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Biden urges Congress to pass gun control legislation after Colorado shooting

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In the wake of the Colorado shooting that killed 10, President Joe Biden urged Congress to ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines. The shooting occurred less than a week after a white gunman targeted three Atlanta-area massage parlors in shootings that left eight dead, with six of them being Asian women.

“I got that done when I was a senator. It passed. It was a law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again,” Biden said of legislation restricting such weapons and magazines during his brief Tuesday afternoon remarks. “We can close loopholes in our background check system, close the Charleston loophole. That’s one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.”

MORE ON COLORADO SHOOTING: Debate erupts over racial, religious identity of Colorado shooting suspect

Biden also called for lawmakers to pass legislation to strengthen background checks. “This is not and should not be a partisan issue,” he said, adding, “this is an American issue.” “We have to act.”

Specifically, the president urged the Senate to “immediately pass” two separate gun-control bills passed by the House this month that target background-check laws.

RELATED: House passes bills expanding background checks for gun sales

“As president I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe,” he also said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has pledged to hold votes on the House-passed measures. However, he seems to not have the backing of at least 10 Republicans to surpass the filibuster threshold.

Biden on Tuesday also praised the officer, Eric Talley, who was killed in the Boulder shooting Monday.

“He thought he would be coming home to his family and seven children, but when the moment came, Officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimately sacrifice to save lives, that’s the definition of an American hero,” the president said.

Biden also mentioned that many details about the shooting are still not yet know. However, he said, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future, and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.”

WATCH President Biden’s remarks here.

Also on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki informed reporters on the way to Columbus, Ohio, that the president had talked with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) that morning and would continue to receive updates on the shooting.

“We are considering a range of levers, including working through legislation, including executive action,” Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One.

She also said that Biden “as vice president was leading the effort on determining executive actions that could be taken on gun safety measures, it’s something that he has worked on, he’s passionate about, he feels personally connected to. But there’s an ongoing process and I think we feel we have to work on multiple channels at the same time.”

Psaki provided no updates on whether the president might visit Boulder, saying it would be discussed at an “appropriate time.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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