Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Biden preparing for transition, Trump tweets about a hoax
A day after citing the Bible in telling his nation it was time to heal, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden went to church Sunday.
He also unveiled his official transition website hours after having pledged “to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states and blue states, only sees the United States” during a victory speech Saturday night in Wilmington, Delaware.
“To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy,” Biden said.
As for the defeated president, Donald Trump continued tweeting, playing golf and complaining about what he called a stolen election.
Twitter flagged several of Trump’s messages on Sunday as factually disputed. One of his tweets cited former U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich as saying of Democrats, “These people are thieves.”
There is no indication yet that Trump is ready to concede that Biden won the election, though his wife and son-in-law and senior aide Jared Kushner have reportedly urged him to accept the loss.
Trump tweeted that he would appear on right-wing host Mark Levin’s show on Fox News Sunday night and discuss “the Mail-In Ballot Hoax!”
a. Biden and transition team ready to move on cabinet picks – Financial Times
2. World leaders congratulate Biden on his victory
The messages to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris poured in on Sunday from some people U.S. President Donald Trump has antagonized at times and befuddled at others — world leaders.
U.S. allies “stressed the need to rebuild ties and multilateral cooperation after President Trump’s ‘America First’ approach upended decades of U.S. foreign policy,” The Washington Post reported.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent congratulations to Biden and told the Associated Press: “We have common values. We have common interests. We have a common global perspective.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Twitter: “I look forward to future cooperation with President Biden. Our transatlantic friendship is irreplaceable if we are to master the great challenges of our time.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted:
Morrison’s predecessor Malcolm Turnbull tweeted of Trump’s defeat:
b. What does a Biden presidency mean for the world? – Financial Times
3. Trump lost but what about Trumpism?
The lede of an Associated Press story might have offered a bandage to stop the bleeding for some of his supporters: “President Donald Trump lost. But Trumpism did not,” it read.
The statistics do bear that out as Republicans gained seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and will most likely retain control of the Senate — the two seats in Georgia will be decided in January runoffs — and Trump’s message did appeal to tens of millions of voters.
“Trump lifted Republican candidates by vastly boosting turnout in areas of Republican strength,” said David Axelrod, former senior adviser to U.S. President Barack Obama. “In the states and districts that favor Republicans, they ran up the score.”
The London paper The Guardian viewed it a little differently: “But the results, and the record turnout, may suggest that the Republican party now has populist nationalism in its bones. The nomination in 2024 could even be a battle between Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr.”
a. Win or Lose, Trump Will Remain a Powerful and Disruptive Force– New York Times
b. The Republican Identity Crisis After Trump – New Yorker
4. Biden seeks to undo Trump’s actions right away
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said focusing on the coronavirus pandemic would be his priority when he assumes the presidency on January 20.
He plans to announce a 12-member task force on Monday to deal with the health and economic crisis that has killed more than 238,000 Americans.
There are other significant actions that Biden is expected to take soon after succeeding U.S. President Donald Trump. The headline ones have to do with undoing some of what Trump has done.
In an effort to reassert, U.S. leadership on the world stage, Biden is expected to have the United States rejoin the Paris climate accord, an international agreement to combat climate change. Trump took the United States out of the deal in 2017.
Biden has said that under his leadership the United States would also again become an active member of the World Health Organization.
Biden senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that Biden is “going to make good on his promises” made while campaigning.
Among them are repealing the ban on almost all travel from some Muslim-majority countries to the United States and reinstating what has become known as the “dreamers” program, allowing children who were brought to the United States illegally to remain in the country.
a. Busy agenda for Joe Biden’s first 100 days as President of the US – The Economic Times
b. How Biden’s first 100 days would not be as productive as he suggests – The Independent
c. How Fox News Covered Trump’s Election Defeat – Intelligencer
5. Trump is now a lame duck. A what?
No, it does not mean his Twitter feed will go lame but simply that a replacement has been chosen in Joe Biden, who will take over from Trump as U.S. president on January 20, 2021.
The next 70 days or so will be Trump’s lame-duck period.
Why the term?
It originated in 18th-century London to refer to a stockbroker who defaulted on his debts. But it evolved to cover that interim period between when a replacement has been chosen and when the newly elected person takes over the position.
President Abraham Lincoln used the phrase lame duck when referring to outgoing President Calvin Coolidge. Lincoln said:”[A] senator or representative out of business is a sort of lame duck. He has to be provided for.”
In a farewell speech in January 2017, U.S. President Barack Obama quipped: “You can tell that I’m a lame duck because nobody’s following instructions.” This came as the crowd kept cheering, making it hard for him to continue speaking.
Trump certainly retains plenty of power during his remaining time in office.
He can issue pardons and executive orders, but the latter can be undone when Biden takes over. Still a lame-duck U.S. president is still president.
With Trump, opponents are concerned about what he might do with his remaining time in office, especially when it comes to rewarding his friends and punishing his opponents.
a. The destructive power of a lame duck president – Quartz
b. Which President Had the Best Last Year in Office? – Politico