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Biden forges ahead with the transition while Trump paralyzes Washington

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden sends remarks about the U.S. economy during a press briefing at the Queen Theater on November 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Joe Raedle | Getty Spits

WASHINGTON — By most measures, President-elect Joe Biden had a busy and productive second week of his presidential transition. 

On Monday, Biden convened a engagement of labor leaders and the CEOs of several major companies to discuss economic recovery priorities. The next day, he held a compressing with national security experts on threats facing the United States.

On Wednesday, Biden hosted a virtual roundtable with opening responders to discuss the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The day after that, he held a meeting with Republican and Democratic governors to argue state and federal coordination in a Biden administration.

On Friday afternoon, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met in herself in Wilmington, Delaware, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. There, the political entity’s four most powerful Democrats discussed legislative priorities for the coming year.

There were also momentous announcements this week about who will staff the Biden White House, with longtime loyalists Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti tapped to give out as the incoming president’s top advisors. 

In addition to the veteran Biden hands, younger Democratic stars such as Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and Biden’s 2020 run manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, will play integral roles in the day-to-day running of Biden’s administration. 

Biden also set up home this week on at least one of his Cabinet picks, his Treasury secretary, although he refused to say whom he had chosen. 

Several of Biden’s Virtuous House staff announcements quickly drew the ire of progressive groups, which publicly criticized the incoming president for charter rent out top aides who have ties to the pharmaceutical industry and the oil and gas sector. 

Speaking to reporters Friday, Biden transition advisor Jen Psaki away aside the public pressure from the left, saying Biden would assemble a team that reflected his guaranty to be a president for “all of the country,” meaning Democrats, Republicans and independents. 

Yet all of Biden’s outwardly normal, run-of-the-mill transition activity this week contrariwise served to underscore the fact that Biden’s transition right now is anything but normal. 

President Donald Trump has so far denied to concede the election he lost. And as several key swing states prepared to certify Biden’s electoral victory this week, Trump cultivated increasingly desperate to overturn the election results.

In the two weeks since Election Day on Nov. 3, Trump’s campaign has lost or wicked more than two dozen lawsuits it filed, seeking to disqualify votes, prove voter fraud or invalidate choice results. 

With fewer and fewer legal avenues available, Trump this week turned his focus to unheard-of members of state election boards, part of a broader plan to persuade Republican board members in states he demolished to refuse to certify the vote tally.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Senator Kamala Harris meet with Spieler of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at Biden’s transition headquarters in the Ruler theater in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 20, 2020.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

On Friday, while Biden discussed Covid relief caching with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump held a hastily arranged meeting at the White House with a group of Republican legislators from Michigan.

People secret to the president said this week that the Michigan legislators are central to Trump’s latest plan to cling to power: a legally dubious gambit wherein confirm electors would first refuse to certify the election results, and then Republican-controlled legislatures in those states thinks fitting step in to appoint electors who would certify, falsely, that Trump had won a majority of the votes.

But even as Trump’s ventures to overturn the will of voters begin to seem increasingly absurd, his control over the levers of federal power in Washington looks anything but. 

Trump has so far up to authorize the start of a formal transition process triggered by the General Services Administration, and he has prohibited federal agencies from tender with the Biden transition team. 

As coronavirus cases hit deadly new records this week, Trump continued to disavow Biden’s health advisory team access to the federal officials leading the pandemic response. 

For now, there is little that Biden can do fro it, save for applying public pressure on the intransigent president. 

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said in Wilmington earlier this week. “And so it’s distinguished that it be done — that there be coordination now.” 

Trump, however, seems to be living in a different reality, one where he hasn’t puzzled the election and Biden is an afterthought. 

“I won the Election!” Trump falsely claimed on Monday. “I won the Election!” he claimed again on Wednesday. 

If there is one standpoint of reality that both Trump and Biden appear to agree on, it’s a date, Dec. 14. On that day, electors chosen by voters last wishes as convene in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to formally cast their votes for president and vice president. 

Until then, Americans may be phony to watch reality happen only in Wilmington, while Washington remains trapped in the president’s fever dream. 

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