2.46pm BST

In the Republican congressional world one of the biggest stories right now is the fraying relationship between Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming and various leaders of the House Republican Conference. She did herself no favors in that regard when she fist jabbed Joe Biden on Wednesday night (the horror of some bipartisan decorum!). Cheney responded to critics over Twitter about that:

I disagree strongly w/@JoeBiden policies, but when the President reaches out to greet me in the chamber of the US House of Representatives, I will always respond in a civil, respectful & dignified way. We’re different political parties. We’re not sworn enemies. We’re Americans.

→ Cheney is losing support among senior House Republicans. Remember: McCarthy backed Cheney in her last tussle with the membership, while House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) stayed on the sidelines.

→ GOP lawmakers have told us having Cheney in leadership is becoming a problem for them back home. This is a dangerous position for any party leader to be in. When rank-and-file members start getting asked difficult questions about a member of their leadership by constituents — in this case, over her continued feud with Trump — that’s a big warning sign.

2.25pm BST

More on Joe Biden’s wide ranging interview with NBC. He also touched on the “ongoing problems” at the southern border. Biden lay blame with his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Biden described the on going issues as a “powerful mess”:

In an exclusive interview airing Friday with TODAY show co-anchor Craig Melvin, Biden said his administration inherited “one god-awful mess at the border” from former President Donald Trump. He said it’s the result of “the failure to have a real transition — cooperation from the last administration, like every other administration has done.”

After the November election, Biden said that he dispatched his transition team to meet with the officials leading the major departments across the government.

Biden declined to call the border situation a crisis. He also acknowledged that his administration has struggled to reunite the children and families who had been separated under Trump policies.

“We don’t know yet where those kids are,” he said. “We’re trying like hell to figure out what happened. What happened to that child when he got separated? Where’d they go? Where are they?”

2.15pm BST

Former vice-president Mike Pence has begun to reenter the public sphere. On Thursday Pence delivered a speech in South Carolina (an early primary state in presidential elections).

Pence, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, touted some of the policy victories of Donald Trump’s administration. But the former vice president to Trump made no mention to the rift he has had with the former president in the final days of that administration. He also did not mention the 6 January mob riot incited by the president.

“We’ve got to guard our values … by offering a positive agenda to the American people, grounded in our highest ideals,” Pence told an audience of several hundred at a Columbia dinner sponsored by a conservative Christian nonprofit that lobbies for what it considers to be “biblical values,” such as heterosexual marriage. “Now, over the coming months, I’ll have more to say about all of that.”

The choice of South Carolina for Pence’s post-administration debut has definite political overtones, helping him develop exposure for a potential 2024 presidential bid. The state holds the first presidential primaries in the South, and candidates of both major parties typically spend more than a year in the state ahead of those votes, introducing themselves and trying to secure support.

1.55pm BST

Good morning, blog readers, Daniel Strauss here. Let’s get started.

In a new interview with NBC Joe Biden pushed back on the idea that the United States is an inherently racist country. Those comments by Biden came after Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, in a rebuttal to Biden’s address to Congress on Wednesday, said “hear me clearly: America is not a racist country. It’s backwards to fight discrimination with different discrimination. And it’s wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present.”

EXCLUSIVE: MCCONNELL LEANS INTO THE CULTURE WARS — Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL and 37 GOP senators will call on the Education Department today to stop a proposed rule that invokes the 1619 Project — the latest turn in the culture wars.

The Biden administration — citing the ongoing reckoning over race and the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on African Americans — has proposed updating American history curricula to more fully flesh out the consequences of slavery and contributions of Black Americans.

Continue reading…

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/joebiden

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