Ukraine says two killed in Russian strikes near frontline

Ukraine says two killed in Russian strikes near frontline
Firefighters work at the site where a building was damaged by a Russian drone strike in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, on Nov. 18, 2023. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 November 2023
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Ukraine says two killed in Russian strikes near frontline

Ukraine says two killed in Russian strikes near frontline
  • The attacks came as Kyiv’s air force said Russia fired 38 drones at its territory overnight
  • As a result of the first two strikes, four local residents were injured, and a fire broke out in a residential building

KYIV: Ukraine said two first responders were killed and at least seven people injured in Russian rocket strikes on the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday.
The attacks came as Kyiv’s air force said Russia fired 38 drones at its territory overnight — the highest reported number in more than six weeks.
Ukrainian police said Russia fired a series of rocket strikes at the village of Komyshuvakha, close to the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region, which Russia claimed to have annexed last year.
“As a result of the first two strikes, four local residents were injured, and a fire broke out in a residential building,” they said in a statement.
“When the police and rescuers arrived at the scene, Russians conducted another strike. Two emergency service workers were killed, and three more were injured.”
Separately, Ukraine’s air force said Saturday it shot down 29 of the 38 Iranian-made Shahed drones — also known as “kamikaze drones” because they are packed with explosives to detonate upon reaching their targets — fired by Russia.
According to its figures, that is the most drones launched by Russia in an overnight attack since September 30.
An energy facility was hit in the southern Odesa region, with the resulting fire quickly extinguished, Ukraine’s emergency services said.
Russia’s defense ministry said its forces had shot down 20 Ukrainian aerial drones over Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine, and seven naval drones in the Black Sea, off the annexed peninsula of Crimea.
Ukraine also said Saturday that its forces “continue to hold positions on the left (eastern) bank of the Dnipro river.”
Ukrainian and Russian forces have been entrenched on opposite sides of the vast waterway in the southern Kherson region for more than a year, after Russia withdrew its troops from the western bank last November.
Ukrainian forces have staged multiple attempts to cross and hold positions on the Russian-controlled side — with officials in Kyiv finally reporting a “successful” breakthrough last week.
“Our defenders are consolidating their positions and firing on the occupiers,” the general staff said in a Saturday morning briefing on its operations on the eastern side of the river.


Biden’s decision to drop out crystallized Sunday. His staff knew one minute before the public did

Biden’s decision to drop out crystallized Sunday. His staff knew one minute before the public did
Updated 40 sec ago
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Biden’s decision to drop out crystallized Sunday. His staff knew one minute before the public did

Biden’s decision to drop out crystallized Sunday. His staff knew one minute before the public did
  • It wasn’t until Saturday evening that Biden began to come to the conclusion that he would not run for reelection
  • By Sunday evening, Biden for President had formally changed to Harris for President.

WASHINGTON: At 1:45 p.m. Sunday, President Joe Biden’s senior staff was notified that he was stepping away from the 2024 race. At 1:46 p.m., that message was made public.
It was never Biden’s intention to leave the race: Up until he decided to step aside Sunday, he was all in.
His campaign was planning fundraisers and events and setting up travel over the next few weeks. But even as Biden was publicly dug in and insisting he was staying in the race, he was quietly reflecting on the disaster of the past few weeks, on the past three years of his presidency and on the scope of his half-century career in politics.
In the end, it was the president’s decision alone, and he made it quietly, from his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sick with COVID-19, the first lady with him as he talked it through with a small circle of people who have been with him for decades.
“This has got to be one of the hardest decisions he’s ever made,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, the president’s closest ally in Congress, who spoke with him Sunday. “I know he wanted to fight and keep going and show that he could beat Donald Trump again, but as he heard more and more input, I think he was wrestling with what would be the best for the country,” Coons said in an interview with the Associated Press.
This story is based on interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the president’s thinking over the past few weeks, days and hours as he made his decision. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to talk about private discussions.
Deciding to leave the race
It wasn’t until Saturday evening that Biden began to come to the conclusion that he would not run for reelection. He started writing a letter to the American people.
Biden had been off the campaign trail for a few days, isolated because of COVID-19, when it all started to deeply sink in — his worsening chances of being able to defeat Donald Trump with so much of his party in open rebellion, seeking to push him out of the race — not to mention the persistent voter concerns about his age that were only exacerbated by the catastrophic debate.
Biden was at his beach home with some of his and Jill Biden’s closest aides: chief strategist Mike Donilon, counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti, White House deputy chief of staff Annie Tomasini, and Anthony Bernal, senior adviser to the first lady.
By Sunday, his decision crystallized. He spoke multiple times with Vice President Kamala Harris, whom he would endorse. He informed White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, and his longtime aide and campaign chairwoman Jen O’Malley Dillon.
A small group of senior advisers from both the campaign and the White House were assembled for the 1:45 p.m. call to relay Biden’s decision, while his campaign staff released the social media announcement one minute later.
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your President. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote.
Just about a half-hour later came his public vote of support for Harris. It was a carefully choreographed strategy meant to give the president’s initial statement full weight, and to put a period on the moment before launching forward into the next step.
“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” Biden said in another post on X. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump.”
Elizabeth Alexander, Jill Biden’s communications director, said, “down to the last hours of the decision only he could make, she was supportive of whatever road he chose.
“She’s his biggest believer, champion, and always on his side, in that trusted way only a spouse of almost 50 years can be,” Alexander said.
About the debate
It’s not like things had been going great before the June 27 debate. In an August 2023 poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, fully 77 percent of US adults said Biden was too old to be effective for four more years. Not only did 89 percent of Republicans say that, but so did 69 percent of Democrats.
And it hadn’t gotten any better by April, when more than half of US adults thought Biden’s presidency hurt the country on issues like the cost of living and immigration.
But Biden had insisted — to himself, to the nation, to his supporters — that he would be able to bring voters around if he got out there, told people about his record, explained it to them. Talked to them. Looked them in the eye.
He had a lifetime of experience that told him that if he stuck to it, he’d overcome. His campaign was so confident, in fact, that they arranged to go around the Commission on Presidential Debates to set up a series of faceoffs with Trump under a new set of rules.
That produced the June 27 debate that set Biden’s downfall in motion. Biden gave nonsensical answers, trailed off mid-sentence and appeared to stare blankly in front of an audience of 51 million people. Perhaps most distressing to other Democrats, Biden didn’t go after Trump’s myriad falsehoods about his involvement in the violence around the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, abortion rights or immigration.
Biden and his team blamed the night on so many different things. He had a cold. He was jet-lagged. He needed to get more sleep. That night opened the door for his party to push him out.
A slow acceptance
Publicly and privately Biden was fighting to stay in the race. He was working to convince voters that he was up for the task for another four years. He was frustrated by the Democrats coming out publicly against him, but even angrier about the leaks and anonymous sources relaying how even former President Barack Obama and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were working to get him to drop out.
It looked like he’d won out a couple times; the chorus of naysayers seemed to die down. He had some well-received speeches mixed with so-so TV interviews and a day featuring an extended news conference in which he displayed a nuanced grasp of policy but also committed a few gasp-inducing gaffes.
But the doubts didn’t go away.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer eventually invited top Biden staff to a meeting on July 11 to talk about their concerns. It didn’t go well. Senators expressed their concerns, and almost none of them said they had confidence in the president. But even afterwards, Schumer was worried it wasn’t getting to Biden.
Following the meeting, Schumer called Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Obama. Schumer decided that day to request a meeting with Biden.
At a July 13 meeting in Rehoboth, Schumer told Biden he was there out of love and affection. And he delivered a personal appeal focused on Biden’s legacy, the country’s future and the impact the top of the ticket could have on congressional races — and how that could potentially affect the Supreme Court. That same day came the attempted assassination of Donald Trump.
Schumer told the president he didn’t expect him to make an immediate decision, but he hoped Biden would think about what he said, according to a person familiar with the conversation.
Biden responded, “I need another week,” and the two men hugged.
Sunday's decision
It was full steam ahead until Biden pulled the emergency brake.
The president had lost his voice, but he was recovering well and his doctor had sent an update to the public shortly before 1 p.m. on his condition. His small circle decided to post the statement on X on Sunday, rather than let it leak out for days before he was prepared to address the nation, which he is expected to do sometime early this week.
Much of his campaign was blindsided, and it was clear by how little had changed after he dropped out. For hours after the announcement, Biden’s campaign website reflected that he was still running and KamalaHarris.com still redirected to Biden’s page.
Even Harris’ statement announcing her intent to succeed Biden was sent from “Joe Biden for President.”
After the public announcement, Zients held a senior staff call, and sent out an email, and spoke with members of Biden’s Cabinet, emphasizing to them that nothing had changed when it came to the business of governing and that the administration still had a lot of work to do, according to two people with knowledge of the message. And the president was also making personal calls.
“Team — I wanted to make sure you saw the attached letter from the President,” Zients wrote in the staff email. “I could not be more proud to work for President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the American people — alongside all of you, the best White House team in history. There’s so much more to do — and as President Biden says, ‘there is nothing America can’t do — when we do it together.’”
Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, a Democrat who had called for Biden to bow out, was gardening with his wife when the news broke, and said he was momentarily “stunned.” Senators texted each other questioning if it was really happening.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal was at an event in his state, and there was spontaneous applause when it was announced to the crowd that Biden wouldn’t run, he said.
There was a sense of excitement and energy in the crowd “that has been completely lacking,” Blumenthal said.
“It was also, let’s be blunt, a sense of relief,” he said. “And a sense of reverence for Joe Biden.”
By Sunday evening, Biden for President had formally changed to Harris for President.
O’Malley Dillon told campaign staff their jobs were safe, because the operation was shifting to a campaign for Harris.
 


Philippines’ eyes defense pacts with France, Canada and New Zealand in face of China threat

Philippines’ eyes defense pacts with France, Canada and New Zealand in face of China threat
Updated 31 min 55 sec ago
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Philippines’ eyes defense pacts with France, Canada and New Zealand in face of China threat

Philippines’ eyes defense pacts with France, Canada and New Zealand in face of China threat
  • The Philippines and Japan signed a landmark military pact earlier this month that allows the deployment of forces on each other’s soil in the face of China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region

MANILA: The Philippines is looking to forge reciprocal troops access agreements with Canada, France, New Zealand, and other countries, the defense minister said on Monday.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro told ANC news channel he hoped the agreements could be signed next year.
The agreements would allow greater interoperability, as armed forces of these countries can operate within the Philippine territory and vice-versa, Teodoro said.
“It is close to the apex of a defensive alliance,” he said.
The Philippines and Japan signed a landmark military pact earlier this month that allows the deployment of forces on each other’s soil in the face of China’s increasingly assertive stance in the region.
Canada, France, and New Zealand have expressed support for the Philippines’ claims within its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea and rejects a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague that its expansive claims had no basis under international law. The case was brought to the court by the Philippines.
 


Tougher tone on Israel, steady on NATO: how a Harris foreign policy could look

Tougher tone on Israel, steady on NATO: how a Harris foreign policy could look
Updated 39 min 34 sec ago
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Tougher tone on Israel, steady on NATO: how a Harris foreign policy could look

Tougher tone on Israel, steady on NATO: how a Harris foreign policy could look
  • Harris could also be expected to hold firm against Israel’s regional arch-foe, Iran, whose recent nuclear advances have drawn increased US condemnation
  • On China, Harris has long positioned herself within Washington’s bipartisan mainstream on the need for the US to counter China’s influence, especially in Asia

WASHINGTON: Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to stick largely to Joe Biden’s foreign policy playbook on key issues such as Ukraine, China and Iran but could strike a tougher tone with Israel over the Gaza war if she replaces the president at the top of the Democratic ticket and wins the US November election.
As the apparent frontrunner for the nomination after Biden dropped out of the race and endorsed her on Sunday, Harris would bring on-the-job experience, personal ties forged with world leaders, and a sense of global affairs gained during a Senate term and as Biden’s second-in-command.
But running against Republican candidate Donald Trump she would also have a major vulnerability — a troubled situation at the US-Mexico border that has bedeviled Biden and become a top campaign issue. Harris was tasked at the start of his term with addressing the root causes of high irregular migration, and Republicans have sought to make her the face of the problem.
On a range of global priorities, said analysts, a Harris presidency would resemble a second Biden administration.
“She may be a more energetic player but one thing you shouldn’t expect – any immediate big shifts in the substance of Biden’s foreign policy,” said Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator for Democratic and Republican administrations.
Harris has signaled, for instance, that she would not deviate from Biden’s staunch support for NATO and would continue backing Ukraine in its fight against Russia. That stands in sharp contrast to a pledge by former president Trump to fundamentally alter the US relationship with the alliance and the doubts he has raised about future weapons supplies to Kyiv.

STAYING THE COURSE ON CHINA?
A lawyer by training and a former California attorney general, Harris struggled in the first half of Biden’s term to find her footing, not helped by being saddled early on with a major part of the intractable immigration portfolio amid record crossings at the US-Mexico border.
That followed a failed 2020 presidential campaign that was widely considered lackluster.
If she becomes the nominee, Democrats will be hoping Harris will be more effective at communicating her foreign policy goals.
In the second half of Biden’s presidency, Harris — the country’s first Black and Asian American vice president — has elevated her profile on issues ranging from China and Russia to Gaza and become a known quantity to many world leaders.
At this year’s Munich Security Conference she delivered a tough speech slamming Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and pledging “ironclad” US respect for NATO’s Article 5 requirement for mutual self-defense.
On China, Harris has long positioned herself within Washington’s bipartisan mainstream on the need for the US to counter China’s influence, especially in Asia. She would likely maintain Biden’s stance of confronting Beijing when necessary while also seeking areas of cooperation, analysts say.
Harris has made several trips aimed at boosting relations in the economically dynamic region, including one to Jakarta in September to fill in for Biden at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). During the visit, Harris accused China of trying to coerce smaller neighbors with its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea.
Biden also dispatched Harris on travels to shore up alliances with Japan and South Korea, key allies who have had reason to worry about Trump’s commitment to their security.
“She demonstrated to the region that she was enthusiastic to promote the Biden focus on the Indo-Pacific,” said Murray Hiebert, a senior associate of the Southeast Asia Program at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies.
While she could not match the “diplomatic chops” Biden had developed over decades, “she did fine,” he added.
However, like her boss, Harris has been prone to the occasional verbal gaffe. On a tour of the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Korea in September 2022 to reassert Washington’s support for Seoul, she mistakenly touted a US “alliance with the Republic of North Korea,” which aides later corrected.
If Harris becomes her party’s standard-bearer and can overcome Trump’s lead in pre-election opinion polls to win the White House, the Israel-Palestinian conflict would rank high on her agenda, especially if the Gaza war is still raging.
Although as vice president she has mostly echoed Biden in firmly backing Israel’s right to defend itself after Hamas militants carried out a deadly cross-border raid on Oct. 7, she has at times stepped out slightly ahead of the president in criticizing Israel’s military approach.
In March, she bluntly criticized Israel, saying it was not doing enough to ease a “humanitarian catastrophe” during its ground offensive in the Palestinian enclave. Later that month, she did not rule out “consequences” for Israel if it launched a full-scale invasion of refugee-packed Rafah in southern Gaza.
Such language has raised the possibility that Harris, as president, might take at least a stronger rhetorical line with Israel than Biden, analysts say.
While her 81-year-old boss has a long history with a succession of Israeli leaders and has even called himself a “Zionist,” Harris, 59, lacks his visceral personal connection to the country.
She maintains closer ties to Democratic progressives, some of whom have pressed Biden to attach conditions to US weapons shipments to Israel out of concern for high Palestinian civilian casualties in the Gaza conflict.
But analysts do not expect there would be a big shift in US policy toward Israel, Washington’s closest ally in the Middle East.
Halie Soifer, who served as national security adviser to Harris during the then-senator’s first two years in Congress, from 2017 to 2018, said Harris’ support of Israel has been just as strong as Biden’s. “There really has been no daylight to be found” between the two, she said.
IRAN NUCLEAR THREAT
Harris could also be expected to hold firm against Israel’s regional arch-foe, Iran, whose recent nuclear advances have drawn increased US condemnation.
Jonathan Panikoff, formerly the US government’s deputy national intelligence officer for the Middle East, said the growing threat of “weaponization” of Iran’s nuclear program could be an early major challenge for a Harris administration, especially if Tehran decides to test the new US leader.
After a series of failed attempts, Biden has shown little interest in returning to negotiations with Tehran over resuming the 2015 international nuclear agreement, which Trump abandoned during his presidency.
Harris, as president, would be unlikely to make any major overtures without serious signs that Iran is ready to make concessions.
Even so, Panikoff, now at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, said: “There’s every reason to believe the next president will have to deal with Iran. It’s bound to be one of the biggest problems.”

 


Biden’s decision to drop out leaves Democrats across the country relieved and looking toward future

Biden’s decision to drop out leaves Democrats across the country relieved and looking toward future
Updated 55 min 10 sec ago
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Biden’s decision to drop out leaves Democrats across the country relieved and looking toward future

Biden’s decision to drop out leaves Democrats across the country relieved and looking toward future
  • Recent AP-NORC polling revealed that nearly two-thirds of Democrats felt Biden should withdraw from the presidential race
  • The Democratic Party has been deeply divided since Biden’s poor debate performance on June 27, which left many questioning his ability to defeat Republican Donald Trump in November

HARPER WOODS, Michigan: After weeks of uncertainty about who would be at the top of the Democratic Party’s ticket in November, many voters expressed relief over the news that President Joe Biden would drop his reelection bid and began to think about who might replace him in a dramatically altered election landscape.
Jerod Keene, a 40-year-old athletic trainer from swing-state Arizona, had planned to vote for Biden in November but was thankful for the president’s decision, calling it “inevitable.” Keene said he’s excited about the next candidate, hoping it will be Vice President Kamala Harris, whom Biden endorsed on Sunday.
“Kamala Harris is the easiest pick based on the fact that she’s vice president and it would be tough for the party to try to go a different direction on that,” said Keene, who lives in Tucson. “And I think she seems ready.”
The Democratic Party has been deeply divided since Biden’s poor debate performance on June 27, which left many questioning his ability to defeat Republican Donald Trump in November and secure another term. Party leaders had increasingly called for Biden to step aside, but his reluctance to bow out left voters nationwide uncertain about who would face Trump in November.
Recent AP-NORC polling revealed that nearly two-thirds of Democrats felt Biden should withdraw from the presidential race, while a majority believe Harris would perform well in the top slot.
Keene’s relief that the saga surrounding Biden’s decision was over was echoed by voters nationwide in interviews with The Associated Press. In key swing states such as Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada, many expressed optimism about the party’s next nominee — whether it be Harris or someone else.

 

In Pittsburgh, Fred Johnston said he has been terrified of another Trump presidency and had long worried that Biden couldn’t beat Trump again. After seeing Biden’s wobbly debate performance, he was eager for Biden to drop out and hand off his candidacy to Harris.
“Kamala is someone we can vote for, and that’s what we need,” Johnston said.
He also thinks she can win Pennsylvania: “I have no logical basis for this, but it’s good to have hope. I haven’t had hope for a while.”
In Las Vegas, Lucy Ouano, 68, said she was proud of both Biden’s decision to drop out of the race and his move to quickly endorse Harris.
“He’s ending on a great note,” Ouano said. “Trump should be worried. He’s now running against someone strong.”
Ouano, who emigrated in 1960 to the US from Thailand as a young child with her parents, said she couldn’t have imagined this outcome just a few weeks ago when she attended a Harris rally in Las Vegas meant to quiet concerns about Biden’s reelection campaign.
At the time, she told the AP that while she planned on voting for Biden, she wanted Harris at the top of the ticket.
“She’s going to get the Asians drummed up, and she’s going to get the women drummed up,” Oaano said Sunday after learning about Biden’s decision.
Similarly, Arthur L. Downard Jr., a 72-year-old resident of Portland, Oregon, viewed Biden’s presidency favorably but said he was “very pleased” that Biden stepped aside. The Democratic voter, who cast his ballot for Biden in 2020, said his opinion of Biden changed after what he called a “disastrous” debate.
“He’s been a great president and he’s gotten a lot done for our country. But he’s too old, he’s not articulate,” he said. “He’s not a good messenger for the Democratic Party.”
Some voters, like Nebraska resident Lacey LeGrand, had planned to reluctantly vote for Biden simply because he wasn’t Trump.
“I’m definitely not supporting Trump,” LeGrand said. “So I think by default I was going to end up supporting Biden. I wasn’t very happy about it.”
LeGrand, a registered Democrat in Nebraska’s swing district, a potentially decisive electoral vote that Biden and Obama both won previously, believes Harris “has a shot” at defeating Trump, though she added, “I wouldn’t say it’s a great shot.”
But not all voters were happy about Sunday’s news. Georgia voter Dorothy Redhead, 76, was “disappointed” that Biden dropped out of the race but said she is “just having to accept” Biden’s decision as one between the president and God.
Jarvia Haynes, a real estate agent in New Orleans, said she has “mixed feelings” about Biden’s decision to leave the race.
“I don’t think President Biden should have dropped out,” she said. “On the other hand, maybe it’s for the best.”
Haynes, 72, of Harvey, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans, quickly focused on who should lead the Democratic ticket, saying she is “very positive about Vice President Kamala Harris being able to handle the job.”
She added that she hopes Harris would choose Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to be her running mate.
“I think two women would change the whole dynamic of the race,” said Haynes, who joins Harris as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority. The group boasts more than 360,000 members in graduate and undergraduate chapters in 12 countries and could be a formidable political force of its own.
Barbara Orr, a psychotherapist in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, said she thought Biden was capable of running for president, beating Trump and serving as president. She viewed his decision to end his candidacy, however, as a sign that he is not guided by ego and recognized that, because of his debate performance, voters assume that he can’t do the job.
Orr, 65, said she isn’t “super impressed” with Harris, “but she might rise to the occasion. That’s happened before in history.”
She also acknowledged that Harris hasn’t had the chance to prove her mettle as a candidate against Trump.
Orr, a self-described progressive who favored Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president in 2020, said she would probably prefer Whitmer to replace Biden on the Democratic ticket.
“I love what she stands for,” Orr said.
Joe DeFrain was out kayaking when a text informed him that Biden had dropped out. While the Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, resident said he wasn’t stunned to learn of the development, one thing did surprise him.
“I was waiting to see if all the boaters out there were going to be screaming with joy, because a lot of them are Trump fans. And I didn’t hear anything,” DeFrain said after sitting down for dinner at They Say, a restaurant in the Detroit suburb of Harper Woods.
Biden visited They Say earlier this year, a moment that manager George Ledbetter said was “the best ever.”
Ledbetters’ first reaction to the news came down to a single word: “Why?”
“He’s a good president. I like Biden,” Ledbetter said. But, he added, “You gotta do what you gotta do.”
Ledbetter said he’ll support Harris despite his disappointment.
“I’ll take that, too. I think she can do it. First woman president. That’d be nice. African American president. It’d be nice again,” said Ledbetter, who is Black.
As for DeFrain, he said he’ll be watching to see what happens before and during the Democratic National Convention.
“It’s going to be something we have never seen in our lifetime,” said DeFrain, who has voted for Democrats in recent elections. “It should be entertaining.”
 


Trump says Kamala Harris will be easier to defeat than Biden

Trump says Kamala Harris will be easier to defeat than Biden
Updated 22 July 2024
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Trump says Kamala Harris will be easier to defeat than Biden

Trump says Kamala Harris will be easier to defeat than Biden
  • President Joe Biden ended his reelection bid on Sunday and endorsed Harris as the Democratic nominee
  • Even before that decision was made, Trump was saying Harris was no different from Biden

WASHINGTON: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Sunday he thinks Vice President Kamala Harris will be easier to defeat in November’s election than Democratic President Joe Biden, who earlier in the day stepped aside as his party’s candidate.
“Harris will be easier to beat than Joe Biden would have been,” Trump told CNN.
Trump and his campaign later also attacked Biden and Harris on social media while saying Biden was unfit to continue serving as president.
Biden ended his reelection campaign on Sunday after fellow Democrats lost faith in his mental acuity and ability to beat Trump. Biden endorsed Harris to replace him as the party’s candidate.
Biden had faced growing doubts about his reelection chances after a weak and faltering performance in a televised debate against Trump late last month.
On his Truth Social platform on Sunday, Trump said Biden “was not fit to run for President, and is certainly not fit to serve.”
Other top Republicans, including House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson, also said Biden was not fit to serve as president and finish his term if he was stepping aside as the Democratic presidential candidate. Johnson explicitly called on Biden to resign.
Trump, in a post on his Truth Social platform, said: “We will suffer greatly because of his (Biden’s) presidency, but we will remedy the damage he has done very quickly.”
Trump and Biden had been mostly tied in polls, but after the debate some polls showed Trump narrowly ahead of the president in a match-up for the November elections.
The Trump campaign had already begun discussions about how it would redeploy campaign resources for the possibility of Biden’s dropping out, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Sunday.
Given that any alternative Democratic candidate would likely have different strengths and weaknesses than Biden, that person said, the president’s dropping out would require rethinking where to spend ad dollars and where to deploy resources more generally.
Publicly, Trump campaign advisers and allies have been telling reporters they are not worried about facing Harris because they can simply tie her to Biden’s record in office, particularly on immigration and inflation. They say they will try to portray Harris, and any of the other candidates being suggested as alternatives for the Democrats, as being to the left of Biden on various policies.
In a statement after Biden dropped out, the Trump campaign said Harris was Biden’s “enabler in chief.” The campaign said Biden and Harris owned each other’s records and “there is no distance between the two.”
The official Republican National Committee YouTube channel published a two minute video on Sunday afternoon attacking Harris over immigration policies, alleging she neglected that issue.
In recent weeks, Trump’s campaign and some of his allies have launched pre-emptive political attacks on Harris to try to discredit her amid talk she could replace Biden atop the party’s 2024 presidential ticket.
In March 2021 Biden said Harris would lead efforts with Mexico and Central American nations to address illegal immigration.
Republicans have seized on that to accuse her of failing to stem the flow of millions of migrants crossing illegally into the United States, although she was never directly responsible for securing the southern border.