Biden targets Trump and says ‘anyone who fails to condemn violence is a threat to democracy’ – as it happened

Last modified: 08: 15 PM GMT+0

Biden speaks at White House and takes swipe at former president, but says not all Trump supporters are threat to America

Afternoon summary

Here’s a quick summary of what happened today:

  • Joe Biden implicitly criticized Donald Trump for threatening democracy, saying that anyone who fails to condemn violence is a threat. Both Biden and Trump will be in Pennsylvania this weekend rallying for candidates in their respective parties.

  • Gina McCarthy, Biden’s top climate adviser, is stepping down in less than two weeks. The White House announced that John Podesta, former top adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, will be senior clean energy adviser to Biden.

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released data today that showed 315,000 jobs were added to the US economy in August. Biden celebrated the numbers, saying “American has some really good news going into Labor Day weekend”.

  • As Trump heads back onto the campaign trail for Republican candidates, there are rumblings about a potential 2024 bid from the former president. Son-in-law Jared Kushner said in an interview that Trump has been thinking about it, while a former Trump White House official predicted that Trump will bow out after raising cash for his campaign.

That’s it for the live blog today. Thanks for reading.

Bill Barr, former attorney general, think that Florida governor Ron DeSantis could be elected president if he runs in 2024.

“I don’t know Ron DeSantis that well, but I’ve been impressed with his record down in Florida,” Barr told Bari Weiss on her podcast, “Honestly”.

Though Barr was once a part of Trump’s band of loyalists, he has taken to lightly criticizing his former boss, who in turn referred to him as “slow and very boring”.

Whether Barr is right ultimately depends on how much of a sway Trump still has over voters.

DeSantis has posited himself as a potential successor to the Maga throne, bringing the flare of Trumpism without the baggage of investigations and the Capitol insurrection. Though he has not confirmed any presidential ambitions, Republican voters picked him as a second choice, behind Trump, in a theoretical 2024 election.


Two of Donald Trump’s former lawyers appeared in federal court today to testify in front of a grand jury investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone arrived at the courthouse first and was with the grand jury for over two hours, according to Reuters. Former White House deputy counsel Pat Philbin arrived at the courthouse shortly after and was also with the grand jury for over two hours.

Cipollone and Philbin are the most high-profile witnesses the grand jury has seen. The grand jury is investigating the “fake electors” plot to send fake slates of electors to Congress to fraudulently inflate the number of electors in Trump’s favor, despite him losing the election.

The Department of Veteran Affairs announced Friday that it will provide access to abortions to pregnant veterans and veteran beneficiaries. Abortions will be available for those whose life or health is endangered through their pregnancy or if it is a result of rape or incest. The rule will allow VA employees, “when working within the scope of their federal employment” to “provide authorized services regardless of state restrictions”.

“This is a patient safety decision,” VA secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “Pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most. That’s what our nation owes them.”

New: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs "is taking steps to guarantee Veterans and other VA beneficiaries abortion-related care anywhere in the country. VA employees...may provide authorized services regardless of state restrictions."

— Gabriella Borter (@gabriellaborter) September 2, 2022

Ex-White House insider – no Trump run in 2024

Donald Trump will continue to flirt with a third White House run in 2024 in order to raise money but will ultimately choose not to mount a campaign, a Trump White House official predicts.

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

In communications reviewed by the Guardian on Friday, the official said Trump would look to “Bring in the $$$ then bow out gracefully before announcing”.

The 45th president, in office from 2017 to 2021, dominates polling of possible Republican nominees in 2024. He has amassed a significant campaign war chest and is generally held to have maintained his grip on his party despite being impeached twice, the second time for inciting the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

On Thursday, senior Republicans sprang to Trump’s defense – and eagerly expressed their own sense of offense – when Joe Biden used a primetime address to outline the threat to American democracy posed by Trump and his supporters.

Trump himself floated pardons – and official apologies – for January 6 rioters should he return to the White House. Lest anyone forget, nine deaths have been connected to the Capitol attack, including suicides among law enforcement officers.

Regarding the former White House official’s prediction that Trump will not run, the Guardian recently reported the contrary view of a senior source close to Trump, who said Trump “has to” announce a 2024 campaign soon, to head off being indicted under the Espionage Act after the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago in August.

That source indicated Trump needed to announce because politically it would be harder for the Department of Justice to indict a candidate for office than a former president out of the electoral running.

Developments since then have in most eyes increased the likelihood of an indictment over Trump’s handling of classified records. But most observers believe an indictment is not likely until after the midterm elections on 8 November, given DoJ policy regarding avoiding politically insensitive moves close to polling day.

Hugo Lowell has more:

Podesta to be senior clean energy adviser to Biden

The White House has announced that John Podesta will become senior advisor to US president Joe Biden for clean energy innovation and implementation, among other developments following the news earlier today that top climate advisor Gina McCarthy plans to step down.

Podesta in New York during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
Podesta in New York during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Podesta was White House chief of staff to Bill Clinton when he was president, a climate adviser to Barack Obama and – infamously as it became, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid.

Back in the day: left to right, the late Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state to president Bill Clinton, and chief of staff John Podesta.
Back in the day: left to right, the late Madeleine Albright, then secretary of state to president Bill Clinton, and chief of staff John Podesta. Photograph: Leslie E Kossoff/AFP/Getty Images

Current deputy White House national climate advisor, Ali Zaidi will be promoted to assistant to the president and national climate advisor.

The White House statement noted that: “In his new role, Podesta will oversee implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s expansive clean energy and climate provisions and will chair the president’s national climate task force in support of this effort.”

Meanwhile, Zaidi will also be vice-chair of the national climate task force. Gina McCarthy will leave her current role on September 16.

Ali Zaidi, with White House press sec Karine Jean-Pierre to his right.
Ali Zaidi, with White House press sec Karine Jean-Pierre to his right. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Biden expressed gratitude to McCarthy and said of his new appointees: “Under Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi’s leadership, my administration has taken the most aggressive action ever, from historic legislation to bold executive actions, to confront the climate crisis head-on. The Inflation Reduction Act is the biggest step forward on clean energy and climate in history, and it paves the way for additional steps we will take to meet our clean energy and climate goals.
“We are fortunate that John Podesta will lead our continued innovation and implementation. His deep roots in climate and clean energy policy and his experience at senior levels of government mean we can truly hit the ground running to take advantage of the massive clean energy opportunity in front of us.”

Podesta, 73, is a veteran Washington establishment insider and Democratic party stalwart. But he achieved infamy in the 2016 presidential election campaign when, as a result of a chain of mishaps, his email was breached.

As the Guardian reported in late 2016, the blunder gave Kremlin hackers access to about 60,000 emails in Podesta’s private Gmail account. According to US intelligence officials, Moscow then gave the email cache to WikiLeaks. The website released them in October, and the email scandal dominated the news cycle and was exploited by Donald Trump, who went on to a shock victory over Hillary Clinton in the November election.

The revelation gave further credence to a CIA finding that the Moscow deliberately intervened to help Trump.

Hillary Clinton and Podesta, 2016.
Hillary Clinton and Podesta, 2016. Photograph: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Afternoon summary

Here’s a summary of everything that’s happened so far today:

  • Off the heels of his eviscerating speech last night, Joe Biden is continuing to attack Donald Trump, saying today that anyone who fails to condemn violence “is a threat to democracy and everything we stand for”.

  • Biden touted the jobs figures that were released today that showed the US added 315,000 jobs in August, saying that “American workers are back to work”.

  • Gina McCarthy, Biden’s top climate adviser, is planning to step down in less than two weeks, according to the New York Times. McCarthy had privately expressed frustration with the pace of climate policy.

Stay tuned for more live updates.


At the White House press briefing just now, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke on Joe Biden’s speech last night where he warned that Donald Trump and “MAGA Republicans” are a threat to democracy.

“The president was trying to give the American people a choice: how do we move forward in this inflection point?” Jean-Pierre said. “When it comes to the soul of the nation, that is something the president has talked about for years… He has been concerned about where our democracy is going.”

Responding to criticism that Biden’s speech was politically charged despite it being an official White House event, Jean-Pierre said that “standing up for democracy is not political”.

“Denouncing political violence is not political. Standing up for freedom and rights is not political,” she said. “We don’t call any of that political. We see that as leadership and as presidential.”

Jean-Pierre on Biden speech: "Standing up for democracy is not political. Denouncing political violence is not political. Standing up for freedom and rights is not political... We see that as leadership and as presidential."

— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) September 2, 2022

Biden: anyone who fails to condemn violence is a threat to democracy

Joe Biden delivered a brief and impromptu speech seemingly targeting Donald Trump as “a threat to Democracy”.

Responding to a question from a reporter on whether “all Trump supporters are a threat to this country”, Biden said he does not consider any Trump supporter to be a threat.

“I do think that anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it’s used, refuses to acknowledge when an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which you count votes, that is a threat to democracy and everything we stand for,” Biden said. “Everything we stand for rests on the platform of democracy.”

Biden continued by saying that those who voted for Trump in 2020 “weren’t voting to attack the Capitol, they weren’t voting for overruling the election. They were voting for a philosophy he put forward.”

The comments came after Biden shifted his tone in a primetime address last night, directly calling out Trump and his allies, saying “democracy is under assault”.


Report: Biden's top climate adviser to step down

Gina McCarthy, Joe Biden’s top climate adviser, is stepping down on 16 September, the New York Times is reporting, citing people familiar with her plans.

Rumors have swirled around her departure for months as McCarthy privately expressed frustrated with the “slow pace of climate progress” in the administration.

McCarthy was an Environmental Protection Agency administrator during the Obama administration.


Biden touts August jobs numbers: 'American workers are back to work'

In a press conference on the American Rescue Plan – the $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus package passed in March 2021 – Joe Biden celebrated today’s jobs report that said the US added 315,000 jobs in August.

“We received more good news. American workers are back to work, earning more, manufacturing more, building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out,” Biden said. “We have created nearly 10m jobs since I took office. The fastest growth in all of American history.”

Biden noted that the labor participation rate, or the number of people working or looking to work, is up and that more working-age women have come back to work. He also noted that gas prices have been going down over the last few weeks.

“America has some really good news going into Labor Day weekend,” he said.

Biden has been trying to emphasize the positive benefits to his stimulus package, particularly in light of claims from conservatives that it contributed to inflation. In his press conference, Biden emphasized that the stimulus created jobs, especially in manufacturing.

A new Pew Research poll shows that opinions of the supreme court are more polarized than ever. Just 28% of Democrats and liberal independents have a favorable view of the court, versus 73% of Republicans and conservative independents.

The gap is the largest since Pew started polling Americans on their opinion of the court. The court is also facing their lowest approval rating, with 48% of American having an unfavorable view of the court versus 49% with a favorable view.

Today, 49% of Americans have a favorable view of the Supreme Court. Among partisans, just 28% of Democrats say they have a favorable view, while 73% of Republicans say the same.

— Pew Research Center (@pewresearch) September 1, 2022

More Americans also believe the court is Republican/Conservative-leaning, with 49% of Americans saying they view they court as conservative versus 30% in August 2020.


Biden and Trump tee up rallies in Pennsylvania as key battleground in midterms

This Labor Day weekend kicks off the midterm election season which will put both the lasting sway of Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s presidency to the test with American voters.

The primary election showed that the myth that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump is potent with voters: Many candidates who publicly questioned the election results won their primaries over the last few months.

Now that these Trump-backed Republican candidates are in place heading into the general election, the test now shifts to how strong “Maga Republicans” – as Joe Biden put it Thursday night – are among the broader electorate.

Pennsylvania is being seen as a key state to watch this midterm season. Trump is traveling to northeastern Pennsylvania this weekend to rally for two Republican candidates, Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano, who are running for US Senate and governor, respectively.

Both candidates have vied themselves for Trump’s endorsement, but they are also trailing in the polls behind their Democratic opponents. Oz is eight points behind Democratic candidate John Fetterman, while Mastriano is seven points behind that state’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro.

Oz, a one-time heart surgeon and celebrity television doctor, has had a particularly hard time convincing conservative voters that he is no longer attached to his liberal Hollywood persona.

Oz “looks forward to President Trump talking to Pennsylvanians about the importance of fighting the radical, liberal agenda,” a spokesperson told Politico.

Mehmet Oz and Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania in May.
Mehmet Oz and Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania in May. Photograph: Gene J Puskar/AP


New York City mayor Eric Adams released a joint statement with family and friends of 9/11 victims criticizing a Saudi-funded women’s golf tournament that is to be hosted at a Trump golf course in the city.

“It is outrageous that the Trump Organization agreed to host a tournament with this organization while knowing how much pain it would cause New Yorkers,” Adams said.

Last September, the FBI declassified documents related to 9/11 that revealed that the Saudi government provided logistical report to the attackers and helped fund the attacks.

The tournament is scheduled to be held at Trump Golf Links, a Trump golf course in the Bronx, in October.

Mayor Eric Adams quietly releases a statement online after meeting with the families of 9/11 victims about their opposition to a Saudi-backed golf tournament at the city-owned Trump Ferry Point course, h/t @maggieNYT:

— Emma G. Fitzsimmons (@emmagf) September 2, 2022

Donald Trump is “obviously thinking about” running for president in 2024, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner told Sky News in an interview Friday.

“He hates seeing what’s happening in the country,” Kushner said.

Though Trump has not officially announced a run in 2024, he and his allies have dropped plenty of hints that he is wanting to. On Thursday, Trump said that he would pardon the January 6 rioters if he were elected president again.

Trump is, of course, facing multiple investigations into his business dealings as well as unauthorized retention of sensitive government documents.

The US added another 315,000 jobs in August as the jobs market remained strong amid signs of a worsening economy.

The US jobs market lost 22m jobs in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic but roared back after the Covid lockdowns ended. It has remained strong despite four-decade high rates of inflation and slowing economic growth. In July, the US unexpectedly added 528,000 new jobs, restoring employment to pre-pandemic levels.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% in August from 3.5% in July but is still close to a 50-year low.

The remarkable strength of the jobs market has spurred the Federal Reserve to sharply increase interest rates in the hopes of cooling the economy and bringing down prices.

Last week the Fed chair, Jerome Powell, made clear the Fed intends to keep raising rates sharply as the central bank struggles to tamp down inflation. His speech triggered a meltdown on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones index losing 1,000 points. The latest jobs report is the last to be released before the Fed meets again in September.

Good morning, and welcome to the Guardian’s US politics live blog. It’s 10 weeks before the midterms, and it’s starting to feel like it’s 2020 again. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden are in Pennsylvania this weekend to rally for candidates in their respective parties.

Donald Trump will go to Wilkes-Barre in northern Pennsylvania on Saturday support two Pennsylvania Republican candidates: Mehmet Oz (known as “Dr Oz”), who is running for US Senate, and Doug Mastriano, who is running for governor. Trump, despite intensifying investigation into alleged unauthorized retention of sensitive government documents, has also geared up his talk about the 2024 election, saying on Thursday that he would seriously consider full pardons for participants of the January 6 US Capital insurrection.

Joe Biden, on the other hand, in turn delivered a speech last night from Philadelphia attacking Trump and “Maga Republicans”.

“There’s no question that the Republican party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the Maga Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” Biden said. “Maga Republicans are destroying American democracy.”

Biden will travel further into Pennsylvania this weekend with a planned stop in Pittsburgh to continue pushing for Democratic candidates running in the state.

Here’s what else we’re watching today:

  • The US added 315,000 jobs in August, a sign of continuing growth in the labor market despite high rates of inflation and slowing economic growth.

  • Biden is scheduled to discuss the American Rescue Plan on the heels of today’s jobs report release.

  • Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and former deputy Patrick Philbin are appearing before a grand jury that is investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Stay tuned for more live updates.


Lauren Aratani

The GuardianTramp

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