Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., doubled down on her support for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Monday despite allegations that he sexually assaulted a staffer when he was a senator.
“I appreciate the reports of what Miss Reade said. I saw the interview with Vice President Biden,” Warren said, referring to Biden’s appearances on MSNBC where he insisted the incident — in which then-29-year-old Tara Reade alleges Biden forcefully kissed her while he put his hands under her clothing and penetrated her with his fingers — “never happened.”
After remaining largely silent after the allegations first surfaced — including a 1993 tape of “Larry King Live” where Reade’s mother called in to anonymously talk about an issue her daughter was having with a high profile member of the Senate but does not specifically name Biden — the former vice president sat for two interviews with MSNBC in recent days and vehemently denied the accusations, which have proved an impediment to his run for the White House.
“I appreciate that the vice president took a lot of questions, tough questions,” Warren said on Monday, adding that Biden has faced the allegations “directly and respectfully.”
“I support the vice president, I support his campaign, and I’m proud to endorse him for president,” she said.
A former opponent on the campaign trail, Warren may be on the short list of Biden’s picks for vice president, although he is unlikely to announce his running mate until July.
Still, the scandal has not waned support from political female powerhouses such as Warren, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who have waived off Reade’s account as false. The allegations have created a conundrum for both Biden — who has promoted himself as a longtime advocate for women’s rights — as well as other female leaders who have been vocal that women should be believed, especially in light of the #MeToo movement.
Trump has touted the use of hydroxychloroquine during his daily coronavirus briefings despite push back from health experts who warn that the drug could potentially be dangerous and its effectiveness against COVID-19 hasn’t been proven.
“It has a lot to do with the president … bringing it up,” Whitsett said in an interview with the Detroit Free Press. “He is the only person who has the power to make it a priority.”
Whitsett began taking the drug in combination with antibiotics on March 31 and said she started receiving relief in “less than two hours.”
Asked whether she thinks Trump may have saved her life, Whitsett said: “Yes, I do,” and “I do thank him for that.”
Trump tweeted at the freshman lawmaker on Monday saying “Congratulations to State Representative Karen Whitsett of Michigan. So glad you are getting better!”
Whitsett’s husband is still awaiting test results from his COVID-19 exam.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer Sunday over his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL who posed for a photo next to an Islamic State terrorist’s corpse in Iraq, and the SEAL will be able to keep his Trident pin, a Pentagon spokesman said Sunday.
“Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement Sunday.
Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley spoke to Trump on Friday with the intention of persuading the president to allow the Trident review board to go forward with its inquiry. Instead, Esper learned that Spencer previously and privately proposed to the White House – contrary to Spencer’s public position – to restore Gallagher’s rank and let him retire with his Trident pin, the Pentagon said. When Esper recently asked, Spencer confirmed that he’d never informed the defense secretary about his private proposal.
Spencer asked Trump to let the Navy review board go forward, promising that the board would, in the end, allow Gallagher to keep his Trident and rank, effectively alluding to his willingness to fix the results of the board usually comprised of the defendant’s peers, a senior U.S. official told Fox News. Trump rejected the offer and said, “no, we’re done,” prompting the president to write a series of tweets doubling down on his efforts to halt the review, the official added.
“I am deeply troubled by this conduct shown by a senior DOD official,” Esper said. “Unfortunately, as a result, I have determined that Secretary Spencer no longer has my confidence to continue in his position. I wish Richard well.”
Spencer’s ousting was not a consequence of standing up for military justice – but rather was for dishonesty and undermining the military justice system, the senior U.S. official told Fox News. He was fired for “lack of candor,” the official added.
Esper ordered that Gallagher be allowed to keep his Trident pin, noting that it would be nearly impossible for him to get a fair hearing from the military in light of recent events, a senior official said.
Esper suggested that Trump appoint Kenneth Braithwaite, the current U.S. ambassador to Norway and a retired Navy rear admiral, to replace Spencer, the Pentagon said. The president later tweeted Sunday evening that he would nominate Braithwaite for the position, writing, “A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!”
Trump also wrote that he “was not pleased” with the way Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy.
“He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s contracting procedures were not addressed to my satisfaction,” Trump said. “Therefore, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer’s services have been terminated by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. I thank Richard for his service and commitment. Eddie will retire peacefully with all of the honors that he has earned, including his Trident pin.”
I was not pleased with the way that Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s trial was handled by the Navy. He was treated very badly but, despite this, was completely exonerated on all major charges. I then restored Eddie’s rank. Likewise, large cost overruns from past administration’s…..
….honors that he has earned, including his Trident Pin. Admiral and now Ambassador to Norway Ken Braithwaite will be nominated by me to be the new Secretary of the Navy. A man of great achievement and success, I know Ken will do an outstanding job!
The Washington Post was first to report the news of Spencer’s ouster.
In a letter addressed to Trump after his termination, obtained by multiple news organizations, Spencer wrote that he “cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
He also added that the president “deserved and should expect” a Navy secretary “who is aligned with his vision,” but added, “it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the Commander in Chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline.”
Some Pentagon officials said they believed the Navy secretary’s resignation letter was drafted last week. Officials told Fox News there was no formal “order” from the president, as Spencer wrote in his letter, to keep Gallagher on the SEAL teams; Spencer may have drafted a resignation letter in anticipation of a potential written order demanding the Navy scrap the review board scheduled to meet next month.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said both Esper and Trump notified him that Spencer had been fired.
“Both Secretary Esper and President Trump deserve to have a leadership team who has their trust and confidence,” Inhofe said in a statement. “It is no secret that I had my own disagreements with Secretary Spencer over the management of specific Navy programs, and I look forward to receiving and considering a nomination for the next Secretary of the Navy as soon as possible.”
Multiple Navy officials told Fox News that Spencer had threatened to resign if the military branch was not allowed to go through with the administrative review board on the Gallagher matter. Spencer, speaking at an international security forum in Canada on Saturday, denied that claim and said that he did not consider a tweet by Trump an order and would need a formal order to stop the Navy review board, scheduled to begin Dec. 2.
Trump tweeted Thursday, “The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!”
“I need a formal order to act,” Spencer said of Trump’s tweets, “I don’t interpret them as a formal order.”
The Navy on Wednesday had notified Gallagher that he will face the review board to determine if he should remain on the elite force.
“The president of the United States is the commander in chief. He’s involved in every aspect of government and he can make decisions and give orders as appropriate,” Spencer said.
Gallagher’s lawyers have accused the Navy of trying to remove the SEAL designation in retaliation for Trump’s decision to restore his rank.
Gallagher filed a complaint with the inspector general accusing Rear Adm. Collin Green, the Naval Special Warfare commander, of insubordination for defying Trump’s actions.
Speaking earlier Sunday on “Fox & Friends,” Gallagher repeated his argument that the Navy was acting in retaliation.
“They could have taken my Trident at any time they wanted,” he said. “Now they’re trying to take it after the president restored my rank.”
Gallagher said he wanted to be allowed to retire on Nov. 30 “with all the honors that I’ve earned, get back to my family.”
After Spencer’s resignation and confirmation that he could keep his Trident pin and rank, Gallagher praised Trump in a statement to Fox News’ Pete Hegseth.
“President Donald Trump, you have my deepest gratitude and thanks,” Gallagher said. “You stepped in numerous times and showed true moral fiber by correcting all the wrongs that were being done to me. You are a true leader and exactly what the military and this nation needs. God bless you and your family.”
Green also notified three SEAL officers who oversaw Gallagher during the deployment — Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Lt. Jacob Portier and Lt. Thomas MacNeil — that they are also being reviewed, according to U.S. officials. Removing their Trident pins means they will no longer be SEALs but could remain in the Navy.
A Navy source told Fox News that they “can’t see a world where they go forward” with the other 3 SEALS peer review board hearing, following the Gallagher fiasco. “We need to move on.”
The Navy has revoked 154 Trident pins since 2011.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Vandana Rambaran is a reporter covering news and politics at foxnews.com. She can be found on Twitter @vandanarambaran
A jury found decorated Navy SEAL Edward “Eddie” Gallagher not guilty Tuesday on almost all charges he was facing, including murder and attempted murder, in the killing of a teenage Islamic State member in Iraq.
Gallagher was accused of stabbing to death a 15-year-old ISIS fighter in 2017 and posing with the corpse for photos.
As he awaited the charges to be read, Gallagher, 40, bounced lightly on his feet, appearing nervous, but dissolved into joyful tears once the verdict came through, tightly embracing his wife, Andrea, who has publicly championed him throughout the case as they both cried. Also seated in the gallery were Gallagher’s attorneys, brother and parents, all of whom he hugged.
“I’m happy and I’m thankful,” Gallagher told reporters after the verdict as he joked with his legal team that “it’s Independence Day,” his freedom coming days before the July 4th holiday.
“Suffice to say, huge victory, huge weight off the Gallaghers, huge victory for justice,” Gallagher’s attorney Marc Mukasey said adding that his client cried “tears of joy, emotion, freedom, absolute euphoria and proud of the process.”
“I was feeling like we’re finally vindicated after being terrorized by the government that my husband fought for for 20 years,” Andrea Gallagher said. She also said she intends to “continue to fight for the war heroes of this country” and hopes to see Naval Special Warfare Group 1 Commodore Capt. Matthew D. Rosenbloom resign, among other things.
He faced seven criminal charges in all. Six of the most serious charges included premeditated murder, willfully discharging a firearm to endanger human life, retaliation against members of his platoon for reporting his alleged actions, obstruction of justice and the attempted murders of two noncombatants. On all of those charges, the jury in San Diego found him not guilty.
Jurors did find him guilty of the seventh charge, posing for a photo with a casualty, considered the least egregious of the crimes, which carries a maximum prison sentence of four months.
“We have a sentencing to do, but the maximum sentence of what they’re about to sentence him on is much less than the time that they’ve already had him in the brig,” defense attorney Tim Parlatore said. “So he is going home.”
Nearly a dozen members of Gallagher’s platoon testified against him, revealing that nearly all the platoon members posed for photos with the dead prisoner and witnessed Gallagher read his reenlistment oath near the body, actions prosecutors said proved that Gallagher was “proud” of his actions.
Gallagher, who served 19 years in the Navy and earned a Bronze Star with V for Valor twice, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a trio of Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals, has been publicly championed by his wife and even President Trump, who previously got Gallagher removed from the brig and transferred to better custody conditions at a Navy hospital before trial.
Fox News’ Dan Gallo in San Diego and Samuel Chamberlin contributed to this report.
Speaking at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention, Biden said that “Income inequities are at an all-time high and made worse by Trump’s tax cuts and enormous giveaways to the top one-tenth of the 1 percent … and it’s time we start to reward work over wealth.”
Outlining his policy proposals in this visit to the early primary state, Biden said the GOP-backed tax cuts, which have been heavily criticized in some quarters as beneficial only to the rich, have no socially redeeming value. He vowed to “put that money to good use.”
Biden promised that, among other things, residual funds from the tax break would be put toward initiatives such as green energy research and development, two-year college tuition grants and a public-option health insurance plan.
The 2020 hopeful also proposed an $8,000-per-child credit for child care. In addition, he promised to increase Title I funding for schools with high numbers of low-income students, and to allocate between $15 billion and $45 billion to expand universal pre-K, raise teachers’ pay, fully fund special education and double the number of school psychologists, guidance counselors and nurses to support public school systems.
Biden also reiterated his plan to implement a public health care option like Medicare, which would guarantee that low-income individuals have health coverage.
Biden continues to lead the polls in a field of some two-dozen Democratic contenders.
Edwards urged his party colleagues to do so as well, tweeting a statement on Wednesday saying “I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone.”
The fetal heartbeat abortion ban applies to pregnancies as early as six weeks, before some woman even know they are pregnant and include exceptions only for “medically futile” instances where the mother’s health is at risk or the baby is stillborn. The bill necessitates an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and does not include exceptions for women who were victims of rape and incest.
Many fellow Democrats lashed out at Edwards, with 2020 presidential candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., accusing the governor of “turning his back on Louisiana women by signing this shameful bill.”
Regardless of your personal beliefs, no politician—Republican or Democrat—has the right to control women’s bodies or involve themselves in women’s health care decisions. Governor John Bel Edwards is turning his back on Louisiana women by signing this shameful bill. https://t.co/PdObQ2JZCT
The bill’s passage makes Louisiana the fifth state, after Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio, to pass a fetal heartbeat act in its state, which challenges the constitutional right to an abortion guaranteed by the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.
In Lousiana, doctors and medical providers who perform an abortion could face up to two years in prison and lose their medical license.
Although many of the states legislations have been challenged in court because of its constitutional conflict, state lawmakers hope that the controversy will facilitate Supreme Court justices in overturning Roe v. Wade.
The Louisiana law will not go into effect until Mississippi’s similar legislation is upheld by a federal court, but so far, it faces legal challenges as a federal judge blocked the Mississippi law by injunction on Friday.