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Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy questioned press secretary Jen Psaki on why President Biden has seemingly changed his stance on travel restrictions after criticizing former President Donald Trump for imposing a travel ban on China early last year.

“When President Trump was imposing travel restrictions in March, specifically on China, then-candidate Biden called it ‘xenophobic’ and ‘fearmongering,’” Doocy said to Psaki.

Psaki responded by pointing to Trump’s alleged “Muslim ban” as the policy Biden had previously disagreed with, claiming that the new president has always been supportive of travel bans designed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t think that’s quite a fair articulation,” she said. “The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned the Muslim ban. He also, though, has supported … travel restrictions in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control. That’s been part of his policy.”

Psaki said the last administration’s approach was not “comprehensive” enough to stop the pandemic.

“But he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions,” she said. “And he conveyed at the time, and more recently, the importance of having a multifaceted approach, mask-wearing, vaccine distribution, funding in order to get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in the first 100 days.”

But Biden was initially critical of Trump’s plan to block travel from China in the early stages of the pandemic.

“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fearmongering,” Biden said the day after Trump announced the restrictions. “He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”

The travel restrictions Psaki was alluding to was Trump’s 2017 decision to end travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, which Biden had also criticized as “plain wrong.” One of the first executive orders Biden signed as president was to overturn that policy.

Biden was also a repeat critic of Trump’s coronavirus travel restrictions, saying in March that “a wall will not stop the coronavirus.”

“Banning all travel from Europe, or any other part of the world, will not stop it. This disease could impact every nation and any person on the planet — and we need a plan to combat it,” Biden said.

Biden on Monday took a similar approach to Trump’s, reinstating a travel ban that will affect non-U.S. citizens traveling from the United Kingdom and much of Europe, as well as adding South Africa to the list of restricted countries.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki said of the new policy.

Author: Michael Lee

Source: Washington Examiner: Peter Doocy questions Psaki about Biden flip-flop on travel restrictions: ‘Biden called it ‘xenophobic’

President Biden received a record-breaking amount of donations from “dark money” donors during the 2020 election cycle, despite his party’s long-held belief that such money should be more severely regulated.

Biden’s campaign was pushed to victory in part thanks to $145 million in dark money, a type of political donation where the donor and source of the money are not disclosed, which dwarfed former President Donald Trump’s $28.4 million in dark money raised.

Biden’s dark money haul was also enough to pass the previous record set by Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, which raised $113 million in dark money.

“He benefited from it,” Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, told Bloomberg News.

Biden raised a total of $1.5 billion, a record fundraising effort for a challenger looking to unseat an incumbent president.

While Democrats have in the past proposed bans to the type of dark money donations, the effort to unseat Trump had them welcoming the funds in 2020.

“We weren’t going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right-wing forces that enabled him,” said Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil, whose super political action committee was designated as the preferred committee for outside spending.

Priorities USA used $26 million in funds that were originally donated to its nonprofit organization arm, a type of donation that current law does not require revealing the donor.

Despite having the advantage in dark money donations, Biden’s campaign called for stricter rules that would limit nonprofit organizations to $10,000 of political donations or force them to register with the FEC and disclose their donors. Under such a proposal, Priorities USA would have been forced to disclose its donors.

“We still look forward to the day when unlimited money and super PACs are a thing of the past,” Cecil added.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund received a flood of new donations for Biden during this past year’s election cycle, Executive Director Amy Kurtz said. The group had previously been involved in an effort to reform the campaign finance system, something the new money has now made more complicated.

“We have lobbied in favor of reform to the current campaign finance system,” Kurtz said. “But we remain equally committed to following the current laws to level the playing field for progressives.”

The White House did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

Author: Michael Lee

Source: Washington Examiner: Biden campaign reeled in staggering amount of ‘dark money’ during 2020 election, smashing previous record

Athletic apparel company Nike announced that they would no longer make political contributions to lawmakers that supported “decertifying the Electoral College results” in the wake of last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol.

“Nike’s Political Action Committee helps our employees support elected officials who understand our business and whose values align with our mission of serving athletes,” Nike said in the statement.” “These nonpartisan values rely upon upholding the principles of democracy. Although we’re not yet making contributions at this point in the election cycle, Nike’s PAC will not support any member of Congress who ignores these principles, including those who voted to decertify the Electoral College results.”

Nike joins a growing list of Fortune 500 companies that have decided to pause political contributions for lawmakers that objected to certifying the election results, joining notable names such as Disney, Cisco, Wells Fargo, Boeing, United Airlines, McDonald’s, and Walmart.

The move by large corporations to halt donations comes as lawmakers continue to debate the fallout of last week’s riot at the Capitol, with House Democrats launching an impeachment effort against President Trump that was approved mainly along party lines Wednesday.

The impeachment process faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he does not plan to reconvene the chamber to take up the issue. That has opened a debate as to whether the Senate could vote to convict the president even after he leaves office.

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter made changes following the chaos as well, moving to ban Trump from their platforms over concerns he could use them to incite more violence in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Meanwhile, Apple, Google, and Amazon all moved to ban alternative social media platforms such as Parler, claiming the service doesn’t do enough to moderate violent content.

Author: Michael Lee

Source: Washington Wxaminer: Nike announces a halt to political contributions to lawmakers who supported ‘decertifying’ election results

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