Thursday | September 23rd, 2021

It’s Thursday, September 23rd, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast here.

1) Biden’s Foreign Policy Woes Continue

The Topline: While facing multiple ongoing crises both domestically and internationally, President Joe Biden spoke to the United Nations General Assembly for the first time as president earlier this week.

Quote Of The Day:

“Joe Biden walked into the United Nations today and put a giant ‘kick me’ sign on Uncle Sam’s back.”

– Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

The Speech

In his address, Biden criticized China for their human rights abuses and dangerous rhetoric, without mentioning the country by name. 

The speech also focused on COVID-19 and climate change, and pushed the idea that working together – along with significant American financial support – is the way to address the world’s problems. 

Biden celebrated the end of war in Afghanistan, though he failed to mention the Americans, green card holders, and Afghan allies still trapped in the country.


Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, said the speech “ignored the reality and seriousness of America’s threats and enemies,” noting how Biden failed to mention China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea.

Boris Johnson 

After his U.N. address, Biden met with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where the two discussed Northern Ireland, climate change, and Afghanistan.

Afterwards, Biden downplayed the chances of a U.K.-U.S. trade deal, which remains a priority for the U.K. government following the aftermath of Brexit.

White House staff also created controversy when they ordered reporters to leave after Johnson asked if the pair could answer questions from journalists.


The Taliban has asked to address world leaders at the U.N. headquarters in New York City.

The request will be considered by a credentials committee, whose members include the U.S., China and Russia. However, it’s unlikely a decision will be made until the end of this session, meaning Afghanistan’s current ambassador will remain in place, despite the fact that the Taliban said he “no longer represents Afghanistan.”

Jane Gershovich/ISI Photos/Contributor/Getty Images

2) Female Athletes File Brief Supporting Abortion

The Topline: More than 500 female athletes have filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reject a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Quote Of The Day:

“All of the Amici have exercised, relied on the availability of, or support the constitutional right to abortion care in order to meet the demands of their sport and unleash their athletic potential.” 

– “Amici” Brief, signed by female athletes in support of abortion

The Law

On December 1st, the Supreme Court will hear the case of the Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Legal experts say the ruling could set a precedent to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The Brief

On Monday, over 500 women — including U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe — called on the Supreme Court to strike down the law in an amicus brief as part of the Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health case. Signers of the brief included 73 professional athletes, 26 Olympians, and 276 college athletes.

The brief argued the “enormous success” of women’s sports has been assisted by abortion. 

It includes numerous statements, including one from Captain of the 1992 Olympic swim team and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Crissy Perham, who said she had an abortion in college. 

She said she “wasn’t ready to be a mom, and having an abortion felt like I was given a second chance at life. I was able to take control of my future and refocus my priorities.” 

Perham went on to discuss the success she had in her professional career after having her abortion, including becoming an Olympian and eventually a mother. 

Megan Rapinoe said the U.S. is “trying to deny us control over our bodies,” which she said is “un-American” and “infuriating.”

The Bottom Line: The brief says men and women have a short window to “achieve their greatest athletic potential,” and not allowing women to have abortions could negatively impact their careers and economic futures.

Octavio Jones/Stringer/Getty Images

3) New Details In The Murder Of Gabby Petito

The Topline: In a case that has gained national attention, the remains of 22 year-old Gabby Petito were discovered at a national park near Grand Teton, Wyoming, and the main person-of-interest, her fiancé Brian Laundrie, is still on the run. 

Quote Of The Day:

“I’d like to report a domestic dispute… We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl… And then we stopped, they ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”

– 9-1-1 Call


Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were travel bloggers with a fairly large social media following, documenting their outdoor adventures and road trips on YouTube and Instagram. 

Since June, the couple had been on a cross country trip, living out of Gabby’s van, and uploading videos and photos of themselves. Two months into the trip, on August 12th, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a 911 call regarding a domestic dispute involving the couple.

When police tracked them down, Gabby told them she was the aggressor and downplayed any violence from Brian, saying she had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so police let them go, and the pair went on with their trip.

Gabby Goes Missing 

The last contact Petito had with anyone was a call with her mother on August 25th. She told her mom they’d be traveling up to Grand Teton and Yellowstone in Wyoming, which is where law enforcement say Petito went missing. 

On September 1st, Brian Laundrie returned to his family’s home in Florida without Gabby. 

When she was reported missing by her family on September 11th, Brian offered no answers as to where she was, and two days after being named a “person of interest” in the case, he disappeared, setting off a massive manhunt in Florida. 

Police have concentrated the search in a nature reserve in Sarasota County, but authorities say it could be difficult to find him as he’s an experienced hiker and outdoorsmen.

National Interest

Petito and Laundrie were fairly popular on social media, and their lives were incredibly well documented in videos and pictures online. 

MSNBC host Joy Reid said race played a role in the nationwide attention given to the case, calling it “missing white woman syndrome.”

Darrian Traynor/Stringer/Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Debt Ceiling

The U.S. House passed legislation on Tuesday to raise the debt ceiling with zero Republican votes. The measure, which will fund the government through early December, faces an uphill battle in the Senate, because Republicans have vowed not to support it.

Australia Protests

Violence broke out again in Australia this week over vaccine mandates. On Wednesday, police in Melbourne fired rubber bullets and tear gas at citizens protesting mandates for construction workers. The crackdown took place after around 400 people rallied at a war memorial on the third straight day of protests.

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