The first business day since a decision had been called in the 2020 presidential election was a busy one for many people on the nation’s political scene. Here is a look at what happened in and around Washington, DC as government officials look to get back to work following the contentious election season.
Biden Names COVID-19 Task Force: Not surprisingly, the first order of business for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the nation hitting 10 million confirmed cases on Monday, the team does not want to waste any time addressing this pressing issue. As such, Biden’s camp announced the newly appointed Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board.Read More »
Other notable members appointed to the board are Obamacare advisor Dr. Zeke Emanuel, bestselling author Dr. Atul Gawande, and former Donald Trump administrator and immunology and virology expert, Dr. Rick Bright.
Biden said that he will lean on this advisory board to guide his decisions about public policy regarding the containment of the virus. The president-elect has been vocal that he will turn to science and the experts to shape his response to the health crisis when he takes office on January 20.
Trump Turns Up Election Fraud Rhetoric: It has been more than two days since Biden took the stage in Wilmington, Delaware, to deliver his emotional acceptance speech. However, Trump has still refused to concede the race, choosing to instead focus on his allegations of a fraudulent election. On Monday, Trump’s campaign announced two new lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The camp claims that witnesses are alleging multiple instances of voter fraud.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a press briefing on Monday in which she implored Trump’s supporters to be patient while the campaign further investigates these instances of alleged irregularities. Opponents of the president contend that even if the campaign can turn up some instances of voter irregularities, it will not be enough to affect the final outcome of the election.
As of Monday evening, the states of Alaska, North Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia are still too close to call. Trump is leading in Alaska and North Carolina with Biden holding the edge in Arizona and Georgia. If these leads hold, the final electoral vote tally will show Biden with 306 and Trump with 232.
Key Agency Not Recognizing Biden’s Win: Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that a key government agency has not yet recognized Biden’s victory. The Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator, Emily W. Murphy, has not recognized the transition, holding up the ability of Biden and his team to move forward.
It is Murphy’s responsibility to formally affirm on behalf of the Trump camp that Biden has indeed won the election. By signing this letter of acknowledgment, the appropriate funds will be released to Biden and his transition team so that they can get to the business of setting up their administration. This acknowledgment is also needed to access the national security tools needed for background checks and funds for training the president-elect’s new staff.
On the line waiting for Murphy’s decision is $9.9 million allocated for post-election services. This figure includes $6.3 million for the incoming administration as well as $1 million for the orientation and training of Biden’s incoming staff. Lastly, these funds are also set to deliver $2.6 million for outgoing services.
President Fires Secretary of Defense: Despite being a lame-duck president, Trump is still shaking up his cabinet. On Monday, Trump took to Twitter to announce the he was relieving Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, of his duties effective immediately. Esper will be replaced in a temporary capacity by Christopher Miller, currently serving as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Shortly before Trump made the announcement, Esper was informed that he would be let go by the president’s chief of staff. The dismissal comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the often contentious relationship between the government officials that serve in the capacity of national security. It was reported that Esper prepared a letter of resignation weeks ago in anticipation of being forced to leave his post.
White House Adds to COVID-19 Case Count: Just days after it was revealed that Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had tested positive, it became known that additional White House staffers were also coming down with the virus. The most well-known of these figures is the Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Ben Carson. In addition to Carson, at least four more individuals in Trump’s immediate circle have tested positive for the virus on Monday. Both Carson and Meadows reportedly attended the same election night party at the White House last Tuesday night.
Looking Ahead to Tuesday: The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments that focus on overturning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Tuesday. In response, Biden will deliver remarks regarding his support of former President Barack Obama’s landmark health care legislation. Biden will deliver his remarks at 2 pm ET in Wilmington with Harris at his side. While the court is officially hearing the case on Tuesday, it will be months before there is a decision
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