Biden begins transition plans as Trump refuses to concede

By Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET, November 23, 2020
25 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:59 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Biden: "I am not going to shut down the economy, period"

President-elect Joe Biden speaks on November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden speaks on November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware Andrew Harnik/AP

President-elect Joe Biden vowed today that he would not shut down the economy as the US continues to struggle under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am not going to shut down the economy, period. I'm going to shut down the virus. That's what I'm going to shut down," Biden said.

Biden added: "No national shutdown, because every region, every area, every community can be different. And so there's no circumstance which I can see that would require total national shutdown. I think that would be counterproductive."

Watch the moment:

4:34 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Biden says he's made a decision on Treasury secretary

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Joe Biden said that he and his team have made the decision about who will serve as Treasury secretary in his administration, telling reporters that they'll hear his choice "soon" — either before or shortly after Thanksgiving. 

"You’ll find it is someone that will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic party — from the progressive and the moderate coalitions," he said. 

Read more about who could serve in top roles of the Biden-Harris administration here.

5:00 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

National mask mandate and vaccine distribution among topics Biden discussed with governors

President-elect Joe Biden speaks on November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware
President-elect Joe Biden speaks on November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware Andrew Harnik/AP

President-elect Joe Biden met with a group of 10 different governors today to discuss a litany of issues they are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the issues discussed was getting governors economic relief because the pandemic has been "devastating" to state budgets, Biden said this afternoon during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.

"States and communities shouldn't have to lay off teachers, cops, firefighters, cut vital services," Biden added.

Biden also discussed the need to provide a safe and free coronavirus vaccine, which will also require a "massive public education campaign," he added.

The third and fourth items discussed with the governors was National Guard funding and the implementation of a national mask mandate.

"Ten governors, Democrat and Republican, have imposed masking requirements and recognized the need for universal masking, north, south, east and west. It's not a political statement. It's a patriotic duty," Biden said.

The last area of discussion was on Covid-19 testing, which needs to be more available and accessible, Biden added.

"The bottom line, we can do this. There's nothing beyond our capacity, but we have to come together as a country," he added.

Watch Biden describe the meeting held with governors:

##Transition#

4:26 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Biden on the pandemic: "There's a dark winter still ahead"

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a press conference on Thursday, November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a press conference on Thursday, November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware. CNN

President-elect Joe Biden kept the coronavirus pandemic front and center during a news conference this afternoon from Wilmington, Delaware.

"The country is still in a crisis, and there's a dark winter still ahead," Biden said. "Yesterday, America reached another tragic milestone; 250,000 deaths, a quarter of a million people died due to Covid-19. And there are empty chairs at dining room tables that were filled just days and weeks ago with loved ones, family and friends, who laughed and talked together. To those families and friends that are left behind, Jill and I send our love and our prayers."

Some context: Biden's remarks come just hours after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans should not travel for Thanksgiving.

"CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving Day period," Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager for the CDC, told reporters in a conference call.

Biden held a virtual meeting with a bipartisan group of governors earlier today to talk about the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the pool, the list of governors that attended the virtual meeting included: 

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Democrat)
  • Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (Democrat)
  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Democrat)
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Republican)
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (Democrat)
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (Republican)
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (Republican)
  • Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (Republican)
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (Democrat)
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (Republican)

Watch:

4:52 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Harris vows to support state officials through coronavirus pandemic

From CNN's DJ Judd

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks on Thursday, November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks on Thursday, November 19 in Wilmington, Delaware. Andrew Harnik/AP

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris vowed that she and President-elect Joe Biden would provide the resources needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

“President Elect Biden and I will make sure you have the resources and support you need to save lives and help get our economy back on track, and we will also make sure that our federal, state, local, and tribal authorities are working closely together so we can tackle these challenges as effectively as possible, because when it comes to this pandemic and the economic recovery, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and we will be there for one another," she said.

Harris added, "That's the kind of leadership the American people need and deserve, and it's the kind of leadership President-elect Biden and I will provide."

4:14 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Arizona judge dismisses GOP election lawsuit

From CNN's Kara Scannell

An Arizona state judge threw out the Arizona Republican Party’s lawsuit seeking a broader audit of votes cast on Election Day which county lawyers warned could have delayed the state’s certification of ballots.

In a brief order, the judge dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice and denied the Arizona Republican Party’s request to amend its complaint. He also denied the party’s request for an injunction to block Maricopa County from certifying the election results. 

The judge said a fuller order explaining the decision will follow.

4:46 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Biden will meet with Pelosi and Schumer in-person tomorrow

From CNN's Jessica Dean and Arlette Saenz

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer during a joint press conference on November 12 in Washington, DC.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks alongside Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer during a joint press conference on November 12 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday, according to a transition official.

This will be the first in-person meeting for Biden, Pelosi and Schumer since he won the election.

Bloomberg was the first to report the news.

3:54 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Biden campaign says Giuliani's press conference exposes "absurdity" of Trump's unfounded election claims

From CNN's Sarah Mucha, Tara Subramaniam and Holmes Lybrand 

Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19 in Washington, DC.
Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19 in Washington, DC. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Joe Biden's campaign called the fact-free press conference held by Rudy Giuliani and President Trump's legal team earlier today, a "spectacle" that exposed the "absurdity of the President's thoroughly discredited claims of voter fraud." 

The roughly 90-minute briefing, led by Giuliani, was overflowing with falsehoods and conspiracy theories as the President's legal team laid out its case for widespread voter fraud in the election.

At no point did Trump's legal team offer any proof for their allegations of widespread fraud. 

Many of their specific claims have already been refuted by federal election security experts and a wide, bipartisan array of election administrators across the country.  

"No matter how hard Trump and the flailing Giuliani try, they cannot overturn the will of the American people, who resoundingly picked Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States," Biden spokesperson Mike Gwin said in a statement. 

The full statement from Gwin says: 

"Yet another Rudy Giuliani spectacle exposes, as his appearances always do, the absurdity of Donald Trump's thoroughly discredited claims of voter fraud. Numerous courts, election officials from both parties, and even officials within Trump's own administration, have all reaffirmed that claims of widespread voter fraud are categorically false. In fact, lawyers for Trump have admitted that in papers filed in court and under direct questioning from judges. No matter how hard Trump and the flailing Giuliani try, they cannot overturn the will of the American people, who resoundingly picked Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States."

You can read a fact-check of Giuliani and the Trump legal team's wild press conference here.

3:18 p.m. ET, November 19, 2020

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel under consideration for transportation secretary

From CNN's Manu Raju and Jeff Zeleny

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visits WSJ at Large with Gerry Baker on August 1, 2019 in New York City. 
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel visits WSJ at Large with Gerry Baker on August 1, 2019 in New York City.  Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is under consideration to lead the Department of Transportation in President-elect Joe Biden's administration, people familiar with the matter say, a move that could return the former Illinois congressman and White House chief of staff in the Obama administration back to Washington.

Emanuel has expressed his interest in the post, telling allies that the nation’s infrastructure challenges are so dire that an experienced person from the executive and legislative branch would be an asset.

Yet his record in Chicago could be a major hurdle to confirmation, particularly among progressives, considering the city’s crime rate and the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, which is the leading reason he did not seek a third term as mayor.