DONALD TRUMP is out of public view, exacting revenge on his political enemies, ranting about a stolen election and risking allies on Capitol Hill, who are starting to concede that he has lost.
— HE HAS HARDLY made a public appearance since losing the election. He has nothing on his public schedule today.
— HE CANCELED his Thanksgiving trip to Mar-a-Lago. CNN: “Trump remains bunkered in the White House as the world spins on”
— HE FIRED a DHS official who said the election was safe and secure. Story from Eric Geller … Chris Krebs’ tweet: “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow [sic]. #Protect2020”
— HE HAS FIRED the Defense secretary, and sidelined the CIA director.
— HE AND HIS ADMINISTRATION are hardly engaged with Congress on the issues of the day — including new measures to fight the pandemic.
— HIS ADMINISTRATION is not anywhere closer to allowing the BIDEN team to transition into power.
— HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY suggested the election is “driving” toward a JOE BIDEN victory. Republican senators were seen fist-bumping VP-elect KAMALA HARRIS on the Senate floor Tuesday, seemingly congratulating her for winning the election.
— ON TUESDAY NIGHT, TRUMP congratulated the Wayne County, Mich., Board of Canvassers for failing “to certify the election results.” Hours later, they certified the election result.
WAPO’S ROBIN GIVHAN: “The president is golfing and exercising White male privilege”
WSJ ED BOARD ASKS TRUMP TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP: “Rage Against the Voting Machine: Trump blames the result on Dominion’s systems. Where’s the evidence?”: “President Trump has so far been unwilling to concede to Joe Biden, and his latest argument is that the voting machines must have been rigged. Where’s the evidence? Strong claims need strong proof, not rumors and innuendo on Twitter. …
“In the George W. Bush years, the conspiratorial left focused on Diebold, a maker of electronic voting machines. It would be a mistake for anyone on the right to go down a similar dead end, especially if Georgia’s paper ballots give the same result as the computers.”
THERE ARE 64 DAYS until Inauguration Day. President-elect BIDEN will participate in a virtual roundtable with front-line health care workers. He and HARRIS will also meet with transition advisers. And, again, TRUMP has nothing on his public schedule.
NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL … 66% of those polled say it should be a top priority for BIDEN to pass a coronavirus relief bill in the first 100 days of his administration. Not so popular: 26% say BIDEN should make it a top priority to cancel at least $10,000 in student debt for all Americans.
BIDEN and HARRIS start out their administration with high marks. BIDEN has 57% favorability, and HARRIS has 51%. TRUMP has 43%.
Good Wednesday morning.
IT GETS WORSE FOR GAVIN NEWSOM … FOX in L.A. has photos of California’s governor at the French Laundry dinner — and none of the attendees were wearing masks. Photos, from Bill Melugin … L.A. Times’ Robin Abcarian: “The worst thing about Gavin Newsom’s French Laundry dinner? It was with a lobbyist”
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS are today, and the leadership team — NANCY PELOSI, STENY HOYER and JIM CLYBURN — is expected to be elected without any challenge.
PEOPLE MAY VOTE against Speaker PELOSI in the caucus, but she’ll win easily — she only needs half the caucus, plus one.
— PELOSI told JOHN BRESNAHAN that she is not worried about people voting against her. She said she’s worried about closing out uncalled House races in New York, Iowa and California.
ASKED IF SHE WAS WORRIED ABOUT THE FLOOR VOTE on Jan. 3 — when she needs to get 218 votes — she said: “Right now we’re worried about … getting ready for Georgia … winning those additional seats. … Can you just imagine no more Donald Trump, what a joyous feeling that is. So this is about Joe Biden as president of the United States and Kamala Harris as vice president. We held the House. We’re fighting for the Senate now, and we’re still honoring the needs of our candidates in those three states, four races.”
PELOSI will be nominated in the closed party elections today by Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.). The following Democrats will give seconding speeches: Reps. Angie Craig (Minn.), Veronica Escobar (Texas) and Eric Swalwell (Calif.), and Reps.-elect Kai Kahele (Hawaii) and Nikema Williams (Ga.). Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) will close out the nomination.
BARACK OBAMA on PELOSI from “A PROMISED LAND”: “[P]oliticians (usually men) underestimated Nancy at their own peril, for her ascent to power had been no fluke. She’d grown up in the East, the Italian American daughter of Baltimore’s mayor, tutored from an early age in the ways of ethnic ward bosses and longshoremen, unafraid to play hardball politics in the name of getting things done.”
FWIW: HOYER says the House may change the motion to recommit — the process to overthrow a speaker. He called it a “game.”
BIDEN WORLD INCOMING … FOR YOUR RADAR … NPR’S @FrancoOrdonez: “John Jones, who previously served as chief of staff to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo, and has deep ties with the Congressional Black Caucus, is in the mix to head President-elect Joe Biden’s Office of Management and Budget, three people familiar with the discussions tell me.”
— FLASHBACK, POLITICO Influence, 9/27/18: “Cleaver’s chief of staff heads to K Street”
ALEX THOMPSON scoops on BIDEN’S team for Senate confirmation battles: “To navigate those fights, Biden has tapped Jen Psaki, President Barack Obama’s former White House communications director, to lead a team overseeing the confirmation process, according to a list obtained by POLITICO. Olivia Dalton, a former Biden Senate aide and campaign consultant, will head communications and Reema Dodin, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin’s floor director, will take the lead on legislative strategy.
“Biden has also dispatched his campaign’s rapid response director, Andrew Bates, for a leadership role on the team, along with Sean Savett and Saloni Sharma, who worked on Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaigns, respectively. Jorge Neri, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, will also be the deputy outreach director on confirmations. The ‘war room’ operation will expand over the next week with the addition of Biden campaign staff and volunteers from Capitol Hill, according to the transition.”
THE NYT goes deep on BIDEN’S kitchen cabinet …
— GLENN THRUSH on STEVE RICHETTI: “Steve Ricchetti Is Tapped for the West Wing’s Wise-Man Role”: “[W]hat sets Mr. Ricchetti apart from a dozen other Biden veterans in the president-elect’s inner circle is his Swiss Army-knife utility. In addition to his political and fund-raising portfolio, he has overseen many of Mr. Biden’s personal and financial decisions as well as his political ones, according to people close to both men …
“Mr. Ricchetti also served as Mr. Biden’s business manager, negotiating his seven-figure book deal and helping set up a $100-a-head book tour that helped the Bidens earn $15.6 million over the past three years, according to people with knowledge of his activities. Mr. Ricchetti’s goal was to ensure Mr. Biden’s financial security ‘in the cleanest way possible, without doing anything he would ever have to apologize for,’ as Mr. Ricchetti told a friend this year.”
— MIKE SHEAR on MIKE DONILON: “Mike Donilon, Who Helped Draft Biden’s Message, Is Named a Senior Adviser”: “He helped Mr. Biden frame the race against Mr. Trump as one about the character of the candidates, focusing the campaign’s advertising and Mr. Biden’s speeches on the contrast with Mr. Trump’s erratic and abusive behavior during four years in the Oval Office.
“Now, as a senior adviser to Mr. Biden in the White House, Mr. Donilon will be the defender of the Biden brand. It will be his job to ensure that the new president weathers the crosscurrents in Washington as he battles Republicans in Congress and seeks to calm tensions between liberals and moderates in his own party.
— MIKE SHEAR on DANA REMUS: “Dana Remus Has Taken an Unlikely Path to the White House Counsel’s Office”: “Now, Ms. Remus will lead the White House Counsel’s Office for Mr. Biden as he seeks to unwind President Trump’s legislative and regulatory legacy and pushes forward with an agenda of his own.
“People close to Ms. Remus said she will be a key part of that effort, in part because she understands the limitations — as well as the critical importance — of the law. Unlike some lawyers, they said, Ms. Remus understands that the law is just one part of a broader mix that includes politics, policy and communications.”
— LISA LERER on JEN O’MALLEY DILLON: “Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s Campaign Manager, Will Tackle Another Difficult Job”: “A stalwart of Democratic politics, she has never worked in the White House and is a rare new admission into Mr. Biden’s tight circle of trusted aides. Expected to be charged with managing White House operations — a job that has traditionally included logistics, administration and making sure the place runs on time — Ms. O’Malley Dillon will join an administration facing a raging pandemic, economic instability and a fiercely divided country.”
— KATIE GLUECK and JONATHAN MARTIN: “Representative Cedric Richmond Set to Be a Senior Biden Adviser”: “Mr. Richmond, who maintains an extensive political network and is known for delivering candid advice, will be a senior adviser to Mr. Biden and the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, roles that will allow him to build on his deep relationships in Congress, with key political constituencies and with Mr. Biden himself. …
“Mr. Richmond would have faced an uncertain future remaining in conservative Louisiana if he had wanted to run statewide. And with Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York a leading contender to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and become the first Black American to lead the House, Mr. Richmond’s calculation was plainly that he could have the most influence in the White House.”
THE CORONAVIRUS IS RAGING … 11.3 MILLION Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus. … 248,687 have died.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-Iowa) announced he tested positive for the coronavirus. He is the second oldest senator, and the third in line to the presidency.
NYT’S EMILY COCHRANE on the Capitol: “The marble-and-stone petri dish that is Capitol Hill is a vivid microcosm of the national struggle to confront and contain the spread of the pandemic, with partisan bickering often thwarting already unevenly enforced health precautions. Having effectively declared themselves essential workers, the nation’s lawmakers — a group of older Americans whose jobs involve weekly flights, ample indoor contact and near-constant congregating in close quarters — are yet again struggling to adapt their legislative and ceremonial routines to stem the spread of the virus, even as it rages within their ranks.”
— “Biden Covid advisers say transition delay hurts pandemic prep beyond vaccines,” by Alice Miranda Ollstein: “The leaders of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisory board said Tuesday the Trump administration’s continued refusal to allow the transition to move forward is hurting their preparedness planning on multiple fronts, from addressing mask shortages to recommending targeted closures in hot spots and laying the groundwork to distribute prospective vaccines.
“The transition team is unable to consult with federal health officials or access real-time data on available hospital beds, the status of the National Strategic Stockpile and therapeutics, among other things. For now, they said that’s forcing them to rely on piecemeal data from state and local officials and public sources like the Covid Tracking Project.”
— “Trump administration cancels Covid-19 celebrity ad campaign,” by Dan Diamond: “The Health and Human Services department has scrapped a planned ad campaign featuring celebrities discussing Covid-19, a senior HHS official told a congressional oversight panel in a letter shared with POLITICO.
“The abandoned $15 million contract with Atlas Research, part of a larger $300 million taxpayer-funded campaign aimed at ‘defeating despair’ over the pandemic, was conceived by a close political ally of President Donald Trump this summer. It was met with outrage from Democratic lawmakers, who charged it was an attempt to boost lagging public opinion of Trump’s coronavirus response ahead of the election.
“Following the outcry, HHS commissioned an internal review, with input from career civil servants, about whether the campaign met public health goals. HHS concluded the Atlas contract should be canceled, but it found the broader awareness campaign could continue.”
— “FDA authorizes first at-home coronavirus test,” by David Lim
TOP TALKER … WAPO’S PAUL KANE: “Lindsey Graham’s one-man voting probe prompts confusion”: “Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) started off the day by saying he had talked with the secretaries of state in Arizona and Nevada, in addition to the conversation he had acknowledged earlier with Georgia’s top election official.
“A little later, Graham realized he had misspoken. He had actually talked to Arizona’s governor and some other officials, he said, and he wasn’t sure which officials from Nevada had briefed him about that state’s 2020 election procedures.
“Finally, by midafternoon Tuesday, Graham realized he had never spoken to anyone from the Silver State about its 2020 vote. ‘I didn’t talk to anyone in Nevada. I got briefed about what they do in Nevada. I can’t remember by who,’ Graham told reporters in the Capitol. This is the state of Graham’s solo investigation into election laws in states that President Trump narrowly lost in this month’s election.
“Along the way, Graham has turned himself into a lightning rod among state officials who want nothing to do with his probe, while his Senate colleagues try to politely dismiss his stumbling effort as a one-man show that is mostly a distraction.”
NYT’S MIKE SCHMIDT and MAGGIE HABERMAN: “Giuliani Is Said to Seek $20,000 a Day Payment for Trump Legal Work”: “Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has helped oversee a string of failed court challenges to President Trump’s defeat in the election, asked the president’s campaign to pay him $20,000 a day for his legal work, multiple people briefed on the matter said. …
“Reached by phone, Mr. Giuliani strenuously denied requesting that much. ‘I never asked for $20,000,’ said Mr. Giuliani, saying the president volunteered to make sure he was paid after the cases concluded. ‘The arrangement is, we’ll work it out at the end.’ He added that whoever had said he made the $20,000-a-day request ‘is a liar, a complete liar.’”
FROM 30,000 FEET — RENUKA RAYASAM and BEN WHITE: “Biden’s big challenge: A growing racial wealth gap”: “When he takes office on Jan. 20, Joe Biden will face a gap between Black and white wealth that has grown into a yawning chasm during the past 10 months. The pandemic has shuttered tens of thousands of businesses and left millions out of work. And communities of color have borne the brunt of the economic devastation, particularly Black-owned businesses that have failed at a far greater rate during the pandemic than white-owned businesses. Many that remain may not survive the current pandemic wave without significant help from the federal government before effective vaccines finally arrive.
“Biden’s presidency may rise or fall on his ability to execute policies — possibly with a GOP majority in the Senate — that address systemic economic inequality, which often leaves Black families and businesses far more vulnerable to economic shocks. Black families have faced a well-documented pattern of financial discrimination that has stymied their ability to accumulate wealth at the same rate as white families, forcing them to live in neighborhoods with fewer resources. For example, they are denied loans at much higher rates than white families with similar credit profiles — and face higher interest rates when they do qualify.
“Biden won the White House with enormous help from African American voters, which he acknowledged in his victory speech: ‘The African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours.’ Now, his supporters say, he must deliver.”
AP/JERUSALEM … FOGGY BOTTOM WATCH — “Pompeo expected to visit Israeli settlement in parting gift,” by Joseph Krauss: “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expected tour of a West Bank winery this week will be the first time a top American diplomat has visited an Israeli settlement, a parting gift from an administration that has taken unprecedented steps to support Israel’s claims to war-won territory.
“The Psagot winery, established in part on land the Palestinians say was stolen from local residents, is part of a sprawling network of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that most of the international community views as a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace.
“The award-winning winery, which offers tours and event spaces, is a focus of Israel’s efforts to promote tourism in the occupied territory and a potent symbol of its fight against campaigns to boycott or label products from the settlements.
“Pompeo’s expected visit, reported by Israeli media but not officially confirmed, would mark a radical departure from past administrations, both Democratic and Republican, which frequently scolded Israel over settlement construction — to little effect.” AP
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “‘I’m not a f—ing socialist’: Florida Democrats are having a post-election meltdown,” by Matt Dixon and Gary Fineout in Tallahassee, Fla.: “It wasn’t just one bad cycle. For Democrats in Florida, Election Day 2020 was a tipping point in a long, painful buildup to irrelevancy. After suffering crushing losses from the top of the ballot down, the state party now is mired in a civil war that could have profound consequences for future elections.
“High hopes for gains in the state Legislature have given way to recriminations and finger-pointing. Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo is almost certain to lose her job, but no one has stepped up to claim her mantle. Prospective 2022 gubernatorial candidates, including state Rep. Anna Eskamani and state Sen. Jason Pizzo, are slinging blame. And redistricting, which could deliver Democrats into another decade of insignificance, is around the corner.
“Even as Joe Biden heads to the White House, state Democrats know that President Donald Trump did more than just win in Florida. He tripled his 2016 margin and all but stripped Florida of its once-vaunted status as a swing state. His win, a landslide by state presidential standards, was built on record turnout and a Democratic implosion in Miami-Dade County, one of the bluest parts of the state.
“‘We have turnout problems, messaging problems, coalitions problems, it’s up and down the board,’ said Democrat Sean Shaw, a former state representative who lost a bid for attorney general in 2018. ‘It’s not one thing that went wrong. Everything went wrong.’”
WEDNESDAY LISTEN — Check out the latest episode of POLITICO’s podcast “GLOBAL TRANSLATIONS,” where experts are sounding the alarm on why we’re in dire need of critical minerals. Listen and subscribe
MEDIAWATCH — Steven Perlberg is returning to Business Insider, where he will be a media correspondent based in Berlin. He most recently was a freelance reporter, and is a BuzzFeed and WSJ alum.
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
SPOTTED at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law’s 2020 virtual annual awards Tuesday night, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and honoring former Rep. Tony Coelho (D-Calif.), the author of the bill: former President Bill Clinton, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Stacey Abrams, Tom Ridge, Lynda Carter, Valerie Jarrett, Judy Woodruff, Amna Nawaz, Tom Harkin, Steve Bartlett and Holly O’Donnell.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Chay English will join BGR Group as a VP next month. He currently is chief of staff to Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.).
TRANSITIONS — Sarah Dolan Schneider is joining S-3 Group as a VP of public affairs. She currently is executive director at America Rising, and is a National Restaurant Association, Mark Kirk and Chris Christie alum. … Ryan Diffley is now a legislative assistant to Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.). He previously was a senior legislative assistant for Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.). …
… Shana Teehan and William Harris will be COS and district director, respectively, for Rep.-elect Barry Moore (R-Ala.). Teehan most recently was VP of comms at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and is a Luther Strange, Kevin Brady and Will Hurd alum. Harris most recently was director of political affairs for the Alabama Forestry Association.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Torey Carter-Conneen, CEO at the American Society of Landscape Architects, and Mike Carter-Conneen, comms strategist at Spitfire Strategies and a former TV reporter, on Tuesday finalized the adoption of their now 6-month-old son Aiden Sean Michael, born April 26. He came in at 6 lbs, 7 oz, and joins big sister Drew. Due to Covid-19, the adoption hearing was held via Zoom. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Heidi Przybyla, NBC News correspondent. How she got started in journalism: “A year after graduating from Michigan State University, I cold-called my way into Washington, eventually landing work as an assistant for a German publisher. I was the first of four kids and, when I told my father I was leaving Michigan, he told me I’d be back and super sorry I left in the first place. That was 1996.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) is 49 … Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) is 53 (h/t Tim Griffin) … Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) is 56 … Megyn Kelly is 5-0 … NYT’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg … POLITICO’s Matt Wuerker, Theo Meyer and Trisha Kolb … Gregory Lemos … Dan Sadlosky, policy adviser to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) … Tom Namako of BuzzFeed … Paige Hutchinson, COS for Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), is 3-0 … Barry Jackson (h/t Tim Burger) … Brian Forest, founder of Arboreal Communications … David Frank … Drew Brandewie, comms director for Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), is 36 … Robert Dougherty, legislative director for Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.) … U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks … Andrea Stone …
… Brannon Rains, policy analyst for the House Energy and Commerce GOP staff … Morgan Radford, NBC News correspondent … Waldo Tibbetts … Carrie Matthews of Accelevents … Cassi Gritzmacher … Steven Janelli … Noelia Rodríguez … Hanna Skandera … Tim Doyle … David Rain … former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) is 63 … Adali Hernandez, corporate relations executive at UnidosUS (h/t Ruben Gonzales) … Abby Tinsley … Jacob Cassady … Karen Dunn, partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison … Richard Maopolski … Nick Ragone … Arshad Hasan is 4-0 … Gregory Kallenberg … Meg Gage … Ace Smith is 61 … Jon Kaplan … Deirdre Schifeling (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Amber Manko … Erica DeVos … Brian Knapp … Max Nides is 26