor. We’ll have more analysis of the abortion issue coming up.

Head over to our 24-hour news blog here for developments in the Ukraine conflict.

And here’s what we’re looking at in the US today:

  • Donald Trump’s reputation as a kingmaker was enhanced in Ohio, where his preferred candidate JD Vance beat out other Republicans chasing the party’s nomination for US Senate.
  • Trump is also under scrutiny in a watchdog report claiming one of his cabinet appointees delayed intelligence about Russian interference in the 2020 election for political gain.
  • Joe Biden will speak on the economy at lunchtime, specifically the need for “fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction”, the White House says.
  • The White House press secretary Jen Psaki will deliver her daily briefing at 2.30pm.

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