Biden plans to ask Americans to mask up for 100 days, while Republicans in Georgia are already holding their breath ahead of Trump’s arrival. It’s Friday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
Where things stand
Joe Biden has asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to maintain his central role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic once Biden assumes the presidency, he said yesterday during an interview on CNN.
“I asked him to stay on in the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the Covid team,” Biden told Jake Tapper.
Upon taking office, Biden plans to ask all Americans to wear masks for 100 days, he said. The race to distribute virus vaccines has heated up significantly, with Britain approving a Pfizer vaccine this week for public use, and the Food and Drug Administration expected to consider it for approval this month.
Biden said that he would be willing to publicly receive the vaccine if Fauci said it was safe. “What has to be done is we have to make it clear to the American people that the vaccine is safe,” the president-elect said.
Kamala Harris’s team unveiled more executive staff picks yesterday, announcing that she would enlist Tina Flournoy, a former top aide to President Bill Clinton with decades of political experience, to serve as the vice president-elect’s chief of staff. Flournoy will be at the helm of a staff whose top aides are mainly women of color.
Harris’s transition office also announced yesterday that Rohini Kosoglu, who served as her chief of staff in the Senate and played a central role on her presidential campaign, would be the vice president’s domestic policy adviser, and that Nancy McEldowney, a former diplomat and Clinton administration official, would be Harris’s national security adviser.
President Trump will head to Georgia this weekend for one of his favorite activities: a campaign rally. He’ll be appearing on behalf of Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both in full campaign mode ahead of the state’s runoff elections next month.
The president’s visit comes as he perpetuates a public spat with top Georgia Republicans over the results of the election, which he has refused to accept. Some prominent G.O.P. officials are worried that he could turn the rally into a staging ground for his latest conspiracy theories and attacks.
Saxby Chambliss, a Republican retired senator from Georgia, told CNN that he couldn’t be sure what Trump would do. “And that’s part of the concern that I have,” he said.
Facebook announced that it would start taking down posts that contain debunked claims about Covid-19 vaccines, part of the social network’s efforts to more aggressively combat misinformation.
The company’s earlier policy had made it harder for vaccine misinformation to circulate if it was not related to the coronavirus by “downranking” it in users’ news feeds. Facebook has long been more hesitant than some other social media companies to wade into adjudicating misinformation — be it on health or politics.
But it moved early to create tools to inform the public about the virus. And there’s some international precedent for its new decision to take down false posts: In the past, Facebook has removed misinformation about the polio vaccine in Pakistan and on the measles vaccine in Samoa.
If 2020 was an unexpectedly tough election year for Democrats in Congress, they are suffering no illusions about what 2022 will bring. As in any midterm elections after a new president has been elected, the races that year are expected to be tough on the governing party.
So Representative Sean Patrick Maloney has his work cut out for him, after his Democratic colleagues elected him yesterday to lead the party’s House campaign arm through 2022.
Maloney, who represents a New York district that Trump won in 2016, emerged victorious in a closely fought race for chairmanship of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His success was seen as a boost for the party’s moderates, who have expressed alarm after last month’s election, when Republican candidates flipped a number of Democratic seats in part by pushing attacks on the party’s left wing.
Maloney will be responsible for leading fund-raising efforts and recruiting Democratic candidates to run in an election year when the party will be defending a newly slim majority in the House, and when a new congressional map will have just been drawn by mostly Republican state legislatures.
In a time of great national trial, which is the greater sin — secrecy or hypocrisy? Let’s talk secrecy first: The New York Young Republican Club held its 108th annual gala last night, but it wouldn’t say where.
Covid-19 regulations in New York prohibit in-person gatherings of more than 50 people, but a Facebook event page for the gala showed well over that number planning to attend. Gavin Wax, the club’s 26-year-old president, said that the event would abide by New York regulations, but he refused to be interviewed via phone or to reveal where it was being held, citing concerns “about the safety of our guests from violent left-wing attacks.”
Sarah Palin was booked as a speaker, but she canceled over concerns about traveling from Alaska amid a surging pandemic. Representative Matt Gaetz, a close Trump ally, was chosen to replace her.
Now, about hypocrisy: Prominent Democrats in California have drawn criticism this week for gathering in ways that contradict their own public-health advice. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday that Mayor London Breed had recently attended a private birthday party at the upscale Napa Valley restaurant the French Laundry. A day earlier, Gavin Newsom, the California governor, had been to another party at the same restaurant.
Those events may not have directly violated any state laws, but California’s pandemic guidelines “strongly discourage” social gatherings and disallow them from including more than three households.
A local NBC News investigative team revealed this week that Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose had flouted health protocols for a family gathering over the Thanksgiving holiday; he later acknowledged that five households had been in attendance but said they had eaten outdoors.
Photo of the day
Trump walked to his private dining room after a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House.
The Black women who led Democrats to victory in Georgia
Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia began not this year but well over a decade before, with grass-roots outreach by Democratic organizers across the state — and the bulk of that work has been done by Black women, as Astead W. Herndon writes in a new article.
For years, he writes, a group of Black female organizers struggled to gain the attention of party higher-ups and fund-raisers. The most prominent of those organizers was Stacey Abrams, who fell just short in her run for governor in 2018, and who founded the New Georgia Project, a voter registration group, years earlier.
Deborah Scott started her own group, Georgia Stand Up, in 2004. She told Astead that the work since then had often felt like “an uphill battle.”
“Because here, we’re not just women, we’re Southern women,” she said. “And we’re not just Southern women, we’re Southern Black women.”
Georgia began to show signs of tilting purple in the 2000s, when this new generation of organizers, many of them Black women, came together to reject the Dixiecrat politics that continued to predominate in much of the state’s Democratic Party.
“National campaign committees and presidential campaigns, like the D.N.C. and the D.C.C.C., would have their favorite pastor or their favorite community activists just run programs,” said Nse Ufot, who leads the New Georgia Project. “No accountability. No data.”
The years since have seen Democratic organizing on a grand scale, the full force of which is just being felt now, as the state prepares for two Senate runoff elections next month that will decide who controls the chamber.
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