Trump refuses to concede, Biden leads on Covid
Nov 10, 2020 - 02:45 AM
WASHINGTON — Biden meanwhile forged ahead with his agenda, starting with his number one campaign promise of trying to get the raging coronavirus pandemic under control.
He held a first meeting of his own coronavirus task force, just hours before the White House version headed by Vice President Mike Pence was due to gather.
Biden then gave a televised speech on the crisis that signaled a dramatic departure from Trump’s erratic style.
Where Trump has repeatedly mocked people wearing masks and claimed the virus would go away by itself, Biden told the nation face coverings are the single best way to get the situation under control.
“I implore you, wear a mask,” he said. “A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start putting the country together.”
The speech and the announcement of Biden’s new task force came as US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech announced that a jointly developed vaccine had so far proven 90 percent effective in preventing infections in trials.
Biden welcomed the news, while cautioning it would be “many more months” before mass vaccination was possible.
Trump, whose handling of the pandemic has often run contrary to scientific advice, also welcomed the news, which boosted to stock prices on Wall Street.
“STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!” Trump tweeted.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus struck again inside the White House with ABC News reporting that the housing and urban development secretary, Ben Carson, had tested positive.
The man meant to be heading Trump’s uphill campaign against the election results, David Bossie, has also tested positive, US media reports said.
This comes after Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, reportedly came down with the virus — as have numerous other staff and Trump himself over the last weeks.
Lost in transition?
Beyond Covid, the Biden team said the president-elect and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was holding “briefings with transition advisors.”
Biden also talked by phone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who like many leaders of the traditional US allies has had a rollercoaster ride with Trump in Washington.
However, with Trump digging in his feet, it is far from clear how much the incoming administration will be able to do as the clock ticks down to inauguration day.
Trump, backed for now by a significant number of senior Republicans, is insisting on multiple court challenges to vote counts and allegations of fraud. While no credible proof had been put forward of any incident that could have changed the result, the legal wrangles could take days if not weeks to sort out.
In the meantime, Biden’s team is being blocked from tax-payer funded transition assistance by the Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration, which manages government buildings.
The GSA’s freeze on cooperation rippled through to the Department of Defense, which said it was holding off from contact with Biden’s transition team as a result.