Connect with us

World

Trump, DeSantis vie for evangelical vote in D.C. face-off

Published

on

Trump, DeSantis vie for evangelical vote in D.C. face-off

Former U.S. President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made their cases to evangelical voters who gathered in Washington for a pair of events on Friday, seeking an edge with a voting bloc likely to play a pivotal role in selecting a 2024 presidential nominee.

The pressure was all on DeSantis, who trails Trump in the Republican presidential primary by nearly 40 percentage points in most opinion polls, including among evangelical voters.

Both candidates spoke at a pair of national summits convened by the Concerned Women of America and the Family Research Council, evangelical advocacy groups that support laws restricting abortion among other issues.

At the Family Research Council event, DeSantis defended allowing churches to remain open in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing cheers from the ballroom crowd.

Advertisement

“We protected our religious institutions when so many states were running roughshod over people’s rights to practice their faith in full,” he said.

DeSantis also talked up Florida’s law that bans abortion at six weeks, one of the most restrictive in the nation. “We have stood up,” he said.

Trump also addressed abortion at the council event, saying he supports bans with exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother, a position that was received coolly by the crowd.

Trump said a more restrictive position on abortion damages Republicans in elections.

They lost a lot of elections, and we can’t let that happen,” he said. “Many politicians who are pro-life do not know how to properly discuss the topic.”

Advertisement

Longtime president of the council, Tony Perkins, a prominent evangelical leader, did not endorse Trump during his 2016 campaign and has yet to endorse a candidate this time around. But introducing Trump, he praised him as “a man who fights for what he believes in.”

Even with Trump’s sobering talk on abortion, there was little sign he has lost his grip on social conservatives. He received a thunderous ovation from the crowd.

Trump holds a roughly 35 percentage-point lead over DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy among evangelical Christians, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that closed on Thursday.

Those voters have stood by the twice-divorced Trump even as he rarely invokes scripture or speaks with an evangelical bent, and as he has faced a series of charges involving attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and a scheme to pay “hush money” to a porn star.

Many Christian activists credit him for helping to bring an end to nationwide abortion rights by appointing three conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Advertisement

Robert Goss, 77, a retired law-enforcement officer from Locust Dale, Virginia, was awaiting Trump and DeSantis at the council event, saying he was still deciding which candidate to support.

Goss said he could be persuaded to vote for Trump again, but “he’s got to get past all the legal things. And I just don’t want four more years of nothing but fighting and bickering. We want to get something done.”

Hannah Brusven, 25, a political organizer from Idaho who attended the women’s event in Washington, said she was initially interested in DeSantis, but she had turned back to Trump.

“I really was thinking DeSantis would be a perfect person because he’s young, he’s vibrant. He could have been a new JFK,” Brusven said, referring to popular Democratic President John F. Kennedy. “But he wasn’t.”

DeSantis’ advisers are betting he can eat into Trump’s significant polling lead by outperforming among devout Christians, especially those who are affluent and well-educated, according to several people familiar with his strategy.

Advertisement

That could be a major factor in the state of Iowa, where white evangelical voters are expected to turn out in large numbers in the first 2024 Republican nominating contest four months away.

On Thursday, DeSantis unveiled a “Faith and Family Coalition” of more than 70 faith leaders backing him in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, all early voting states.

DeSantis and several other Republican primary contenders are due to speak at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s fall banquet on Saturday in Des Moines, another major gathering of religious conservatives.

Trump, who has a rocky relationship with some key political figures in Iowa, will not attend.

Advertisement

World

Israel insists it is doing all it can to protect civilians in Gaza and denies genocide charges

Israel insists it is doing all it can to protect civilians in Gaza and denies genocide charges

Published

on

By

Israel insists it is doing all it can to protect civilians in Gaza and denies genocide charges

Israel strongly denied charges of genocide on Friday, telling the United Nations’ top court it was doing everything it could to protect the civilian population during its military operation in Gaza.

The International Court of Justice wrapped up a third round of hearings on emergency measures requested by South Africa, which says Israel’s military incursion in the southern city of Rafah threatens the “very survival of Palestinians in Gaza” and has asked the court to order a cease-fire.

Tamar Kaplan-Tourgeman, one of Israel’s legal team, defended the country’s conduct, saying it had allowed in fuel and medication to the beleaguered enclave.

“Israel takes extraordinary measures in order to minimize the harm to civilians in Gaza,” she told The Hague-based court.

Advertisement

A protester shouting “Liars” briefly interrupted Kaplan-Tourgeman’s final remarks. The hearing was paused for less than a minute while security guards escorted a woman from the public gallery.

South Africa told the court on Thursday that the situation in the beleaguered enclave has reached “a new and horrific stage” and urged judges to order a half to Israeli military operations. The court was holding a third round of hearings on emergency measures requested by South Africa since it first filed its genocide case at the end of last year.

According to the latest request, South Africa says Israel’s military incursion in Rafah threatens the “very survival of Palestinians in Gaza.” In January, judges ordered Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza, but the panel stopped short of ordering an end to the military offensive. Judges will now deliberate on the request and are expected to issue a decision in the next weeks.

ICJ judges have broad powers to order a cease-fire and other measures, though the court doesn’t have its own enforcement apparatus. A 2022 order by the court demanding that Russia halt its full-scale invasion of Ukraine has so far gone unheeded.

Most of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people have been displaced since fighting began.

Advertisement

The war began with a Hamas attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which Palestinian militants killed around 1,200 people and took about 250 hostages. More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, Gaza’s Health Ministry says, without distinguishing between civilians and combatants in its count.

South Africa initiated proceedings in December 2023 and sees the legal campaign as rooted in issues central to its identity. Its governing party, the African National Congress, has long compared Israel’s policies in Gaza and the occupied West Bank to its own history under the apartheid regime of white minority rule, which restricted most Blacks to “homelands.” Apartheid ended in 1994. 

Continue Reading

World

Ukraine braces for ‘heavy battles’ as Putin says Russia carving out Kharkiv buffer zone

Ukraine braces for ‘heavy battles’ as Putin says Russia carving out Kharkiv buffer zone

Published

on

By

Ukraine braces for 'heavy battles' as Putin says Russia carving out Kharkiv buffer zone

Ukraine’s top commander warned on Friday of “heavy battles” looming on the war’s new front in the northeastern Kharkiv region as Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was carving out a “buffer zone” in the area.

Russian forces attacked the Kharkiv region’s north last Friday, making inroads of up to 10 kilometres (6 miles) and unbalancing Kyiv’s outnumbered troops who are trying to hold the line over a sprawling front nearly 27 months since the full-scale invasion.

Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi said the attack had expanded the area of hostilities by around 70km and that Russia had launched its incursion ahead of schedule when “it noticed the deployment of our forces”.

“We understand there will be heavy battles and that the enemy is preparing for that,” the head of the Ukrainian armed forces wrote in a statement on the Telegram app.

Advertisement

Speaking during a state visit to China, Putin said Moscow’s forces were creating a “buffer zone”to protect Russian border regions, but that capturing the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest, was not part of the current plan.

The Russian leader told a news conference the assault was a response to Kyiv’s shelling of Russian border regions such as Belgorod.

“Civilians are dying there. It’s obvious. They are shooting directly at the city centre, at residential areas. And I said publicly that if this continues, we will be forced to create a security zone, a buffer zone. That is what we are doing,” Putin said.

Russian forces were able to advance 10 kilometres in one place, but Ukrainian forces have “stabilised” the front, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Ukrainian media outlets in comments published on Friday.

HEAVIEST ASSAULTS IN EAST

Advertisement

Moscow’s forces are mounting their heaviest assaults in the eastern Donetsk region, according to data compiled by the Ukrainian General Staff, which said the eastern Pokrovsk front had faced the most regular assaults in recent days.

In his comments, Syrskyi said Ukrainian forces were preparing their defensive lines for a possible new Russian assault on the Sumy region, which would mark another front more than a hundred kilometres to the north of Kharkiv.

Continue Reading

World

Four dead in New Caledonia riots, France declares state of emergency

Four dead in New Caledonia riots, France declares state of emergency

Published

on

By

Four dead in New Caledonia riots, France declares state of emergency

France declared a state of emergency on the Pacific island of New Caledonia on Wednesday after three young indigenous Kanak and a police official were killed in riots over electoral reform.

The state of emergency, which entered into force at 5 am local time (1800 GMT), gives authorities additional powers to ban gatherings and forbid people from moving around the French-ruled island.

Police reinforcements adding 500 officers to the 1,800 usually present on the island, have been sent after rioters torched vehicles and businesses and looted stores. Schools have been shut and there is already a curfew in the capital.

Rioting broke out over a new bill, adopted by lawmakers in Paris on Tuesday, that will let French residents who have lived in New Caledonia for 10 years vote in provincial elections – a move some local leaders fear will dilute the Kanak vote.

Advertisement

“No violence will be tolerated,” said Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, adding that the state of emergency “will allow us to roll out massive means to restore order.”

He later signed a decree declaring a state of emergency that will last for 12 days and announced that French soldiers would be used to secure New Caledonia’s main port and airport.

Authorities also decided to ban video app TikTok, which the government during a bout of riots on France’s mainland last summer said helped rioters organise and amplified the chaos, attracting troublemakers to the streets.

TikTok could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for New Caledonia’s President Louis Mapou said three young indigenous Kanak had died in the riots. The French government later said a 24-year-old police official had died from a gunshot wound.

Advertisement

“He took off his helmet (to speak to residents) and he was shot right in the head,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

Noumea resident Yoan Fleurot told Reuters in a Zoom interview that he was staying at home out of respect for the nightly curfew and was very scared for his family.

“I don’t see how my country can recover after this”, Fleurot said, adding he carries a gun during the day when he goes out to film the rioters he called ‘terrorists’.

Police were outnumbered by protesters, locals told Reuters.

Electoral reform is the latest flashpoint in a decades-long tussle over France’s role in the mineral-rich island, which lies in the southwest Pacific, some 1,500 km (930 miles) east of Australia.

Advertisement

France annexed the island in 1853 and gave the colony the status of overseas territory in 1946. It has long been rocked by pro-independence movements.

LOOTING
New Caledonia is the world’s No. 3 nickel miner and residents have been hit by a crisis in the sector, with one in five living under the poverty threshold.

“Politicians have a huge share of responsibility,” said 30-year-old Henri, who works in a hotel in Noumea. “Loyalist politicians, who are descendents of colonialists, say colonisation is over, but Kanak politicians don’t agree. There are huge economic disparities,” he said.

Henri, who declined to give his full name, said there was significant looting, with the situation most dangerous at night.

The French government has said the change in voting rules was needed so elections would be democratic.

Advertisement

But it said it would not rush calling a special congress of the two houses of parliament to rubber-stamp the bill and has invited pro- and anti-independence camps for talks in Paris on the future of the island, opening the door to a potential suspension of the bill.

The major pro-independence political group, Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS), which condemned the violence, said it would accept the offer of dialogue and was willing to work towards an agreement “that would allow New Caledonia to follow its path toward emancipation”.

Most residents were staying indoors.

Witness Garrido Navarro Kherachi said she moved to New Caledonia when she was eight years old, and has never been back to France. Although eligible to vote under the new rules, she says she won’t “out of respect for the Kanak people”.

“I don’t feel I know enough about the history of Caledonia and the struggle of the Kanak people to allow me to vote,” she said.

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © GLOBAL TIMES PAKISTAN