Udall Leads Short List of Candidates for Biden’s Interior Secretary

(Bloomberg) — Retiring Senator Tom Udall is leading a short list of candidates to run the Interior Department if Joe Biden wins the presidency next month — a role that would put him to work in a building named for his father.

Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, is a top contender to be Biden’s secretary of the Interior and would consider the role if asked, according to people familiar with the matter who sought anonymity to discuss the personnel search.

Tom Udall wearing a suit and tie: Senate Passes Measure To Limit Trump On Iran That Faces Veto

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Senate Passes Measure To Limit Trump On Iran That Faces Veto

Senator Tom Udall

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“It’s hard to find someone who’s been a bigger champion of public lands than Tom Udall, whether you’re talking about in his state, New Mexico, or nationwide, advocating for the Arctic refuge and fighting climate change,” said Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s land protection program. “It’s in his genes.”

Representative Deb Haaland, another Democrat from New Mexico, and Representative Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona who leads the House Natural Resources Committee, also have won praise from environmental groups and been recommended to head the Interior Department.

The agency acts as the nation’s landlord, overseeing grazing, recreation, energy development and other activities on about a fifth of the U.S. The department also is in charge of the national park system and regulates energy development in coastal waters, including offshore wind farms and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tom Udall’s father, Stewart Udall, was Interior secretary from 1961 to 1969 and is credited with a major expansion in federal land protection, including the creation of dozens of wildlife refuges, national parks and recreation areas. He died in 2010, and the agency’s headquarters building in Washington was named for him three months later.

Under President Donald Trump, the Interior Department has encouraged mining and drilling for oil and gas on federal real estate, while creating new hunting and fishing opportunities at wildlife refuges and hatcheries. Under Biden, the department would take a sharp left turn, pivoting to focus aggressively on conservation while clamping down on drilling.

“If we’re going to save the human species and save animal species, we need to take dramatic action,” Udall said Monday, during an online event environmental groups organized to celebrate the lawmaker’s legacy.

Udall spokesman Ned Adriance declined to answer questions about the senator’s potential role as Interior secretary. “Right now, Senator Udall is focused on a strong finish to his Senate term, and he’s also working hard to help the Biden-Harris ticket win New Mexico, win the West and win the election,” Adriance said.

Udall has laid out plans to enlist federal lands in the fight against climate change — transforming the territory into uninterrupted habitat for vulnerable species and a sponge for carbon dioxide instead of a prime U.S. source of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning them.

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The Bidens earned $16.5 million from book deals, speeches since 2017

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, former second lady Jill Biden, reported earning over $16 million since leaving the White House, according to new 2019 tax returns released on Tuesday.
  • The couple reported earning $11 million immediately after leaving the White House in 2017, $4.5 million in 2018, and over $944,000 in 2019. 
  • Their tax returns showed they paid over $5.5 million in federal taxes between those three years.
  • Their main sources of income were from book deals they signed after leaving the White House and dozens of speaking engagements, with Joe Biden regularly charging six figures for a single speech.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, former second lady Jill Biden, reported earning over $16.5 million in total since leaving the White House, according to new 2019 tax returns filed on Tuesday.

Both the Bidens and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff released their 2019 tax returns ahead of the first presidential debate between Biden and President Donald Trump set to take place on Tuesday night in Ohio. 

The Bidens reported earning over $944,000 in taxable income, paid a little over $346,000 in taxes, and received a refund of nearly $47,000 in 2019, their returns show. 

The debate also comes after The New York Times published their first installments of reporting on Trump tax returns they obtained, highly sought-after documents that Trump has refused to voluntarily disclose. The Times revealed that Trump paid no income tax in ten of the fifteen years between 2000 and 2015, and paid just $750 in income taxes in both 2016 and 2017. 

Harris and Emhoff, a prominent entertainment lawyer, jointly reported over $3 million in taxable income and paying $1.18 in taxes in 2019, including payments of $732,000 in taxes throughout the year, their returns show. 

The new tax returns, combined with previously released tax returns and financial disclosures made public in 2019, show that since 2017, both Bidens signed lucrative book deals. Joe Biden earned anywhere from $8,000 to $90,000 for book-tour stops to promote his 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad,” and continued to earn royalties from his New York Times bestselling 2008 book, “Promises to Keep.”

The couple reported earning $11 million immediately after leaving the White House in 2017, $4.5 million in 2018, and over $944,000 in 2019, when Biden was running in the Democratic presidential primary for most of the year. Their tax returns showed they paid $5.5 million in federal taxes between those three years, NBC reported.

In addition to a position at the University of Pennsylvania that paid over $400,000 over the course of several years, Biden regularly brought in six figures from a single paid speech, earning between $66,000 and $182,679 per speech for 18 speeches he gave in 2017 and 2018.

According to an in-depth June 2019 report from The Washington Post, Biden’s contracts for speaking engagements often included allocations for travel to allow Biden to fly on

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Biden’s campaign assures voters the U.S. ‘is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden assumed reporters wanted to ask him about the lack of charges in the Breonna Taylor killing when he landed in Wilmington on Wednesday night after a trip to North Carolina. They were more curious about his reaction to President Trump’s point-blank refusal to commit to leaving office if the voters reject him in November. “What country are we in?” Biden asked, explaining that he was “being facetious” — and then explaining it again because it’s hard to communicate facetiousness with a face mask on. “Look, he says the most irrational things. I don’t know what to say about it. But it doesn’t surprise me.”

Biden’s campaign had already put out a more pointed statement: “The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

A lot of people were very disturbed by Trump’s prediction that “there won’t be a transfer [or power], frankly,” if you “get rid of the ballots” — and “it’s a sharply atypical response for a president, certainly,” Philip Bump writes at The Washington Post, trying to parse what Trump meant to say. But “given his rhetoric in 2016, this was not an atypical response for Trump.” But even if you translate Trump in the most generous light, he said, “it’s disconcerting because it reinforces that Trump’s interest in appearing to be victorious remains a primary concern,” certainly more than the legitimacy of America’s constitutional system of government.

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Biden’s Glass-House COVID Criticisms of Trump

Joe Biden will say anything that scrolls across his teleprompter. How else to explain his reckless charge that Donald Trump is not only responsible for every American life lost to COVID-19 but that “the president failed to do his job on purpose.”

Instead of accusing his opponent of murder, Biden should be demonstrating humility since no one knows better than he the difficulty of responding to a global pandemic. In 2009, Biden and President Obama were confronted with the H1N1 virus, which ultimately took at least 18,449 lives, according to the CDC.

The administration failed to deliver a vaccine as promised. It distributed but never replenished the nation’s stockpile of protective gear, putting us behind the eight ball when COVID-19 erupted. Former Biden chief of staff Ron Klain summed up the response last year: “We did every possible thing wrong. Sixty million Americans got H1N1 in that period of time and it is just purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass-casualty events in American history. [It] had nothing to do with us doing anything right; just had to do with luck [that the virus wasn’t as deadly as feared].”

In fairness, government is many things, but nimble is not one of them – especially when it is suddenly forced to respond to a global crisis riddled with mysteries wrapped in enigmas. The Obama/Biden administration made mistakes, but every human endeavor has an error rate.

Nevertheless, Biden and his stenographers in the mainstream media insistently claim that Trump has blood on hands because he did not pursue some mythical perfect response to COVID-19. If we want to play that game, then yes, our death rate would be much lower if Trump had coupled a complete shutdown of the border in January with a massive program of contact tracing and testing. That might be the way to go when the next pandemic strikes.

But no public figure, including Biden, proposed such a measure. Instead, Democrats attacked Trump’s efforts to contain the virus. The day after Trump’s Jan. 31 announcement of travel restrictions on flights from China, Biden said: “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia – hysterical xenophobia – and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.”

Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel had told CNBC on Jan. 30 that we should “take a very big breath, slow down, and stop panicking and being hysterical.” The virus, he promised, “will go down as spring comes up.”

Throughout February and into early March, leading Democrats such House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were encouraging people to gather in large groups. On Feb. 29, Dr. Emanuel told CNN that “running out and getting a mask is not going to help.” Biden himself held rallies until March 9.

Despite all that, Democrats and the media have seized on the wholly unsurprising “revelations” in Bob Woodward’s new book to argue that Trump alone was downplaying the severity of the threat. In

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Udall as Biden’s Interior secretary? The ‘signals are there’ — Wednesday, September 9, 2020 — www.eenews.net

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall is on a short list of possible Interior secretaries if Joe Biden is elected president, according to former high-level Interior Department officials working on leadership and policy priorities for the former vice president’s campaign.

And Udall would be interested if asked, sources told E&E News.

The Democrat, who announced last year he would not seek a third Senate term, has made it clear he’s not retiring from public service. “I intend to find new ways to serve New Mexico and our country after I finish this term,” he said in March 2019.

With the presidential election now about two months away, major party candidates typically have think tanks compiling lists of potential Cabinet secretaries and priority issues that need day one attention.

To be sure, no final decisions have been made, and there are other names on the list of potential Interior secretaries being explored by this shadow group of advisers. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and fellow New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) are among those under consideration, sources said.

But Udall is at the top of the list, insiders say, citing his strong conservation track record during 12 years in the Senate and 10 years in the House, as well as his reputation for strong enforcement of environmental rules and regulations as New Mexico’s attorney general from 1990 to 1999.

“All the signals are there,” one official involved in the insider discussions said of Udall becoming Interior secretary.

Certainly the family lineage is there.

Udall’s father, Stewart Udall, served as Interior secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and he’s considered one of the most successful and influential secretaries in the department’s more than 100 years.

Interior’s headquarters in Washington is named the Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building in his honor.

“Tom Udall as secretary of the Interior, that’s just a very natural speculation, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on a short list if he’s interested in continuing his political career at this point in his life,” said Joe Monahan, a longtime New Mexico political blogger and commentator based in Albuquerque.

“If Joe Biden is looking for an easy pick,” Monahan said of Udall, “he is it.”

Biden, in accepting the Democratic nomination, has said his administration would focus on climate change and making America the world’s leader on renewable energy (Greenwire, Aug. 21). Those have been Udall’s top legislative priorities for the past several years.

Much like his father, Udall has gained a reputation nationally for a strong conservation ethic.

“Our nation’s public lands could not have better champions than Sen. Udall and his teammates in the New Mexico congressional delegation,” said Toner Mitchell, New Mexico water and habitat conservation director at Trout Unlimited. “His priorities on balancing public land use align well with these times we’re living through, with climate change and outdoor recreation figuring prominently in our communities’ abilities to sustain themselves.”

Udall has fought to protect open land near New Mexico’s

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Biden’s White House stenographer says former vice president a ‘shell of his former self’

A stenographer who worked in the White House while Joe Biden served as vice president said the 2020 presidential candidate is currently a “shell of his former self.”

“That’s not Joe Biden,” former White House stenographer Mike McCormick told Laura Ingraham on Fox News Tuesday night. “That’s a shell of his former self. Joe Biden is a different guy than he was. He doesn’t have the same vitality. I listened to every word Joe Biden spoke.”

McCormick, who worked in the White House for 15 years, including from 2011 to 2017 under the Obama administration, says Biden’s speech at the Democratic National Convention “wasn’t the Biden I knew.”

“When I saw him do his speech at the Democratic National Convention, that wasn’t the Joe Biden I knew,” McCormick said. “That guy was reading from a teleprompter, and it was almost verbatim, and he’s never done that.”

President Trump and his supporters have often criticized Biden’s mental fortitude. The Trump campaign recently placed an ad focusing on Biden’s television appearances that asks “what happened to Joe Biden,” which shows clips of Biden as vice president compared to now.

Trump responded to Biden’s speech at the Democratic National Convention by suggesting a mandatory drug test before the first presidential debate.

“Go back and watch his performances in some of those debates,” Trump told Washington Examiner in late August. “He didn’t know where he was. And all of a sudden, he was not good, he was normal, and I don’t understand how. I don’t know if there is or not, but somebody said to me, ‘He must be on drugs.’ I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’m asking for a drug test. Both candidates. Me, too. I take an aspirin a day.”

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