A series of firsts will happen this week while the transition team of President-elect Joe Biden pushes forward. In addition to finally being privy to matters of national security, Biden and his team are also making significant strides in assembling the Cabinet and other staff members.
President’s Daily Brief: Biden received his first President’s Daily Brief on Monday. This briefing is a collection of short-term and long-term security threats to the nation put together by the intelligence community. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will also now receive the same briefing. Because of her status as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Harris was privy to a greater amount of classified intelligence than Biden prior to Monday’s report being delivered to the incoming president.Read More »
White House Communications Team Announced: Over the weekend, the Biden transition team announced the major players in the White House senior communications team. The staff is entirely comprised of females, a nod to Biden’s commitment to elevating women into the highest positions in the government. The former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki was tapped in the role of press secretary.
Another key position went to Kate Bedingfield, hired to serve as the White House communications director. Previously, Bedingfield had been close with Biden serving as his deputy campaign manager. Additional members on this team include Pili Tobar in the role of deputy White House communications director, Karine Jean-Pierre as principal deputy press secretary, Symone Sanders as a senior adviser as well as the chief spokesperson for the vice president, Ashley Etienne in the role of communications director for the vice president, and Elizabeth Alexander serving as the communications director for first lady Jill Biden.
Biden Breaks Foot: The incoming president was playing with his dog on Saturday when he fell and injured his right foot. After being checked out by the doctor on Sunday, it was determined that Biden had sustained a minor hairline fracture. While the initial x-rays did not reveal the break, the more detailed CT scan confirmed the tiny fracture. As a result of the injury, Biden will likely have to wear a walking boot for a few weeks.
Inauguration Plans Underway: Despite COVID-19 permeating nearly every corner of the country, Biden’s transition team is still hopeful that they can safely pull off some semblance of a normal inauguration. As set forth by the US Constitution, Inauguration Day is scheduled for January 20. The transfer of power will happen at noon when Biden takes the official oath of office.
On Monday, the transition team announced the official inauguration planning committee. This team is responsible for all of the fundraising and organizing efforts of all of the events surrounding the inauguration. Tony Allen will head up the team, serving as chief executive officer. Allen is currently the president of Delaware State University and has also served as a Biden speechwriter during his days in the Senate.
Clearly, this will be an inauguration like no other. The team has repeatedly stressed that safety will be the primary concern going into the event. While the construction of the parade platform is already happening, Biden’s staff has said that they are prepping for a different type of event than has been held in the past. A much smaller scene will be the most difference that viewers notice. In addition, attendees will most likely be required to wear masks and follow the proper social distancing protocols. The nation should expect a scene similar to Biden’s drive-in campaign rallies. Because Biden is 78 years old, protecting his health will also be a primary concern.
Although there is still uncertainty surrounding whether the traditional choir will perform at the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, officials have confirmed that The Marine Band is still scheduled to perform. This band has played at every inauguration since 1801.
Arizona and Wisconsin Certify Election for Biden: In another blow to Trump’s legal efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the November 3 election, the state of Arizona officially certified its votes on Monday. As a result of the certification, the state’s 11 electoral votes will formally go to Biden. This certification also creates the avenue for Senator-elect Mark Kelly to be sworn in this week. The Democrat defeated incumbent Republican Martha McSally in the state’s contentious senate race.
Trump and his legal team did not give up in their fight to delay the certification process. Attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis were both in the state meeting with Republican colleagues in the state’s legislature to try to prevent the process of certification. According to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Biden won the state by 10,457 votes.
Just a few hours after Arizona certified the election, the state of Wisconsin did the same. Wisconsin’s election results were formalized by the chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Ann Jacobs. As a result of the certification, all of the state’s 10 electoral votes went to Biden, who squeaked a narrow victory of just over 20,000 votes.
Despite these additional roadblocks, Trump is still refusing to concede the election. All of the states are required to certify their election results prior to December 8. The Electoral College will then meet on December 14 to cast their votes and close out the process.
White House Decor Pays Tribute to Frontline and Essential Workers: One thing that has remained constant this year is the official unveiling of the White House Christmas decorations. Boasting a theme of “America the Beautiful,” the decor was unveiled on Monday to the media.
Over 125 volunteers worked over the weekend to set up the displays scattered throughout the entirety of the White House grounds. According to the office of Melania Trump, the decorations include over 100 wreaths, 62 trees, over 3,000 twinkling lights, more than 17,000 bows, and various types of foliage and floral arrangements representing all 50 states. The theme pays tribute to essential and frontline workers, including a light-up post office, ornaments featuring a nurse’s hat and lab coats, and more.
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