The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

A visibly angry President Barack Obama denounced what he called a “shameful day for Washington” from the White House Rose Garden Wednesday evening, less than two hours after the Senate blocked the expansion of gun sale background checks, among other new gun safety measures.

After being introduced by the father of a 7-year-old victim of the Newtown massacre, President Obama slammed the senators who sided with the gun lobby over the wishes of their constituents.

“Ninety percent of Americans support” expanding background checks, Obama said. “And a few minutes ago, 90 percent of Democrats in the Senate voted for that idea. But it’s not going to happen, because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea.”

“A majority of senators voted yes to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks,” he continued. “But by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.”

The president went on to accuse the senators who voted “no” of cowardice, noting that although “most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun,” they still blocked the bill because “they worried that that vocal minority of gun-owners would come after them in future elections,” and “that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.”

The president stressed that, although the vote went largely along party lines, “Democrats had that fear, too.”

While he didn’t call him out by name, President Obama reserved an especially harsh rebuke for Senator Rand Paul, who earlier in the morning accused Obama of using families who have suffered from gun violence as “props.”

“I’ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced. A prop, somebody called them. Emotional blackmail, some outlets said. Are they serious?” the president asked. “Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don’t have a right to weigh in on this issue? Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?”

Despite his obvious frustration with Wednesday’s votes, President Obama signaled that the congressional battle over gun safety was just beginning.

“If this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters,” Obama said. He went on to urge reform advocates to “let your representatives in Congress know that you are disappointed and that if they don’t act this time, you will remember come election time.”

“Sooner or later we are going to get this right,” the president concluded. “The memories of these children demand it, and so do the American people.”

A transcript of President Obama’s speech is available here.

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is under mounting criticism for refusing to support a Democratic bill that would make access to abortion the law of the land, as the U.S. Supreme Court, experts believe, prepares to reverse its historic 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Senator Collins, who repeatedly claims to be pro-choice, is being criticized after years of supporting then-President Donald Trump's judicial nominees at every level of the federal judiciary, including two of his three Supreme Court picks.

Keep reading... Show less

French President Emanuel Macron, left, and US President Joe Biden

Reprinted with permission from Creators

About France and its submarines: Australia's decision to cancel a $60 billion contract to buy them and purchase American nuclear subs instead had to hurt. In response, France's foreign minister called the U.S.-backed move a "stab in the back," and President Emmanuel Macron recalled his ambassadors from both Washington and Canberra.

The backstory should take precedence over the drama flowing from the rift between America and its oldest ally. It centers on a growing alarm at Chinese aggression in the Pacific and how seriously the U.S. and its Pacific allies are taking it.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}