Biden is driving the transition whereas Trump cripples Washington


US President-elect Joe Biden provides remarks on the US economy during a press conference at the Queen Theater on November 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – After most of the action, President-elect Joe Biden had a busy and productive second week of his presidential change.

On Monday, Biden called a meeting of union leaders and CEOs from several large companies to discuss economic recovery priorities. The next day, he held a briefing with national security experts on threats to the United States.

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

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

This week there were also important announcements about who will occupy the White House in Biden. Long-time loyalists Mike Donilon and Steve Ricchetti acted as top advisors to the new president.

In addition to Biden's seasoned hands, younger Democratic stars like Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and Jen O & # 39; Malley Dillon, Biden's 2020 campaign manager, will play an important role in the day-to-day work of Biden's administration.

Biden also chose at least one of his cabinet members this week, his finance minister, despite refusing to say who he elected.

Several announcements by White House staff in Biden quickly caught the ire of progressive groups who publicly criticized the new president for hiring top aides with ties to the pharmaceutical and oil and gas sectors.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Biden transition adviser Jen Psaki brushed aside public pressure from the left, saying Biden would assemble a team that reflected his promise to be president for "the whole country" that is Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

But all of Biden's outwardly normal, habitual transition activities this week have only underscored the fact that Biden's transition is far from normal at the moment.

President Donald Trump has so far refused to allow the lost elections. And as several major swing states prepared to confirm Biden's election victory this week, Trump became increasingly desperate to reverse the election results.

In the two weeks since election day on November 3, Trump's campaign has lost or abandoned more than two dozen lawsuits filed to disqualify votes, prove electoral fraud, or invalidate election results.

With fewer and fewer legal options available, Trump this week focused on covering up members of state electoral bodies. This was part of a larger plan to convince Republican board members in states he had lost to refuse to confirm the number of votes.

President-elect Joe Biden and Senator-elected Senator Kamala Harris meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at Biden's interim headquarters at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, November 20, 2020.

Tom Brenner | Reuters

While Biden spoke with Pelosi and Schumer on Friday about funding Covid aid, Trump held a hastily arranged meeting with a group of Michigan Republican lawmakers in the White House.

People close to the president said this week that Michigan lawmakers are central to Trump's latest plan to hold on to power: a legally dubious move in which state voters refuse to confirm the election results first, and then the Republican-controlled lawmakers in those states would keep pace to appoint voters who would falsely confirm that Trump won a majority of the vote.

But even as Trump's attempts to overthrow the will of the electorate seem increasingly absurd, his control over the levers of federal power in Washington looks far from good.

Trump has so far refused to approve the start of a formal transition process triggered by the General Services Administration and has banned federal agencies from communicating with the Biden transition team.

As coronavirus cases hit deadly new records this week, Trump Biden's health advisory team continued to deny access to the federal officials who led the pandemic response.

At the moment there is little Biden can do about it other than public pressure on the adamant president.

"More people could die if we don't coordinate," Biden said in Wilmington earlier this week. "And so it is important that it is done – that there is coordination now."

Trump seems to live in a different reality, however, where he didn't lose 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's one aspect of reality that Trump and Biden seem to agree on, it is a date, December 14th. On that day, voter-elected voters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will come together to officially cast their votes for President and Vice President.

Until then, Americans may be forced to watch reality only in Wilmington while Washington remains trapped in the president's feverish dream.


Katherine Clark