Biden plans transition as Trump denies election loss

Ben Carson tests positive for Covid-19

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has tested positive for Covid-19, a department spokesperson confirmed to NBC News on Monday.

It’s unclear when Carson, 69, tested positive and whether he has symptoms. 

Carson, a retired physician, was among the more than a hundred people who attended Trump’s election night party at the White House last Tuesday. Since then, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and other White House aides have also tested positive for the disease caused by the coronavirus.  

WHO chief warns of ‘misguided nationalism’ as he congratulates Biden

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, on Monday warned that “creeping tides of misguided nationalism” have eroded world unity as he congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election win.

Speaking virtually during a speech at the health body’s World Health Assembly, Tedros promised to work “very closely” with the Biden administration. 

“We need to reimagine leadership, built on mutual trust and mutual accountability – to end the pandemic and address the fundamental inequalities that lie at the root of so many of the world’s problems,” he said. 

Tedros has been criticized by President Donald Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the WHO and cut off U.S. funding earlier this year, accusing it of failing to confront China, where the virus first emerged, over its initial response to the coronavirus outbreak.

With Harris as VP, South Asian women see an opening into politics

Mikyung Lee / for NBC News

After Joe Biden was projected to have won the presidency Saturday morning, Kamala Harris is set to become the next vice president of the U.S., making her the first Asian American, the first Black person and the first woman to hold the office. For many South Asians across the country, it’s a historic win that has the potential to open doors for others like them.

Harris’ political journey — she was the first person of Indian origin elected attorney general of California and to the Senate —will have an important impact on all women, particularly South Asian women, said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who was head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the Obama administration.

“It is also an important beginning for my young sons and for children of color across our country, who have a role model in her and are watching the doors of America open wider for them,” said Gupta, whose parents immigrated from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Read the story.

Ossoff challenges Perdue to three TV debates ahead of expected runoff election

The Democratic Senate nominee in Georgia, Jon Ossoff, on Monday challenged his GOP opponent, incumbent Sen. David Perdue, to three televised debates ahead of what appears likely be a runoff election on January 5. 

“Georgians deserve nothing less,” Ossoff said in a letter to Perdue. “I hope you will agree to give Georgians the debates they deserve.” 

NBC News says race between the two men is too close to call, with 98 percent of the votes reported and both candidates just below 50 percent of the vote. A runoff would take place in early January, along with the other Senate race in the state, between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock.

In an interview Monday morning on MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson, Ossoff rejected the idea that Perdue backed out of the final general election debate against him to attend a Trump rally, saying the senator was “incapable of defending himself” because he has “no record to run on.” 

David Perdue and Jon Ossoff.CQ Roll Call; Bloomberg / via Getty Images

Ossoff said that in previous debates he asked Perdue about his record on health care, his stock trades, and why he “lied to the people of this state about the severity of this pandemic.” 

“He had no answers, and he decided that he was going to bow out and refuse to debate with just hours until voting started, rather than face me in an open forum,” Ossoff said. 

Reacting to NBC News reporting that Perdue is telling donors that he’ll need $500 million to win the runoff, Ossoff said, “This is going to be a big fight.” He added that he will be working closely with Warnock and Stacey Abrams to get out the vote. 

Trump will lose special Twitter protections in January

President Trump will be subject to the same Twitter rules as any other user when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20, the social media company confirmed this week.

Twitter places “public interest” notices on some rule-breaking tweets from “world leaders” that would otherwise be removed. Such tweets from political candidates and elected or government officials are instead hidden by a warning and Twitter takes actions to restrict their reach.

But the company said this treatment does not apply to former office holders.

“This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement.

Read the story.

Putin congratulated Trump almost immediately in 2016. Not after Biden win.

President-elect Joe Biden hugs his granddaughter in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 7, 2020, after being declared the winners of the presidential election.Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first world leaders to congratulate President Donald Trump on winning the 2016 U.S. election. Yet on Monday, days after Joe Biden was projected to win the presidency, Putin remained silent as other world leaders moved to congratulate the former vice president and his running mate Kamala Harris.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow on Monday, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov explained the silence in diplomatic terms: Russia does not believe it would be correct to congratulate a winner before an official ruling has been made, and noted that Trump is moving forward with legal challenges to the election results.

“The incumbent president has announced certain legal procedures, so this situation is different, and we consider it correct to wait for an official announcement,” Peskov said, adding that “the differences are quite obvious” between the 2016 election and the 2020 election. “There were no announcements of legal challenges.”

Read the story.

FIRST READ: Biden won by rerunning the 2016 map and campaign, just better

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris deliver remarks after being declared the winners of the presidential election in Wilmington, Delaware, on Nov. 7, 2020.Andrew Harnik / Pool via AFP – Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled after election week — we told you there was a good chance it could take days to count the votes in the key battleground states — we can answer how President-elect Joe Biden won.

He simply reran the 2016 map and campaign, but better.

1. Biden won the urban counties in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by larger margins than Hillary Clinton did.

2. He won the key big-city suburbs by bigger margins.

3. Biden won independents.

Read five reasons why Biden won.

An early look at who might be in Biden’s inner circle in the White House

Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington on March 10, 2020.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

President-elect Joe Biden is focused on building the team that will enter the White House with him on Inauguration Day, his “Day One staff,” as he looks to fill several thousand jobs in his administration, according to multiple people familiar with the process.

Biden plans to announce these positions likely later this week. Longtime Biden adviser Ron Klain is among those leading the effort to fill these roughly 200 positions in the White House and at some key government agencies, these people said. Once that’s complete, they said Biden will turn to building out his Cabinet.

The contenders for these “Day One” jobs range from Biden loyalists — some who have worked for him since his first run for office 50 years ago — to a group of relatively new aides who joined his 2020 campaign.

Here’s an initial look at some of those expected to play big roles.

U.S. election security agency debunks fraud claims

As unfounded conspiracy theories pile up to challenge the fact that Joe Biden is the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, the country’s top election security agency is rapidly debunking them.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the federal agency that oversees the security and integrity of election infrastructure, maintains a “rumor control” blog to correct false claims about elections and voting, which has been particularly active in recent days.

The agency’s head, Chris Krebs, a Trump appointee, is personally actively debunking such claims, such as that officials gave Sharpie markers to some voters to invalidate their ballots (those ballots are still counted) or the “hammer and scorecard” conspiracy theory, which holds that a mythical computer system secretly changed votes across the country, inexplicably bypassing audits, the fact that states independently conduct elections, and that most votes were cast on paper ballots.

‘No honeymoon’: Biden surrounded on all sides when he gets to the White House

Joe Biden addresses the nation at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 6, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

For Democrats celebrating president-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory, the joys of vanquishing President Donald Trump are likely to be short-lived as the party faces daunting challenges ahead.

The Democratic Party has big plans — from defeating the coronavirus to expanding health care access to tackling climate change to expanding voting rights to overhauling criminal justice.

There will be tension between progressives who want to pursue an aggressive agenda and moderates who want to strike a note of unity and seek cooperation with Republicans after a bruising election.

As he begins to roll out his transition plans, Biden can expect to feel the heat from the left wing of his party quickly.

“There’s not going to be a honeymoon because there was no wedding,” said Ezra Levin, the co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible. “This is a partnership. It’s a partnership to save democracy. Nobody is under any illusions that the reforms we want to see are just automatically going to happen.”

Read the story.

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