Esper on aid to Lebanon after deadly Beirut blast: US doing 'everything we can'


The U.S. government will do everything it can to help the Lebanese people in the wake of Tuesday’s massive explosion at a port in Beirut that killed more than 100 people and wounded thousands, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday night.

It remained unclear whether the deadly blast was a deliberate attack or an accident, Esper said during an appearance on Fox News’  “Justice with Judge Jeanine.”

“It’s just devastating and I just mourn for the people,” Esper said. “I will tell you, the DOJ, the state, the entire interagency at President Trump’s direction and leadership, we are going to provide humanitarian assistance for the people of Lebanon.

“I already have planes lining up to deliver such, such supplies. We want to do everything we can to help the Lebanese people in this hour of need.”

BEIRUT EXPLOSION LINKED TO RUSSIAN SHIP STORING AMMONIUM NITRATE LEFT IN PORT, CALLED ‘FLOATING BOMB’

An unspecified number of port officials were placed on house arrest Wednesday amid the Lebanese government’s investigation into the explosion. Public anger mounted against the Lebanese ruling elite, which was being blamed for chronic mismanagement and carelessness at the port ahead of the disaster.

The port and customs office in Beirut has notorious for corruption, in a nation where various political factions — including Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist militant group — grapple for control. But the degree to which corruption might have factored in the blast was not clear, Esper said.

“The bottom line is, we still don’t know,” he said. “You know, on the first day, as President Trump rightly said, we thought it might have been attack. Some of us speculated it could have been, for example, a Hezbollah arms shipment that blew up. Maybe a Hezbollah bomb-making facility.”

Media’s ‘regrettable’ actions

Esper also criticized some in the media, claiming they were trying to divide Trump administration officials amid speculation about the explosion.

“I commented that it was looking more like an accident. And it’s regrettable that some in the media … [are] trying to draw divisions within the administration between maybe me and the president and others,” Esper said. “Simply not true. I mean, the fact of the matter is, it’s a great tragedy. Under the president’s leadership, we’re going to do everything we can to help the Lebanese people and to do what’s right.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The secretary also addressed U.S.-China relations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not looking for a conflict with China but we need to stand up for what’s right. And the president has done this under his leadership. We’re finally standing up for our economic interests, for human rights abroad, preserve our security interests in the region,” Esper said. “And as I shared with the Chinese defense minister this morning, we’re deeply troubled with how China handled the coronavirus and the devastation that it wreaked upon the world but on the United States in particular.

“And that we expect transparency and access and cooperation to make sure we understand what happened and do everything we can from preventing a similar thing from happening again.”

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.



Source link

'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson on aiding Trump: 'I pointed him to Jesus'


“Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson took some credit Saturday night for helping President Trump place a greater emphasis on spirituality during his presidency.

Robertson — during an appearance on Fox News’ “Watters’ World,” — told guest host Brian Kilmeade that faith “was at the center” of all three of his meetings with the president.

“I pointed him to Jesus,” Robertson claimed. “We talked spiritual matters all three times.”

CAMPAIGN HOLDS ‘EVANGELICALS FOR TRUMP’ EVENT AT VEGAS CASINO, SWIPES AT NEVADA CHURCH RESTRICTIONS

On Thursday, religion and faith were once again on Trump’s mind when the president told Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, a practicing Roman Catholic, and the Democrats were “against the Bible” and claimed Biden was “against God.”

President Donald laughs with Willie Robertson, of the reality TV series Duck Dynasty, and Phil Roberston, the family patriarch, right, at a campaign rally in Monroe, La., Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Associated Press)

President Donald laughs with Willie Robertson, of the reality TV series Duck Dynasty, and Phil Roberston, the family patriarch, right, at a campaign rally in Monroe, La., Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Associated Press)

Upon arriving in Cleveland that same day, Trump also said Biden wanted to “hurt the Bible, hurt God.”

But the Biden camp firmly rejected Trump’s comments.

“Joe Biden’s faith is at the core of who he is; he’s lived it with dignity his entire life, and it’s been a source of strength and comfort in times of extreme hardship,” Biden spokesman Andrew Bates told Fox News.

The Biden campaign also criticized Trump’s controversial June 1 photo shoot outside St. John’s Church in Washington, in which the president held a Bible after leading a march of members of his administration across Lafayette Park to the church from the White House.

President Donald Trump holds a Bible outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump holds a Bible outside St. John’s Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020, in Washington. (Associated Press)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

According to Robertson, host of the “Unashamed” podcast, November’s presidential election could turn into a battle of Jesus versus the Devil and Karl Marx. The outcome will either be “Hell on Earth” or “peace of mind,” he said.

<br>
​​​​​​Phil Robertson speaks in Columbia, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. (Associated Press)

<br>
​​​​​​Phil Robertson speaks in Columbia, S.C., Feb. 19, 2016. (Associated Press)

“If you look at it logically, viewing it through a spiritual lens, you’ve got the Devil on one hand. You’ve got Jesus on the other,” Roberston told Kilmeade. “And those two forces are coming together. And if you punch the wrong button and go with the wrong person, there’s either Hell on Earth or there’s peace of mind.

“Jesus? Peace of mind. Karl Marx and his adherents? Hell on Earth. That’s where we are.”

“Duck Dynasty” is available on Fox Nation.

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.



Source link

Dustin Johnson emerges from a pack to lead PGA Championship


SAN FRANCISCO  — Dustin Johnson lost his yardage book and still found his way through an enormous crowd of contenders Saturday, making eight birdies at Harding Park for a 5-under 65 and a one-shot lead in the PGA Championship.

Nothing ever comes easily for Johnson in the majors. In this case, his brother had a spare yardage book. Even that might not have stopped Johnson from making his most birdies in any round of a major.

And he needed them all.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP COVERAGE

Johnson was among eight players who had at least a share of the lead at some point Saturday, a wild third round of low scores, long putts and endless possibilities.

Dustin Johnson hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Dustin Johnson hits from the fairway on the 18th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

One possibility is Brooks Koepka hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy for the third straight year, which hasn’t happened since Walter Hagen won four in a row in the 1920s when it was match play. Koepka was one shot behind when he made a few careless mistakes, ran off three straight bogeys and had to birdie the 18th for a 69 to stay within two shots.

Scottie Scheffler, the PGA Tour rookie from Texas, bogeyed his last hole for a 65 and was one shot behind with Cameron Champ (67), who grew up in Sacramento and has the most powerful swing on tour.

Johnson was at 9-under 201 as he goes for his second major title. For all the chances he has had, this is only the second time he has led going into the final round.

“I’m going to have to play good golf if I want to win. It’s simple,” Johnson said. “I’ve got to hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. If I can do that tomorrow, I’m going to have a good chance coming down the stretch. … I’m just going to have to do what I did today. Just get it done.”

Among the cast of contenders are major champions like Koepka, Jason Day and Justin Rose, and fresh faces like Scheffler, Champ and Collin Morikawa. Also right there was Bryson DeChambeau, thanks to a 95-foot putt for birdie on his last hole. Turns out he can hit long putts, too.

Paul Casey walks past a flock of geese on the 18th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Paul Casey walks past a flock of geese on the 18th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Missing from all this action is Tiger Woods, who didn’t make a birdie until the 16th hole and is out of the mix for the fourth straight major since his emotional Masters victory last year.

A dozen players were separated by three shots.

Li Haotong, the first player from China to lead after any round at a major, was leading through 12 holes until his tee shot didn’t come down from a tree. He made double bogey, dropped two more shots and finished four shots out of the lead.

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Johnson didn’t have smooth sailing, either, especially when he couldn’t find his yardage book. He thinks it slipped into the bottom of the golf bag, and he didn’t feel like dumping his 14 clubs all over the ground to find it. Austin Johnson, his brother and caddie, had a spare.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Johnson shot 65 even with a double bogey on the ninth hole. Mistakes like that might be more costly on Sunday, the first major without any spectators. There was some concern that so many people in contention and no noise on the golf course might make it difficult for contenders to keep track of what’s going on.

Then again, Johnson won the U.S. Open in 2016 at Oakmont without knowing the score as the USGA tried to decide whether he should be penalized.



Source link