Biden defiant against party 'elites' and Hurricane Beryl leaves 7 dead: Morning Rundown

A draft Republican policy platform softens the party’s position on abortion and same-sex marriage. Millions of Texans wake up without power after Hurricane Beryl hits. And a prolific sperm donor lambasts a new Netflix documentary series about him. 

Here’s what to know today.

Biden takes jabs at Democratic Party elites and hardens his commitment to stay in the race

Joe Biden’s defiance against calls to drop his re-election bid is growing more intense, with the president speaking out against those he calls the Democratic Party’s “elites” and insisting in a call with donors that he’s not going anywhere.

I’m getting so frustrated by the elites in the party. … They know so much more,” Biden said mockingly in an interview yesterday on MSNBC. “If any of these guys don’t think I should run, run against me. Go ahead. Announce for president — challenge me at the convention!”

Biden’s unwavering commitment to staying in the presidential race was also reiterated in a phone call with donors, during which he said he is solely focused on beating former President Donald Trump in November.

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Meanwhile, lawmakers on recess for the summer have returned to Washington since Biden’s shaky debate performance to have face-to-face discussions about his viability and what would happen if he were to drop out.

Biden’s current posture of defiance is rooted in his and his inner circle’s conviction that many of those calling for his ouster were never firmly behind him to begin with, multiple people familiar with their thinking said. The president has called the pushback against him a distraction. Some Democrats are also starting to echo the idea that the infighting will hurt their chances in November.

Read the full story here.

More Joe Biden coverage:

Two big changes in the Republican Party’s platform

A new draft policy platform from the Republican Party softened the party’s positions on abortion and same-sex. The draft was passed yesterday at a closed-door meeting, ahead of next week’s Republican National Convention. The much shorter platform (16 pages, down from the current 60-page document) represents Trump’s vision for the party, his advisers said.

On abortion, the party appears set to abandon its decadeslong push for a federal ban, with the proposed platform language saying the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment offers protections for life at conception. Previously, the GOP supported a “human life amendment.” On same-sex marriage, new policy does not include mention of “one man and one woman,” as it previously did, a change that social conservatives opposed. Review other notable changes in the GOP’s platform, from immigration to a new section for parental rights in education.

The draft party platform now must get approval from the full Republican National Committee.

Beryl leaves 7 dead, at least 2 million without power

damage in texas from hurricane beryl (Getty Images; AP; Retuers)damage in texas from hurricane beryl (Getty Images; AP; Retuers)

damage in texas from hurricane beryl (Getty Images; AP; Retuers)

What was once Hurricane Beryl weakened overnight to a tropical depression, but more than 21 million people remain under flood watches this morning, from Arkansas to Michigan as it continues to moves northeast.

At least three people have died in Texas after Beryl made landfall early Monday as a Category 1 hurricane. Parts of the Gulf Coast and Houston flooded, and millions of people were without electricity. CenterPoint Energy, Houston’s primary electricity provider, said it hopes to restore power to nearly 1 million customers by tomorrow.

A vehicle is left abandoned in floodwater in Houston. (Brandon Bell / Getty Images)A vehicle is left abandoned in floodwater in Houston. (Brandon Bell / Getty Images)

A vehicle is left abandoned in floodwater in Houston. (Brandon Bell / Getty Images)

Prolific sperm donor slams Netflix docuseries

Jonathan Meijer, a prolific sperm donor who is the subject of Netflix’s new docuseries “The Man With 1000 Kids,” lambasted the show’s portrayal of him as a “serial donor.” Within days of the docuseries’ premiere last week, Meijer posted videos on YouTube addressing the claims made in the show.

Jonathan Jacob Meijer in The Man With 1000 Children. (Courtesy Netflix)Jonathan Jacob Meijer in The Man With 1000 Children. (Courtesy Netflix)

Jonathan Jacob Meijer in The Man With 1000 Children. (Courtesy Netflix)

For example, he said he fathered 550 children — not the 1,000 as the title suggested. The documentary also alleges Meijer lied to many families about the number of offspring he produced. While he chose to stop giving out an estimate of the number of children he had helped create, Meijer said he “technically” didn’t lie and “followed the guidelines” of other international sperm banks. He denied several other claims made in the series.

Now, Meijer said, he is in the process of suing Netflix.

A triple jumper’s heartfelt pre-competition ritual

Salif Mane lands while competing (Charlie Neibergall / AP)Salif Mane lands while competing (Charlie Neibergall / AP)

Salif Mane lands while competing (Charlie Neibergall / AP)

When Salif Mane goes for the gold in the triple jump at the Paris Olympics, he’ll perform the same ritual he did when he won a spot last month on the U.S. track and field team: He will listen — and relisten — to the voicemails his father left him a few months before he died from Covid. They’re words of encouragement, Mane said, and when he hears the messages, “I feel like he’s with me.” The 22-year-old New Yorker, who recently graduated college with a degree in civil engineering, talked to NBC News about his childhood in the Bronx and his path to the Olympics, including becoming his university’s “most decorated student-athlete.”More Olympics highlights:

Politics in Brief

NATO summit: The prospect of Trump’s return to the White House is casting a shadow over this week’s NATO summit, leaving some European allies worried over the future of aid to Ukraine.

Presidential immunity: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he is eyeing a new bill in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump’s favor.

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Staff Pick: Mask bans are growing in popularity, but some critics say they are a ‘dog whistle’ to quell protests

A growing number of elected officials around the U.S. are voicing their support for mask bans after months of intense, and sometimes violent, demonstrations over the Israel-Hamas war. Proponents say a ban would help law enforcement identify criminals, while opponents argue it would have a “chilling effect” on protests. I traveled to Philadelphia earlier this year to report on how the city’s controversial ski mask ban was being enforced. Now, I’m diving deeper into how similar mask bans may play out in other parts of the country. — Marquise Francis, “Stay Tuned” correspondent

NBC Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Insects aren’t just annoying for humans; they’re also a problem for pets. Veterinarians share tips on how to get rid of fleas. Plus, see the best food for puppies and for kittens, as well as which ingredients to avoid.

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