Florida ‘moving in wrong direction’ with voting restrictions, White House says – as it happened

Last modified: 11: 59 PM GMT+0

Summary

  • The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill restricting voting access into law. The law includes restrictions on voting by mail and ballot drop boxes. The White House criticized the legislation, saying Florida is “moving in the wrong direction” by limiting access to the ballot box.
  • Joe Biden delivered a pitch for his infrastructure plan in Louisiana. Speaking near a dilapidated bridge that needs to be replaced in Lake Charles, the president said Democrats and Republicans should be able to come together on an infrastructure bill. “I’ve never seen a Republican or Democrat road. I just see roads,” Biden said.
  • Liz Cheney warned the Republican party is at a “turning point”, as her House colleagues move forward with efforts to remove her from leadership. “Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the constitution,” Cheney wrote in a Washington Post op-ed yesterday. “History is watching.”
  • Hillary Clinton called for a “global reckoning” with disinformation. The former secretary of state told the Guardian’s David Smith, “The technology platforms are so much more powerful than any organ of the so-called mainstream press, and I do think that there has to be not just an American reckoning but a global reckoning with the disinformation, with the monopolistic power and control, with the lack of accountability that the platforms currently enjoy.”

Updated

Mike Jordan reports for the Guardian:

Idaho’s governor, Brad Little, has a bill signed into law that aims to restrict critical race theory from being taught as a subject in schools and universities.

The bill, H377, prevents teachers from “indoctrinating” students into belief systems that claim that members of any race, sex, religion, ethnicity or national origin are inferior or superior to other groups. Signed into law last week, H377 also makes it illegal to make students “affirm, adopt or adhere to” beliefs that members of these groups are today responsible for past actions of the groups to which they claim to belong.

Critical race theory is a concept developed by academics and leading scholars of jurisprudence, with intellectual origins in the 1960s which were organized officially in the late 1980s. The theory states that racism is embedded both in US history and modern American law. It holds that legal institutions in the US are inherently racist.

Often abbreviated as CRT, it seeks to challenge racism and improve equitable racial power through legal reform. Equitable treatment under the law for all races, according to the theory, renders the law incapable of recognizing systemic and indirect racist practices.

In the bill’s transmittal letter to Idaho’s Republican house speaker, Scott Bedke, Little, who is also a Republican, cited the undermining of “trust and local governance of our public schools” and “popular support for public education in Idaho” as concerns.

“We must be focused on facts and data, not anecdotes and innuendo,” Little wrote in the letter.

Since the publication of The 1619 Project in the New York Times, a number of school districts and school boards across the US have begun to adopt elements of critical race theory in their curricula.

As a result, Republican state legislatures have begun to push back, sending bills through statehouses that attempt to quell the momentum of teaching slavery and other such moments of American history as dark periods of the country’s past that continue to affect American life today.

Bills to ban or restrict the teaching of critical race theory and other subjects deemed “divisive” have been drafted in Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia and other states. Bills have already passed in Utah, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Read more:

Updated

Bernie Sanders has applauded the move by the Biden administration to back a waiver on vaccine patents.

Sanders has joined with activists in the US and around the world calling for a waiver as India parts South America, and other countries with scant access to the vaccines are engulfed by the pandemic,

The goal of vaccines is to save lives and crush the pandemic, not increase drug company profits. I applaud the President for backing the waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID vaccines. It's nice to see the USA lead the world on a global justice issue.

— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 6, 2021

Here’s an explainer of what a waiver would mean:

US-Germany rift as Berlin opposes plan to ditch Covid vaccine patents

Julian Borger in Washington and Patrick Wintour, diplomatic editor, report:

The US and Germany are at odds on the issue of waivers for patents on Covid-19 vaccines, as Berlin argued that a waiver would not increase production and would inhibit future private sector research.

The disagreement is the first major rift between the two economic powers since Joe Biden took office, and threatens to deadlock discussions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and sour relations within the G7 group of major industrialised democracies.

Any WTO decision on a waiver would have to be by consensus, so Germany opposition is a major obstacle to intellectual property rights on vaccines being suspended.

The Biden government’s announcement on Wednesday that it would back a waiver on vaccine patents was welcomed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a step towards greater global equity at a time when poor countries have little access to vaccines and south Asia has been hit by a devastating outbreak. India accounted for 46% of the new Covid-19 cases recorded around the world over the past week, and there are signs the wave is spreading to Nepal, Sri Lanka and other neighbouring states.

But Angela Merkel’s government came out against a waiver on Thursday.

“The US suggestion for the lifting of patent protection for Covid-19 vaccines has significant implications for vaccine production as a whole,” a government spokeswoman said.

Read more:

Updated

Texas senate passes bill allowing permitless carry of handguns

Texans will soon be able to openly carry a handgun without a license after the state’s legislature passed a bill that repeals requirements for carrying a handgun.

Though some Republicans voiced hesitancy over the bill, it ultimately passed the Texas senate on Wednesday in an 18-13 vote along party lines. The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, said he supports the bill and will sign it into law once it reaches his desk.

Current law requires fingerprints, four hours of training and the passing of a written exam and shooting proficiency test in order to carry a handgun. The state does not require any license to carry a rifle.

Charles Schwertner, a Republican state senator, said that the bill is “a restoration of the belief in and trust of our citizens”.

“We cannot allow another session to come and go where we pay lip service for the second amendment by failing to fully restore and protect the rights of citizens granted by the constitution.”

Polling in the states suggests a majority of Texans do not support unlicensed carry, with 59% of those polled in a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll saying they oppose the policy. The poll found that the vast majority of Democrats, 85%, oppose it, while a smaller majority of Republicans, 56%, support the measure.

Read more:

Updated

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill restricting voting access into law. The law includes restrictions on voting by mail and ballot drop boxes. The White House criticized the legislation, saying Florida is “moving in the wrong direction” by limiting access to the ballot box.
  • Joe Biden delivered a pitch for his infrastructure plan in Louisiana. Speaking near a dilapidated bridge that needs to be replaced in Lake Charles, the president said Democrats and Republicans should be able to come together on an infrastructure bill. “I’ve never seen a Republican or Democrat road. I just see roads,” Biden said.
  • Liz Cheney warned the Republican party is at a “turning point,” as her House colleagues move forward with efforts to remove her from leadership. “Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” Cheney wrote in a Washington Post op-ed yesterday. “History is watching.”
  • Hillary Clinton called for a “global reckoning” with disinformation. The former secretary of state told the Guardian’s David Smith, “The technology platforms are so much more powerful than any organ of the so-called mainstream press, and I do think that there has to be not just an American reckoning but a global reckoning with the disinformation, with the monopolistic power and control, with the lack of accountability that the platforms currently enjoy.”

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Joe Biden has arrived in New Orleans to visit the Carrollton Water Plant as part of his Getting America Back on Track Tour.

In a memo sent earlier today, the White House said the plant has suffered from equipment failures in recent years and is a prime example of why Congress must pass Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Biden was greeted at the airport by Louisiana’s two Republican senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, even as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he is committed to blocking the president’s infrastructure bill.

Joe Biden greets Rep.-elect Troy Carter, Sen. John Kennedy, Sen. Bill Cassidy and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell upon arrival to Kenner, La.
Joe Biden greets Rep.-elect Troy Carter, Sen. John Kennedy, Sen. Bill Cassidy and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell upon arrival to Kenner, La. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

One longtime Florida journalist said Ron DeSantis’ decision to block local media outlets from covering the signing of the voting bill was “bizarre and completely uncalled for”.

The Florida governor instead allowed Fox News to cover the bill-signing as an “exclusive” for the cable network.

WATCH: FL Gov. Ron DeSantis shuts out reporters from election bill signing. Steve Bousquet, who has covered six governors in the state, says he’s never seen anything like it. #MTPDaily@stevebousquet: “This was bizarre and completely uncalled for.” pic.twitter.com/x1K3xyaUjG

— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 6, 2021

Steve Bousquet, a columnist for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, told MSNBC that he has covered six governors in the state and never seen anything like it.

Bousquet said the media was “locked out of what was really a Republican political rally where DeSantis signed this bill”.

“Here you’re talking about voting and the sanctity of voting, and he does it behind closed doors,” Bousquet added,

Alexandra Villarreal reports for the Guardian:

Texas lawmakers are racing against the clock this month to ram through legislation that would further restrict voting access, leaning on procedural moves to avoid public testimony and keep 11th-hour negotiations behind closed doors.

“No rules are going to contain them. No norms are going to protect us. They’re gonna do whatever they want to, and whatever they can, to get these bills through,” said Emily Eby, staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Specious talking points about whether last year’s presidential contest was stolen – propagated and disseminated by Texas’s top Republicans –have created an army of voters who falsely believe that widespread election fraud is a real issue.

That, in turn, has ostensibly given politicians a pretext for trumped up reforms at the ballot box, in a state already infamous for being the hardest place to vote nationwide.

“There’s not really a big problem with election fraud, right? That’s not actually a huge problem that we need to solve. But the public thinks it is, because they’ve been told that it is,” said Clare Brock, an assistant professor of political science at Texas Woman’s University.

Kamala Harris held a meeting with civil rights and voting rights leaders today to discuss the importance of protecting access to the ballot box.

“The meeting was an opportunity for the Vice President to hear directly from leaders representing diverse constituencies about the work they are doing on the ground to mobilize their networks and combat voter suppression,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting.

The readout notes that more than 360 bills restricting voting access have been introduced since Joe Biden won the presidential election last year.

“The Vice President reaffirmed the President’s and her support for the For the People Act which would expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act which would restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act,” the White House said.

“The Vice President said the President and she would continue the fight against voter suppression to make voting easier and accessible for all Americans.”

The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports from Phoenix, Arizona:

Arizona Republicans are examining whether there is bamboo fiber in ballots that were used in the 2020 election, an activist assisting with the ongoing audit of the ballots told reporters this week. The latest claim underscores how rightwing conspiracy theories continue to fuel doubt about the results of the results.

“There’s accusation that 40,000 ballots were flown in to Arizona and it was stuffed into the box and it came from the south-east part of the world, Asia, and what they’re doing is to find out whether there’s bamboo in the paper,” John Brakey, a longtime election audit advocate, told reporters.

Brakey told reporters he didn’t personally believe auditors would find bamboo fibers.
“I do think it’s somewhat of a waste of time, but it will help unhinge people,” Brakey said on Wednesday. “They’re not gonna find bamboo … If they do, I think we need to know, don’t you?”

The search for bamboo fibers illustrates how the latest GOP audit of all 2.1m ballots cast in Maricopa county, home to a majority of Arizona voters, is elevating absurd claims about the 2020 election.

After election day, rightwing activists falsely claimed that China had imported ballots to tip the election for Joe Biden and that those ballots could be identified because there was bamboo in the paper. Earlier, workers were using UV lights to examine ballots; while the purpose of doing so was never clear, there was a conspiracy theory after the election that Donald Trump had watermarked ballots (the UV examinations have stopped).

Joe Biden reiterated that he was open to compromise on his infrastructure plan, but he emphasized Congress must act on the issue.

The president said he was meeting with Republican lawmakers to discuss their ideas about an infrastructure bill. Some Republicans have called for a scaled-down plan that focuses exclusively on improving roads and bridges.

Biden on working with Republicans for his infrastructure plan: "I'm ready to compromise. But what I'm not ready to do — I'm not ready to do nothing. I'm not ready to have another period where America has another 'infrastructure month' and doesn't change a damn thing." pic.twitter.com/0Jw6uHC98Z

— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 6, 2021

“I’m ready to compromise. But what I’m not ready to do — I’m not ready to do nothing,” Biden said in Louisiana. “I’m not ready to have another period where America has another ‘infrastructure month’ and doesn’t change a damn thing.”

Many Republicans have raised objections about Biden’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to help pay for the plan, but the president said he is “sick and tired of corporate America not paying their fair share”.

“This is not punishing anybody,” Biden said. “All those folks are still going to have two homes or three homes and their jets — won’t matter. Not going to change their standard of living one little bit.”

Biden sells infrastructure plan and mocks Trump in Louisiana

Joe Biden has just wrapped up his remarks on his infrastructure plan in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The president was speaking in front of the Calcasieu River Bridge, which is in poor condition and needs to be replaced. Biden noted his American Jobs Plan would help Louisiana pay for the project.

“One of the things that I’m proud of is, in the first 100 days that I became president, we have created more jobs in that period of time than any administration in history,” Biden said. “But the way I look at that: that’s just the down payment.”

Pres. Biden speaks in Lake Charles, Louisiana: "In the first 100 days that I became president, we have created more jobs in that period of time than any administration in history."

"But the way I look at that: that's just the downpayment." https://t.co/xY8G8YiI04 pic.twitter.com/uMy3E8UWeL

— ABC News (@ABC) May 6, 2021

Biden argued that this “once-in-a-generation investment” should be a bipartisan project, but Republicans have consistently criticized the president’s infrastructure proposal.

“I’ve never seen a Republican or Democrat road. I just see roads,” Biden said.

The president also poked fun at the Donald Trump, who failed to pass an infrastructure bill despite his administration’s frequent comments about “infrastructure week”.

“I got so tired of hearing ‘infrastructure week,’” Biden said. “Nothing happened.”

Bernie Sanders criticized Republicans for attempting to oust Liz Cheney from her role as House GOP conference chair over her criticism of Donald Trump.

“Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) will likely be voted off the House Republican Leadership. Her crime: acknowledging the reality that Trump lost the election,” the progressive senator said on Twitter.

“The Republican Party is no longer a ‘conservative’ party. It is an anti-democratic cult pushing the Big Lie and conspiracy theories.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) will likely be voted off the House Republican Leadership. Her crime: acknowledging the reality that Trump lost the election. The Republican Party is no longer a "conservative" party. It is an anti-democratic cult pushing the Big Lie and conspiracy theories.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 6, 2021

Joe Biden said yesterday that he believed the Republican party is experiencing a “mini-revolution” in the wake of Trump’s presidency.

“It seems as though the Republican party is trying to identify what it stands for,” the president told reporters yesterday.

He added, “I think Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.”

The League of Women Voters of Florida, Black Voters Matter and the Florida Alliance For Retired Americans also sued all of Florida’s 67 counties to try to block the new restrictions, just minutes after Republican governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill on Thursday.

🚨 SEE YOU IN COURT!

We are joining our folks at @LWVFlorida, @ActiveRetirees, and individual voters in the state of Florida in filing a lawsuit against all 67 Florida counties challenging the voter suppression law, SB 90!

Learn more:https://t.co/p5Vn2YPvmp

— Black Voters Matter (@BlackVotersMtr) May 6, 2021

Florida is the latest state to have passed measures to restrict voting rights following baseless claims made by Donald Trump that the 2020 election was stolen from him due to widespread voter fraud.

In fact, voter fraud is extremely rare in the US, and judges rejected dozens of lawsuits that had made such claims. But lawmakers in Republican-controlled states, including Georgia, Texas and Arizona, are still pushing ahead with measures that would restrict voting rights.

Several civil rights groups have sued Florida over the new voting restrictions signed into law today by Republican governor Ron DeSantis.

The Florida branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the government watchdog group Common Cause and Disability Rights Florida filed a joint federal lawsuit, arguing that the law “creates barriers and burdens that impact all Florida voters and disproportionately impacts the ability of Black voters, Latino voters, and voters with disabilities to cast their ballot.”

NEW: We're joining @NAACP_LDF @FLNAACP & @DisabilityRtsFL in filing a federal lawsuit challenging Florida's new anti-voter law.

Read our announcement: https://t.co/n5tK6F8FnV

Plus, check out this thread:https://t.co/PfbL7crb2n

— Common Cause (@CommonCause) May 6, 2021

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, called the move a “blatant and calculated attack on the right to vote” and a “horrifying reminder” of the “fragility of democracy.”

The law includes restrictions on voting by mail and ballot drop boxes. The White House criticized the law earlier on Thursday, saying Florida is “moving in the wrong direction”.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of Liz Cheney’s few defenders in the House Republican caucus, has criticized his colleagues for their “capitulation to crazy”.

The Illinois Republican was responding to Elise Stefanik’s appearance on Steve Bannon’s podcast this week. Stefanik has already received Donald Trump’s endorsement to replace Cheney as House Republican conference chair.

“I’m gonna just go ahead and say this ain’t unity. It’s capitulation to crazy, and it seems most have,” Kinzinger said on Twitter.

I’m gonna just go ahead and say this ain’t unity. It’s capitulation to crazy, and it seems most have.

Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity https://t.co/QWwD15n0OI

— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) May 6, 2021

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Liz Cheney warned the Republican party is at a “turning point,” as her House colleagues move forward with efforts to remove her from leadership. “Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” Cheney wrote in a Washington Post op-ed yesterday. “History is watching.”
  • The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed a bill restricting voting access into law. The law includes restrictions on voting by mail and ballot drop boxes. The White House criticized the law, saying Florida is “moving in the wrong direction”.
  • Hillary Clinton called for a “global reckoning” with disinformation. The former secretary of state told the Guardian’s David Smith, “The technology platforms are so much more powerful than any organ of the so-called mainstream press, and I do think that there has to be not just an American reckoning but a global reckoning with the disinformation, with the monopolistic power and control, with the lack of accountability that the platforms currently enjoy.”

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Fox News said it “did not request or mandate” that Ron DeSantis’ signing of the voting bill be exclusive to their network, per Business Insider.

Statement from Fox News:

“FOX & Friends did not request or mandate that the May 6th event and/or interview with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) be exclusive to FOX News Media entities.”

— Jake Lahut (@JakeLahut) May 6, 2021

The Florida governor’s staff blocked local news outlets from covering the bill-signing in order to give Fox “the exclusive,” prompting complaints from other journalists.

The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, defended his decision to block local news outlets from covering the signing of the voting bill.

"It was on national TV, it wasn't secret:" Gov. #DeSantis responds after @WPTV and other news media were barred from the signing of the elections bill with the exception of Fox News.

Read more: https://t.co/D3o8crICPY pic.twitter.com/aaM90VJxMR

— WPTV (@WPTV) May 6, 2021

DeSantis, who is expected to soon announce his reelection campaign, instead gave Fox News an “exclusive” of the bill-signing.

“It was on national TV, it wasn’t secret,” DeSantis told reporters.

The governor’s odd decision to grant only Fox access to the event prompted complaints from journalists that DeSantis was preventing the public from witnessing crucial government business.

From a writer for Mother Jones:

DeSantis is signing bill to roll back voting access after Dems used vote by mail more than Republicans for first time in state history & won’t even let media other than Fox cover it. Democracy literally dying in the dark https://t.co/XylcGdIaou

— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) May 6, 2021

Florida is 'moving in the wrong direction' with voting restrictions, White House says

The White House criticized the Florida bill restricting voting access, which Republican Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law this morning.

Gaggling with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Louisiana, deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Florida is “moving in the wrong direction” with the law.

Jean-Pierre blamed the new voting restrictions on Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that there was widespread fraud in the presidential election.

“There is no legitimate reason to change the rules right now to make it harder to vote,” Jean-Pierre said. “The only reason to change the rules right now is if you don’t like who voted. And that should be out of bounds.”

The Florida law enacts restrictions on voting by mail and ballot drop boxes, which activists have warned will have a negative impact on voter turnout.

Some of Liz Cheney’s defenders say House Republicans’ efforts to remove her from leadership demonstrates a double standard for women in the party.

“The women don’t get the same slack that the men get,” former Republican congresswoman Barbara Comstock told the Hill. “And I think a lot of the men are attacking her because they resent that she’s got guts and they don’t.”

Comstock argued that Cheney’s public criticism of Donald Trump over his lies about the presidential election underscored many Republicans’ refusal to push back against the former president.

“They’re on their knees for Trump, and she’s standing up for herself,” Comstock said. “And that’s kind of an embarrassing thing if you’re the guy on your knees.”

Peter Stone reports for the Guardian:

The extraordinary FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani’s New York apartment and office has sparked debate about what criminal charges Giuliani may face, and signals a widening criminal investigation into his Ukraine drive to help Donald Trump in 2020 by sullying Joe Biden, former prosecutors say.

The high-profile nature of the raid meant it required senior Department of Justice signoff, and underscored the investigation’s seriousness and progress. It also obtained several of Giuliani’s electronic devices and thus may have harvested a rich trove of new evidence and leads for investigators to follow.

“A search warrant involving a lawyer is always a sensitive matter, and even more so when the lawyer was the president’s lawyer,” said Mary McCord, a former prosecutor who led the national security division at the DoJ at the end of the Obama administration until May 2017.

She added: “This would have needed approval at a very high level within the Department of Justice, which would not have been given absent very solid grounds. And department lawyers would have thought through legal issues like the expected assertions of privilege.”

Florida governor signs bill restricting voting access

The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has signed a bill restricting voting access in the state.

The AP reports:

The Republican governor signed the freshly passed legislation ahead of his impending announcement that he’ll run for reelection in the nation’s largest battleground state. Aiming for a broad impact among Donald Trump’s party base, he staged the signing on a live broadcast of Fox & Friends Thursday morning, flanked by a small group of GOP legislators in Palm Beach County. Other media organizations were shut out.

DeSantis said the new law puts Florida ahead of the curve in preventing any potential fraud.
‘Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,’ the governor said as he signed it. ‘We’re also banning ballot harvesting. We’re not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box.’ Republicans have previously said they know of know such problems in Florida, and elections supervisors across the state did not ask for any of the changes, warning that some of the new rules may prove cumbersome and expensive to implement.

The Florida law is the latest in a series of Republican efforts to allegedly address voting fraud in response to Trump’s lies about the presidential election.

According to the Guardian’s voting rights reporter Sam Levine, more than 360 bills with voting restrictions have been introduced since Joe Biden took office in January.

On Wednesday 3 August 1938, a short advertisement appeared on the second page of the Manchester Guardian, under the title “Tuition”.

“I seek a kind person who will educate my intelligent Boy, aged 11, Viennese of good family,” the advert said, under the name Borger, giving the address of an apartment on Hintzerstrasse, in Vienna’s third district.

The small ad, costing a shilling a line, was placed by my grandparents, Leo and Erna. The 11-year-old boy was my father, Robert. It turned out to be the key to their survival and the reason I am here, nearly 83 years later, working at the newspaper that ran the ad.

The columns read as a clamour of urgent, competing voices, all pleading: “Take my child!” And people did. The classified ads – dense, often mundane notices that filled the front pages, and coffers, of the Guardian for more than 100 years – also helped save lives.

Read the full story:

Joe Biden is now en route to Lake Charles, Louisiana, where he will deliver remarks on his infrastructure plan and the need to improve America’s roads and bridges this afternoon.

Biden will be speaking at the I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge, which is in poor condition and needs to be replaced. In a memo on the trip, the White House noted that Biden’s American Jobs Plan would help Louisiana pay for the project.

The president will also tour the Carrollton Water Plant in New Orleans, which has endured equipment failures in recent years, before returning to Washington this evening.

Joe Biden waves as he departs for Louisiana from the White House.
Joe Biden waves as he departs for Louisiana from the White House. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Twitter has suspended the account @DJTDesk, which had been tweeting out statements from Donald Trump, who remains banned from the social media platform.

A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News that the account violated the platform’s ban evasion policy, which prohibits accounts with the apparent intention to promote content from a suspended user.

Twitter suspended the Trump blog account @DJTDesk. Twitter spokesperson said: As stated in our ban evasion policy, we’ll take enforcement action on accounts whose apparent intent is to replace or promote content affiliated with a suspended account. pic.twitter.com/v2RYslP8Xg

— Brandy Zadrozny (@BrandyZadrozny) May 6, 2021

The suspension comes two days after Trump rolled out a new website, entitled “From the Desk of Donald Trump,” to communicate directly with his supporters.

The Guardian’s David Smith reports:

Banned by Facebook and Twitter, Donald Trump has gone back to the future with an online communication tool that might be described as a glorified blog.

His retro webpage, billed ‘From the Desk of Donald J Trump’, appears at DonaldJTrump.com/desk and features a small photo of the 45th president writing in a book on his desk.

A video includes archive material announcing Trump’s ban from Twitter and images of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and of a desktop, overlaid by captions: ‘In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises. A place to speak freely and safely. Straight from the desk of Donald J Trump.’

Hillary Clinton: ‘There has to be a global reckoning with disinformation’

Her bid for the White House was engulfed by a tidal wave of fabricated news and false conspiracy theories. Now Hillary Clinton is calling for a “global reckoning” with disinformation that includes reining in the power of big tech.

The traditional the-truth-is-somewhere-in-the-middle approach will no longer do, Clinton argues.

“They’ve got to rid themselves of both-sidesism,” she says. “It is not the same to say something critical of somebody on the other side of the aisle and to instigate an attack on the Capitol and to vote against certifying the election. Those are not comparable, and it goes back to the problem of the press actually coming to grips with how out of bounds and dangerous the new political philosophy on the right happens to be.”

The press cannot be expected to restore a common baseline of truth on its own, however.

“The technology platforms are so much more powerful than any organ of the so-called mainstream press, and I do think that there has to be not just an American reckoning but a global reckoning with the disinformation, with the monopolistic power and control, with the lack of accountability that the platforms currently enjoy,” Clinton said.

Updated

The editorial board of the conservative outlet National Review argued Republicans’ true problem with Liz Cheney is that she is making objectively true comments about Donald Trump and the presidential election.

“Of course, at the end of the day, the problem isn’t that Cheney is making controversial statements; the problem is that Republicans consider her obviously true statements to be controversial,” the board wrote in an editorial.

“It isn’t Cheney who is preventing Republicans from moving on and repairing the wounds from the 2020 election. It is Trump himself. Six months after being defeated, he still won’t drop it — in statements, in TV appearances, and in impromptu speeches to small crowds at Mar-a-Lago.”

The board noted that Elise Stefanik, who has received Trump’s endorsement for House Republican conference chair, actually supported his agenda less than Cheney did when he was in office, according to FiveThirtyEight.

“But unlike Cheney, Stefanik stood with Trump by peddling his mendacious claims and voting against certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory,” the board wrote.

“It’s a sad commentary on the state of the House GOP that this has now become a condition of advancement.”

Joe Biden said yesterday that he believes the Republican party is experiencing a “mini-revolution” as it considers how to move forward after Donald Trump’s presidency.

“It seems as though the Republican party is trying to identify what it stands for,” the president told reporters at the White House. “They’re in the midst of a significant sort of mini-revolution.”

Biden said that this seems to be the worst internal party conflict he has ever seen in his decades-long political career.

“I think Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point,” the president said.

Liz Cheney’s Washington Post op-ed, which published yesterday, comes as Donald Trump has endorsed Elise Stefanik to replace her as House Republican conference chairwoman.

“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership,” Trump said in a statement yesterday. “Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!”

In her op-ed, Cheney called on fellow Republicans to “steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality”.

“History is watching. Our children are watching,” Cheney wrote. “We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.”

Cheney warns GOP is at 'turning point' as House members plot her ouster

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

House Republicans are pushing forward with efforts to remove congresswoman Liz Cheney from her role as conference chairwoman because of her criticism of Donald Trump and the “big lie” that there was widespread fraud in the presidential election.

According to Politico, Cheney has resigned herself to her fate:

House Republican sources tell us Cheney is ‘checked out’ and already accepting her fate. Unlike the last attempt to oust her in February, which she handily defeated, she’s not making calls or whipping. A source close to Cheney said she intends to lean on the argument that leaders should be able to say what they think is right without repercussions.

But Cheney is not going silently. She penned an explosive Washington Post op-ed warning that the party is at a “turning point”.

“Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” Cheney wrote.

“While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country.”

The blog will have more details on the intraparty feud coming up, so stay tuned.

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Maanvi Singh in Oakland and Joan E Greve in Washington

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