U.S. President-elect Joe Biden provides remarks on the U.S. 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 the seasoned Biden hands, younger Democratic stars like Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and Biden’s 2020 campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon will play important roles in the day-to-day work of Biden’s administration.
Biden also chose at least one of his cabinet members, his finance minister, this week, 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 advisors 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.
However, all of Biden’s outwardly normal, normal 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 disguising the members of state electoral bodies. Part of a larger plan To convince Republican board members in states, he lost it by refusing to confirm the number of votes.
President-elect Joe Biden and Senator-elected Senator Kamala Harris meet with House Spokeswoman 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 was discussing funding for Covid aid with Pelosi and Schumer on Friday, 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 at the center of Trump’s latest plan to hold on to power: a legally dubious move in which state voters would first refuse to confirm the election results and then step in by Republican-controlled lawmakers in those states to nominate voters who would falsely certify Trump had won the majority of the vote.
But even as Trump’s attempts to overthrow the will of voters 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 service continued to deny access to the federal officials who led the pandemic response.
For now, 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, however, appears to live in a different reality 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 gather to officially cast their votes for President and Vice President.
Until then, Americans might be forced to watch reality only in Wilmington while Washington remains trapped in the president’s feverish dream.