What You Need To Know About the Transition and COVID-19

Trump's petty refusal to acknowledge reality makes Americans less safe

Good evening. There are 65 days until Inauguration Day.

The Topline

America’s COVID-19 denial has reached new heights. As Mother Jones reports, “According to the nonpartisan data tracking project COVID Exit Strategy, every state in the contiguous United States is either ‘trending poorly’ or has an ‘uncontrolled spread’ of coronavirus cases.” 

Despite these stark numbers, a recent study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center finds that nearly 40% of Americans still plan to attend gatherings of 10 or more people this Thanksgiving. If, like me, you’ve canceled your own holiday plans to see your families and loved ones, numbers like these probably make you incandescent with rage. Remember that they’re the natural consequence of the Trump Administration’s complete incompetence and refusal to care about the lives of the Americans it is theoretically supposed to serve.

I don’t want to talk about the outgoing president. This newsletter is intended to be about the transition period, and I’d prefer to move on to the incoming Biden Administration. But when it comes to COVID-19, we have to talk about Trump. Both because he’s the one who got America into this mess and because his refusal to cooperate with the Biden-Harris transition on combating the pandemic will have dire consequences and cost even more American lives.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, appearing on the Today Show to talk about the recent positive vaccine news from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine trials, emphasized the importance of a smooth transition with the incoming and outgoing Administrations cooperating for a vaccine rollout. “The vaccines are effective,” he said. “We want to get it approved as quickly as we possibly can. We want to get doses to people starting in December, and then we want to really get the ball rolling as we get into January, February, and March. We want a smooth process with that and the way you do that is by essentially having the two groups speak to each other and exchange information.”

The Biden-Harris transition has set combatting COVID-19 as one of its four top priorities. It has a COVID-19 Advisory Board already up and running, and that board has already it President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris. The transition team is doing everything they can to be ready to combat the virus on day one, and I have every confidence the new administration will be. But as cases and deaths continue to rise, the outgoing Administration’s negligence and refusal to accept reality will inevitably make this process more complicated than it should be. 

America deserves a president who treats the pandemic as the crisis of public health and national security that it clearly is. But we can expect the Trump Administration to continually obstruct the process, again at the expense of American lives, from now through Inauguration Day. Inauguration Day can’t come soon enough.

Calls to Action

Are you interested in serving as a political appointee to the Biden Administration? The Transition website has just put up a general application form

Forever First Lady Michelle Obama has a new Instagram post urging “all Americans, especially our nation’s leaders, regardless of party, to honor the electoral process and do your part to encourage a smooth transition of power, just as sitting presidents have done throughout our history.” Click through to read the full post on Instagram:

A post shared by Michelle Obama (@michelleobama)

Driving the Conversation 

Some on the Biden campaign thought they had two opponents to beat: first Donald Trump and then Facebook.

But people with close ties to Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have already become inside players in the Biden transition, suggesting that the president-elect is not slamming the door on the company.

President Donald Trump's National Security Council is preparing for "a very professional transition," because it looks like Joe Biden has won the election, national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in comments that aired Monday.

But Ron Klain, at the time the chief of staff to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, was less confident. He was a worrier, and he started worrying as soon as Obama was elected in November 2008 about the politics of a record-large spending bill. Obama had blamed the crisis on excessive borrowing by banks and homeowners, and it seemed awkward to suggest the solution required $800 billion worth of borrowing by the federal government.

“This is going to be a hard thing to message,” he warned early in the transition.

Voters in four states who had brought longshot lawsuits to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's win and went nowhere in court dropped their cases Monday morning.

The cases were short-lived in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania federal courts, and fed into a pro-Donald Trump legal strategy that's almost certain to fail to block Biden's presidential win before the Electoral College formalized it.

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Your Moment of Twins!

Thanks for reading all the way to the end. I know the topic of today’s newsletter has been a lot. 

We all deserve something to take our minds off the horror show that the pandemic has once again become. So here’s another one of my favorites. I’m pregnant with twins so for me this video is both adorable and a terrifying glimpse into what my future looks like. Enjoy!

American Interregnum is a pop-up newsletter covering the issues and ideas that will define the Presidential transition period from Nov. 3, 2020, through Jan. 21, 2021. It is written and edited by Justin HendrixGreg Greene, and Melissa Ryan. Have questions or comments? We love your feedback. Reply directly to this email. We read all responses and respond to most.