Like many other things in 2020, Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because of the surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household.” Of course, the celebration can still certainly include the traditional spread of turkey, stuffing, cranberry, rolls, and of course pies.
While the Thanksgiving menu may not be changing, even in this pandemic year, the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal has been steadily increasing over the years. In 1947, the cost of a turkey, sides, sauces, drinks, and dessert was less than $6. In 2020, the same food cost nearly $50 — the highest recorded price in U.S. history of any year other than 2015.
To determine the cost of a Thanksgiving meal every year from 1947 to 2019, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed price data from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual Thanksgiving price survey. For the purposes of this story, the components of a traditional Thanksgiving meal include a 16-pound turkey, 14 oz. of stuffing, 3 pounds of sweet potatoes, a dozen dinner rolls, 16 oz. of frozen peas, 12 oz. of cranberries, a half pound of both carrots and celery, ingredients for two pumpkin pies with whipped cream, and a gallon of milk.
While the typical American can expect to spend about $50 on the basic ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner for 10 in 2020, those prices can fluctuate widely across the country. The cost of groceries in rural areas is typically much lower than it is in an affluent suburb or city. This is the most expensive place to live in every state.
With more Americans staying home rather than visiting family or friends this holiday, many may be making their first Thanksgiving turkey this year. These large birds often come frozen, so cooks must know how to properly thaw the turkey before roasting it so it is fully cooked, but not overdone. These are the 15 rules for thawing and roasting your Thanksgiving turkey.
Click here to see the cost of a thanksgiving meal the year you were born. Click here to see our methodology.
President-elect Biden moves forward with Cabinet picks
Trump questions Biden for already picking Cabinet when Trump’s legal team is still fighting ‘voter fraud.’ Senior fellow at King’s College Mark Smith weighs in.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has reignited accusations of anti-Semitism in response to President-elect Biden's nominee to become Secretary of State.
The Biden transition team announced on Monday that Antony Blinken, the former deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration and a foreign policy adviser for Biden, was selected to head the State Department.
Speculation of Blinken's nomination was fueling over the weekend, which sparked a reaction from the Michigan Democrat after former Bernie Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir called Biden's selection a "solid choice."
"So long as he doesn't suppress my First Amendment right to speak out against [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's racist and inhumane policies. The Palestinian people deserve equality and justice," Tlaib wrote on Sunday night.
Critics were puzzled by Tlaib's tweet, many of them suggesting that the reason she invoked Israeli policy was that Blinken is Jewish.
"Biden names a Jew to his cabinet What’s Rashida’s response?! 'Welp, as long as that Judische pick doesn’t stop me from focusing my hatred on one country, Israel, then he’s a good Jew!' It’s not your 1A right you’re trying to protect but your vile Jew-hatred! That’s ALL yours!" Americans Against Antisemitism founder Dov Hikind reacted.
"You can just say you're worried because he's Jewish…" the Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted.
JEWISH GROUPS CONDEMN RASHIDA TLAIB OVER TIES TO RADICAL PRO-HEZBOLLAH, ANTI-ISRAEL ACTIVIST
"The subtext: Blinken is Jewish so, of course, the leading anti-Semite in Congress just wants to ensure that the all-powerful Jew won't suppress her right to condemn other all-powerful Jews," radio host Jason Rantz said.
"You are absolutely free to be as antisemitic, racist, dishonest and hateful as you like Rashida," author Chad Felix Greene wrote.
"Would she have said this if the nominee weren't jewish?" Tablet Magazine associate editor Naom Blum asked.
The next day, Tlaib followed up her initial tweet condemning the Trump administration's pro-Israel policy stance.
"Sec. Pompeo has moved to suppress BDS [Boycott, Divest, and Sanction], a peaceful protest movement protected by the 1st Amendment. I hope that Mr. Blinken and President-Elect Biden’s Administration will change course from Trump’s State Department & not target or suppress support of Palestinian human rights," Tlaib tweeted.
Rep. Tlaib's office did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.
The outspoken "Squad" member recently raised eyebrows after it was announced she would be participating in an event called "Dismantling Anti-Semitism, Winning Justice," which is a panel discussion featuring other Israel critics like professor Marc Lamont Hill and writer Peter Beinart.
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Tlaib was previously criticized by House Republicans after describing the "calm feeling" she experienced when thinking about the Holocaust. However, the congresswoman said her critics were policing and "twisting" her words and defended the comments she made.
McCarthy says 2020 election ‘was a mandate against socialism’
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy touted Republican victories during his weekly news conference.
An Air Force veteran newly elected to represent an oil-rich Texas district said President-elect Joe Biden's proposals on taxes, and the oil and gas industry are "extremely alarming."
August Pfluger, a former national security adviser to President Trump, said American energy independence is a key security priority, and he'll stand up for oil and gas jobs as a Republican member of Congress.
"We're going to do everything we can to continue to fight for things like energy independence," Pfluger, a former fighter pilot, told Fox News. "…It is job No. 1 for me that we fight against anything that we see from a Biden administration or executive order."
DR. RONNY JACKSON, NEW TEXAS CONGRESSMAN, SAYS JOE BIDEN SHOULD HAVE COGNITIVE TEST LIKE TRUMP DID
Pfluger, a first-time politician from San Angelo, was elected Nov. 3 to represent Texas's 11th District, following the retirement of GOP Rep. Mike Conaway. The 29-county district stretches throughout west-central Texas and includes the oil-producing Permian Basin. Pfluger dubs his district "an instrument of national security."
Republican August Pfluger is the newly elected congressman from Texas’s 11th congressional district. (Marisa Schultz/Fox News)
Traveling to Washington recently for congressional orientation, Pfluger, 42, said Biden's agenda could hurt his district and hamper affordable energy.
"When you look at the 2017 tax reform and [Biden] wanting to increase taxes on Day One," Pfluger said. "When you look at the statements that he's talked about … absolutely denying permitting for federal lands or federal waters for drilling. There's a number of things I think are extremely alarming that would affect our district and the ability to provide that affordable, reliable energy."
Biden raised eyebrows at the final presidential debate when he said he wanted to “transition” away from oil in favor of renewable energy. He later clarified that he didn't mean putting an end to the oil industry.
Biden wants America to evolve to a "100% clean energy economy" and become the world's clean energy superpower, creating millions of jobs in the process.
MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE TAKES ON SHUTDOWNS, FAUCI DURING FIRST WEEK IN WASHINGTON
The Democrat said he'll ban "new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters" and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, an international agreement backed by President Obama that established a worldwide commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Pfluger said the competitive market already has caused such a reduction in emissions that the Paris agreement is "inconsequential."
"The standards that we've already displayed we can match are well above what the Paris climate accords could ever outline," Pfluger said. "The last decade we've reduced carbon emissions and harmful gases by way more than what the Paris accords laid out. So, I don't think that the Paris accords have any effect on us because, quite frankly, the free market and industry have made engines more efficient [and] have reduced emissions to a degree that that's inconsequential."
Pfluger, a husband and father of three girls, said the Green New Deal, authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., doesn't take into account that everyday lives are surrounded by things made from byproducts of fossil fuels, such as cell phones.
"We have just ignored the market forces and what the energy has actually done for the world when we look at a Green New Deal," Pfluger said. "There is no doubt that we want our air to be clean, our water to be clean. Natural gas has done that around the world. We have done that. We have provided clean, inexpensive energy."
DARRELL ISSA DOUBTS KAMALA HARRIS' BIPARTISANSHIP CAPABILITY
Pfluger graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2000 and spent nearly two decades in the Air Force. He was a fighter pilot flying F-15s and F-22s, and deployed for combat missions in the Middle East. In 2019, he joined Trump's National Security Council for a few months before leaving to run for Congress.
Democrats invested a lot of time and money in trying to flip Texas blue this cycle, but came up short on the presidential side and in key swing congressional races.
"Texas voted its conscience," Pfluger said. "Rejected socialism. Stood up for oil and gas, and said that our values are not for sale."
Tucker: Why Silicon Valley is doing all it can to help the Biden-Harris ticket
Technology executives in San Francisco are the product of left-wing universities that trained them to hate this country.
President-Elect Joe Biden was a clear favorite in the technology mecca known as Silicon Valley this election cycle, despite having a platform that could ultimately be to its detriment.
About 74% of Silicon Valley voters cast ballots for Biden, while 24% chose Trump, according to preliminary state and local election data compiled by the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies.
That compares with 2016, when 74% of the region’s residents voted for Hillary Clinton, while 30% voted for Trump.
In 2020, early data indicates an uptick in ballots cast for third-party candidates.
In San Francisco, about 85% of voters cast their ballot for Biden, which was consistent with the city’s Democratic leanings in 2016.
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Eligible voter turnout in Silicon Valley was expected to reach about 74%, which would eclipse 2016’s 62% turnout rate.
The report noted that as of Wednesday morning there were still about 31,000 and 72,000 uncounted votes in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties respectively, as well as 1.5 million uncounted votes statewide.
The share of voters in Silicon Valley who cast votes for Trump was slightly higher than the rate observed so far in the overall Bay Area – 21%.
Biden has quite a few tax proposals that stand to affect tech companies in Silicon Valley, while other Democrats – like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – have called for breaking up the largest corporations over alleged monopolistic and anti-competitive practices.
Increased regulation is also a key concern among companies in the area.
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Overall, California – which has 55 electoral votes – leans left on the political spectrum.
Biden has racked up nearly double the amount of votes that Trump did in state, at about 10.2 million to 5.3 million.
After major wins for Joe Biden on Wednesday when the Fox News Decision Desk projected that he will win in Wisconsin and Michigan — two states where President Trump came out on top in 2016 – the Democratic nominee sits at 264 electoral votes, needing just one more state to win the White House.
Trump currently has 214 electoral votes in his column.
With his team expressing optimism in his path Wednesday, Biden confidently said that he was "not here to declare that we won,” but to “report that when the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners.”
Striking a presidential tone, Biden said he would govern as an "American president" and that once the dust is settled from the election he plans "to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear each other again, to unite and heal, to come together as a nation."
Meanwhile, Trump is at 214 electoral votes and claiming victory in a handful of states where either the result is not yet clear or the Fox News Decision Desk has projected that Biden will win.
"We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a BIG Trump lead," the president said in a tweet. He added that he is claiming Michigan conditioned on confirmation that "there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots," a claim that was walked back by the person whose tweet inspired an earlier Trump post on the matter.
Fox News has confirmed a discrepancy in Michigan returns, which is apparently what Trump was citing in his tweet, was the result of a typo by one clerk that was quickly corrected.
And Trump's team is claiming that Republicans in a handful of key states are being blocked from "meaningful access" to observe the elections workers counting ballots. Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani claimed that ballots in Philadelphia could "be from Mars as far as we're concerned."
Sen. Chris Coons. D-Del., a Biden surrogate, said that the claims by Giuliani and the Trump team "smack of desperation."
The Trump team has also filed lawsuits to stop vote-counting in Pennsylvania and Michigan over their objections regarding "meaningful access," and said it will request a recount in Wisconsin. In Georgia, the Trump team filed a lawsuit alleging that a GOP poll observer saw that late absentee ballots were being added to others that were received on time.
The Trump team is also set to announce a lawsuit in Nevada later Thursday morning as it alleges that at least 10,000 people who voted in Nevada no longer reside there. Trump backer and former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell — who currently serves as the Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations — will lead a press conference in North Las Vegas.
With the presidential race still undecided, the emerging results in the four key states of Pennsylvania, Nevada, North Carolina and Georgia will swing the race one way or another. Trump needs to sweep all four states while a win for Biden in any of them would give him at least 270 electoral votes, the number needed to win the presidency.
Nevada, where 75% of results were reported as of early Thursday morning, is the only state where Biden leads as of Thursday morning. He is ahead of Trump by just under 8,000 votes, which comes to slightly more than one half of one percent.
The Elections Division of the Nevada Secretary of State said on Wednesday it would report further results at 9 a.m. local time on Thursday. The ballots yet to be counted in Nevada, the Elections Division said, are mail ballots that were received on Election Day, mail ballots sent by Election Day but received later, and provisional ballots. Generally throughout the country, those kinds of votes have swung toward Biden.
In Georgia, nearly all ballots are in with 98% reporting as of Thursday morning and Trump holds a lead of just under 20,000 votes, less than one half of one percent. The Fox News Decision Desk, however, has not yet called the race in favor of Trump.
"Officials in numerous counties are continuing to count ballots, with strong security protocols in place to protect the integrity of our election,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement. “We have long anticipated – and said publicly – that counting would most likely take place into Wednesday night and perhaps Thursday morning. We’re on pace to accomplish that responsibly, ensuring that the voice of every eligible voter is heard. It’s important to act quickly, but it’s more important to get it right."
He added: "I want to assure Georgia voters that every legal vote was cast and accurately counted.”
The situation is similar in North Carolina. Trump is holding a small lead of about 1.4% with 94% of votes reported. Trump's lead equates to just over 75,000 votes.
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North Carolina allows mail ballots sent by Election Day to be received up to nine days later. This means there may be more ballots yet to be counted in the state, according to North Carolina State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell.
"There are also no more ballots that can be cast for this election. All eligible ballots have already left the voter's hands," she said.
Bell also alluded that it may take some time before additional results are able to be reported in the state, noting that with "very few exceptions would North Carolina's numbers move before the 12th or the 13th."
But with the nature of Trump's lead in the state it is possible — but not guaranteed — that with slightly more information, media organizations could be able to make a projection in the presidential race in that state.
Alaska, for a dearth of data, has yet to be called. But Trump, in the 50% of votes counted as of Thursday morning, holds a significant lead.
Finally, in Pennsylvania, where the Trump team leveled its most serious accusations of election-related hijinx — but did not name any specific examples of ballot irregularities — Trump continues to lead as of Thursday morning by over 160,000 ballots.
But because Pennsylvania was unable to start counting its massive stack of mail ballots, which were requested in significantly larger numbers by Democrats than Republicans, until Tuesday morning, the result in the state is still up in the air.
As of Thursday morning, 89% of ballots in the state are reported and significant numbers of ballots remain to be counted in several counties. These include Democratic strongholds like Philadelphia, but also many rural counties that are leaning toward Trump.
Notably, Allegheny County, which encompasses Pittsburgh and is leaning heavily for Biden as of Thursday morning, is reporting just 81% as of Thursday morning.
"In Pennsylvania, every vote is going to count," Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday evening. "I'm going to fight like hell to protect the vote of every Pennsylvania. And I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that every vote counts, because in Pennsylvania, every voice matters."
Republicans, meanwhile, have slammed Democrat officials like Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania over alleged bias.
"To have this kind of stuff going on at the 11th hour is unconscionable. So we have a totally lack of faith in her ability to do her job and to do it fairly," Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, a Republican, said in calling for Boockvar to resign. Corman specifically panned last-minute changes in guidance on so-called "naked" ballots from Boockvar's office to local elections officials.
"We believe every legal vote should count," Corman said, specifically noting that there is not a result in the presidential election. "I think the governor should ask her to step aside so that the people of Pennsylvania can have confidence in the integrity of this election, whether it's Joe Biden, whether it's President Trump … all we want to do is have confidence in the result."
If Trump manages to pull out victories in North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada, the presidential election is likely to come down to the result in Pennsylvania, which may not be decided for days or more. And, if Trump's claims made after 2 a.m. Wednesday as results poured in are to be believed, that state could come down to a Supreme Court case.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and John Roberts contributed to this report.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., slammed President Trump after he declared victory in Tuesday's election while millions of votes are still being counted.
BIDEN CAMPAIGN ARGUES PRESIDENTIAL RACE IS 'MOVING TO A CONCLUSION IN OUR FAVOR'
"Donald Trump’s premature claims of victory are illegitimate, dangerous, and authoritarian. Count the votes. Respect the results," Ocasio-Cortez — who herself won reelection in New York's 14th Congressional District on Tuesday night — said in a post on Twitter.
Her tweet followed Trump's address to supporters late Tuesday from the East Room of the White House.
“We were getting ready to win the election," he said at the time. "Frankly, we did win this election.”
The incumbent has captured the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Iowa and amassed a large number of electoral votes from historically red Texas, according to Fox News' projections.
But a number of key battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and North Carolina, were too close to call and election officials have been working feverishly to deliver a result as soon as possible.
MICHIGAN RESULTS FROM 'HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS' OF BALLOTS MAY ARRIVE BY DAY'S END
Trump threatened that he would escalate vote counting to the Supreme Court to preserve “the integrity” of the vote and ensure the law is “used in a proper manner.”
“We want all voting to stop," Trump said. "We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4:00 in the morning and add them to the list.”
He added: “It’s a very sad moment. To me, this is a very sad moment, and we will win this.”
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Democratic opponent Joe Biden's campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, dismissed the president's comments.
Trump "does not decide the outcome of this election," she said in a statement. "Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election. The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion.”
Biden, speaking in Wilmington, Del., said just after midnight that he was “on track to win."
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His campaign reiterated Wednesday that it's still confident he will capture the necessary 270 electoral votes to take over the White House, predicting victory in key states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, all of which are still tabulating their ballots.
Dillon said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday that "the president of the U.S. falsely claimed he won this race and demanded votes stop being counted. Let's be clear… if Donald Trump got his wish, and we stop counting ballots, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States."
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Fox News' Madeleine Rivera and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
Media skepticism of Trump victory ‘so similar’ to 2016: Lewandowski
Corey Lewandowski, David Bossie and GOP House candidate Sean Parnell join ‘Hannity’ with insight
The media downplaying the possibility of President Trump's reelection bears a striking resemblance to their coverage ahead of to his 2016 victory, Trump 2020 campaign senior adviser Corey Lewandowski observed Sunday.
"It's so similar," Lewandowski told "Hannity."
However, Trump's former campaign manager cautioned, "don’t let the left and media convince you that this race is over, because the only way that this race is over is after you vote on Election Day and Donald Trump goes back to the White House for four more years."
With polls across America closing in two days, the Trump campaign is in "better shape right now than we were four years ago," in key battleground states, Lewandowski explained.
"But," he reiterated, "the only way he becomes the president of United States … is to make sure that every Republican and independent goes out and votes on Election Day. We can win this election but we have to show up Tuesday and vote," he said.
"We’re in better shape right now than we were four years ago in North Carolina, in the state of Florida, in the state of Michigan, but it all comes down to Election Day," Lewandowski emphasized.
Earlier, Lewandowski said he expects Trump to sweep six key swing states — all of which the president won by a razor-thin margin in 2016 — on his way to a "resounding victory" over Joe Biden.
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"I think this election is going to be won on Election Night with Donald Trump carrying Florida and North Carolina, and Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin," Lewandowski told "Fox News Sunday".
"And if that's the case, there will be no need to continue to count because there will be a resounding victory."
Pennsylvania emerges as key battleground state as Election Day nears
Recent polls show Biden up by nearly 4 points, as Trump makes four campaign stops in the state Saturday; Bryan Llenas reports from Butler, Pa.
The eyes of the nation may be on Pennsylvania this Election Day, but they may have to remain there for the rest of the week as the key swing state finishes tallying its votes.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that 10 times as many people have already voted by mail during the 2020 election compared to 2016. In some counties, those ballots will not begin to be counted until Wednesday morning.
"So yes, it will take longer," Boockvar said. She noted that final vote tallies are never in hand on Election Day because military ballots are not submitted until up to a week later, but she recognized that the regular absentee and in-person ballots will take longer than usual.
“I expect the overwhelming majority of ballots in Pennsylvania, that’s mail-in absentee ballots, as well as in-person ballots, will be counted within a matter of days," she said, adding that counties plan to have people counting “24/7 until it’s done.”
While the vote counts may be known in a few days time, that does not necessarily mean the same for the election result. Boockvar confirmed that ballots received in the three days after Election Day will be counted but then segregated and set aside, as litigation continues over the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court’s decision to allow ballots to be received during those three days if they are postmarked by Election Day. That ruling also allowed ballots to be counted if they do not have a clear Election Day postmark as long as there is no evidence that they were sent later.
The Supreme Court had denied a request to block that decision as the case continues, and Pennsylvania Republicans filed a petition for the Supreme Court to hear the case on the merits. Liberal and conservative justices agreed that there was no time to do this before the election.
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Minnesota also plans to set aside ballots received after Election Day, following a challenge from Republican electors to an agreement that had allowed ballots to be accepted up to a week after the Nov. 3 election.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joins ‘Life, Liberty & Levin’ to discuss the Trump administration’s foreign policy successes and how it’s been portrayed by the media.
From the earliest days of his administration, President Trump promised the American people that he would put their interests first, and make that pledge the foundation of every foreign policy decision he made. Now, almost four years later, that approach has delivered historic outcomes for the American people.
It all begins with our vision. An America First foreign policy puts our national interests first, which starts with seeing the world as it is, not as we wish it were.
We saw clearly the Chinese Communist Party’s drive to undermine our economic strength at home and supplant American power and influence worldwide. We understood that North Korea’s nuclear program required unprecedented diplomatic tactics.
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We observed the Barack Obama administration’s failed appeasement of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We perceived greater opportunities for our allies and partners around the world to share the responsibility of upholding security and freedom.
In each of these situations and in many others, we’ve restored American leadership on behalf of the American people and the free world, especially as regards China.
The Trump administration has held the ruling Chinese Communist Party accountable for its intellectual property theft and predatory trade practices. We’ve stepped up freedom of navigation patrols in key waterways like the South China Sea. We’ve expelled Chinese spies from our country, as we did when we closed Beijing’s consulate in Houston.
And we’ve rallied allies and partners like Australia, India and Japan to stand up against the threat the Chinese Communist Party and its surveillance arms like Huawei pose to all free nations.
To date, our Clean Network initiative to safeguard the private information of citizens, the intellectual property of companies, and our national security from malign actors like the Chinese Communist Party has been joined by many of the world’s top companies, including more than 60 telecommunications companies designated as Clean Telecos, as well as more than 40 countries with a combined 75% of the world’s gross domestic product outside of China. More businesses and nations are on the way.
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We’ve also worked hard to correct the mistakes of past administrations. America hasn’t become embroiled in new wars. Instead of pursuing the same failed policies toward North Korea, we elicited the first-ever leader-level commitment from Chairman Kim Jong Un to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The Kim regime hasn’t tested a nuclear device since the 2018 Singapore summit.
Instead of continuing the Obama administration’s failed appeasement of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we enacted the most powerful sanctions campaign in history. Tehran’s revenue from oil sales — the regime’s No. 1 source of cash for its terrorist campaigns — is down 90 percent since we withdrew from the ill-conceived Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. And instead of perpetuating open-ended warfare in Afghanistan, we’re helping the Afghan people take the lead in bringing peace to their country, and we’re bringing our troops home.
Importantly, we have greatly reduced the risk of terrorist attacks, through our own actions and with the help of allies. Our brave warriors have taken out many of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Al Qaeda’s Hamza bin Laden.
In the Middle East, we accelerated the campaign to crush ISIS’ fraudulent caliphate alongside the 82-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and we have liberated 100% of former ISIS-held strongholds.
America’s leadership in the multilateral space has turned a corner, too.
We are rallying allies and partners to counter China’s exploitation of United Nations agencies and other international bodies for its own benefit.
We’ve encouraged our friends at the Organization of American States to lead the charge to free the Venezuelan people from Nicolas Maduro’s illegitimate socialist grip.
And we believe NATO allies are better able and more willing to deter Russian aggression and focus on new threats like the Chinese Communist Party when every nation is paying its fair share. We’ve convinced our NATO allies to pledge $400 billion in new spending, and the alliance has also armed our freedom-loving friends in Ukraine.
Seeing the world with clear eyes also means recognizing without hesitation who our friends are. America has no greater friend than Israel — and we’ve reaffirmed that friendship by moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and acknowledging that Israeli civilian settlements in the West Bank are not per se inconsistent with international law.
By working with Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain to secure the historic Abraham Accords, we not only cast aside tired thinking on Middle East peace processes, we’ve also taken major steps to create greater regional partnerships for peace, security and prosperity that will bless the American people. And Sudan’s historic end of hostilities and its normalization of relations with the Jewish state on Oct. 23 shows that more progress is on the way.
America also remains in the business of making new friends.
We’re deepening our relationships in the Arctic, in Central and Eastern Europe, in the Caribbean and beyond.
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In Africa, we’re working each day with Sudan’s transitional government, which is turning the page from an Islamist regime that once gave safe harbor to Usama bin Laden. Due to the Trump administration’s leadership and engagement, many American family members of terrorism victims will receive millions of dollars in long-awaited compensation from Sudan.
We’ve also prioritized the release and repatriation of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad. President Trump has brought home more than 50 hostages and detainees from 23 countries since taking office. We don’t pay ransoms and reward rogue regimes, like the prior administration did. We use our diplomatic tools to convince them to do the right thing.
Finally, the Trump administration knows an America First foreign policy means being unafraid to hold high the American commitment to freedom, especially religious freedom.
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Whether by holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its mass internment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, pledging more than $470 million for Christians and members of other religious minority groups once tormented by ISIS in Northern Iraq, or hosting the largest international religious freedom conference of all time at State Department headquarters, America is leading in defending the unalienable right of all human beings to worship freely.
An America First foreign policy has advanced American interests, reflected American freedoms, and restored American pride in our nation on the world stage. American leadership is back at the forefront of the foreign policy scene — exactly where it belongs.