President-elect Joe Biden plans to deliver what aides are billing as a “Thanksgiving address” on Wednesday from Wilmington, Del., as his transition to the White House accelerates with appointments of key personnel and meetings between his team and the outgoing administration.
President Trump, meanwhile, reportedly plans to travel to Pennsylvania, where he and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, are expected to join a meeting of state Republican lawmakers examining accusations of election impropriety.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow. But Americans are heading into the holiday season in the midst of a worsening pandemic with no economic aid in sight from a bitterly polarized Washington after Congress left town still bickering about the size of any relief package.
Not only have new relief measures eluded lawmakers as the coronavirus surges, but they’re also facing a Dec. 11 deadline to craft a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown. And they have only a handful of legislative days left on the 2020 calendar to get it all done.
Without a stimulus deal before the end of the year, millions of Americans could face dire consequences, including an end to key economic benefits and to a moratorium on evictions and student loan payments in the waning days of the Trump administration.
Former senator Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), an early supporter of Biden’s bid for the presidency, said she would like to serve as his interior secretary.
“It’s just a natural fit for me,” said Moseley Braun, who became the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate when she was elected to a single term in 1992. In a phone interview Monday, she noted she first became interested in politics after fighting to preserve habitat for the bobolink, a native Illinois bird, in Chicago’s Jackson Park.
Moseley Braun — who became U.S. ambassador to New Zealand at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term — would be an unconventional pick. She has relatively little experience in environmental policy or public lands. And Westerners have occupied the post for more than 120 years, with the single exception of Rogers Morton, who served under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Trump is planning to travel to Pennsylvania on Wednesday to join his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, at a meeting of state Republican lawmakers examining accusations of election impropriety, according to multiple reports.
The trip is not listed on Trump’s schedule for Wednesday issued by the White House, and aides have not publicly confirmed it is happening. But multiple outlets, including CNN and Bloomberg News, have reported that plans are in the works for Trump to travel to the meeting as he continues to contest the election results.
Pennsylvania certified its election results on Tuesday. Biden leads Trump in the state by more than 80,000 votes.
Unfounded allegations of widespread fraud by Trump and allies have been repeatedly rejected in the courts.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), who drew Trump’s ire for his stewardship of the election in his state, disclosed in an op-ed Wednesday that his family voted for Trump — and said they “are now being thrown under the bus by him.”
In the piece published by USA Today, Raffensperger defended the administration of the election in Georgia, a state that has certified the narrow win for Biden, marking the first time a Democrat has carried the state in a race for the White House since 1992.
“By all accounts, Georgia had a wildly successful and smooth election,” Raffensperger wrote. “We finally defeated voting lines and put behind us Fulton County’s now notorious reputation for disastrous elections. This should be something for Georgians to celebrate, whether their favored presidential candidate won or lost. For those wondering, mine lost — my family voted for him, donated to him and are now being thrown under the bus by him.”
In tweets, Trump has referred to Raffensperger as a “so-called Republican” and questioned why more ballots were not disqualified, claiming he would have won Georgia if they had been.
Biden is scheduled to deliver what aides are billing as a “Thanksgiving address” on Wednesday from Wilmington, Del., where he has been conducting his transition to the presidency.
“Biden will discuss the shared sacrifices Americans are making this holiday season and say that we can and will get through the current crisis together,” his transition team said in an advisory.
The address comes a day after the president-elect introduced several key foreign policy and national security officials in Wilmington and stepped up activities following the Trump’s administration’s determination that the transition could formally begin.
On Tuesday, Biden aides held at least 20 meetings with Trump officials and were in active discussions with every federal agency, as well as the White House.
Meanwhile, Biden will begin receiving the President’s Daily Brief, a compilation of the most sensitive information affecting the nation. Secure facilities that Biden’s team has set up in Washington and in Wilmington can now be used to review classified material.
Biden has introduced the bulk of his national security Cabinet, but he did not include the Defense Department in his rollout this week amid questions about whether he has settled on longtime defense expert Michèle Flournoy as his Pentagon chief.
Flournoy’s name has been considered at the top of Biden’s list to run the nation’s largest security agency, with frequent mention that she would be the first female secretary of defense.
Her prominence served to highlight the absence of a Pentagon nominee during an event in Delaware on Tuesday that included Biden’s picks for secretary of state, intelligence director, chief of homeland security and United Nations ambassador, as well as White House national security adviser.
After years seemingly at the center of every major political fight in Washington, the Justice Department is about to get new leadership, and Biden’s choice for attorney general will have to balance competing demands within his party on thorny issues of civil rights, the environment and the department’s traditional independence from politicians.
Most senior Democrats and former Justice Department officials agree a top contender for the position is Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general whose tenure stretched from 2015 to the early, tumultuous days of the Trump administration. Other names under consideration include Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), former homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson, former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and former White House adviser Lisa Monaco.
MARIETTA, Ga. — There were dozens of Jon Ossoff signs at the rally outside the Cobb County Civic Center, but the touring campaign bus, the bulk of the applause and the final words belonged to the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who used them to boost two Democratic Senate campaigns.
“Georgia is positioned to do a marvelous thing,” Warnock told the crowd. “Send a young Jewish man, the son of immigrants, who sat at the feet of Congressman John Lewis, and a kid who grew up in the public housing projects of Savannah, Georgia, the pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, to the United States Senate at the same time.”
Two weeks into the extraordinary runoff races that will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate, Warnock and Ossoff have combined their efforts to try to win Georgia’s pair of Senate seats. Their names are stacked together on yard signs; they’ve called each other “brother” at joint campaign appearances. But it is Warnock who is animating the Democratic base — and the Republican opposition.
“ ‘In Wisconsin, somebody has to be indefinitely confined in order to vote absentee. In the past there were 20,000 people. This past election there were 120,000…and Republicans were locked out of the vote counting process.’ @VicToensing @newsmax”
— President Trump, in a tweet, Nov. 24
Every part of this is false, proving once again why none of Trump’s claims about election fraud should be given any credence.
When Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, he will face a fundamental challenge unlike any incoming president before him: tens of millions of Americans who doubt his legitimacy and question the stability of the country’s democratic traditions — in part because of his predecessor’s unprecedented attempt to set both ablaze before leaving office.
For the past three weeks, as Trump has refused to concede the election, the federal government, the Trump campaign legal team and whole swaths of the Republican Party have worked in tandem to interfere with the peaceful transition of power.
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