May 22, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised some eyebrows Friday during a heated interview with Charlamagne Tha God on The Breakfast Club. Charlamagne began by pressing Biden, telling him that "black people saved your political life in the primaries this year, and they have things they want from you, and one of them is a black woman running mate."

"I guarantee you that there are multiple black women being considered. Multiple," Biden said, just as he was interrupted by someone off-frame telling him his interview time was up.

"You can't do that to black media," Charlamagne protested.

"I can do that to white media and black media because my wife has to go on at six o'clock," Biden replied. Charlamagne, visibly peeved, told Biden he ought to pick up the conversation again down the line because "it's a long way to November, we've got more questions."

"You've got more questions," Biden said. "I'll tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, then you ain't black."

Charlamagne waved off Biden's comment, saying "it ain't have nothing to do with Trump, I want something for my community." While it's true that more than than 8 in 10 black Americans believe Trump is racist and 9 in 10 disapprove of his job in office, Biden's comment, even if it was directed specifically at Charlamagne, was clearly based on a sweeping generalization. "A white guy lecturing black Americans that they 'ain't black' if they don't vote for him is about as condescending and racist as it gets," tweeted Republican strategist Andrew Surabian.

"WTF..." added Virginia Republican congressional candidate Jeffery A Dove Jr. "Because I don't support your failed policies. Things like the '94 crime bill, Obamacare, and others, 'I ain't black' based on Joe Biden's words. That is basically saying the Dem party owns me because of skin color." You can watch below, starting around 16:17. Jeva Lange

3:21 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden delivered an emotional farewell to Delaware on Tuesday one day before his swearing-in, choking up while paying tribute to the state and to his late son, Beau Biden.

Biden spoke from Delaware before departing for Washington, D.C., and he became emotional from the top of the remarks as he thanked Delawareans who have been with him "through the good times and the bad" and said it's "deeply personal that our next journey to Washington starts here."

The president-elect went on to say he'll "always be a proud son of the state of Delaware," emotionally adding that "when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart." He concluded the speech by honoring his late son, Beau Biden, who served as attorney general for the state and died in 2015.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I only have one regret: that he's not here," Biden said. "Because we should be introducing him as president."

Biden was set to depart for Washington shortly after concluding his remarks. He'll be flying to the nation's capitol on a private aircraft, CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, describing this as "yet another remarkable change in protocol." Zeleny adds, "No immediate word on why he wasn't offered — or isn't flying — on a U.S. government plane, which is standard for a president-elect." Brendan Morrow

3:19 p.m.

The United States recorded yet another lamentable milestone Tuesday, as data from Johns Hopkins University shows the country has surpassed 400,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The American death toll continues to lead the world in fatalities, nearly doubling Brazil's total, which is the second highest globally at more than 210,000.

It took just one month for U.S. COVID-19 fatalities to jump from 300,000 to 400,000 as the coronavirus surged across the country during the winter months and holiday season. The pandemic remains widespread in every state, though there's been a faint glimmer of hope that infections have begun to trend downward in recent days.

Regardless, experts believe there's still a long road ahead and — even with a massive, albeit slower-than-expected vaccination drive underway — the death toll could reach 500,000 by the end of February. Tim O'Donnell

2:00 p.m.

The Georgia Secretary of State's office on Tuesday certified the state's pair of Senate runoff votes, which means Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are set to be sworn into the upper chamber after defeating GOP incumbent Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) earlier this month.

Warnock and Ossoff will reportedly join fellow Democrat Alex Padilla, who is taking over Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' California seat, for a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, not too long after Harris takes her own oath of office.

Once that's done, the Democratic Party will have the slimmest of majorities in the Senate, with Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote on matters that require it. Tim O'Donnell

1:57 p.m.

Two members of the National Guard have been removed from Inauguration Day security over ties to far-right militias, The Associated Press reports.

There was no plot found against Biden, but the two guard members were removed over their connections to the unnamed militias, a U.S. Army official and a senior U.S. intelligence official told AP. The move comes after militia groups and other President Trump supporters attacked the Capitol earlier this month, and as federal law enforcement takes unprecedented steps to secure the Wednesday inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Thousands of National Guard members have been filing into the Capitol Hill area over the past week, shutting down the National Mall and surrounding streets amid fears of threats to the inauguration. Hundreds of guard members were spotting sleeping in the Capitol building last week.

In response to the reported removal, the National Guard Bureau told AP that "due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting process for military members supporting the inauguration." The Secret Service also would not comment. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:17 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is placing blame on President Trump for having "provoked" a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol building.

McConnell spoke Tuesday after the House of Representatives last week impeached Trump for "incitement of insurrection" following a deadly attack on the Capitol by his supporters. Though it's unclear how McConnell will vote in Trump's upcoming second Senate impeachment trial, the Republican leader made clear he believes the president is to blame for provoking the mob — as are others.

"The mob was fed lies," McConnell said. "They were provoked by the president and other powerful people."

The Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building earlier this month while Congress was meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden's election win. Trump, who has falsely claimed he won the election, spoke at a rally beforehand to encourage the supporters to walk down to the Capitol building and "show strength."

McConnell hasn't said how he'll vote in the Senate impeachment trial. But last week, Axios reported that "there's a better than 50-50 chance" he would vote to convict the president. McConnell says he has "not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate." Brendan Morrow

12:52 p.m.

The United States on Tuesday officially declared China's campaign against Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, as well as other ethnic and religious minorities in the western Xinjiang province, a genocide. The U.S. is the first country to adopt the term to describe the human rights abuses (which Beijing denies), though officials hope it will compel other governments to take a harder stance against China on the issue, The New York Times reports.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his department came to the conclusion after a "careful" review, stating that the crimes include: arbitrary mass internment of more than 1 million people, forced sterilization, torture of those detained, forced labor, and restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of movement. "I believe this genocide is ongoing, and that we are witnessing the systematic attempt to destroy Uighurs by the Chinese party-state," Pompeo said.

The decision will likely be the Trump administration's final action on China, the Times notes. It's not clear yet how the incoming Biden administration will respond to the declaration, but the Biden campaign did publicly refer to the situation in Xinjiang as a genocide last year. Read more at The New York Times and Axios. Tim O'Donnell

12:40 p.m.

A person's 2020 presidential vote is proving the biggest indicator of whether or not they want a coronavirus vaccine.

People who supported President-elect Joe Biden in November are overwhelmingly in favor of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, with 79 percent saying they want it and 4 percent saying they've already gotten it, an NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll out Tuesday shows. Meanwhile just 39 percent of voters who backed President Trump say they want the vaccine and a similar 4 percent have already gotten it.

Marist asked adults whether they'd get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was made available to them. Support for getting the vaccine was clearly divided along party lines, with 75 percent of Democrats saying they wanted the vaccine but just 43 percent of Republicans saying the same. Democratic men were the most likely of any demographic — race, region, income, education, age, or generation — to want the vaccine, at 85 percent. Meanwhile the smallest percentage of adults who said they wanted the vaccine were Trump voters.

Also among groups who had a low percentage of vaccine support were Gen Xers — just 49 percent of Americans age 40-55 want the vaccine, the poll found. Republican women and people who live in small towns were not very likely to want the vaccine, with just 41 and 51 percent saying they would like it, respectively. Trump has so far not publicly said if he has gotten the vaccine, but has underplayed the seriousness of the virus for the past year.

Marist surveyed 1,173 American adults from Jan. 11–13 via landline and mobile phone, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points. Kathryn Krawczyk

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