Live updates: Biden to introduce health team members; Trump to tout progress on vaccines – The Washington Post

Live updates: Biden to introduce health team members; Trump to tout progress on vaccines – The Washington Post

President-elect Joe Biden plans to stage an event Tuesday in Wilmington, Del., to introduce members of his health team as he continues to build his incoming administration. He has pledged to announce his nominations for two other marquee jobs — including attorney general — by the end of the week.

President Trump, who continues to insist he won the election, plans an appearance at a White House “vaccine summit” to tout his administration’s efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s what to know:
  • Trump called the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives twice during the past week to make an extraordinary request for help reversing his loss in the state.
  • Biden plans to tap retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III to be secretary of defense, according to three officials familiar with the decision. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black Pentagon chief.
  • Today is “safe harbor” day. Under federal law, every state is expected to have made its election results official by the end of the day, setting up Biden for an electoral college victory next week.
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Warp Speed’s Slaoui says he looks forward to working with Biden team on vaccine distribution, confirms Thursday meeting

By John Wagner

Moncef Slaoui, the top scientist for Operation Warp Speed, the effort launched under Trump to speed the availability of coronavirus vaccines, said Tuesday that he is looking forward to “sharing all information and working together” with the Biden transition team at a meeting later this week.

Slaoui, appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” confirmed a meeting planned for Thursday.

“We look forward to sharing all information and working together,” he said. “Our objective has always been outside of politics and making sure we make available these vaccines for the U.S. people, and that’s what we’re doing.”

His comments come as Trump continues to falsely insist he won the election and plans an event Tuesday to tout his administration’s progress on vaccines.

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Analysis: LGBTQ+ Caucus wants to see more representation in Biden administration

By Jacqueline Alemany

Biden has pledged the “most diverse” Cabinet in U.S. history. But the congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus released a letter Monday night expressing concern that LGBTQ+ representation is insufficient at the highest levels of American government.

“While your administration is on track to be the most diverse in American history, we ask that you continue your commitment to diversity by ensuring LGBTQ+ professionals are included in your Cabinet and throughout your administration. The fact is that the LGBTQ+ community remains underrepresented at the highest levels of our government, said a letter addressed to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris from the nine caucus co-chairs obtained by The Washington Post.

The caucus, however, has notched some wins already, as the transition team has appointed several LGBTQ+ nominees to high-profile roles in the Biden-Harris administration, including in the communications shop and as White House social secretary.

12:31 p.m.
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More than 1,500 lawyers sign open letter condemning conduct of Trump legal team

By John Wagner

The efforts of Trump’s legal team to reverse the election results have been condemned by more than 1,500 lawyers, who in an open letter urge the American Bar Association to investigate the conduct of the legal team, including its leader, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“President Trump’s barrage of litigation is a pretext for a campaign to undermine public confidence in the outcome of the 2020 election, which inevitably will subvert constitutional democracy,” the letter says. “Sadly, the President’s primary agents and enablers in this effort are lawyers, obligated by their oath and ethical rules to uphold the rule of law.”

The signers include former ABA presidents, state bar presidents, retired federal judges, retired state Supreme Court justices and others. The letter was coordinated by Lawyers Defending American Democracy, a nonpartisan group.

Besides Giuliani, the letter also questions the conduct of current and former Trump legal team members Joseph diGenova, Jenna Ellis, Victoria Toensing and Sidney Powell.

12:30 p.m.
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Trump to tout administration accomplishments at White House ‘vaccine summit’

By John Wagner and Laurie McGinley

Trump, who continues to insist he won the election, plans to participate Tuesday in a White House “vaccine summit” designed to highlight the administration’s accomplishments in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the proceedings, Trump is expected to sign an executive order that would prioritize vaccinating Americans before providing doses to other countries. Fox News first reported the executive order.

“The executive order reaffirms to the American people that we are going to put America first,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Operation Warp Speed’s top scientist, Moncef Slaoui, said during an appearance Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he was not familiar with Trump’s plans.

“Frankly, I don’t know, and frankly, I’m staying out of this,” he said when asked about reports of the executive order. “I don’t know what this order is about.”

Trump’s afternoon appearance at the summit is the only public event he has scheduled on Tuesday. He has kept a light schedule since Election Day, as he and his allies seek to reverse the election results.

12:09 p.m.
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With arrival of ‘safe harbor’ day, Trump’s efforts to reverse election results hit new hurdle

By John Wagner

Trump’s efforts to reverse the election results run into a new hurdle Tuesday, known as “safe harbor” day under federal law.

The 1887 law sets a deadline of six days before the convening of the electoral college for states to certify their election results. While the deadline is not mandatory, the law prohibits Congress from undoing the results of states that have met the deadline.

As of Monday night, 47 states and the District of Columbia had already certified their results, according to Reuters. Those states give Biden far more than enough votes to win the presidency when the electoral college casts its votes next week.

Once all states certify, Biden is expected to have 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232.

While Trump can continue to press legal challenges, judges are now far more likely to say it’s too late.

11:47 a.m.
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Biden to introduce health team, meet virtually with civil rights leaders

By John Wagner

Biden plans to stage an event Tuesday in Wilmington, Del., where he will introduce recently announced members of his health team, including California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, his nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

The event will be in keeping with a pattern. In recent weeks, Biden has appeared alongside nominees for economic posts and national security posts after announcing their nominations in news releases.

Following the event, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris are scheduled to meet virtually with civil rights leaders, according to his transition team. That meeting has been advertised as closed to the press.

Leaders of several groups have been pushing Biden to consider diversity as he names the marquee players in his administration.

11:40 a.m.
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Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin would be the first Black Pentagon chief

By Seung Min Kim, Annie Linskey, Dan Lamothe and John Hudson

WILMINGTON, Del. — Biden plans to tap retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III to be secretary of defense, according to three officials familiar with the decision. If confirmed, Austin would be the first Black Pentagon chief.

Austin, 67, rose to become a four-star general in the Army and retired in 2016 as the chief of U.S. Central Command, a role from which he oversaw U.S. military operations across the Middle East for three years. His tenure there included overseeing the U.S.-led military intervention to stop the rise of the Islamic State, which began seizing cities in Iraq in 2014.

11:36 a.m.
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Biden’s CDC pick: ‘We are ready to combat this virus with science and facts’

By Lena H. Sun

Biden’s choice to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a widely respected infectious-diseases specialist regarded as a strong communicator unafraid to speak her mind, qualities critical to returning the beleaguered public health agency to its traditional front-line role and to bringing the pandemic under control.

But while Rochelle Walensky’s research has long had a public health focus, she has never run a government agency or organization as large and complex as the CDC.

Walensky, 51, heads the infectious-diseases department at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the nation’s storied medical centers, and is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“I began my medical career at the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and I’ve spent my life ever since working to research, treat, and combat infectious diseases,” she wrote on Twitter. “I’m honored to be called to lead the brilliant team at the CDC. We are ready to combat this virus with science and facts.”

11:32 a.m.
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Analysis: Trump’s Arab allies are already testing Biden

By Ishaan Tharoor

It may be an uncomfortable time for leaders in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo.

For half a decade, Trump made no bones about his Middle East agenda. He scrapped U.S. commitments to his predecessor’s deal with Iran and yoked his strategy to that of Israel as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — oil-rich Arab monarchies that had also been unnerved by the United States’ overtures to Tehran.

Published at Tue, 08 Dec 2020 13:37:04 +0000

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