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Republicans Rail Against Joe Biden’s ‘Radioactive’ Cabinet Pick

Senate Republicans are sharpening their knives for Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden’s announced pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, in what is quickly shaping up to be the first congressional fight of his presidency. 

Tanden, 50, previously served as an adviser to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as President Barack Obama. She would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian woman to lead OMB, a key White House office that supervises federal agencies and administers the federal budget. 

But it is Tanden’s active Twitter account and role as president of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank with deep ties to the Democratic establishment, that is giving Republicans pause.

On Twitter, Tanden hasn’t shied from expressing her opinions about GOP “enablers” of President Donald Trump and his agenda, sometimes taking an adversarial approach to elected officials and journalists alike. In 2018, she issued a sharply worded statement slamming Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) over her support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, calling her a “fake defender of Roe v. Wade.” Tanden appeared to have deleted some tweets in recent days that referenced Collins and other senators whom she may need to win confirmation to her post.

Republicans on Monday expressed opposition to her confirmation even before she has been formally nominated by Biden, who has yet to take office.

“I think in light of her combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate, mainly on our side of the aisle, that it creates certainly a problematic path” to her confirmation, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told reporters on Capitol Hill, adding that Tanden “strikes me as maybe [Biden’s] worst nominee so far.”

“She’s going to be radioactive,” he added.

I’ve heard that she’s a very prolific user of Twitter.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)

Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said Tanden had been “pretty partisan” and “kind of out of the mainstream.” He noted with a laugh that the targets of her attacks were in some cases Republican senators who would have to vote on her potential nomination.

Asked about her opinion on Biden’s pick for budget chief and her prospects for confirmation, Collins said she wasn’t familiar with her background and declined to comment. But she, too, indicated Tanden’s Twitter account might pose an issue.  

“I’ve heard that she’s a very prolific user of Twitter,” the Maine Republican told reporters on Monday.

The treatment Republicans are giving to the online presence of one of Biden’s administration picks stands in stark contrast to how they approached Trump over the last four years. Most GOP senators repeatedly dodged questions about the president’s incendiary tweets attacking members of both parties and his hurling of insults at just about everyone who stood in his way, pretending they “didn’t see” them when asked about them by reporters ― even when those reporters offered to show them the tweets in print.

Moreover, Senate Republicans have confirmed a number of partisan bomb-throwers to Trump’s administration, including former House Freedom Caucus chair Mick Mulvaney as Trump’s budget chief, and Ric Grenell, who was by all accounts a conservative Twitter troll who went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence.

The goalposts under an incoming Democratic administration are quickly shifting, and the fight over Tanden’s nomination is only the opening play. Some Republicans have also expressed concern with other Biden picks over potential ethics issues regarding ties to consulting firms and the defense industry ― areas where members of Trump’s Cabinet were largely given a pass.

It’s possible that Senate Republicans would deny Tanden’s nomination a hearing outright. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is expected to chair the Senate Budget Committee if Republicans maintain control of the chamber next year, declined to commit to hearings for her on Monday, saying only that he’ll “cross that bridge when we get there.”

A spokesperson for Biden’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Democrats, meanwhile, dismissed GOP criticism of Tanden as bad-faith pearl-clutching after years of looking the other way when it came to Trump’s Twitter account.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Tanden “so eminently qualified that some on the Republican side — grasping at straws — have taken issue with comments made on Twitter criticizing the policy positions of Republicans in Congress.”

“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding,” Schumer added. “If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump, who has made a hobby out of denigrating Republican senators on Twitter.”

Prominent progressive lawmakers also voiced support for Tanden, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) ― an important coup given her clashes with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and his allies during both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.

Tanden’s path to confirmation may ultimately depend on the Georgia Senate election runoffs in early January. Democrats are hoping for a miracle: Winning both races in what has long been regarded a red state, at least before Biden won it in the Nov. 3 presidential election, would give them 50 votes in the upper chamber. Kamala Harris, the incoming vice president, could cast the tiebreaker in that scenario and help get Biden’s Cabinet confirmed if no Democrats defect. 

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The Possibilities for Biden’s Vision to Overcome Trump’s Division

President-elect Joe Biden campaigned aspirationally on a vision of uniting a country many see as severely, if not hopelessly, divided. After all, while Biden amassed over 80 million votes, the most votes ever tallied by any candidate in a presidential election in U.S. history, Trump hauled in the second-most votes ever, finding the support of over 70 million American voters.

And I don’t think I need to spend a lot of time here elaborating the many ways the soon-to-be former racist and sexist in chief fomented divisions and exacerbated the fault lines in U.S. society and culture.

So how can we even speak of “unity” when the divisions seem to cut so deeply and venomously?

And what does “unity” even mean?  Let’s start here.

Simply being on the same page as to what constitutes reality and the truth would be a start.  If we could agree, for example, that climate change is a real threat to life as a we know it or that COVID-19 is not a hoax, that would be huge; it would be an important and by no means simple kind of unity. It wouldn’t mean that we would be united in agreement about the best public health agenda, on energy policy, on taxation to support public policy agendas, and so forth. But being on the same page in terms of basic reality would be an enormous advance for the nation.

A common understanding of reality provides a foundational unity to even have conversations about policy approaches to addressing challenges that, if not shared by all, are shared by a majority of Americans.

Trump’s political strategy, you might have noticed, was to steer clear of, if not completely obscure and distort, policy discussions.  He did not even bring a policy platform to the Republican National Convention for party members to affirm or debate.

So, one measure of Biden’s success in unifying the nation will be the extent to which he can shift Americans’ foci to matters of policy, not personality.

Again, drawing Americans into this conversation would be no easy feat, but is it a possibility?

Well, let’s take a couple of issues like health care and public education to assess the possibilities and pitfalls for unifying Americans in a policy debate rooted in a firm understanding of our shared reality.

Recall that after Trump emerged victorious in 2016, many of his voters suddenly found themselves terrified that he would actually do what he promised, which was to repeal Obamacare.  At the time, Sarah Kliff and Byrd Pinkerton, reporting for Vox, visited Whitley Country in Kentucky, where the uninsured rate had declined by 60 percent because of the Affordable Care Act but where 82 percent of the voters supported Trump.

One Trump voter they interviewed, Debbie Mills, an small business owner whose husband needed liver transplant, represented many voters in the country living in fear and incredulity the Trump would follow through on his campaign pledge. She said at the time:

“I don’t know what we’ll do if it does go away. I guess I thought that, you know, [Trump] would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many people’s lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot … purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?”

Like many voters, for whatever reason, Mills did not take Trump seriously when it came to repealing Obamacare:

“I guess we really didn’t think about that, that he was going to cancel that or change that or take it away,” she said. “I guess I always just thought that it would be there. I was thinking that once it was made into a law that it could not be changed.”

Now fast-forward to the 2020 election. Many Trump voters seemed not to have learned the lesson. Maybe they didn’t pay attention to John McCain’s negative vote that saved Obama care from a “skinny repeal” back in the summer of 2017.

Early last October The New York Times reported how many Trump supporters who deeply cared about affordable healthcare as a top voting issue, believed Trump would protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, despite a policy record clearly demonstrating the opposite.

One voter said: “I’ve heard from him that he would continue with pre-existing conditions so that people would not lose their health insurance. It’s made a big difference with me and my husband.”

Here is a basis for unity, suggesting many Americans, whether Trump or Biden supporters, share an important policy position.

Recent elections show as well that when it comes to public education, the possibility for political unity among voters across party lines is a real one.

In Michigan, Democrats Darrin Camilleri in 2016 and Padma Kuppa and Matt Koleszar in 2018 flipped Republican-held state representative seats in their respective districts by foregrounding the erosion of public schools in those districts due to a gross underfunding caused in part by Betsy DeVos’ long-standing charter school movement in the state.

Also in 2018, Kansas voters elected Democrats Laura Kelly as Governor and Sharice Davids to the House of Representatives who ran on support for public education, after  Sam Brownback’s cuts to education were so egregious that they were deemed unconstitutional by the state’s supreme court.

In November 2019, Democrat Andy Beshear defeated always-Trumper incumbent Governor Matt Bevin largely, by many accounts, because of his support for teachers and public education, while Bevin ran on a platform that refused to increase education funding.

And these are just two issues. American families need and want health care; they want quality schools for their children; they want clean air and water and a safe environment and habitable world.

Of course there are gross and ugly divisions Trump has exacerbated.  There are also broad and multiple points of unity Trump has obscured and the media has not focused on sharply and frequently enough.

Health care, education, and a safe environment don’t grab attention the way Trump’s racism, sexual misconduct, and general hate do.

But Americans may be more unified than we are led to believe when it comes to the challenges we face and the policies we need.

Biden at least has a starting point and a path forward to achieve his pledge of unifying the nation.



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A Cat Is Said to Be Joining the Bidens in the White House

When he was running for president, Joseph R. Biden Jr. said it was time for a pet to be put back in the White House.

First it was announced that Champ and Major, the German shepherds belonging to the president-elect and future first lady Jill Biden, would roam the White House. And now, after an absence of more than a decade, a cat is set to also join the ranks of presidential pets, Jane Pauley of “CBS Sunday Morning” reported on Twitter on Friday.

In an interview with Fox 5 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Biden hinted that if her husband won the presidency, she would not mind getting a cat.

“I’d love to get a cat,” she said. “I love having animals around the house.”

The cat’s breed and name were not immediately available. Representatives for Mr. Biden did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

The Bidens will be restoring a tradition of presidential pets when they move into the White House in January, as President Trump opted not to have a pet during his term. But the Bidens’ cat won’t be the first in the White House.

Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, William H. Seward, gave him two cats, Tabby and Dixie, said Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum. Lincoln was a major “cat fan,” Mr. Hager said, and the president often fed Tabby from the dinner table despite his wife’s criticism.

“At one point, he told a friend that Dixie was ‘smarter than his entire cabinet’ and ‘didn’t talk back, which was a bonus,’” Mr. Hager said.

Other presidential cats include Tom Kitten, who belonged to Caroline Kennedy; Shan Shein, the Siamese cat of President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan; and Misty Malarky Ying Yang, who belonged to President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy.

Probably one of the most popular cats in the White House was Socks in the Clinton White House.

The black and white cat was the protagonist of an unreleased Super Nintendo game, “Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill,” and often gained attention from the news media, as he was the only White House pet until the Clintons adopted a chocolate Lab named Buddy in 1997.

Jennifer Pickens, a White House historian and author of “Pets at the White House: 50 Years of Presidents and Their Pets,” said the emergence of the internet had added to Socks’s popularity as a cartoon version of the cat greeted visitors at the White House for Kids website.

The last cat to live in the White House, India (who also had the nickname Willie), belonged to President George W. Bush. Her time at the White House was often overshadowed by the Bush family’s two Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, Mr. Hager said.

Protesters in Kerala, India, burned an effigy of Mr. Bush in July 2004 in protest of the cat’s name, citing it as an insult to their country, Mr. Hager said. (According to White House archives, the black shorthair cat was named after the former Texas Rangers baseball player, Ruben Sierra, who went by the nickname El Indio.)

India died in January 2009, just before President Bush left the White House.

Interest in presidential pets has grown over the years as the public has gravitated to more stories of life inside the White House, Ms. Pickens said.

Pets can help humanize presidents as well as soften their image, and with the Bidens’ newest addition, they could also represent a president’s hopes for the nation under new leadership.

“Maybe this is symbolic of Biden’s oft-repeated desire to unify the country,” he said. “I know that that’s kind of trite, but I’m very curious to see how this goes.”

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Biden’s Economic Plan for the Virus

Biden warns of fatal consequences as Trump stonewalls on the transition, and Whitmer faces more blowback over the restrictions in Michigan. It’s Tuesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Biden and Harris speaking about the economic recovery in Wilmington, Del., yesterday.

One of Trump’s lawyers argued in court last year that the president was immune from prosecution throughout his term in office.

Could the president, an appeals court judge asked, shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and get away with it, as he had talked on the campaign trail about doing? “That is correct,” the president’s lawyer, William Consovoy, replied.

It was a bold claim — and one that few legal scholars have endorsed. But what about after Trump leaves office? What’s to stop him from being prosecuted then?

Trump is already the subject of multiple investigations in New York stemming from his private business conduct: a criminal inquiry by the district attorney of Manhattan, and a civil investigation by the attorney general of New York State.

Yet there could be more, as our reporter Jonathan Mahler writes in a new article for The Times Magazine that seeks to answer the question of just how legally vulnerable Trump will be once he leaves the White House. Potentially criminal activity has unfolded throughout Trump’s term, Jonathan writes, and the only way to hold him legally accountable for things he did as president would be through federal prosecution.

Precedent points to leniency here: Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in 1974, citing a need for national healing. Biden’s old boss, Obama, declined to prosecute former George W. Bush administration officials for authorizing the unlawful torture of detainees. But Trump’s case feels different.

“Every president seeks to exploit the immense power of the office, but Trump’s exploitation of this power represented a difference in both degree and kind,” Jonathan writes. “Trump stretched the limits of his authority not just to enrich himself and his family but to block investigations into his personal and official conduct and to maintain his grip on power.”

Prosecuting a former president — especially one who just received the second-most popular votes in United States history, and who continues to command the support of a devoted following — would be a complicated and risky gambit. You can read the full article, or listen to a narrated audio version of it, at this link.

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Michael Cohen Predicts How Trump Will Dodge Biden’s Inauguration

President Donald Trump simply doesn’t have the “inner strength” to accept his loss and attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, according to his former fixer and personal attorney Michael Cohen.

In an interview with Ari Melber on MSNBC, Cohen discussed potential scenarios for the coming months, as his former boss continues to adamantly deny the results of the presidential election, refuses to concede and baselessly attacks the legitimacy of the voting processes that led to his loss.

Cohen said people needn’t be too concerned, because his former boss “talks a lot of nonsense.”

“It’s all a lie, 99.9% of everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. He’s not going to stay in the White House past Jan. 20. They will remove him. He knows that,” Cohen said.

He again predicted that Trump might not return to the White House after he visits his Florida Mar-A-Lago resort for his Christmas break, and will stay there beyond Biden’s inauguration at noon on Jan. 20.

“I suspect he doesn’t even come back to Washington,” Cohen said. “I don’t believe he’s going to go to the inauguration because he himself fundamentally cannot sit in a chair knowing that the cameras are on him and that the world is looking at him as a loser. He cannot do that.”

“He does not have enough inner strength in him to be gracious,” he added.

Cohen also speculated on how Trump’s post-presidency life might look, and guessed that he may start his own media company, which he will use to attack Biden.

“He’s going to say for the next 30 years that they stole the election from me. ‘I’m the rightful president.’ He’s going to keep his MAGA army active and engaged and constantly blow this dog whistle and be a menace.”

Cohen was asked about Trump’s new leadership political action committee, “Save America,” formed in the wake of major news outlets calling Biden as the winner of the election. The Trump campaign has been asking supporters for donations to fight the results of the election, but The New York Times reported that the fine print reveals that 60% of that fundraising is now being directed to the new PAC, which will help him to fund his post-presidency activities. 

“The reason he’s doing it is because he has no income,” Cohen said. “And you would see that if he would turn over his tax returns.”

“He doesn’t have ‘The Apprentice’ making $65 million a year,” he continued. “Most of his assets are underperforming. … the few that he has doesn’t cover the big cost. So he’s going to use this like the Trump Foundation, as a slush fund.”

The foundation Cohen referred to was set up ostensibly for charitable purposes by Trump in 1988, but various law enforcement investigations found it shrouded in ethical and legal violations. Probes by New York officials led to the foundation being shut down last year and Trump paying more than $2 million in court-ordered damages to eight different charities for illegally misusing its funds for political purposes:

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to criminal charges that included lying to Congress and violating campaign finance law when he engineered hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign to silence two women who alleged extramarital affairs with Trump, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. He cooperated with investigators and implicated the president in those crimes.

He is serving the remainder of a three-year prison sentence in home confinement due to concerns about the ease with which COVID-19 can spread among an inmate population.

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What Biden’s victory means for the future of Obamacare

President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over incumbent President Donald Trump will establish “a sea change in attitude” about the future of the Affordable Care Act, said Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The landmark health-care law, more commonly known as Obamacare, has been under attack since Trump was elected to office in 2016, said Pollitz, who focuses on health reform and private insurance.

Trump spent the majority of his four years in the White House vowing to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law. While unsuccessful, he has been able to hobble it, including slashing its budget and allowing people to remain on short-term health plans, which as a rule offer less comprehensive coverage of benefits, for a year.

Obamacare is “unacceptable to me because it’s too expensive and doesn’t really do the job as well as we could have,” Trump said during a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 24. “It was terrible. That’s the way I feel, too. It was terrible and very, very expensive. Hurt a lot of people.”

During his campaign, Biden promised to not just preserve but build on Obamacare by expanding the number of people who are eligible for subsidies under the health-care law. The subsidies are currently available to families whose income is from 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level. For an individual, that means income from $12,490 to $49,960 in 2020, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation published in September.

He has also proposed a new public option that would allow some Americans to choose a government-run health insurance plan similar to Medicare or Medicaid as an alternative to a private insurer. Additionally, Biden has said that he would pass legislation to protect patients from surprise bills and allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices, among other proposals.

“That’s just a wholly different approach” than Trump, Pollitz said in a phone interview with CNBC, adding the U.S. will no longer have a sitting president who is actively trying to dismantle the current law. “Biden would really build on it.”

To be sure, much of what Biden will do on health care and when he’ll do it will depend on the Supreme Court and Congress, Pollitz added. The Supreme Court is set to hear the latest constitutional challenge to Obamacare — in California vs. Texas — on Tuesday. A coalition of GOP state attorneys general, joined by the Trump administration, is arguing that the health law is unconstitutional because Congress reduced the penalty on people who didn’t have health insurance, the so-called individual mandate, to $0 in 2017. The mandate imposed a tax penalty on consumers who went uninsured and was a key part of the health-care law.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg earlier this year has created a new level of uncertainty over the health-care law. It’s unclear how Trump’s new Supreme Court pick, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will side on the landmark case. Barrett repeatedly said during her confirmation hearings last month that she is not hostile to the Affordable Care Act.

A decision in the case, which could disrupt the health-care coverage of tens of millions of Americans, is expected by June of 2021. 

“Nobody really knows how the Court will decide,” Pollitz said. “Justice Barrett was very careful not to answer questions on this during her hearing.”

Biden addressed the Supreme Court case during his final presidential debate with Trump last month. When asked by NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker what he would do if the Supreme Court rules Obamacare unconstitutional, Biden said he would turn the health law into “Bidencare.”

“What I’m going to do is pass Obamacare with a public option, become Bidencare,” he said on Oct. 22. “If you qualify for Medicaid and you do not have the wherewithal in your state to get Medicaid, you are automatically enrolled, providing competition to insurance companies.”

Even if it appears the Supreme Court will side with the Republican-led states, there is some thought that a Biden presidency and a Democratic-controlled Congress could enact quick legislation to reinstitute the individual mandate penalty, Pollitz said, making the case moot. Raymond James analysts echoed this remark in a note to investors last month.

“If the individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional and Democrats do sweep in November (which we place as the most likely scenario at the time of writing this piece), they could immediately increase the individual mandate penalty to a higher dollar amount,” Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins wrote in a note published Oct. 27.

“Additionally, if an opinion is not yet released, they could retroactively change the tax penalty when they enter office in January 2021,” he added. “If they change the penalty amount, the Supreme Court could have to decide if they should even consider the case as the penalty would then meet the constitutional requirement of producing revenues for the federal government.”

Brandon Couillard, an analyst at Jefferies, also said Biden needs the Senate to “make a significant change.” That will likely be negative for health-care stocks, though, as it wouldn’t keep the “status quo,” he added.

“If Biden wins, Democrats need to take control of the Senate (while maintaining the House, which most expect) in order to have any chance of advancing a significant healthcare agenda,” he said Sept. 22. “This scenario creates more volatility for healthcare stocks. If Biden wins, but has a split Congress, his healthcare plans are likely dead on arrival.”

— CNBC’s Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.

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When Is Joe Biden’s Inauguration Ceremony?

Traditionally, the group that is seated on the platform includes the president and vice president and their families; the president-elect and vice president-elect and their families; the chief justice and associate justices of the Supreme Court; former presidents; the diplomatic corps; cabinet members and nominees; members of Congress; governors; the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and other guests, according to the joint committee.

In 2017, when Mr. Trump was sworn in, his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were in attendance, as were Mr. Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, and his wife, Michelle Obama, and former Presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. President George H.W. Bush was unable to attend because of poor health; he died in 2018.

Every president since George Washington has delivered the Inaugural Address, which has ranged from 8,445 words to 135 words, according to the committee. During his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 2017, Mr. Trump spoke for 16 minutes before hundreds of thousands of followers and spectators. In his speech, he vowed to shatter the established order and reverse a national decline that he called “this American carnage.”

The next day, Mr. Trump disputed independent estimates of the attendance, saying that up to 1.5 million people had been there, a claim disproved by photographs. Visual estimates of the size of the crowd put it at one-third the size of Mr. Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.

No. The ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933 fixed Jan. 20 as the date. Before that, inaugurations traditionally took place on March 4. Through history, the ceremony has taken place on other dates and in 10 different locations.

Washington, the nation’s first president, was sworn in on April 30, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City.

Andrew Jackson’s first inauguration, on March 4, 1829, was the first ceremony to be conducted on the East Portico of the Capitol. The crowds of attendees were so excited that they rushed toward the new president, who then retreated into the Capitol and rode a horse to the White House.

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Meet the contenders for Biden’s Cabinet

The president-elect will face incoming on several fronts, including from Democrats who expect him to nominate the most diverse Cabinet in history. That goal is not always compatible with the push from the party’s vocal left wing to nominate the most progressive Cabinet since Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Wall Street and Silicon Valley interests that poured money into Biden’s campaign over the final stretch have a different set of priorities. So do Senate Republicans, at least a handful of whom Biden will need to confirm his nominees, if, as seems likely, the GOP maintains control of the chamber.

Biden can make history by nominating a person of color or a woman to head the Treasury or Defense departments — the only two remaining departments that have only ever had white men lead them.

Michele Flournoy, a former under secretary of Defense for policy, is already the frontrunner to lead the Pentagon. A number of women and people of color are also in the mix for the top job at Treasury, including Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard and TIAA CEO Roger Ferguson.

Biden, who pledged to unite the country during the campaign, will likely try to keep his coalition together by nominating a mix of progressives, moderates and even a few Republicans. He’s also likely to draw in some fresh faces alongside longtime Biden loyalists. “I think one thing Joe Biden has always liked is a variety of viewpoints,” said former Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who served for six years alongside Biden in the Senate. In other words, expect Biden’s own self-styled “Team of Rivals.”

The likelihood that Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell will remain Senate majority leader, however, means that every Biden nominee will need to win at least a few Republican votes. That will limit Biden’s choices and makes it less likely some left-wing choices would be confirmed. House Democrats are also more wary of Biden tapping any of their members from competitive districts, given that their majority just narrowed and they don’t want to risk any upset special elections.

POLITICO has compiled lists of the early contenders for each Cabinet post, but new candidates may emerge. Biden has long been superstitious about making personnel decisions ahead of Election Day, and longtime allies expect some twists and turns as he assembles his team. The following names are based on dozens of conversations with Biden aides, his close allies, lobbyists and Hill staff.

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Biden’s Limited Campaign Schedule: Wise Tactic or Misguided Gamble?

WILMINGTON, Del. — On the Friday before Election Day, Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be in the Midwest, campaigning in both Iowa and Wisconsin as he presses his closing argument.

In any other year, and for any other campaign, that would be a normal — even gentle — day of travel in the homestretch of a bitterly fought, high-stakes presidential race. But compared with many of Mr. Biden’s days this month, and even a few this week, it’s the equivalent of a barnstorm.

On Sunday, Mr. Biden held no in-person campaign events, straying from his home in the Wilmington area only for church. On Monday, he ventured out just briefly to greet supporters across the state line in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, six days before Election Day, he was back in Delaware, hardly a battleground state, giving remarks on health care and voting himself. In between, he traveled to Georgia, putting pressure on President Trump in a closely contested state, and he is slated to campaign in Florida Thursday headed into an intense final weekend.

“The traditional handbook would have you barnstorming all over the country to show energy and eagerness,” said David Axelrod, who served as chief strategist to Barack Obama. “But this isn’t a normal election.”

When the history of the Biden campaign is written, the measured pace he maintained at the end of the race may be remembered as evidence that he wisely tuned out conventional wisdom in an extraordinary year. In victory, supporters will see him as having offered voters a steady alternative to the tumult of the Trump era through every aspect of his candidacy, including by making carefully planned appearances that met the mood of a country in the throes of a pandemic.

But if Mr. Biden loses, his schedule in recent weeks — and all of the days he spent in Delaware this month — is almost certain to be the source of overwhelming Democratic second-guessing. In the last ten days, a period that also contained a presidential debate, he has held his own campaign events in just three states outside Delaware: North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. Mr. Trump, who badly trails him in fund-raising and in many polls, often relies on several rallies a day, across multiple states, to commune with his base.

The Biden team’s cautious approach reflects how the coronavirus crisis has defined nearly every element of their campaign. At a personnel level, they are keenly focused on maintaining the health of the 77-year-old candidate — who like Mr. Trump is in an age group that is especially vulnerable to the virus — as well as protecting staff and supporters and guarding against outbreaks at their events. Politically, the campaign believes that by modeling the recommendations of public health experts, Mr. Biden can exhibit leadership and draw a sharp contrast with the president on an issue that many Americans believe Mr. Trump has mishandled.

On Monday, Mr. Biden rejected any suggestion that he has not been campaigning aggressively, and lashed the Trump campaign for having crowded rallies as the coronavirus death toll has now surpassed 226,000 Americans, with deadly new spikes underway.

But he appeared to acknowledge the perception of a lighter travel schedule as he listed the states he intended to visit in coming days and spoke bullishly of his chances in many of them.

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“There’s not been a day that hasn’t been a 12-hour day yet,” Mr. Biden told a small group of reporters, sounding somewhat defensive. “We’re going to be traveling, continue to travel, but the big difference between us, and the reason why it looks like we’re not traveling, we’re not putting on superspreaders.”

“It’s important to be responsible,” he added.

For the Biden campaign, balancing that instinct with the imperative to engage in battleground states has presented complications on all sides of the equation throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

In recent days, even as cases have risen in Wisconsin, a number of Democrats there pressed the Biden campaign to plan another visit, said Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee. They remain scarred by Hillary Clinton’s decision in 2016 to skip campaigning there in the general election, and recall that she once had a polling edge, too, before going on to defeat, even though there are many differences between this election and the one that stunned the nation four years ago.

“We are purple, purple, purple,” Mr. Barrett said. “I know what the polls say. But I also know what the polls said four years ago.”

He expressed relief that the former vice president will appear there Friday. “Elected officials from Wisconsin certainly made the case as to why it’s important he return,” he said. “We’re very happy he’s returning in the final weekend before the election.”

Strategists say that in a typical year, an aggressive schedule of traveling to battlegrounds — and the attendant local media coverage — shows voters that a candidate cares about their state and is doing everything possible to earn their support. At the same time, Mr. Biden’s operations have mirrored his own caution, with limited or no door-knocking and curtailed on-the-ground operations for parts of the general election. That approach has worried some Democratic officials this year and stands in contrast to what the president’s campaign has said is a robust in-person Republican presence.

Yet in-person campaigning plainly also poses risks. Mr. Trump has mocked mask-wearing and scorned social distancing, even though he was hospitalized with the virus this month.

“We already saw the president, by being careless, got sick,” Mr. Axelrod said. “It would be a hell of a thing if, having been as careful as they’ve been, as responsible as they’ve been, if in the last week they allow Biden to get sick. I think that would be something that would be second-guessed till the end of time.”

Mr. Biden’s advisers have long worried about questions of health and safety. For months, as the outbreak spread, they kept him off the trail almost entirely and relied instead on virtual campaigning and on local television interviews, which is a powerful tool for reaching swing voters in key states. And for all of the anxiety among Democrats on the ground and in Washington about that strategy, the low-key approach did not appear to hurt him in polls over the summer.

Still, as fall arrived, and pressure mounted from Democratic officials across the country to be more visible, Mr. Biden returned to the trail in a more consistent way — though his approach would still be highly unusual in any other year. He has rarely ventured west of Michigan, he almost never remains overnight on the trail and he often makes just one or two stops when he does travel. He has embraced drive-in car rallies, but many of his other events are still small and socially distanced.

“Because things have accelerated in terms of the disease, he’s just being extra-cautious,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. “We would love to see him, have him go to as many parts of the country as he can. But this is too, too near the end for him to jeopardize where he’s at by getting sick, and his staff as well.”

But for all of their precautions, the issue has hit close to home for the Biden-Harris campaign.

Two people who traveled with Senator Kamala Harris earlier this month tested positive for the coronavirus, including her communications director, and so did someone who had been aboard Mr. Biden’s plane. While it paled in comparison with the wave of infections that coursed through the White House, it was a jarring development internally, though Ms. Harris has resumed campaign travel and had four events planned in Arizona on Wednesday.

In the meantime, plenty of Biden allies are happy to keep the spotlight on Mr. Trump, his record and his controversies as polls continue to show widespread disapproval of his handling of the virus.

But Mr. Biden’s schedule has also given Mr. Trump a talking point of his own. The president — who has struggled to define Mr. Biden in negative terms — has launched a number of attacks on Mr. Biden’s energy levels in recent days.

“You think Sleepy Joe would be doing these things?” Mr. Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire. “He’ll go back to bed.”

Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, dismissed that message as an effort to “exacerbate their failed pandemic response by dismissing the coronavirus threat altogether while holding as many superspreader events as possible.”

“Joe Biden is living his values and keeping communities safe as he aggressively delivers his case,” he said.

On Monday afternoon, at about the same time that Mr. Biden went to Pennsylvania for his only event of the day, a message went out from his Twitter account.

“Don’t wake up on November 4th,” it said, “wishing you had done more.”

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When It Comes to the Bidens, Journalists and Social Media Are Deaf, Dumb and Blind

How would social media and the so-called mainstream media react if a Russian site popped up tonight with a video of Donald Trump in a Moscow Hotel room engaged in voyeurism as two hookers rain a yellow shower on the bed where Barack Obama slept? Would they cover it? Would they allow the story and the video to be re-tweeted and linked on Facebook pages? You bet your ass they would. They would be scrambling for first dibs on the stories like passengers on the Titanic trying to grab a seat on the last lifeboat.

Bearing that in mind you can begin to comprehend both the malevolence of both social and regular media and the enormity of their hypocrisy by examining their reaction to the breaking news last night when the videos and photos from Hunter Biden’s laptop were published a la ‘The Full Monty” on a Taiwanese website. Facebook and Twitter immediately quashed anyone attempting to publicize the news. These Silicon Valley sychophants sprang instantly into full-on protection mode for the Joe Biden campaign. Truth no longer mattered. The social media colossi decided to squelch, erase and obliterate any information that exposed the corrupt dealings of the Chinese-compromised Joe Biden and his family of reprobates. The Chinese now own Joe Biden’s wrinkled posterior. I don’t know the Manadarin phrase for–“Joe’s their bitch”– but Sleepy Joe is beholden to the Chinese.

The good folks at The Gateway Pundit reported on the sudden appearance of the hideous and perverse Hunter Biden videos and images and were immediately banned by both Facebook and Twitter. Jim Hoft posted the link to the site carrying the videos but was careful to keep salacious images obscured. But Facebook and Twitter reacted almost instantly and shutdown Jim’s Twitter account (you can read his experience here).

We can concede at the outset that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other internet expressions of self-conceit are not the Harper’s Weekly of the 21st Century. They are not real media and do not adhere to any journalistic standards. But the New York Times, the Washington Post and the major TV networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) are supposed to operate according to genuine standards of professionalism. But that dog is dead as King Tut. The last four years show beyond any shadow of doubt that the electronic and print media establishment has opted largely to eschew journalistic standards and embrace uncritically any slander and defamation of Donald Trump.

Let me take you back to January 2017. Here’s what the “responsible” media did with salacious, unverified news:

Yesterday CNN reported that Russian operatives have a raft of comprising material on Donald Trump that they are holding to use against him.

They said that that US intelligence chiefs briefed the US President-elect and outgoing President Barack Obama on the damaging allegations last week.

Although the dossier is not verified, Buzzfeed made the decision to publish the full document, saying it chose to do so “so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the President-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government”.

The Russian backing stuff is all very thrilling in a James Bond kind of way, but the real treat is this:

The dossier claims that Mr Trump was involved in “perverted sexual acts” during a visit to Moscow.

Notice the unconcealed glee? (i.e., “but the real treat is this). With not one shred of actual evidence, the American media establishment ran with the story.

We now know that the celebrated Steele dossier was a damn fraud. But few in the media have displayed the integrity to offer an apology to their readers, listeners much less to President Trump. They spread an unsubstantiated smear accusing him of degenerate sexual behavior.

But that is not the case with Hunter and Joe Biden. The tapes and images are real. The most widely viewed shows Hunter Biden smoking crack with a Chinese women while she is using her feet to masturbate his manhood. And Hunter is proud. He makes sure this is being recorded for posterity. We do not have to wonder where the tape is–it is here. Warning–it leaves nothing to the imagination.

Most disturbing are the images of Joe Biden’s granddaughter and evidence that Hunter Biden was sexting with her. But we do not have to rely on the disturbing images alone, we have Hunter’s text message to his father in which he admitted he was being denied access to his niece because of his conduct. Hunter begins by explaining what his sister-in-law said to a therapist:

She told my therapist I was sexually inappropriate with [name redacted when she says that I face time naked with her and the reason I can’t have her out to see me is because I walk around naked smoking crack talking [redacted] girls on face time. When she was present she said that [redacted] never said anything like that but the bottom line is that she I create and caused a very unsafe environment for the kids.

Joe Biden was informed of the abuse and, according to available evidence, did nothing to alert authorities or to protect his grandchild. It is beyond nauseating.

And the media’s reaction to these new facts? Silence of the tombs.

The difference between Trump supporters and Biden supporters is simple and telling. If this kind of evidence emerged showing that Donald Trump was allowing his kids to use his name and position to rake in tens of millions of dollars while engaging in perversion worthy of Caligula, Trump supporters would desert him in mass and support his prosecution.

And Biden supporters? They are like Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes–they see nothing, they say nothing, they hear nothing and they, along with Hunter and Joe, are accessories to selling out America to the Chinese Republic.

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