The Latest: Democrats to have fewer members of House in 2021
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):
Republicans will have at least 203 seats in the next House, giving them enough wins to assure that Democrats will have fewer members next year.
The GOP crossed the mark Friday night when The Associated Press declared Republican Young Kim the winner against Democratic Rep. Gil Cisneros in Southern California.
Democrats have nailed down at least 219 seats and could win a few others when more votes are counted. That ensures they will hold the House for two more years but with a smaller, potentially razor-thin majority, a bittersweet finale to last week’s elections that has left them divided and with scant margin for error for advancing their agenda.
Democrats went into Election Day with a 232-197 House advantage, plus an independent and five open seats. It is possible that in the new Congress that convenes in January, they’ll have the smallest majority since Republicans had just 221 seats two decades ago.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN’S TRANSITION TO THE WHITE HOUSE:
President-elect Joe Biden is unlikely to get sweeping health care changes through a closely divided Congress, but there’s a menu of narrower actions he can choose from to make a tangible difference on affordability and coverage for millions of people.
— Top officials: Nov. 3 election most secure in US history
— In Georgia, Trump’s shadow looms over pair of Senate runoffs
— Denying Biden victory, Pompeo heads to Europe, Mideast
— Military voters fear they’re part of unsupported fraud claim
— A few cracks but no big GOP break with Trump on Biden’s win
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:
President Donald Trump has wrapped up his Rose Garden news conference celebrating progress made on bringing a coronavirus vaccine to market without taking a question from reporters.
The White House has long boasted that Trump has been perhaps the most press accessible commander-in-chief in the nation’s history. But the president has become unusually press shy as he soldiers on with a legal effort to overcome his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump has made less than a handful of public appearances in recent days and has not answered White House reporters’ questions since before Election Day.
He did conduct an interview with a columnist for the conservative Washington Examiner newspaper earlier this week.
President Donald Trump says he refuses to have another lockdown as coronavirus cases surge across the country, but suggested one could be in the offing should he lose his legal challenges to overcome his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump, who spoke publicly Friday for the first time since his defeat, repeated his long-held argument that government restrictions meant to stem the virus cause more problems than they solve. But Trump, who has refused to concede his election loss, made clear that the decision might not be up to him.
“This administration will not be going to a lockdown,” he said. “Hopefully whatever happens in the future, who knows, which administration it will be, I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.”
Biden, to be certain, has not said whether he would order a lockdown.
In the week since he defeated Trump, Biden has devoted most of his public remarks to encouraging Americans to wear a mask and view the coronavirus as a threat that has no regard for political ideology.
President Donald Trump is touting the fast progress in getting a vaccine available to counter the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 240,000 people in the United States. No vaccine has been formally approved, but Trump said one could be available to the general public as soon as April.
Trump spoke in the Rose Garden on Friday, his first public comments since Joe Biden became president-elect, He did not concede the election to Biden but said his administration will never go to a lockdown that a Biden administration might recommend.
For now, it’s a question the president-elect would prefer to avoid. In the week since he defeated Trump, Biden has devoted most of his public remarks to encouraging Americans to wear a mask and view the coronavirus as a threat that has no regard for political ideology.
Trump on Friday called U.S. work on the vaccine the “single greatest mobilization in U.S. history” in pioneering and developing vaccines and therapies in record time — five times faster than the 8 to 12 years it normally takes.
There have been more than 100,000 new confirmed U.S. cases reported daily for more than a week.
Vice President Mike Pence is telling young Republican supporters that President Donald Trump remains committed to pursuing legal challenges in hopes of overturning his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
Pence said in a Friday address to Young America Foundation’s fall college retreat: “We’re going to fight for an outcome in this election that wins us four more years.”
Pence offered the conservative group a pep talk as Trump continues to refuse to concede. On Friday, Trump again pressed baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, even as his own administration has said there is no evidence to support the claims.
Trump and Pence are scheduled to offer an update on positive developments in the race for a vaccine for the resurgent coronavirus later on Friday.
President Donald Trump has won North Carolina and its 15 electoral votes, staving off a hard-fought challenge by Democrat Joe Biden and holding the battleground state for Republicans.
Trump’s victory in North Carolina brings him to 232 electoral votes. Biden, who was declared the winner of the election on Nov. 7, has 290 electoral votes and defeated Trump by flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona.
Trump campaigned aggressively in North Carolina with in-person rallies at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, including gatherings in Fayetteville, Winston-Salem and Greenville in the weeks before the election.
He was scheduled to hold the Republican National Convention in the state but pulled out after a fight with the state’s Democratic governor over coronavirus restrictions.
The Associated Press has still not called the presidential race in Georgia, which is conducting a recount.
President-elect Joe Biden has yet to speak with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the top Republicans who hasn’t urged President Donald Trump to concede last week’s election.
On a conference call with reporters Friday, Biden transition spokesperson Jen Psaki said Biden had spoken to some congressional Republicans but not to McConnell, despite the two knowing each other for years.
She says McConnell and Biden “have a long-standing relationship. Whenever they do engage, they won’t have to play a lot of catch-up.”
Psaki says Biden will have staffing announcements to make after spending a few days with his family in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
She also says the transition has no interest in “having a food fight” with the General Services Administration, which has yet to recognize Biden’s win, preventing the formal transition period from beginning.
But Psaki says Biden’s team would like to get access to intelligence information that is currently being blocked “so that we can prepare to govern.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says President Donald Trump is “not even at that point yet” when it comes to conceding to President-elect Joe Biden.
McEnany tells Fox Business News on Friday that Trump believes he will be president and have a second term.
When told it would look sad if he did not attend the inauguration on Jan. 20, McEnany said, “I think the president will attend his own inauguration. He would have to be there in fact.”
McEnany continued to raise unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud and maintained that “when every legal vote is counted” Trump would win.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election despite her claims. Election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well, and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
President Donald Trump is like a “heavyweight champion in the final round of fighting,” television commentator Geraldo Rivera says after chatting with Trump on the phone. But Rivera says Trump “knows he is behind. … His only hope is a knockout blow — a long shot.”
Rivera, who appears regularly on Fox News Channel, described the president as “a frustrated man” who is ”wounded but he’s still strong.” He adds: “I have no doubt that this man will rise to the occasion again and run in 2024.”
Trump has refused to concede the election and is pursuing legal challenges.
During the Friday phone call, Rivera said Trump said he was a “realist” and would do the “right thing” when he is satisfied that every legitimate vote was counted.
Rivera said Trump told him that after that, he would “follow the edict of the Constitution of the United States and surrender the office in the statutory and the constitutional time frame.”
Rivera said that while Trump expressed frustration about impeachment and “how everything he does and says is construed so evilly.”
The White House says President Donald Trump will make remarks Friday on Operation Warp Speed, the multi-agency effort to get a vaccine to the public quickly and safely.
Trump has avoided public gatherings since Election Day and has declined to concede the election to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump received a briefing on Operation Warp Speed earlier Friday. The briefing occurred one day after the U.S. set a single-day record of more than 160,000 coronavirus cases.
Public health experts worry that Trump’s refusal to take aggressive action on the pandemic or to coordinate with the Biden team during the final two months of his presidency will only worsen the effects of the virus and hinder the nation’s ability to swiftly distribute a vaccine next year.