Assembly With Schumer and Pelosi, Biden Retains Give attention to Virus and Financial system

WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced new hires on Friday and met with spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi and minority leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, while continuing to focus on the economy and the coronavirus Pandemic focused and President Trump ignored continuation of efforts to undermine election results.

The Democratic leaders gathered in Wilmington, Delaware for their first face-to-face meeting since the election to “discuss their common priorities to provide immediate relief to struggling working families and small businesses,” they said in a joint statement.

On a brief photo opportunity with reporters, Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat with Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer at a large rectangular table, all masked and several feet apart.

“In my Oval Office, me casa, you casa,” joked Mr. Biden, giggling from the others. “I hope we will spend a lot of time together.”

Friday was Mr. Biden’s 78th birthday, and Mrs. Pelosi gave the president-elect a white orchid as a celebration, according to an aide-de-camp.

None of the Democrats told reporters any more substance, but in a joint statement they subsequently said they “agreed that Congress should pass a bipartisan emergency package at the Lame Duck meeting,” including money to fight and support the coronavirus Fighting families, businesses, and state and local governments.

Mr Biden had discussed his agenda for the first 100 days of his presidency, including “containing” the coronavirus and restoring the economy, as the statement called “the American people’s mandate to act”.

The statement did not address Mr Trump’s false claims about the election the day after Mr Biden called it “completely irresponsible”. Jen Psaki and Yohannes Abraham, speaking for the Biden-Harris transition, were measured on the subject during a briefing for reporters. They said they would “move forward at full speed” but avoid provocative language that would escalate tensions.

The message of discipline appeared in line with the Biden campaign’s success strategy of not bothering with Mr. Trump’s theater and presenting the president-elect as an enduring character focused on the pandemic.

But to underscore the strange limbo created by Mr Trump, Mr Biden posted a plea for private donations on Twitter on Friday to fund his transition activities. “Here’s the deal: because President Trump refuses to admit and is delaying the transition, we have to finance it ourselves and need your help,” he wrote. When you click the link, a form will appear hosted by ActBlue, a democratic network. It suggests donations ranging from $ 15,000 to $ 5,000, although users can specify any amount.

Ms. Psaki and Mr. Abraham again called on General Services Administration Director Emily W. Murphy to approve documents that would initiate an official transition of the president and give Mr. Biden and his staff access to federal resources, data and personnel.

“This is not a game,” said Abraham, noting that a growing number of business groups and executives, such as the heads of the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, had recently called for the transition process to start.

When asked whether the Biden team had any contact with representatives of the Trump administration, as indicated by some reports, Ms. Psaki said, “We would definitely like to have this commitment.”

The transition of the president


Oct. Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:53 am ET

But she added that the transition team “has of course been very careful about following these rules and guidelines, and we must adhere to them until a determination is made.”

Determination is the term when the General Services Administration concludes that the election has produced a winner and a transition can begin.

Mr Biden has spoken repeatedly over the past few days of the urgent need for Congress to agree on a new stimulus package and has stated that Senate Republicans should drop their opposition to a measure that House Democrats passed last month . He has not made a public proposal that Democrats should change their position and offer new compromise laws.

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden also spoke to “elected officials from both sides of the aisle.” When asked if this included Congressional Republicans who Mr Biden said he hoped break ranks to question Mr Trump’s electoral claims and the trade-off on stimulus spending, she failed to provide details.

Mr Biden also announced four more appointments for his White House staff.

Catherine M. Russell will be the director of the office of the President of the White House. During the Obama administration, Ms. Russell was Jill Biden’s chief of staff, then the second lady, and U.S. ambassador to the State Department for global women’s issues. She is married to former National Security Advisor to former President Barack Obama, Tom Donilon, who is the brother of Mike Donilon, Biden’s key political strategist, and who may also get a big administrative job.

Louisa Terrell, a former Special Legislative Assistant to Obama and a former Capitol Hill adviser who served as Chief of Staff to Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, will serve as the White House legislative office.

Ms. Biden’s political director will be Mala Adiga, an attorney who served in a similar role in the Biden-Harris campaign, working on women’s and human rights issues under Mr. Obama at the State Department and the National Security Council.

The White House Social Secretary will be Carlos Elizondo, who was the Bidens’ Social Secretary during the Obama administration and the first Hispanic American to hold the job. The position includes planning and managing official White House events, including state dinners.

Transition officials did not provide details on when the team might announce additional appointments, including Mr Biden’s first cabinet candidates.

Nicholas Fandos contributed to the coverage.

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