Aug 6, 2019

Biden pledges assault weapons ban and federal buyback program

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden told CNN's Anderson Cooper Monday he would "institute a national buyback program" if elected in 2020 to get assault weapons off the streets.

The big picture: The former vice president made the pledge in response to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Biden said he would push for background checks and reinstitute the assault weapons ban that he helped push through in 1994 but was unable to later reauthorize, the Washington Post notes.

  • Biden did not label President Trump a racist, as other 2020 candidates have in the wake of last weekend's shootings, but he told Cooper the president is playing a "dangerous game" by using incendiary language about immigrants. An anti-immigrant screed apparently uploaded by the El Paso suspect appeared online just before the shooting.

Go deeper: Where 2020 Democrats stand on gun control

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.