The Daily 202: Citing Scripture, President-elect Biden asks Trump supporters to give him a chance to heal the country

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Pennsylvania clinched the presidency for its native son. A few hours later, Biden was projected to win Nevada. He continues to maintain narrow leads in Arizona and Georgia. Nationally, Biden received nearly 4 million more votes than Trump – a number that is expected to grow as ballots are counted.

Even as the incumbent refused to concede and most Republican lawmakers held off on congratulating Biden, the 77-year-old Democrat spoke optimistically about breaking the partisan fever that grips the federal government and pledged to pursue cooperation. 

“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end here and now,” Biden said. “We have to stop treating our opponents as our enemies. They are not our enemies. They’re Americans.”

But the son of Scranton appealed not just to a shared nationality – but a common humanity. At the conclusion of a campaign in which Trump churlishly impugned his faith, Biden quoted the Book of Ecclesiastes. “The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season — a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow and a time to heal,” he said. “This is the time to heal in America.”

On Sunday morning, Biden attended mass and, afterward, walked to the cemetery where his son, Beau, his first wife, Neilia, and their daughter, Naomi, are buried. Biden secured the presidency on the 48th anniversary of winning his first Senate race in Delaware: Nov. 7, 1972. On Dec. 18 of that year, a week before Christmas, Neilia and Naomi died in a car accident. His sons, Beau and Hunter, were injured but survived. Beau died of brain cancer at 46 in 2015. 

Biden will be our 46th president – but just the second Catholic to hold the highest office in the land, following John F. Kennedy. Despite such unfathomable suffering, Biden has never lost his faith. That perseverance will be essential as the former vice president finds himself poised to lead a country grappling with a once-in-a-century pandemic.

For the fourth consecutive day, the United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus cases on Saturday: More than 134,000 tested positive. And state authorities reported more than 1,100 new covid-19 deaths, bringing our confirmed death toll to more than 237,000 people. The economy continues to weaken and lose momentum because Trump has, functionally, given up on trying to control the virus. The latest projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington suggest that the worst stretch of the pandemic yet will likely hit in mid- to late January, just around the time of the inauguration.

Speaking Saturday, Biden sought to offer solace to those who have lost loved ones because of the pandemic. He read from a Catholic hymn, “On Eagles’ Wings,” which he said captures the faith that sustains him: “And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, Bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun, And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”

Biden is about to inherit an even more daunting set of challenges on Jan. 20 than he and President Barack Obama faced when they took office in 2009. During his mostly jubilant speech, Biden said he will name members of a coronavirus task force on Monday. The group, which could begin meeting within days, will be co-chaired by former surgeon general Vivek Murthy and David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner. 

“Our work begins with getting covid under control,” Biden said in his speech. “We cannot repair the economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments — hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us — until we get this virus under control. … Together — on eagle’s wings — we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do.”

Trump and Biden are both White men in their mid-70s, but they have vastly different values and sensibilities. Biden’s speech illustrated that. In so many ways, what Biden said was the antithesis of Trump’s musings during his inaugural address about “American carnage” and his declaration at the 2016 Republican convention that “I alone can fix it.”

“We have the opportunity to defeat despair and to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can,” Biden said. “Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. It is time for our better angels to prevail.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), the vice-president elect, introduced Biden as a “healer” with a “tested and steady hand.” She called him “a person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us, as a nation, reclaim our own sense of purpose.” She also emphasized that the time has come for healing. “Now is when the real work begins,” she said. “The road ahead will not be easy. But America is ready. And so are Joe and I.”

The man and the moment have finally met. “Biden, the son of a car salesman and a homemaker, the product of Catholic schools and public universities, the six-term senator and two-term vice president, has craved one title above all others in decades of trying and decades of failing. On Saturday, he won it,” Matt Viser and Sean Sullivan note. “The man who was wrong for the moment in two previous presidential campaigns had enough longevity to convince voters that he was right for this one. And now the man who was once one of the nation’s youngest senators will become the nation’s oldest president. … The president who triumphed four years ago on an outsider’s promise to ‘drain the swamp’ ultimately lost to a quintessential creature of Washington.”

Biden knows what it means to be wounded by life. The stress tests he survived have built up his bones and strengthened his foundation,” writes critic-at-large Robin Givhan. “Leadership means carrying the burden so that others might breathe easier or can shine brighter. … As Biden inched his way to the presidency, his footsteps seemed heavier. It’s hard to bounce on one’s heels as the leader of the free world. But in that steadiness, there’s reassurance.”

The world did not wait for Trump to concede to congratulate Biden. The six non-American heads of state in the G-7 congratulated Biden on his victory, including the U.K.’s Boris Johnson, who has been a Trump ally. Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has tied his political fortunes closely to Trump over the past four years, publicly congratulated the Democratic ticket, making a point of highlighting his “long & warm personal relationship” with Biden, whom he said he has known for 40 years. “Welcome back America,” tweeted Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the very first foreign leaders to congratulate Biden was Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who said in a statement that he is “optimistic about the future of the strategic partnership” with the United States, including the “fight against corruption” and working to strengthen democracy in the face of Russian aggression. Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House for “abuse of power” after allegedly coercing Zelensky last year to do him “a favor” by announcing an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden while simultaneously holding up the delivery of vital military assistance. Zelensky tweeted Saturday: “Our friendship becomes only stronger!” 

The Republican-controlled Senate voted against convicting Trump. The lone GOP defector was Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the party’s 2012 nominee for president. On Saturday, Romney was the first Republican senator to congratulate Biden and call for a peaceful transition of power. He was joined a few hours later by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). “We pray that God may bless them in the days and years ahead,” Romney said in a statement. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stayed silent on Saturday and issued no statements after the race was called. Democrats would need to win both Senate runoffs in Georgia on Jan. 5 to take control of the Senate, which seems like a heavy lift. Assuming McConnell remains majority leader next year, the 78-year-old will need to manage a conference torn between factions with competing interests: Senators running for reelection in swing states in 2022 will ostensibly want to put points on the board while senators running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 will be eager to show the base that they’re resisting Biden.

“Biden has often pointed to his long relationship with McConnell as evidence that he could find common ground with Republicans, at least often enough to get important things done. It’s true that as vice president, Biden was sometimes sent to Capitol Hill to cut deals with McConnell, when it was required, and sometimes he was successful. But the larger reality is that McConnell was an implacable adversary who once said that his highest priority was to prevent Obama from winning a second term,” Dan Balz notes

“The posture McConnell adopts toward Biden will go some ways in determining whether the president-elect can begin to make good on his pledge to repair a broken government and show a way out of the rancorous politics of the day. But even if McConnell extends a friendlier hand to Biden than he did to Obama, its impact will be limited. McConnell is the leader of Republicans, and many others in his party — fellow senators and rank-and-file activists — will demand resistance and opposition to virtually every initiative Biden puts forward.”

Welcome to a special Sunday edition of The Daily 202.

More on the Biden agenda

Biden plans to sign a flurry of executive orders after being sworn in on Jan. 20.

“He will rejoin the Paris climate accords … and he will reverse President Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization. He will repeal the ban on almost all travel from some Muslim-majority countries, and he will reinstate the program allowing ‘dreamers,’ who were brought to the United States illegally as children, to remain in the country,” Matt Viser, Seung Min Kim and Annie Linskey report. “Biden’s top advisers have spent months quietly working on how best to implement his agenda, with hundreds of transition officials preparing to get to work inside various federal agencies. They have assembled a book filled with his campaign commitments to help guide their early decisions. … Biden has said that he plans to immediately reverse Trump’s rollback of 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration had in place. He would also institute new ethics guidelines at the White House, and he has pledged to sign an executive order the first day in office saying that no member of his administration could influence any Justice Department investigations. …

There has also been a recognition of those around him that he may have to lean more on executive actions than he had once hoped. ‘The policy team, the transition policy teams, are focusing now very much on executive power,’ said a Biden ally … A Republican-held Senate — or even one with a narrow Democratic majority — probably will affect Biden’s Cabinet picks given the Senate’s power to confirm nominees. One option being discussed is appointing Cabinet members in an acting capacity, a tactic that Trump also used. …

“Biden’s transition effort is being overseen by Ted Kaufman, one of his closest advisers. … Biden’s transition team has been given government-issued computers and iPhones for conducting secure communications, and 10,000 square feet of office space in the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, although most of the work is being done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic. … But one important next step is for the head of the General Services Administration to rule that the election results are final, enabling Biden’s transition team to expand its work and gain access to government funds. Biden officials are prepared for legal action if that administrator — Emily W. Murphy, a Trump political appointee — delays that decision. [A GSA spokeswoman was non-committal.] …

Making a clear break from the Trump administration’s adversarial posture toward the civil service is also a top priority for the Biden transition team. … The teams of campaign staffers and other aides that first embed themselves into government agencies after an election have historically been called ‘landing teams’ and ‘beachhead teams,’ summoning the memory of the storming of Normandy during World War II. To avoid any associations with war, some Biden aides are sticking to soberingly bureaucratic terms, referring to landing teams as ‘ARTs’ or Agency Review Teams, and beachhead team members as ‘temporary employees.’”

Biden’s ambitious plans to curb the coronavirus face big hurdles.

“Biden has laid out a far more muscular federal approach than Trump, saying he would urge state and local leaders to implement mask mandates if needed, create a panel on the model of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s War Production Board to scale up testing and lay out detailed plans to distribute vaccines to 330 million people after they are greenlighted as safe and effective,” Yasmeen Abutaleb and Laurie McGinley report. “Another thing that Biden can do without Congress is … begin holding briefings with government scientists and health experts, as he has repeatedly vowed to do. He also can implement mask mandates on all federal property. But other aspects of his response will be more difficult in a fractured nation. Until there is a widely available vaccine — which is not expected until mid- to late 2021 — much of Biden’s plan depends on persuading people to change their behavior. … Much of Biden’s plan will also require money from Congress, including dramatically ramping up testing and contact tracing and providing schools and businesses with billions of dollars to safely reopen.”

  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and five other Trump aides tested positive in the period around Election Day. But Meadows, who tested positive on Wednesday, at first told others not to disclose his condition, and he kept it covered up until Friday night. In addition to the six White House staffers, a Trump campaign official said campaign adviser Nick Trainer has also tested positive, Anne Gearan and Josh Dawsey report.
  • On Tuesday, in the shadow of the pandemic, Obamacare is back before the Supreme Court. A decision this term to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act – unlike when justices upheld the law in 2012 and 2015 — would upend the health-care system in ways that touch most Americans. (Amy Goldstein)
Biden is positioning the country for a 180-degree turn on climate change.

“Biden’s team already has plans on how it will restrict oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters; ratchet up federal mileage standards for cars and SUVs; block pipelines that transport fossil fuels across the country; provide federal incentives to develop renewable power; and mobilize other nations to make deeper cuts in their own carbon emissions,” Juliet Eilperin, Dino Grandoni and Darryl Fears report. “Biden has vowed to eliminate carbon emissions from the electric sector by 2035 and spend $2 trillion on investments ranging from weatherizing homes to developing a nationwide network of charging stations for electric vehicles. That massive investment plan stands a chance only if his party wins two Senate runoff races in Georgia  … Still, a number of factors make it easier to enact more-ambitious climate policies than even four years ago. … The price of solar and wind power has dropped, the coal industry has shrunk, and Americans increasingly connect the disasters they’re experiencing in real time.”

Biden will likely restore a traditional approach to Israel following Trump’s dramatic tilt. 

“Biden will inherit a Middle East policy that has tilted dramatically toward Israel in the past four years, with the United States moving its embassy to Jerusalem, suspending aid to Palestinians, declaring legal support for Jewish settlements in the West Bank and backing out of the Iran nuclear deal,” Steve Hendrix reports. “Biden could bring U.S. policy back in line with Democratic orthodoxy, for instance by championing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and opposing the expansion of West Bank settlements. But analysts say he is unlikely to insist on undoing all of Trump’s initiatives. Biden has criticized moving the embassy to Jerusalem but said he would not pull it back to Tel Aviv. Instead, many here expect him to rebuild diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority by reopening a consulate in East Jerusalem and a Palestinian mission in Washington. Biden is also likely to resume humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.” 

  • Defense manufacturers have benefited from the Trump administration’s increased spending, tax cuts and deregulation, but their executives have told investors that they expect Biden will largely maintain the status quo with respect to defense spending. (Aaron Gregg)
  • America’s closest allies in Western Europe are thrilled to see Trump fall. “Few Europeans expect Inauguration Day to repair all the damage,” Michael Birnbaum and Loveday Morris report. “But policymakers [in Brussels] say they will be glad for summits without Trump there to dominate the agenda and burn valuable face time complaining that Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been invited.”

Making history

Kamala Harris will be America’s first Madame Vice President.

“A vice president-elect stepped forward on Saturday, and, for the first time in American history, she was not a man,” Chelsea Janes reports. “Harris, a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, is set to become the highest-ranking woman in the nation’s 244-year existence, as well as a high-profile representation of the country’s increasingly diverse composition. … Black women helped propel Harris and Biden to victory by elevating turnout in places like Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. Those women will finally see themselves represented in the White House as Biden and Harris replace Trump, who started his political career by perpetuating a racist birther lie about Obama and has a long track record of making misogynistic comments.”

“Harris is now the first Black woman, Asian American and graduate of a historically Black college or university to ascend to one of the nation’s two highest offices,” Janes reports. ”While Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal have risen to prominence in the Republican Party, the South Asian community took to Harris in an entirely different way, providing a major fundraising force and social media support. … Actress Mindy Kaling tweeted: ‘Crying and holding my daughter. ‘look baby, she looks like us.’”

For her victory speech on Saturday night, the California senator emerged in all white. It was a nod to the uniform of the suffragists who secured the right to vote for women with the ratification of the 19th Amendment exactly 100 years ago. Harris is 56. Her victory comes 55 years after the Voting Rights Act abolished laws that disenfranchised Black Americans, 36 years after the first woman ran on a presidential ticket, which lost 49 states, and four years after Democrats were devastated by the defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Quote of the day

“I am the first woman in this office,” Harris said in Delaware. “I won’t be the last.”

Harris’s win sparked jubilation in Jamaica and India.

“During the campaign, Harris delighted some in India by referring to her roots. In her acceptance speech, she mentioned the support she had received from her ‘chittis,’ a Tamil word for aunts. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had forged a close relationship with Trump, paid tribute to Harris’s ‘pathbreaking’ success on Twitter. Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, saluted Harris’s ‘monumental accomplishment for women’ as well as her Jamaican heritage,” Joanna Slater reports. “Back in India, Harris’s uncle Balachandran had spent days watching the results on a squat Panasonic television tuned to CNN, his laptop open to Arizona’s ballot-counting website. Now he plans to celebrate with a slice of chocolate cake and a glass of wine — and later with a trip to Washington to see his niece sworn in as vice president.”

How Biden won

Trump’s erratic behavior and failures on the virus doomed his reelection.

“The story of Biden’s victory is as much the story of Trump’s defeat — a devastating coda for a leader who has long feared weakness and losing above almost all else, but who became the first one-term president in nearly 30 years,” Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Viser and Michael Scherer report. “The president finally lost, aides and allies said, because of how he mismanaged the virus. He lost, they said, over the summer, when the virus didn’t go away as he promised; when racial unrest roiled the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death and protesters ran rampant through the streets; and when federal and local authorities gassed largely peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square across from the White House so Trump could stage a photo op. And he lost, they said, during a roughly three-week stretch from late September to mid-October, when an angry and brooding Trump heckled and interrupted his way through the first debate and then, several days later, announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He also lost, aides added, after years of confrontational and incendiary conduct turned off independent voters, who finally said they had seen enough. 

“The same impulses that helped lift him to victory in 2016 — the outsider ethos; the angry, burn-it-all-down cri de coeur; the fiery and controversial rants; the false reality forged through untruths and deception — contributed to his undoing just four years later. Exhausted voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, who once gave Trump a shot, turned on him … One senior campaign official said the pandemic had two especially deleterious effects: The virus magnified some of Trump’s worst qualities, while also allowing Biden to recede from the spotlight. … 

“Down the stretch, the Trump campaign placed enormous faith in its massive voter contact and mobilization effort, a project that cost more than $350 million…. In the last week, [Trump] charged through more than two dozen rallies in more than a half-dozen battleground states, including 10 in the final two days. But the problem wasn’t where he was; it was what he said when he was there — offensive riffs, demeaning swipes, fantastical claims that the coronavirus was nearly gone. … 

“To many, however, [Jared] Kushner bears the ultimate responsibility for Trump’s defeat. … At times, critics say, Kushner was too occupied with his White House portfolio — trying to secure a peace deal in the Middle East, helping to manage the administration’s coronavirus response — to devote the necessary time to overseeing the campaign. ‘He was busy being president,’ quipped one Republican.”

The campaign’s finance team, led by Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, was not just unsuccessful. It was an H.R. nightmare, Politico reports: “Donors were horrified by what they described as [Kimberly] Guilfoyle’s lack of professionalism: She frequently joked about her sex life and, at one fundraiser, offered a lap dance to the donor who gave the most money.” The story says communication between the campaign and the Republican National Committee broke down for much of the final stretch, with the RNC running its own commercials after deeming the Trump campaign’s low quality. And a pro-Trump super PAC also took too long to materialize and, by the time casino mogul Sheldon Adelson stepped forward to fund it, the president had been swamped by pro-Biden ads.

Trump never had the support or approval of a majority of Americans or voters. 

He will become the fourth president in U.S. history to never win the popular vote in a presidential election. In four years, Trump’s approval rate never hit 50 percent, except in polls from Republican-aligned pollsters. (Philip Bump)

He is just the 10th president in U.S. history to be denied a second term.

He’s only the third incumbent to be denied a second full term in the last century, joining George H.W. Bush in 1992, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Herbert Hoover in 1932. The other members of this bitter club of one-and-doners are John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Franklin Pierce, Benjamin Harrison and William Howard Taft. (Gillian Brockell)

In Pennsylvania, small shifts in small places added up to a big difference for Biden. 

“It wasn’t Pennsylvania’s major urban centers that set the result in 2020 — a narrow Biden win — apart from the outcome in 2016, when the state delivered perhaps the cruelest cut of all to Democratic dreams. It was Erie County and other places like it, where relatively minor shifts across a wide swath of small, industrial cities, growing suburbs and sprawling exurbs added up, and made all the difference,” Griff Witte reports. “Those margins were tight in 2016: Trump won Erie — population 270,000, hard on the lake of the same name — by two points, contributing to his statewide victory by 0.7 percent. The margins were tighter still on Saturday: Biden was ahead by 1.1 percentage points in Erie, with 99 percent of votes counted, and half a percentage point statewide. … 

“Unlike other elections that have shifted control in the White House — most recently in 2008 and 2016 — 2020 was not accompanied by any fundamental realignment of the American electorate. If anything, the result reinforced many of the elements that defined Trump’s victory four years ago, especially the stark divide between rural and urban America. … ‘You have a fast-diversifying younger population. And you still have a large, older, White population,’ said William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. ‘That’s where we’re going to be for a while.’” 

Arizona’s political transformation began long before Biden was on the ballot. 

“Preliminary exit polls show that Trump and Biden roughly tied among White voters, who made up about three-quarters of the electorate statewide. But Biden won 2 out of every 3 Hispanic voters in the state and enjoyed particularly strong support among Latinas, 7 out of 10 of whom backed Biden,” Jose Del Real and Hannah Knowles report. “By party registration, the exit polls showed Biden also had a sizable lead among independent voters, a shift for Democrats since the 2016 campaign. … Many who cast a ballot for Biden in Arizona said they were voting more against the president than for Biden, which tracks with polling done in the state. Biden’s strength with Latino voters in Arizona stands in contrast to results in Florida and Texas.” Many independents in Arizona also recoiled in recent years at Trump’s attacks on John McCain, who represented the state in the Senate, and whose widow, Cindy, endorsed Biden.

The voting wars continue

Spontaneous celebrations broke out in urban areas from coast to coast.

“The widespread sound of cheering, honking, pot-banging and more erupted in New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, Minneapolis and other largely Democratic cities Trump has disparaged,” Amy Wang, Meryl Kornfield, Shayna Jacobs, Susan Svrluga, Maura Ewing, Christine Spolar, Jared Goyette and Marissa Lang report. “In New York, the show of support was especially reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic, when residents poured out of their apartments nightly to applaud hospital workers and first responders risking their lives to treat coronavirus patients. … A performer in head-to-toe tie-dye blared ‘Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead.’ … In Washington, the sounds of honking and cheering echoed across the Mall. … In Chicago late Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered along Wacker Drive to celebrate. The crowd stretched from Michigan Avenue in front of Trump Tower and across all of the Chicago River bridges. … Many sang the Queen song ‘We Are the Champions’ in front of Trump’s hotel.”

  • Voices from the fight: A team of our reporters created an oral history of the four-year movement to defeat Trump. Activists, politicians and ordinary citizens reflect on Trump’s presidency and the defining moments that compelled them to rise up and join the resistance.
  • Yassin Terou, a Syrian refugee and first-time U.S. voter, is now a citizen and eager to see the “Muslim ban” go. Along with millions of other Muslims in America, he has experienced the rise in hate over the last four years. (Sarah Pulliam Bailey)
Trump supporters insisted the election isn’t over, as they continued to protest.

“From [Phoenix] to Philadelphia, Trump backers echoed the president’s attacks on the integrity of the election, which continued Saturday with his statement that ‘this election is far from over.’ They made baseless allegations of voter fraud and pledged to keep fighting in court while claiming Biden did not legitimately win,” Hannah Knowles, Mark Berman and Nick Miroff report. “They gathered at so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies at state capitols across the country to claim, without evidence, that ballot counts favorable to Biden stem from a sprawling, multistate conspiracy to hijack the vote through fraud. It is unclear how widespread such views are beyond these events and high-profile conservative figures, and some GOP figures have pushed back on claims of a rigged election. … More than 300 people gathered in Salem, Ore., outside the state capitol to wave Trump flags and decry the outcome of the election. Among them were members of the far-right Proud Boys and numerous people affiliated with self-styled militia groups who were armed with assault-style rifles.” 

A president obsessed with winning spent the day refusing to admit defeat.

“Trump had just arrived at his namesake golf course in Sterling, Va., on Saturday morning — whizzing past signs blaring ‘Biden/Harris’ and ‘Good Riddance’ — when Biden pulled so far ahead in the Pennsylvania vote count that he was finally declared the next president … The president remained cosseted away at Trump National Golf Club for three more hours, finishing his morning on the links with Kevin Morris, the club’s manager, in one of the few situations he could still control to his own liking,” Parker and Dawsey report.

Back in Trumpworld, the efforts at counterprogramming had a characteristically slapdash feel. Before Biden was declared the winner, the Trump campaign had scheduled a news conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia with the president’s lawyers, but when Trump initially tweeted it out, he incorrectly implied it was at the Four Seasons Hotel. The hotel’s Philadelphia location quickly offered its own clarification, tweeting: ‘To clarify, President Trump’s press conference will NOT be held at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. It will be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping — no relation with the hotel.’ Trump’s lawyers did ultimately show up at the right spot, speaking against a makeshift backdrop of blue and red Trump signs at the landscaping business, in view of a crematorium and an adult entertainment shop … [Rudy] Giuliani yelled at the news conference that all the networks calling the race could be wrong. …

One person close to the White House, however, said the efforts in the states were less about actually contesting the election results and more about helping Trump come to terms with his defeat. ‘The legal operation is designed for Trump to save face and ultimately give him the ability to say he didn’t lose the election fair and square,’ this person said … Several [Trump insiders] said that while they ultimately expect the president to help with a peaceful transition of power, he is unlikely to ever admit defeat, and he needs to reach the inevitable conclusion — that Biden will be president — on his own time frame. Some advisers were urging the president to consider his political future — which they described as powerful in the GOP — and to not taint his legacy with a messy exit, according to two officials in touch with Trump. But Trump’s adult sons were urging him to keep fighting.”

The Pennsylvania attorney general said the Supreme Court shouldn’t intervene with mail ballots. “On Friday, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. approved a request from the Pennsylvania GOP and ordered county boards to comply with state guidance and segregate mail ballots delivered after Election Day. On Saturday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) responded, telling the Supreme Court there is no need for additional intervention by the court following Alito’s order,” Reis Thebault, Robert Barnes and Hannah Knowles report.

Twitter flagged Trump’s latest round of false claims about election fraud on Saturday night as “disputed.” “The tech giant, however, took minimal action to limit Trump’s millions of followers from viewing it or re-sharing it widely,” Tony Romm reports.

Commentary from The Post’s opinion page:
  • The Editorial Board: “Thank you, America. Our democracy has proved its resilience in electing Biden.” 
  • Karen Tumulty: “Biden is already showing he is the right president for the moment.”
  • Matt Bai: “Yes, Trumpism was repudiated.” 
  • Karen Attiah: “America calls on Harris — and Black women — to clean up its mess.”
  • Alyssa Rosenberg: “Harris invoked joy. Biden asked for reconciliation. Can they get both?” 
  • Leana Wen: “Biden needs to get to work on the covid-19 pandemic. Today.” 
  • E.J. Dionne Jr.: “Biden has what America needs.” 
  • Gary Abernathy: “Let’s give Biden something too few gave Trump: A chance to lead.”
  • Dana Milbank: “Our long national nightmare is over.” 
  • Jennifer Rubin: “Biden wins, and Republicans are left in a miserable state.” 
  • Hugh Hewitt: “On to Georgia. And for Trump, it may be on to 2024.”

Social media speed read

The president-elect put on a hat that said “46” in his house after the race was called, and his wife had fun with an old sign:

After a jog, Harris celebrated the news in a phone call with Biden:

Doug Emhoff will be the first second gentleman of the United States:

The director of Biden’s rapid response operation trolled Republicans by noting that Hunter Biden was onstage with his dad:

Rupert Murdoch’s news outlets – including Fox, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post – all called Biden the winner:

After four years, the White House will finally have a first pet again. Major, the president-elect’s German Shepherd, will be the first rescue dog to ever live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

A man who gave his name as Francisco, from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, was on the island with no power or running water after Hurricane Maria three years ago when Trump threw rolls of paper towel at people who had lost everything. He asked someone to record a video of him repeating the gesture. “It’s going to mean a lot to my parents,” he said.

Videos of the day

The cold open on “Saturday Night Live” featured a different version of the Biden and Harris victory speeches:

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Dave Chapelle returned to host “SNL” four years after he did so the weekend after the 2016 election:

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And Kate McKinnon played Giuliani on “Weekend Update”:

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Concession speeches have been an integral part of the American political tradition. For Trump, they’re just another norm to discard. Here are a few famous moments from past presidential concessions:

Fox News was unequivocal on Saturday about Biden’s victory, but some hosts and guests emphasized that Democrats never congratulated Trump nor accepted his legitimacy after the 2016 election:

Meanwhile, several liberal cable news commentators, such as CNN’s Van Jones, became emotional after the race was called for Biden:

Finally, a newscaster in Ireland noted that Biden is a proud Irish American and closed his show last night by playing a powerful clip of Biden reciting a Seamus Heaney poem: