On the Passing of Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui

30 Jul

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the American people, I would like to offer my sincere condolences on the passing of former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui.

As Taiwan’s first democratically elected president, Lee helped put an end to decades of authoritarianism and ushered in a new era of economic prosperity, openness, and rule of law.  During his 12-year tenure, Lee’s bold reforms played a crucial role in transforming Taiwan into the beacon of democracy we see today. He cemented the deep friendship between the United States and Taiwan.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people on Taiwan, and we will honor President Lee’s legacy by continuing to strengthen our bond with Taiwan and its vibrant democracy through shared political and economic values.

Uncategorised

The United States Applauds the EU’s Action on Cyber Sanctions

30 Jul

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States welcomes today’s announcement from the European Union’s High Representative Josep Borrell regarding the body’s first designations under its cyber sanctions framework.

The United States and the EU share a vision for an open, interoperable, reliable and secure cyberspace, and for responsible behavior on the international stage.  Destructive, disruptive, or otherwise destabilizing activities in cyberspace threaten this vision.  The United States supports efforts to promote accountability for bad actors’ malicious cyber activities, and the EU’s actions today are an important milestone.

We continue to work with the EU, its member states, and many likeminded countries to promote a framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, underpinned by the applicability of international law, adherence to non-binding peacetime norms, and the development and implementation of practical confidence building measures. 

Uncategorised

Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Fiscal Year 2021 State Department Budget Request

30 Jul

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington D.C.

Dirksen Senate Office Building

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you very much.  Today I’m here to present the – and testify about the President’s 2021 Budget.  It requests nearly $41 billion for the State Department and USAID, enabling both agencies to protect U.S. citizens, increase American prosperity, and advance the development of democratic societies.  And critically, it reflects a commitment to the strategic, efficient use of resources to provide better results for the American people.

That’s the topline analysis.  But I want to make a broader point that our diplomatic expenditures reflect America’s values:

Two weeks ago in Philadelphia I unveiled the report of the State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights.

My message that day was simple: The Trump administration places our founding principles at the very core of American diplomacy.

I’m going to talk about how we’ve done it in three areas:

First, securing the American people’s freedoms against authoritarian threats; securing American lives during the pandemic; and helping friends across the world secure those very unalienable rights.

On authoritarian threats, we have evaluated the world with the same realism that the American founders did.

We see the Islamic Republic of Iran for what it is: an aggressor, not a victim.

We’ve gone full bore on our maximum pressure campaign.

Since May of 2018, we’ve slashed the vital oil revenues the regime uses for terrorism and illegal nuclear activities by 90 percent.

We’ve rallied nations to our side through diplomacy – witness the designations of Hizballah from European and South American countries.

And we’ve bolstered our military readiness vis-a-vis Tehran.

There’s more work to do.  The Security Council must renew the UN arms embargo against Iran before it expires on October 18th.

Iran already mines ships in the Strait of Hormuz, launches missiles at Saudi oil facilities, and ships arms to the Houthis.

Should the Security Council fail to act, Iran will have a freer hand to sow destruction across the Middle East, and indeed the world.

Russia, too, is a destabilizing authoritarian force – in Ukraine, in Libya, in Syria, and inside of Western democracies.

This administration has acted to protect our interests and our friends:

We’ve issued the Crimea Declaration.

We’ve supplied Ukraine with lethal military hardware.

We’ve sanctioned more than 360 Russian targets for everything from human rights abuses, to supporting the murderous Assad regime, to operating mercenaries and proxy forces around the world.

And the State Department’s FY 2021 request for the Global Engagement Center is $138 million – more than double its current level.  We won’t tolerate disinformation and other propaganda directed by the Kremlin or any of our other adversaries.

Further on Russia:  Two weeks ago, the State Department removed Nord Stream 2’s exemption under CAATSA.

And in December, the administration’s swift implementation of PEESA – an important bipartisan endeavor – effectively halted construction of the pipeline.

We are the toughest administration ever on Russia.

Most importantly, on China, we see the Chinese Communist Party also for what it is: the central threat of our times.

Our vigorous diplomacy has helped lead an international awakening to the threat of the CCP.  Senators, the tide is turning:

Thirty-plus countries and territories have become 5G “Clean Countries,” banning untrusted vendors from their networks.  When we talked about this some year ago, that number was in the single digits.

In our hemisphere, Canada has stood firm against the Chinese Communist Party’s hostage-taking.  Its three major telecom carriers have also banned untrusted vendors.

Belize and Haiti have denounced Beijing’s national security law targeting Hong Kong.

Denmark has rejected the CCP’s attempted censorship of Danish newspapers.

Sweden has closed its Confucius Institutes.

Lithuanian intelligence services have identified China as a political – a potential threat for the first time.

And in the region, in the Indo-Pacific, Australia declared China’s South China Sea claims unlawful and illegitimate, as have we.

And we’re proud to have stepped up maritime maneuvers in that body of water alongside our friends from Australia and Japan and the United Kingdom.

India has banned 106 Chinese applications that threatened its citizens’ privacy and security.

Our diplomatic efforts are working, and momentum is building to mitigate the threats that the Chinese Communist Party presents.

All 10 ASEAN nations have insisted that the South China Sea disputes must be settled on the basis of international law, including UNCLOS.

Japan led the G7’s condemnation of China’s national security law targeting Hong Kong.

The EU condemned the law too, and also declared China a “systemic rival” just last year.

And we’ve agreed to start a dialogue channel focused solely on China – at the EU’s request.

At NATO, Secretary General Stoltenberg has called to make China a greater part of that alliance’s focus as well.

And we led a multilateral effort to ensure that the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization elected a director from a country that actually gave a darn about intellectual property rights.

And our Quad – the United States, Australia, India, and Japan – has been reinvigorated.

We have worked hard at this.  Our diplomats have done wonderful work.  I’m very proud of the progress we are making.

In addition to these multilateral efforts, the Department of Justice is cracking down on Chinese IP threats.

We’ve sanctioned Chinese leaders for their brutality in Xinjiang, imposed export controls on companies that support it, and warned U.S. businesses against using slave labor in their supply chains.

We’ve terminated special treatment agreements with Hong Kong in response to the CCP’s actions to deny freedom to the people of Hong Kong.

And we closed our consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies.

Our budget reflects these efforts, the reality on the ground.  We requested nearly one and a half billion dollars for foreign assistance to the Indo-Pacific region, a 20 percent increase from the 2020 request.  We want that part of the world to be free and open and prosperous.

And with that, Mr. Chairman, I’ll close, and happy to take questions.

 

Uncategorised

Trump Says ‘Children Are At The Lowest Risk,’ But A New Study Suggests They Can Carry More Virus Than Adults

30 Jul

At his briefing just now, Trump said that “children are at the lowest risk” and young people are “almost immune” to the coronavirus. But a new study warns that young children may carry significant amounts of the coronavirus — with children under 5 potentially carrying up to 100 TIMES more virus than adults.

New York Times: Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels, Study Finds

By Apoorva Mandavilli

It has been a comforting refrain in the national conversation about reopening schools: Young children are mostly spared by the coronavirus and don’t seem to spread it to others, at least not very often.

But on Thursday, a study introduced an unwelcome wrinkle into this smooth narrative.

Infected children have at least as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults, according to the research. Indeed, children younger than age 5 may host up to 100 times as much of the virus in the upper respiratory tract as adults, the authors found.

(MORE)

The post Trump Says ‘Children Are At The Lowest Risk,’ But A New Study Suggests They Can Carry More Virus Than Adults appeared first on Democrats.

As His Failed Response Decimates the Economy, Trump Continues to Put Lives at Risk as New Cases Soar

30 Jul

New economic numbers released today show that Trump’s failed coronavirus response has decimated the U.S. economy. Yet, even as tens of millions are unemployed and over 150,000 lives have been lost, Trump continues to make this crisis worse by pushing for businesses and schools to unsafely reopen despite a surge of cases across the country.

Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus has decimated the economy, leading to the worst economic downturn on record and more than a million Americans filing for unemployment for the 19th straight week. 

Washington Post: “U.S. economy contracted at fastest quarterly rate on record from April to June as coronavirus walloped workers, businesses”

Bloomberg News’ Sarah Ponczek: “19th straight week in which more than 1 million people filed for unemployment insurance”

Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to spike across the country as Trump urges states to fully reopen before it’s safe to do so. 

CNN: “The sharp increase in coronavirus infections that slammed the US Northeast in March and April followed by the South and West in June and July is now making its way inland.”

Wall Street Journal: “Daily U.S. Coronavirus Cases Climb Back Above 70,000”

Washington Post: “More than 1,400 coronavirus-related deaths were reported nationwide on Wednesday — roughly one fatality for every minute of the day. It was the worst day for covid-19 deaths in more than two months, as Florida, California, North Carolina and Idaho recorded single-day highs.”

Trump is putting lives in danger by continuing to promote unproven treatments to coronavirus, forcing medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci to repeatedly correct him to get credible information to the public. 

NBC News: “Describing the video Trump promoted as ‘a bunch of people spouting something that isn’t true,’ Fauci said, ‘The only recourse you have is to be very, very clear in presenting the scientific data that essentially contradicts that.’”

As Trump pushes for schools to fully reopen without proper safety measures, he often cites examples from European countries, but the reality is most countries have only done more limited reopenings.  

Politico: “Only a few countries have opened schools nationwide in the manner the Trump administration is pushing. They include Norway, France and New Zealand, as well as Nicaragua, Taiwan and Vietnam. On the other hand, 143 countries have instituted country-wide closures.”

Politico: “Countries with open schools tend to fall into two categories. Some took swift action against the pandemic in January to minimize disruption. Others were less proactive in the fight against Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, but they prioritized education in their recovery plan, coordinated by the top levels of government. The United States did neither.”

In another admission that Trump didn’t take COVID-19 seriously, former White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney this week acknowledged that the administration was slow to see the threat of the virus. 

Washington Examiner: “‘We didn’t know it was a crisis at the outset,’ he said, revealing the inside fight to contain it. In fact, he added, he didn’t even recall the first time he discussed the virus with the president. ‘I honestly don’t remember the first time that I talked with the president specifically about COVID. It would have been sometime in January, and it would have been a list of five or six things that we covered on a particular day,’ he said in a Zoom conference hosted by Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service at the McCourt School of Public Policy.”

The post As His Failed Response Decimates the Economy, Trump Continues to Put Lives at Risk as New Cases Soar appeared first on Democrats.

Trump Finds Funding For Himself, But Refuses To Give Food Assistance To 30 Million Hungry Americans

30 Jul

Trump and Republicans are refusing to give more funding for food assistance in the stimulus relief bill even as 30 million Americans went hungry last week. But he is making sure to get money to remodel his office. Once again, Trump puts himself first, and the American people last.

30 million Americans went hungry last week.

Bloomberg: “Food insecurity for U.S. households last week reached its highest reported level since the Census Bureau started tracking the data in May, with almost 30 million Americans reporting that they’d not had enough to eat at some point in the seven days through July 21.”

Yet Trump is refusing to give more funding for food assistance.

Washington Post: “But Republicans’ Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act (the Heals Act) does not expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, nor does it extend the Pandemic EBT program, a debit-card benefit for households with children who have temporarily lost access to free or reduced-price school meals. The Pandemic EBT program expired at the end of June.”

But he is making sure to get money to remodel his office.

Associated Press: “The Trump administration wants $377 million in the next coronavirus relief bill for a long-delayed modernization of the West Wing, but the timetable for construction is yet to be determined.”

The post Trump Finds Funding For Himself, But Refuses To Give Food Assistance To 30 Million Hungry Americans appeared first on Democrats.

Perez, Lu: Trump Responsible for Sharpest Economic Downturn in U.S. History

30 Jul

Today, DNC Chair Tom Perez and Miller Center Senior Fellow Chris Lu discussed the unprecedented 32.9% annualized drop in GDP last quarter and additional 2.2 million Americans who applied for some form of unemployment last week. Trump’s failed response to the coronavirus has brought on the staggering health and economic crisis facing our nation.

“It’s been another week of economic hardship for millions of American families. … The only thing more jaw-dropping than these numbers is the incompetence that caused them. Donald Trump inherited the longest uninterrupted string of private sector job growth in our nation’s history, and what did he do with it? He torpedoed it. He plunged us into the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. As the crisis intensified, he did not take bold action. Instead, he ignored the experts and told everyone it wasn’t a big deal,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez.

“Today is the culmination of three and a half years of failed Trump administration policies. … So how are Donald Trump and his congressional allies trying to help average Americans? Well, for starters, they want to cut unemployment benefits that are allowing millions to pay their rent and groceries. They want to give blanket immunity to companies when their employees get infected. They want to allow companies to fully deduct their three-martini lunches at a time when millions are going to food pantries. And Republicans refuse to help cash-strapped state and local governments that are on the verge of laying off teachers, police, and firefighters. Oh, here’s one more thing: they want to spend $1.75 billion on a new FBI building, which conveniently sits across the street from the Trump hotel,” said Miller Center Senior Fellow Chris Lu.

The post Perez, Lu: Trump Responsible for Sharpest Economic Downturn in U.S. History appeared first on Democrats.

DNC on 55th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

30 Jul

DNC Chair Tom Perez and DNC Seniors Council Chair Steve Regenstreif released the following statement on the 55th anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law:

“When President Lyndon Johnson was fighting for the passage of Medicaid and Medicare, he reminded Congress, ‘Whatever we do or hope to do depends upon the health of our people.’ Those words are as true today as they have ever been. Over the past five and a half decades, Medicaid and Medicare have not only improved the health of our people, but served as critical pillars of economic security for millions of Americans.

“These programs have made our nation stronger. That’s why the Obama-Biden administration and Democrats in Congress fought to protect and expand them through the Affordable Care Act. And yet, Republican leaders have taken every opportunity to try to gut Medicaid and Medicare – even in the middle of a global pandemic that has taken over 150,000 American lives. Donald Trump has broken his campaign promises by proposing massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security while attempting to strip health care from millions of working families.

“The American people are fed up with such cruel and craven leadership. They want a party and a president who have their back. Democrats believe health care is a right for all, not a privilege for a wealthy few. And Vice President Biden has put forth a bold blueprint to strengthen these programs for a new era, defeat Republican attacks on the health of our people, and build a better health care system for all Americans. The best way we can celebrate 55 years of Medicaid and Medicare is by electing Joe Biden as the next president of the United States.”

The post DNC on 55th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid appeared first on Democrats.

VIDEO: ‘Trump’s Made History.’

30 Jul

First, Trump and his advisers said coronavirus wouldn’t hurt the economy. Then they said the economy would recover by the summer. Now, Trump has made history — with a 32.9% annualized drop in GDP, an economy in recession, 19 straight weeks of more than 1 million Americans filing for unemployment, states forced to shut down again as new cases skyrocket, over 150,000 American lives lost, and over 100,000 businesses closed for good.

Will Trump and his administration continue to claim the economy is in great shape? Or will they acknowledge that Trump’s made history — presiding over the sharpest economic decline since the Great Depression.

WATCH: ‘Trump’s Made History.’

The Trump administration initially said coronavirus would have a negligible impact on the U.S. economy.

Larry Kudlow: “This is principally a public-health problem and the pandemic of course is in China, not the U.S…. Insofar as the economy, we see no material impact.”

The Trump administration even suggested coronavirus could spur U.S. business investment and production increases.

Wilbur Ross: “So I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to U.S., probably some to Mexico as well.”

Trump and his advisors said there would be a rapid economic snapback, and predicted the economic downturn would be over by mid-summer.

Trump: “I think you’re going to have a V. I think it’s going to be terrific.”

Jared Kushner: “I think you’ll see by June a lot of the country should be back to normal. And the hope is that by July the country’s really rocking again.”

Mike Pence: “By early June, we could be at a place where this coronavirus epidemic is largely in the past… Americans are going to be able to enjoy a good summer.”

Larry Kudlow: “I agree with the President. We will see a growing, recovering economy by summertime and the back end of the year and it is going to extend into 2021.”

Despite a historic drop in GDP and worsening unemployment, the White House continues to insist the economy is doing great.

Trump: “I think the recovery has been very strong. We’ve set record job numbers. We’ve set record numbers.”

Trump: “The economy is starting to really do great.”

Larry Kudlow: “The jobs picture remains strong.”

Larry Kudlow: “The economy is improving by leaps and bounds.”

Larry Kudlow: “Virtually every number is showing a ‘V’ shaped recovery now.”

Larry Kudlow: “The economic numbers, with some small exceptions from the southwest, economic numbers are still pretty good.”

The post VIDEO: ‘Trump’s Made History.’ appeared first on Democrats.

DNC RELEASES NEW SPANISH LANGUAGE TV AD IN AZ: ‘This Is Not a Test’ (‘Esto no es una prueba’)

30 Jul

The DNC War Room released a new Spanish language television ad in Arizona today, “This is Not a Test” (“Esto no es una prueba”), to call out Donald Trump for gambling with children’s health and safety. Trump is trying to force schools to fully reopen before they’re able to do so safely, despite coronavirus cases surging across the country, because he thinks it will help with his reelection.

The ad will run in the Phoenix media market starting today targeted to reach Latino parents with school age children and teachers as part of a six figure buy.

WATCH HERE:

Experts, scientists, teachers, and parents know that Trump can’t be trusted to decide when schools should reopen. It’s Trump’s fault that the outbreak got this bad in the first place. Trump should focus on getting the virus under control, and stop trying to force schools to reopen before they’re able to do so safely.

“Donald Trump has put Arizona families in an impossible position. Parents shouldn’t have to stay up at night worried that the president of the United States is compromising their kids’ safety. Children shouldn’t be exposed to a deadly virus, or risk passing the virus to their parents, grandparents, and loved ones. Trump will do anything to help his reelection chances. He can’t be trusted to make this life-or-death decision for our children. It’s time for a leader who will protect Arizona’s kids, and give families and teachers the support they deserve. It’s time for Joe Biden,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez.

The post DNC RELEASES NEW SPANISH LANGUAGE TV AD IN AZ: ‘This Is Not a Test’ (‘Esto no es una prueba’) appeared first on Democrats.