On a day of mercy and grievance, President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday called on Americans to join in a common cause against the coronavirus pandemic and their political division, while the man he will replace shattered the fading fervor of his campaign to “reverse the election. ”
Biden, in a Thanksgiving address to the nation, put the heavily pandemic front and center, promising to harness the “great powers” of the federal government and to “change the course of the disease” once in office. But for that to work, he said, Americans must step up for the safety of themselves and their citizens.
“This is the moment when we need to steal our backs, redouble our efforts and reuse ourselves in this fight,” Biden said. “Each of us has a responsibility in our own lives to do what we can to slow down the virus.”
President Donald Trump, who has barely mentioned the pandemic in recent days, even though it has reached record highs, remained fixated on his election defeat.
He sent his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other members of his legal team to meet with Pennsylvania Republican state senators in Gettysburg. Inside a hotel near the holy battlefields of the Civil War, they again sent election complaints and repeated allegations of democratic misconduct that have already disintegrated under judicial review.
“We have to turn the tide,” Trump said from the Oval Office, where he joined the meeting through a speakerphone.
“This was a choice we won easily,” he said. “We won it a lot.” In fact, the election gave Biden a clear mandate and no systemic fraud has been detected. Judge after judge has dismissed the Trump campaign’s allegations as baseless, and the transition to Biden’s presidency is in full swing.
Still, Trump reiterated: “This election must be reversed.”
Trump had been expected to appear in person in Gettysburg, but did not do so after another member of his legal team tested positive for coronavirus. Get wearing masks at the meeting.
All in all, I heard – and cheered – another statement from an American president who tried to reverse a democratic election and the will of the electorate because he wants to retain power. The setting was about a mile from the site of Pickett’s Charge, where union troops repulsed a desperately Confederate attack in July 1863 and helped turn the paper into the Civil War.
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The president followed up by forgiving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the second Trump associate convicted in Russia’s probe of being granted goodwill by Trump.
The pardon was part of a broader attempt to undo the results of an investigation that for several years has overshadowed the Trump administration and cracked down on half a dozen employees. The pardon annuls the criminal case against Flynn just as a federal judge decided to grant a Justice Department request to dismiss the indictment despite Flynn’s own obligation to lie to the FBI about his Russia contacts.
For his part, Biden has largely projected calm because the necessary parts of a presidential transition – money, access to office space and more – were kept in check for nearly three weeks by the Trump war and a delayed statement from the General Services Administration that he had won the election. . On Wednesday, he only talked about Trump’s crude tactics.
“Our democracy was tested this year,” Biden said, “but the people of this nation are up to the task.”
“In America, we have complete and fair and free elections, and then we honor the results,” he said. “The people of this nation and the laws of the land stand for nothing else.”
And he offered an optimistic vision, urging Americans to “dream again” and predict that “the 21st century will be an American century.”
Biden promised more virus tests, more protective equipment and clearer guidance for companies and schools to reopen when he becomes president. Until vaccines are distributed, he said, masks, social distancing and restrictions on the size of gatherings “are our most effective tools for fighting the virus.”
Biden’s comments came as the COVID-19 case grows nationwide. Hospital admissions, deaths and the degree of positivity of testing also rose sharply as the nation went into Thanksgiving, and public health experts have warned that the large family gatherings expected for the holidays are likely to prolong and worsen sharply.
He has formed a coronavirus advisory board for researchers, doctors and public health experts and plans to set up a COVID-19 coordinator in the White House to lead his administration.
This week, however, Biden focused beyond the crisis state and unveiled his national security law on Tuesday, including his nominee for secretary of state, head of national intelligence and the US ambassador to the United Nations. Drawing implicit contrasts with Trump, Biden said the team “reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not withdraw from it.” He is also expected to appoint Janet Yellen as finance minister in the coming weeks.
By urging Americans to be vigilant in their Thanksgiving plans, Biden said on Wednesday that he has taken his own precautions, avoiding his traditional large family gathering and spending the holidays instead with only his wife, daughter and son-in-law.
He travels with his wife, Jill, to Rehoboth Beach, the small beach town in Delaware where the two have a vacation home. This is where they will host their family at the Thanksgiving dinner. Biden is expected to stay in Rehoboth for the weekend before returning to Wilmington for further work on the transfer.
Trump will give up his usual plans to celebrate Thanksgiving at his private club in Florida and will instead stay in the White House.