Today the Trump folks I saw were the acting directors of Homeland Security and FEMA, both of whom said things are in good shape for Dorian even with the transfer of money from FEMA disaster funds to build detention facilities along the border.
With that, let's get to Chuck Todd's interview with Julian Castro on MTP. On guns,
- a President Castro would "immediately redefine who is a firearms dealer" to include anyone selling more than five guns a year, and they'd have to "conduct universal background checks."
- And he accused the current president of lying about doing something about universal background checks. "He's said that twice, after Parkland and then after El Paso and Dayton. And he's gone back on his word."
- On changing the culture in a state like Texas (which has new laws going into effect today), he noted that some people "fear that, one day, the government is going to try and take over the entire country, somehow. And they're going to need their weapons." But they're the minority, and that "More and more people here in Texas and across the country want Congress and their politicians to do something."
On the old folks leading the pack for 2020:
- While the three leaders -- Biden, Warren and the non-Dem - are "very talented individuals," Castro thinks that as they get close to the Iowa caucuses, "people do want a new generation of leadership." To that end, he thinks the voters need to take a chance, as they did with JFK, Carter, and Obama.
- He think he can "reassemble the Obama coalition and then supercharge that," winning back the three Rust Belt states that Trump won, and also take Florida, Arizona and Texas. And, to do that, "we're going to have to get young people involved and get people off the sidelines."
Todd tried to get Castro to bite on a what-if question about Biden being the nominee; Castro didn't fall for it, other than to acknowledge they have policy disagreements, but he said any of the Dems running, himself and Biden included, would be a better president than the current one.
Speaking of Biden, there was discussion with the panel on his gaffes, including his recent story about a soldier in Afghanistan, which apparently was wrong at least six ways from Sunday, maybe more. While some on the panel thought it wouldn't hurt him, especially in the age of Trump and 12,000 misstatements and lies. I disagree, and I'm not the only one. Here's Danielle Pletka on that, after noting that this is "who Joe Biden is."
That's number one. Number two, I don't agree that Donald Trump is a shield. "The president is a liar. And I am too. Who cares?" Does that fit on a bumper sticker? I mean, it doesn't work. I think people are looking for a relief from Donald Trump, not somebody who is slightly better than Donald Trump. I also think that his age is an issue not because I have any prejudice against older people, God knows, as I get older, but because I think that this is where the energy of young people is going to matter.On Face the Nation, Beto O'Rourke talked with Margaret Brennan, also kicking off the conversation with the shootings in Odessa and Midland, which have left seven dead, so far.
- He believes in universal background checks, red flag laws, ending sales of so-called weapons of war (Ar-15s and AK-47s), noting those guns "were designed to kill people as effectively, as efficiently, in as great a number as possible."
- In addition, he'd implement a buy-back program for those guns, and also ensure we have a "national licensing and gun registry program."
Brennan asked whether any of those would have stopped yesterday's shooting; he noted we're still learning details, but
People are living with fear... Kids afraid to go to school tomorrow morning. This is not right. Unacceptable. And I won't accept it.On FEMA and disaster preparedness:
- he would fully fund FEMA and expressed disappointment with Trump's money grab. He'd also focus on resiliency in hurricane-prone areas, noting the science that storms will be "more frequent, more devastating and more deadly" with climate change. "The longer term goal is to confront climate change before it's too late."
- That means getting rid of our fossil fuel dependence, and moving to "fully embrace" renewables and, no later than 2050, get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
On trade, he'd only use tariffs as a last resort, and instead would work with our allies and friends, to present a "united front against China and any of their trade practices that are manipulative or damaging to the United States. He does not support re-entering the TPP. And he'd use trade deals to address things like climate change, worker's rights and human rights around the world.
Trade deals could be the platform by which we ensure the dignity of working women and men all over the world...And it's also a way to make sure we protect the human rights of our fellow human beings all over the planet. These are our values in this country. Let's use our trade deals to achieve them...O'Rourke also appeared on CNN's State of the Union with Dana Bash again sitting in for Jake Tapper. It was in this interview that the tape was played of him dropping an f-bomb at a campaign stop on Saturday when he was asked about the shootings. And he dropped another one in the interview, which CNN did not bleep out.
We're averaging about 300 mass shootings a year. No other country comes close. So yes, this is (effed up). And if we don't call it out for what it is, if we are not able to speak clearly, if we're not able to act clearly, if we're not able to act decisively, then we will continue to have this kind of bloodshed in America. And I cannot accept that.Asked about one of his solutions, the buyback of AR-15s and AK-47s, and arguments against that such as the one from USA Today's editorial board last month suggesting such a move would basically play into the NRA's hands, here's his response:
You know, more than I worry about the politics or the polling, more than I care about what the NRA has to say on this, I care for my kids, and this country... This triangulation, poll-testing every move, that's what got us here in the first place.On wiping out people's medical debt, a plan teased by the Sanders camp, O'Rourke said he could "perhaps" support it. But,
I think the goal should be universal, guaranteed, high-quality care, primary care, mental health care, and every woman making her own decision about her own body and having access to the care that makes that possible.Union and employer sponsored plans would be OK, he also said. And after everyone's in a good plan, then we can look at medical debt.
Asked if he's more moderate than the others, he said
I think our party is big enough, our democracy is big enough to have this competition of ideas and vision for the future of our country, and I'm grateful for everything that every candidate has contributed so far. My positions, I don't think, are moderate or conservative or liberal. They're reflective of the people that I have listened to... I don't know where you put that on the political spectrum, but it makes sense to me.That's all we've got for today.
See you around campus.