BRICS countries launch joint tourism roadmap at Moscow forum

Special BRICS countries launch joint tourism roadmap at Moscow forum
Representatives from BRICS nations take part in the group’s first tourism forum in Moscow on June 21, 2024. (AN Photo)
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Updated 22 June 2024

BRICS countries launch joint tourism roadmap at Moscow forum

BRICS countries launch joint tourism roadmap at Moscow forum
  • BRICS accounts for 45 percent of world’s population, 25 percent of global economy
  • New strategy includes increased mobility between the nine countries

MOSCOW: The BRICS group of emerging-market nations has launched a roadmap to boost travel between member nations during the organization’s first tourism forum, which was held in Moscow over the weekend.

The BRICS group — an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — was formed in 2009 as an investment forum. It has since evolved into a geopolitical bloc and in January expanded to include Iran, the UAE, Ethiopia and Egypt.

The group’s leaders meet for annual summits hosted by the member holding its rotating presidency. This year’s chairmanship was taken by Russia.

Over 300 representatives of the industry gathered in Moscow for the BRICS Tourism Forum on Friday as delegates of the nine member countries announced a roadmap for joint policy and investment initiatives, which covers the development of digital tourism solutions, the BRICS green initiative for tourism, and the development of business relations in the sector, which Russian Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said makes up around five percent of the group members’ economies.

“We can say that the BRICS tourism track has been formally launched as of this moment,” Reshetnikov told reporters. “The document will bolster cooperation in the tourism industry’s digitalization and in promoting and increasing tourist exchanges.”

The roadmap was welcomed by the Indian Ministry of Tourism.

“This is a great achievement, the first of its kind, and now the countries will work together in a certain manner through the roadmap,” Niraj Sharan, assistant director general at the ministry, told Arab News.

“In the future, more and more tourists will move within BRICS nations. It will be easy to go around, easing travel formalities, each country will facilitate member countries’ citizens, there will be cooperation between the hospitality sectors, and the countries will invest in each other’s firms.”

India is already offering e-visas to most of the BRICS nations.

“India is aiming at a better partnership, coordination and cohesion among all the BRICS nations — better facilities, easy movement of tourists, better exchanges for tourism sectors, tourism stakeholders, enhancing investment in each other’s countries,” Sharan said.

Amr El-Kadi, chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Authority at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, said: “The BRICS Tourism Forum is significant, it’s opening up new territories. It’s a golden opportunity, where we can all work (together) within BRICS to increase intra-tourism.

“We have another major program to promote Egypt in India. We are working hard with the Indian embassy in Cairo to do a lot,” he continued. “We have a joint working team between both countries to know exactly how and where to promote tourism both ways. So, we have very ambitious plans.”

BRICS nations have a combined population of about 45 percent of the world’s inhabitants and account for some 25 percent of the global economy.

Since last year, 40 countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and Pakistan, have reportedly expressed interest in becoming members of the BRICS bloc, which aims to represent the Global South and provide an alternative model to the Western-dominated G7 — the most advanced economies comprising Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the US.

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants
Updated 9 sec ago

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants

Indian troops kill three suspected Kashmir militants
  • Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947
  • New Delhi and Islamabad accuse each other of stoking militancy and espionage to undermine each other
NEW DELHI: Soldiers in India-administered Jammu and Kashmir have killed three suspected militants, the army said, the latest incident in an uptick of attacks in the disputed northern territory.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947.
The Indian army’s Chinar Corps said late Sunday that three people were killed in an “anti-infiltration operation” in Kashmir’s Kupwara district, with “weapons and other war-like stores” seized.
India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir in full and have fought three wars for control of the Himalayan region.
New Delhi and Islamabad accuse each other of stoking militancy and espionage to undermine each other.
Rebel groups have waged an insurgency since 1989, demanding independence for the territory or its merger with Pakistan.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels.
Earlier this month, gunmen ambushed an army convoy killing five soldiers, and two other soldiers and six suspected militants were killed in separate incidents.
In June, nine Indian Hindu pilgrims were killed and dozens wounded when a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying them from a shrine in the southern Reasi area.
It was one of the deadliest attacks in years and the first on Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir since 2017, when gunmen killed seven people in another ambush on a bus.

Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’

Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’
Updated 49 min 13 sec ago

Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’

Global leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump, Pakistan calls it ‘shocking development’
  • Assassination attempt targeting former US president left one attendee dead and critically injured two others
  • Secret Service said it killed suspected shooter who attacked from an elevated position outside rally value

Global leaders expressed concern Sunday over an assassination attempt targeting former US President Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania that left one attendee dead and critically injured two others.

Trump’s campaign said the presumptive Republican nominee was doing “fine” after being whisked off the stage though the shooting pierced the upper part of his right ear.

The Secret Service said it killed the suspected shooter who attacked from an elevated position outside the rally venue.

US authorities are still investigating the shooting.
Argentina’s President Javier Milei said Trump was the “victim of a cowardly assassination attempt that put his life and that of hundreds of people at risk.”

In a post on X, Milei also said the apparent assassination attempt highlighted the “desperation of the international left” and its “willingness to destabilize democracies and promote violence to screw itself into power.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the “inexcusable attack” on the United States and Australia’s shared democratic values.

“In Australia, as in the United States, the essence and the purpose of our democracies is that we can express our views, debate our disagreements and resolve our differences peacefully,” Albanese told reporters in the Australian Parliament House.

Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, called the incident unacceptable on X and said the attack must be “strongly repudiated” by all democracy defenders.

His predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who is a close Trump ally, relayed his solidarity with “the world’s greatest leader of the moment.” Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen at a campaign event ahead of the 2018 presidential election, which he went on to win.

Trump, he told reporters, was saved by a matter of a few centimeters. “This — to understand — is something that comes from above,” he added.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with former President Trump on Sunday.

“The Prime Minister condemned yesterday’s appalling assassination attempt and reiterated there’s no place for political violence,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement. “The Prime Minister wished the former President well and offered condolences to the shooting victims and to the family of Corey Comperatore.”


The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that China is concerned about the attack and President Xi Jinping has already extended his sympathies to Trump.


Egyptian President Abdelfattah El El-Sisi stressed his country’s condemnation of the attack in a statement and wished for the US election campaigns to resume peacefully.


French President Emmanuel Macron sent his wishes to Trump for a prompt recovery. “It is a drama for our democracies. France shares the indignation of the American people,” he posted on X.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz posted on X saying the attack was “despicable” and such violent acts threaten democracy. “My compassionate thoughts are also with the other people who were hurt in the attack,” he said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said his thoughts and prayers were with Trump “in these dark hours” on X.


India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said he was deeply concerned by “the attack on my friend.”

“Strongly condemn the incident. Violence has no place in politics and democracies,” he wrote on X.

Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” saying on X his thoughts are with the victims of “this senseless act of terrorism.”


At the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he watched “in horror,” adding that the attack was also an “assassination attempt on American democracy.”

He said everyone in Israel was sending Trump wishes for “a quick recovery and return to full strength.”


Italian President Sergio Mattarella said in a statement the attack was a cause for serious alarm and “a disconcerting symptom of the deterioration of the civil fabric and of the dangerous refusal of confrontation, dialogue and respect for democratic life.”

Meanwhile, Premier Giorgia Meloni wished Trump a quick recovery.


“We must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on X.


Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, denounced the attack on X and said “violence is irrational and inhumane.”


Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called the shooting a “shocking development.” He said he condemned all violence in politics and wished the former president a swift recovery and good health.

And imprisoned Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister Imran Khan, who was shot and injured at a rally in November 2022, wished Trump a full recovery. “Political violence is a tool of cowards and has no place in a democracy,” he said on X.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has no plans at present to call Trump, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“We do not at all think or believe that the attempt to eliminate presidential candidate Trump was organized by the current government, but the atmosphere that this administration created during the political struggle, the atmosphere around candidate Trump provoked what America is faced with today,” he added.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, said earlier Sunday on her Telegram channel that American lawmakers should employ the money they use to supply weapons to Ukraine “to finance the American police and other services which should ensure law and order within the United States.”

South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa wrote on X that the attempted assassination of Trump “is a stark reminder of the dangers of political extremism and intolerance.”

Ramaphosa also voiced his hope that “the citizens and leaders of America will have the fortitude and sagacity to reject violence and seek peaceful solutions.”


Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who survived an assassination attempt in May, condemned the shooting in a Facebook post. He drew direct parallels between the two incidents, suggesting the attack on Trump was the result of a campaign by his political opponents.


Taiwan’s president, Lai Ching-te, said on X his thoughts and prayers are with Trump, adding that political violence of any form is never acceptable “in our democracies.”


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the shooting on X, offering his good wishes to Trump, his family and supporters.

He said he believed “the investigation into the attack will be conducted effectively” so as not to undermine the US elections.

The European Commission

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on X she was deeply shocked by the shooting, adding that political violence has no place in democracy.


Also on X, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was appalled to learn about the shooting, saying such violence has no justification. He added he was relieved to learn that Trump is safe.

Zelensky extended his wishes for strength to everyone who was horrified by the event.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack on Trump, describing it as “a criminal and extremist act.”

United Kingdom

UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer said on X that he was appalled by the “shocking scenes,” and sent his best wishes to Trump and his family.

“Political violence in any form has no place in our societies,” he said.

British lawmaker Nigel Farage, a friend of Trump’s, sought to pin much of the blame on the “mainstream media” that he claimed opposed the former president. He told the BBC that it was a “horrendous” incident but somehow he was not shocked by it.


In a statement, the Vatican expressed its concern over “last night’s episode of violence, which hurts people and democracy, causing suffering and death.” Pope Francis didn’t mention the apparent assassination attempt in his weekly prayers earlier.


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro condemned the attack during a campaign event in the town of Guacara. “We have been adversaries, but I wish President Trump health and long life, and I repudiate the attack,” Maduro added.

China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week

China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week
Updated 15 July 2024

China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week

China’s Communist Party will signal its approach to the country’s challenges at a meeting this week
  • Under Xi, the Communist Party has decided that the party needs to be at the center of efforts to take China to the next level of development.
  • China is now the world’s second largest economy, but with a population of 1.4 million people, it is also still a middle-income country

BEIJING: China’s ruling Communist Party is starting a four-day meeting Monday that is expected to lay out a strategy for self-sufficient economic growth in an era of heightened national security concerns and restrictions on access to American technology.
While the meeting typically focuses on such long-term issues, business owners and investors will also be watching to see if the party announces any immediate measures to try to counter a prolonged real estate downturn and persistent malaise that has suppressed China’s post-COVID-19 recovery.
“There’s a lot of unclarity of policy direction in China,” which is weighing on consumer and investor confidence, said Bert Hofman, the former World Bank country director for China and a professor at the National University of Singapore. “This is a point in time where China needs to show its cards.”
The outcome of the meeting will send a message to local government officials and others about the future direction of policy. The general expectation is that it will confirm a path laid out by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, though some hope for some fine-tuning to address concerns that increasing government control over business and society is stifling economic growth.
What is the “third plenum” and why does it matter?
The Communist Party’s 205-member Central Committee is holding its third plenum, or the third plenary session of a five-year term that started in 2022. This year’s meeting was expected to be held last year, but was delayed.
Historically, this third meeting has emerged as one at which major economic and policy decisions have been set, though not every time. Analysts say the plenum often sets longer-term directions impacting the economy.
1. In 1978, the meeting endorsed the “reform and opening up” of former leader Deng Xiaoping, the transformation from a planned economy to a more market-based economy that propelled China’s growth in the ensuing decades.
2. In 1993, it endorsed a “socialist market economy” that sealed the victory of reformers battling against conservatives warning about the dangers of economic liberalization.
3. In 2013, in another endorsement of reform, it said that the market would become the decisive force in the allocation of resources.
The last pronouncement, made a year after Xi became leader, didn’t come to be. Within a couple of years, the party began backtracking before setting off in a new direction in 2017, Hofman said.
What issues are at stake?
Under Xi, the Communist Party has decided that the party needs to be at the center of efforts to take China to the next level of development. China is now the world’s second largest economy, but with a population of 1.4 million people, it is also still a middle-income country.
The government has reined in China’s high-flying tech giants, such as Alibaba, the fintech and e-commerce giant. As the United States became more adversarial, Xi pushed Chinese companies and universities to try to develop the high-end semiconductors and other technology that is being blocked by US restrictions on exports to China.
Free-market advocates are concerned this government-led approach is discouraging the entrepreneurial spirit. Another worry is that the rising importance of national security will take a toll on economic growth. The government has investigated companies that transferred economic data overseas in what appears to be a widening definition of what constitutes a breach of the law.
A major change in direction is not expected and would be momentous if it were to happen. Instead, the degree to which the meeting acknowledges concerns about the business environment and national security could signal whether there will be some policy adjustments.
What policy shifts might happen?
Further support for high-tech industries that are considered vital for national security and future growth is all but certain, along with related industrial policies.
But the party faces demands on other fronts. Alexander Davey, an analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies in Germany, said they are watching how the government will balance two major prerogatives: economic growth and social equity.
Local governments are heavily in debt, with multiple cities suspending transit services because they could not afford to keep running them. In February last year, the city of Shangqiu, home to more than 7 million people, temporarily shut down bus lines.
“There may be a bit of a shift, does the central government issue more debt to local government so they can run their services?” Davey said. The trade off will be between vast resources poured into science and tech development, areas deemed vital to national security, and social services.
Investors will be on the lookout for indications that the government, having increased its control over the economy, will take any steps to create a more favorable environment for private companies.
Then, there is the real estate market. In April, the government announced policies that signaled a shift in its approach by funding direct purchases of unsold homes.
“A notable first-half shift in China’s property stance,” said Yifan Hu, chief investment officer for greater China at UBS bank, in a statement. “This ongoing pressure underscores the need for additional easing, which we think will be forthcoming given the supportive policy tone.”

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive
Updated 37 min 50 sec ago

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive

Authorities hunt for clues, but motive of man who tried to assassinate Donald Trump remains elusive
  • The FBI said they were investigating it as a potential act of domestic terrorism
  • Student at Bethel Park High School says Crooks was bullied and mocked for the clothes he wore

WASHINGTON: The 20-year-old man who tried to assassinate former President Donald Trump first came to law enforcement’s attention at Saturday’s rally when spectators noticed him acting strangely outside the campaign event. The tip sparked a frantic search but officers were unable to find him before he managed to get on a roof, where he opened fire.
In the wake of the shooting that killed one spectator, investigators were hunting for any clues about what may have drove Thomas Matthew Crooks, of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, to carry out the shocking attack. The FBI said they were investigating it as a potential act of domestic terrorism, but the absence of a clear ideological motive by the man shot dead by Secret Service led conspiracy theories to flourish.
“I urge everyone — everyone, please, don’t make assumptions about his motives or his affiliations,” President Joe Biden said in remarks Sunday from the White House. “Let the FBI do their job, and their partner agencies do their job. I’ve instructed that this investigation be thorough and swift.”
The FBI said it believes Crooks, who had bomb-making materials in the car he drove to the rally, acted alone. Investigators have found no threatening comments on social media accounts or ideological positions that could help explain what led him to target Trump before Secret Service rushed the presumptive Republican presidential nominee off the stage, his face smeared with blood.
Trump said on social media the upper part of his right ear was pierced in the shooting, but advisers said he was “great spirits” ahead of his arrival Sunday in Milwaukee for the Republican National Convention. Two spectators were critically injured, while a former fire chief from the area, Corey Comperatore was killed. Pennsylvania’s governor said Comperatore, 50, died a hero by diving onto his family to protect them.
Relatives of Crooks didn’t respond to numerous messages from The Associated Press. His father, Matthew Crooks, told CNN late Saturday that he was trying to figure out “what the hell is going on” but wouldn’t speak about his son until after he talked to law enforcement. An FBI official told reporters that Crooks’ family is cooperating with investigators.
Several rallygoers reported to local officers that Crooks was acting suspiciously and pacing near the magnetometers, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation. Officers were then told Crooks was climbing a ladder, the official said. Officers searched for him but were unable to find him before he made it to the roof, the official added.
Butler County Sheriff Michael Slupe told the AP that a local officer climbed to the roof and encountered Crooks, who saw the officer and turned toward him just before the officer dropped down to safety. Slupe said the officer couldn’t have wielded his own gun under the circumstances. The officer retreated down the ladder, and Crooks quickly took a shot toward Trump, and that’s when Secret Service snipers shot him, according to two officials who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

FBI officials said Sunday that they were combing Crooks’ background and social media activities while working to get access to his phone. The chatting app Discord, a social media platform popular with people playing online games, said Crooks appears to have had an account but used it rarely and not in the last several months. There’s no evidence he used his account to promote violence or discuss his political views, a Discord spokesperson said.
Crooks’ political leanings were not immediately clear. Records show Crooks was registered as a Republican voter in Pennsylvania, but federal campaign finance reports also show he gave $15 to a progressive political action committee on Jan. 20, 2021, the day Biden was sworn into office.
Crooks graduated from Bethel Park High School in 2022. In a video of the school’s graduation ceremony posted online, Crooks can be seen crossing the stage to receive his diploma, appearing slight of build and wearing glasses. The school district said it will cooperate fully with investigators. His senior year, Crooks was among several students given an award for math and science, according to a Tribune-Review story at the time.
Crooks tried out for the school’s rifle team but was turned away because he was a bad shooter, said Frederick Mach, a current captain of the team who was a few years behind Crooks at the school.
Jason Kohler, who said he attended the same high school but did not share any classes with Crooks, said Crooks was bullied at school and sat alone at lunch time. Other students mocked him for the clothes he wore, which included hunting outfits, Kohler said.
“He was bullied almost every day,” Kohler told reporters. “He was just a outcast, and you know how kids are nowadays.”
Crooks worked at a nursing home as a dietary aide, a job that generally involves food preparation. Marcie Grimm, the administrator of Bethel Park Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, said in a statement she was “shocked and saddened to learn of his involvement.” Grimm added that Crooks had a clean background check when he was hired.

Police block roads around the home of Thomas Matthew Crooks as the FBI continues its investigation into the attempted assassination of former US President Donald Trump in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, on July 14, 2024. (AFP)

A blockade had been set up Sunday preventing traffic near Crooks’ house, which is in an enclave of modest brick houses in the hills outside Pittsburgh and about an hour’s drive from the site of the Trump rally. Police cars were stationed at an intersection near the house and officers were seen walking through the neighborhood.
Crooks used an AR-style rifle, which authorities said they believe was purchased by his father. Kevin Rojek, FBI special agent in charge in Pittsburgh, said that investigators do not yet know if he took the gun without his father’s permission.
A video posted to social media and geolocated by AP shows Crooks wearing a gray t-shirt with a black American flag on the right arm lying motionless on the roof of a manufacturing plant just north of the Butler Farm Show grounds where Trump’s rally was held.
The roof where Crooks lay was less than 150 meters (164 yards) from where Trump was speaking, a distance from which a decent marksman could reasonably hit a human-sized target. That is a distance at which US Army recruits must hit a scaled human-sized silhouette to qualify with the M-16 rifle.
Images of Crooks’ body reviewed by AP show he appears to have been wearing a T-shirt from Demolition Ranch, a popular YouTube channel that regularly posts videos of its creator firing off handguns and assault rifles at targets that include human mannequins.
Matt Carriker, the Texas-based creator of Demolition Ranch, did not respond to a phone message or email on Sunday, but posted a photo of Crooks’ bloody corpse wearing his brand’s T-shirt on social media with the comment “What the hell.”

In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’

In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’
Updated 15 July 2024

In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’

In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’
  • Political passions can run high but “we must never descend into violence,” he said
  • Saturday’s attack upended the Democratic counteroffensive on the cusp of the Republican convention

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden warned Sunday of the the risks of political violence in the US after Saturday’s attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, saying, “It’s time to cool it down.”
In a prime-time national address from the Oval Office, Biden said political passions can run high but “we must never descend into violence.”
“There is no place in America for this kind of violence — for any violence. Ever. Period. No exception. We can’t allow this violence to be normalized,” Biden said.
Biden spoke for about five minutes from the Oval Office. He noted that the Republican National Convention was opening in Milwaukee on Monday, while he himself would be traveling the country to campaign for reelection.
He said passions would run high on both sides and the stakes of the election were enormous.
“We can do this,” Biden implored, saying the nation was founded on a democracy that gave reason and balance a chance to prevail over brute force. “American democracy — where arguments are made in good faith. American democracy — where the rule of law is respected. Where decency, dignity, fair play aren’t just quaint notions, they’re living, breathing realities.”


Earlier Sunday, Biden condemned the attempted assassination of his predecessor, Trump, as “contrary to everything we stand for as a nation” and said he was ordering an independent security review of how such an attack could have happened.
He called for the country to “unite as one nation,” promised a “thorough and swift” review and asked the public not to “make assumptions” about the shooter’s motives or affiliations.
The president said he has also directed the US Secret Service to review all security measures for the RNC. Hours later, Audrey Gibson-Cicchino, the Secret Service’s coordinator for the convention, said the weekend attack against Trump did not prompt any changes to the agency’s security plan for the event and officials “are fully prepared.”
In his remarks, Biden called the attack on Trump “not who we are as a nation.”
“It’s not American. And we cannot allow this to happen,” he said. “Unity is the most elusive goal of all, but nothing is more important than that right now.”
The president said he and first lady Jill Biden were praying for the family of Corey Comperatore, a former fire chief who was shot and killed during the Trump rally Saturday night in Butler, Pennsylvania.
“He was protecting his family from the bullets,” Biden said. “God love him.”
The president also said he’d had a “short but good conversation” with Trump in the hours after the shootings and said he was “sincerely grateful” that the former president is “doing well and recovering.”
Trump, who has called for national resilience since the shooting, posted on his social media account after Biden’s remarks, “UNITE AMERICA!”
Actually achieving unity will be far more challenging, especially in the midst of a bitter presidential campaign. Biden’s team is grappling with how to calibrate the path forward after the weekend attack on the very person he is trying to defeat in November’s election.
Biden, who has set out to brand Trump as a dire threat to democracy and the nation’s very founding principles, put a temporary pause on such political messaging. Shortly after Saturday night’s attack, Biden’s reelection campaign froze “all outbound communications” and was working to pull down its television ads.
The president also postponed a planned trip to Texas on Monday, where he was to speak on the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the Lyndon B. Johnson presidential library. An NBC News interview between Biden and anchor Lester Holt will now occur at the White House, instead of in Texas, as initially planned.
Biden’s campaign said that, after the NBC interview airs on Monday night, it and the Democratic National Committee “will continue drawing the contrast” with Trump over the course of the GOP convention — even though it remains unclear when ads would resume.
Biden also still plans to make a planned trip to Las Vegas, which will include a campaign event Wednesday. Vice President Kamala Harris postponed her planned campaign trip to Florida on Tuesday, where she had been set to meet with Republican women.
Trump, meanwhile, announced he was moving up plans to go to Milwaukee and the Republican convention, where criticism of Biden and the Democrats is sure to be searing.
The weekend developments were only the latest upheaval in a campaign that has been extraordinarily topsy-turvy in recent weeks.
Biden’s shaky debate performance on June 27 so spooked his own party that some top surrogates and donors turned on him, and nearly 20 Democratic members of Congress called on the president to leave the race outright. Facing mounting questions about whether he was fit for a second term, Biden and his top advisers have been scrambling to salvage his campaign by adding events around the country and more aggressively criticizing Trump.
Saturday’s attack upended — at least for now — that counteroffensive on the cusp of the Republican convention.
The campaign also hopes that Sunday’s Oval Office address lets Biden further drive home his point about unity while demonstrating leadership that could assuage nervous critics within his own party.
“We’ll debate and we’ll disagree, that’s not going to change,” Biden said in his afternoon remarks. “But we’ll not lose sight of who we are as Americans.”
Although investigators are still in the early stages of determining what occurred and why, some Biden critics are calling out the president for telling donors in a private call Monday that “it’s time to put Trump in the bullseye.”
A person familiar with those remarks said the president was trying to make the point that Trump had gotten away with a light public schedule after last month’s debate while the president himself faced intense scrutiny. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to more freely discuss private conversations.
In the donor call, Biden said: “I have one job and that’s to beat Donald Trump. ... I’m absolutely certain I’m the best person to be able to do that.”
He continued: “So, we’re done talking about the debate. It’s time to put Trump in the bullseye. He’s gotten away with doing nothing for the last 10 days except ride around in his golf cart, bragging about scores he didn’t score. … Anyway I won’t get into his golf game.”