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By Dennis Romero and Vaughn Hillyard
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced late Tuesday that he’ll decide on a 2020 presidential run in about three weeks.
He made the remarks to reporters outside the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Iowa’s Drake University, where he had just engaged in a 90-minute discussion on redistricting and voter rights with Marsha Ternus, former chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court.
“I’m going to decide if I’m going to try to find that space within the next month or so,” he said.
The key questions, Holder said, are “whether you have the vision, the experience, the ability to inspire others to deal with the issues of the day. So I’m going to sit down you know with my family, you know, very soon.”
NPR reported earlier Tuesday that Holder would decide whether to join the already crowded Democratic Party field for president in about two week’s time. Pressed for a time frame Tuesday night, Holder said that it would be “closer to three than four” weeks.
He said he was not in Iowa — its influential Democratic caucus is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2020 — to measure support among party influencers. In fact, he said, the Harkin Institute discussion had been scheduled for fall but was postponed.
“I met with some party leaders but not to discuss that, no,” he said. “This is really just kind of a Drake University visit.”
Holder said he has spoken to former President Barack Obama, whom he served under, about the decision he faces in March, but he wouldn’t reveal any advice.
Asked if he has urged former Vice President Joe Biden to run, Holder said, “I think Joe Biden was a great senator, a great vice president.”
“I worked with him on important domestic issues,” he said. “I sat with him in the situation room. You know, I think that his would be a good voice to have as part of this primary process. But you know, I would totally respect his decision if he decides not to become involved, but I would hope that he would.”
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Trump snubs John McCain during bill signing intended to honor him
WASHINGTON — Congress wanted to honor the ailing Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. President Donald Trump did not.
In extended remarks during a visit to Fort Drum in upstate New York to sign the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 — this year’s version of an annual bill that sets defense policy — Trump chose not to mention the former prisoner of war and Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who is battling brain cancer. He even omitted McCain’s name when citing the title of the bill.
The two men have long been fierce critics of each other, with McCain calling Trump’s supporters “crazies” in 2015 and Trump retaliating by questioning whether McCain, who was subjected to torture in a Vietnamese prison camp, is really a “war hero” because “he was captured.”
The snub at Fort Drum, home to the combat aviation brigade of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, did not escape the notice of McCain’s allies.
“For those asking did I expect Trump to be an a—— today. No more than I expected it to be Monday,” Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime aide, wrote on Twitter.
McCain’s condition — dire enough that a recent HBO documentary on him was titled “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” — has not stopped Trump from deriding the Arizona senator at political rallies. Though Trump does not use his name, he tells crowds that he would have been able to repeal Obamacare if not for a thumbs-down sign from one senator — McCain.
The senator’s own statement included Trump’s name in the headline and in a preamble written by staff. But the words attributed to McCain did not.
“I’m very proud that the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 has been signed into law,” he said.
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