Mr. Biden anticipates a strong start to his presidency
Biden’s team, hampered by Trump’s refusal to allow a cooperative peace transition, is preparing a multi-faceted federal campaign against Covid-19 that the selfless Trump has so far been unable to launch.
The president-elect warns that the health situation will get worse before it gets better, but he preaches unity and tries to inspire Americans, scarred by the terrible events of the past 10 months, to come together for a final assault against the virus.
Of all the dangers of this moment, I want you to know, I give you my word, I see the promise, Biden said Friday. Now we are as optimistic about America as I am. We have everything we need, but we have to be prepared. So on Wednesday, we start a new chapter….
Once in office, Biden plans a series of executive actions, including joining the Paris climate accord and lifting the entry ban on citizens of certain predominantly Muslim countries, that will change America’s image in the world.
Trump remained stealthy during his final weekend at the White House, with family members, officials and his legal team coming and going, hinting at a pardon that could affect 100 people on Sunday, according to some sources, but that should not include the highly controversial issue of the pardon.
And in a last-minute move that would make it harder for the Biden administration to undermine Trump’s influence, the National Security Agency agreed to appoint Trump’s National Security Council loyalist Michael Ellis as general counsel. The position is a public service, not a political appointment, one that makes it difficult for Biden to fire Ellis.
Terrifying scenes in the attack on the Video Capitol
While Washington is still traumatized by the attack on Capitol Hill, a shocking new video released by New Yorkers showing the crowd incited by the Trump uprising has provided new evidence of the president’s culpability in the attack on the US government.
Allegations by rioters wearing Make America Great Again caps that they acted at Trump’s behest are likely to be central to Trump’s trial in the Senate, which threatens to dash Biden’s hopes of a quick start to his own presidency.
A new CNN poll released Sunday shows Trump’s toxic legacy will be left behind. Only 19% of Republicans believe Biden was legitimately elected, after weeks of lies from the commander-in-chief and his conservative propagandists that the election was stolen. The lack of a common national truth will hinder Biden’s hopes for a national response to the pandemic and drag the Republican Party into a civil war.
And if recent history is any guide, the final two days of Trump’s presidency will bring even more chaos and challenges to the rule of law before he leaves Washington Wednesday morning for a lavish post-presidential siege in Florida.
We inherited a mess.
The top priority of the Biden administration will be to save the dwindling supply of new vaccines, which promise to finally end a pandemic that has never been more deadly than it is now.
The new White House chief of staff, Ron Clain, told CNN on Sunday: We’ve inherited a huge mess…. but we have a plan to fix it. Biden hopes to introduce 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in two phases in the first 100 days. Currently, the United States has still not received the 20 million doses promised by the Trump team by the end of December because of weak coordination in the states and no federal plan.
Rochelle Walensky, the new director of the Biden Center for Disease Control and Prevention, warned Sunday that the already disastrous effects of the virus will be exacerbated when initial expectations are placed on the new White House.
By mid-February, we expect half a million dead in this country, Walenski told CBS Face the Nation.
Health experts had hoped that the pandemic would reach the peak of its final and most dangerous wave in the coming weeks, and that the number of cases and deaths would decline in the spring. But former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned that a more transmissible variant of the virus would dominate new cases in the coming weeks and keep infection rates high.
The only support against this new option is the fact that by then we will have a lot of infections, so people will have a lot of immunity, and we will vaccinate more people, but that changes the equation, Gottlieb said, also on Face the Nation.
Biden plans to sign an executive order mandating the wearing of masks on federal property and in interstate travel, and encourages all Americans to wear protection for 100 days. But this is one area where Trump’s attempts to undermine Biden’s legitimacy could have deadly consequences, as the new president will have a hard time convincing Americans who mistakenly believe he stole the election.
Soul damaged by Americans
Clain also told CNN that he was confident that the Secret Service and National Guard would keep Wednesday’s inauguration safe, but that he was concerned about possible violence across the country.
I think the events of the last few weeks have shown how damaged America’s soul is and how important it is to repair it. This job starts Wednesday, Clane told Tapper.
Biden will take office with a shadow cabinet without any of his leading candidates having been confirmed by a Republican Senate that has shown no great urgency despite the extreme circumstances. Democrats will take control, as Harris will be able to vote 50-50 in the House for stalled legislation after the two Democrats who won the second round of the Georgia Senate take their seats.
But Trump’s looming lawsuit, which follows his historic second impeachment last week, threatens to further slow the initial momentum of Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic legislation. New Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to create a tribunal that will allow the Senate to do two things at once.
The chief Democratic impeachment officer, Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, told Tapper it would be wrong to give the incumbent a pass, given the seriousness of his actions.
I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that we should set a precedent where a president has two, three or four weeks to try to provoke an armed rebellion against the Union or stage a coup against the Union, and if he succeeds he becomes a dictator, and if he fails he is not subject to impeachment or condemnation because we just want to put the past behind us, Mr. Raskin said in the State of the Union.
Vice President Mike Pence has taken on many of the farewell duties normally assigned to the president in recent days, as Mr Trump refused to give a farewell address, as is his custom. Sunday, in one of his last official speeches as vice president, Pence spoke at Fort Drum, N.Y.
I believe there will come a day when we will leave these difficult times behind and become stronger and better than ever, Pence said.
We will heal our land. He added that we will recover, despite Mr Trump’s denial and mismanagement of the pandemic and his refusal to lead a peaceful transfer of power, which has made this difficult period much worse.