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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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Politics

Joe Biden Doesn’t Hide His Health Information After Twisting His Ankle


In a breath of fresh air, Joe Biden informed reporters after twisting his ankle while playing with his dog.

The world knew about Joe Biden’s twisted ankle because the Biden Transition Pool was told and reported it.

Here is the Biden Transition Pool report as provided to PoliticusUSA, “On Saturday Nov. 28, President-elect Biden slipped while playing with his dog Major, and twisted his ankle. Out of an abundance of caution, he will be examined this afternoon by an orthopedist.”

Joe Biden didn’t hide his health information. He didn’t keep it a secret. His press secretary didn’t look the country in the eye and lie to it.

President-Elect Biden is an honest person, so he did what a president is supposed to do. He and his team kept the nation updated about the health of the President-Elect.

Something as small as a twisted ankle is sending a big message that the person in the White House can be trusted for the first time in nearly four years to tell the American people the truth.

It’s not just America that’s back under Joe Biden. Decency and honesty will also be returning to the most powerful job in the world.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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Donald Trump’s Requested Milwaukee Recount Has Resulted in Even More Votes For Joe Biden


The state of Wisconsin has been the tightest during the last two presidential elections. In 2016, Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by around 24,000 votes. And in 2020, Joe Biden defeated Trump in the state by slightly under 21,000 votes.

Hillary Clinton asked for a recount in 2016 and things barely changed. Donald Trump, who has been much louder in his allegations of fraud, only sought recounts in two counties.

One of those areas was Milwaukee County, which has a sizable suburban and black population. But according to reports, that recount has backfired on Trump as Biden’s lead has only grown.

The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman tweeted on Friday, “Milwaukee County concludes its recount of the presidential election — one of two counties where Trump sought a recount in Wisconsin. The results: Biden’s lead, currently at about 20,000 statewide, grew by 132 votes.”

Trump has been consistent in his claims that he was cheated in the state of Wisconsin. He shared a misleading chart on Twitter last week and wrote, “Look at this in Wisconsin! A day AFTER the election, Biden receives a dump of 143,379 votes at 3:42AM, when they learned he was losing badly. This is unbelievable!”

Of course, political pundits had advised for weeks that the crush of Democratic leaning mail-in ballots would come in later than the election day totals. The phenomenon was referred to as “the red mirage.”





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Entertaiment

The Secrets of Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello’s Love Story


Especially if dressing up in head-to-toe Steelers gear or playing Dungeons & Dragons is not her thing, the way, say, getting dressed up for the Vanity Fair Oscar Party is. That’s right, Manganiello is a hard-core fan and, in case you couldn’t tell from his social media accounts, an official D&D consultant.

“All my friends play. All these huge directors, comedians, actors? We all play,” he wrote in an op-ed for NBC News. “My trainer of the past eight years, who is a CrossFit champion—6’2, 245 pounds of solid muscle—is the most hardcore encyclopedia of fantasy novel information you’ll ever find.”

The actor continued, “I now work as a consultant for Dungeons & Dragons, which is the job that I wanted as a kid, and, as a result of that relationship, I wrote some material for their adventure module that will get released next year. Plus, the game is how I got cast in my latest movie, Rampage.” He bonded over D&D with the film’s director, Brad Peyton, who’s interested in making a D&D movie (as is Joe, big time), and Peyton mentioned he still needed to cast a role in his ape-run-amok blockbuster that also starred Dwayne Johnson.

However, Vergara can hang at Comic-Con, and she accompanied fan-favorite Manganiello there in 2018, after which they made their first trip to her native Colombia together. They shared the summer fun with one of their favorite double-date-night couples, Ferguson and Justin Mikita, who were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary at the time.



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Politics

Netanyahu Dumps Trump And Is Now Speaking To Joe Biden


Israeli PM Netanyahu released a statement about the warm call he shared with Joe Biden concerning the future of the US/Israel relationship.

The tweet from Netanyahu’s office:

The Hebrew translation:

Netanyahu Biden statement[/caption]

Netanyahu has been telegraphing this move since he embarrassed Trump on a public call before the election. Bibi can read polls, and he knew that he would soon be dealing with Joe Biden.

Trump is about to be astonished as all of the world leaders who he considers to be his friends will dump him to the curb in a heartbeat and speak well of Joe Biden.

Donald Trump and his enablers like Lindsey Graham don’t want to admit it, but the world has moved on as is treating Joe Biden like the incoming president that he is.

Trump spent years bragging about his great relationship with Netanyahu, but it turned out to mean nothing, as Netanyahu isn’t standing with Trump in his election denial folly.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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Breaking New

Moderna Vaccine, E.U., Joe Biden: Your Tuesday Briefing


As the coronavirus has surged again in recent weeks, much of the U.S. has chosen to keep restaurants open and schools closed. Much of Europe has done the opposite.

The European approach seems to be working better: While both Europe and the U.S. have suffered surges in cases, over the past two weeks France, Germany, Spain and Britain have managed to reduce their growth rates.

What is Europe doing differently? It is cracking down on the kind of indoor gatherings that most commonly spread the virus. England closed pubs, restaurants, gyms and more on Nov. 5 and announced they would remain closed until at least Dec. 2. France, Germany’s regional governments and the Catalonia region of Spain have also shut restaurants, among other businesses.

Many Americans have resisted accepting that reality. Across much of the country, restaurants remain open for indoor dining. Last week, New York State announced a new policy that public health experts consider to be a bizarre middle ground: Businesses with a liquor license can stay open until 10 p.m.

The one indoor activity that appears to present less risk is school, especially elementary school. Why? Young children seem to spread the virus less often than adults do.

Closing schools and switching entirely to remote learning, on the other hand, has big social costs. Children are learning less, and many parents, mostly mothers, have dropped out of the labor force. The U.S. is suffering from both of these problems and from a raging pandemic.


That’s it for this briefing. See you tomorrow.

— Natasha


Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about divisions among American Democrats.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: It’s “mightier than the sword” (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The word “kaitiakitanga” — a Māori word describing guardianship of the environment — first appeared in The Times on Monday, according to the Twitter account @NYT_first_said.
• Our Washington bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller recently spoke with Nieman Reports about political reporting in a post-Trump era.





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Dining News

With Joe Biden in Office, D.C. Could See a Rise in Thanksgiving Sandwiches


From here on out, any morsel of food that passes through Joe Biden’s lips becomes instantly notable, because it will have been blessed by the presidential chompers. Barring an attempted coup based on baseless voter fraud claims from the people who introduced the world to Four Seasons Total Landscaping, Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021. Naturally, people will be curious about what the person in that lofty office eats, and restaurants far and wide will look to capitalize on that information (think: the “Prez Obama Burger” at Good Stuff Eatery).

Leading up to Election Day, a few D.C. restaurants were already running a special affiliated with one of the president-elect’s favorite foods: a Thanksgiving leftovers sub.

In Biden’s case, the sandwich ties back to his love for Capriotti’s, a 44-year-old chain of sandwich shops based in Wilmington, Delaware. When Biden visited a D.C. location for its grand opening in 2013, he said Capriotti’s had “the best sandwich in America.” One sub he walked out with was Capriotti’s signature Bobbie, piled high with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

On Election Day this year, Capitol Hill sandwich pop-up Fight Club rolled out a $14 take on “Biden’s Bobbie,” complete with roasted turkey, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a mayonnaise whipped together with potatoes and salt. Fight Club, which represents a pandemic pivot for Beuchert’s Saloon chef Andrew Markert, plans to bring the sandwich back for limited runs that tee up Thanksgiving and Biden’s inauguration.

In Arlington, Virginia, chef David Guas’s Bayou Bakery offered a “Bobby 2.0” with roasted turkey, a Cajun cornbread stuffing, and cranberry vinaigrette, on Election Day. The sandwich will be back on the menu at the Southern cafe on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Biden’s Bobbie from Fight Club
Fight Club [official]

The “Bobby 2.0” from Bayou Bakery

The “Bobby 2.0” from Bayou Bakery
Bayou Bakery [official]

Given their affordability, portability, and natural grab-and-go habitat, sandwich shops (and new sandwich pop-ups) have been in high demand throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic. In the District, where Biden has won 91 percent of the reported votes, a heavily blue constituency should be receptive to sandwiches honoring their chosen president. So it stands to reason that more Bobbie facsimiles are on the way.

The lone Capriotti’s in D.C. closed in 2018, but there are nearby locations in Rosslyn, Virginia, and Annapolis, Maryland. D.C. has a cult favorite Thanksgiving sandwich at Jettie’s, the D.C. sandwich chain from Georgetown Events group.

Your Only Friend, the sub shop operating out of fancy Blagden Alley cocktail bar Columbia Room, recently released what has to be the most thought-out version of Turkey Day sandwich on the market. Paul Taylor mixes Duke’s mayo with herbs, miso, and a turkey base he makes from the bird’s bones. The sandwich features a homemade stuffing that’s meant to mimic the salty vegetal essence of Stove Top, and includes a jelly sauce made out of raw cranberries simmered in apple cider, Normandy cider, and apple cider vinegar. It’s served with a handful of arugula and a side of turkey gravy for dunking.

The Thanksgiving Sandwich from Your Only Friend

The Thanksgiving Sandwich from Your Only Friend
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

Other food tributes that may appear in a Biden presidency will likely include ice cream — his campaign spent more than $10,000 at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — and angel hair pasta pomodoro, a consistent part of his rider from previous paid speaking engagements.

Once Joe and Jill Biden enter the White House, D.C. will again have a presidential couple who enjoy supporting local restaurants. The only District dining venue Trump visited was the steakhouse inside his downtown hotel. But before that, Barack and Michelle Obama frequently made headlines with their dining decisions.



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Joe Biden Shows His Greatness With Moving Argument For Mask Wearing


President-elect Joe Biden delivered a great argument for mask-wearing that was exactly what America has been missing under Donald Trump.

Video:

Biden said:

The head of the CDC warned this fall, for the foreseeable future, a mask remains the most potent weapon against the virus. Today’s news doesn’t change that urgent reality. I won’t be president until January 20th. My message today is to everyone, is this. Doesn’t matter who you voted for, whether you stood, where you stood before election day, doesn’t matter your party, your point of view. We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months. Not Democrat or Republican lives, American lives.

You know, maybe we saved the life of a person who stocks the shelf at the local grocery store. Maybe saves the life of a member of your place of worship. Maybe it saves the lives of one of your children’s teachers. Maybe it saves your life. So please, I implore you, wear a mask. Do it for yourself. Do it for your neighbor. A mask is not a political statement but it is a good way to start pulling the country together. I want to be very clear, the goal of mask-wearing is not to make your life less comfortable. Or to take something away from you. It is to give something back to all of us, a normal life.

The goal is to get back to normal as fast as possible. And masks are critical doing that. It won’t be forever. That’s how we get our nation back up to speed and economically. We can go back to celebrating birthdays and holidays together, attend sporting events together, get back to lives and connections we shared before the pandemic. It doesn’t matter whether or not we always agree with one another. It doesn’t matter who you voted for. We are Americans and our country is under threat. And now we’re called to do the same thing generations of proud Americans have done in the face of a crisis throughout our history, rise above our differences to defend the strength and vitality of our nation.

Experts say that the US could have this pandemic under control in ten weeks if everyone would wear a mask.

The remarks that Biden gave were why he was elected. No more nonsense, BS, or self-involved spin coming from the Oval Office. Joe Biden is putting the American people first, and instead of false promises coupled with negativity, President-elect Biden is spreading a positive encouraging message with a plan.

The political difference will remain, but America is about to have a president who is all about setting a good example at the top, and this will change the toxic culture that has flourished under Trump.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

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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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How Joe Biden Won the Presidency


His top lieutenants shared that assessment.

During a marathon Zoom session in May, after the campaign’s first major round of polling in the general election, Mr. Biden and his high command spent hours poring over the electoral map. By the end, they had hammered out their priorities: They would focus on three Great Lakes states Mr. Trump flipped in 2016 — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — plus Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. The campaign was skeptical of its chances in Florida and saw two other Sun Belt states, Georgia and Texas, as intriguing — but difficult and expensive to compete in.

When Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris returned to the campaign trail, that map guided their activities and their advertising strategy. They lunged at a few longer-shot targets, sending Ms. Harris on a last-minute trip to Texas, while Mr. Biden returned to Ohio, where polls showed him being competitive. Neither state wound up being close on election night.

More fruitful was an aggressive late play for Georgia, a rapidly diversifying state where suburban voters appeared to be swinging hard toward Democrats. In October, Mr. Biden’s pollster, John Anzalone, determined that the former vice president had a better chance to win there than in North Carolina and even Florida, and Mr. Biden embarked on his trip to Atlanta and Warm Springs. Ms. Harris visited the state repeatedly, and on the eve of the election the campaign decided to send former President Barack Obama to Georgia rather than North Carolina to make one last push there.

As the results began coming in on Tuesday, a tense mood took hold across much of the Biden campaign. In the first states to report, Florida and North Carolina, Mr. Trump was faring several points better than Democratic polling had forecast, and considerably ahead of most surveys conducted by the media.

The Biden campaign publicly projected composure, in contrast to Mr. Trump’s erratic behavior on Twitter and during late-night remarks from the East Room. Greg Schultz, Mr. Biden’s former campaign manager during the Democratic primaries, held a call with key supporters to offer reassurance, insisting that the early returns in the suburbs of Ohio were a good omen for the nearby swing states. But to some agitated listeners it was not a convincing presentation.

Mr. Biden’s inner circle grew increasingly unnerved as the night wore on and it became clear that the president was running stronger than expected. Jill Biden, former Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and an array of Biden advisers telephoned Democrats around the country to learn more about the vote count and whether Mr. Biden was in danger of losing.



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