President-elect Joe Biden signalled yesterday he plans to move quickly to build out his government, focusing first on the raging pandemic that will likely dominate the early days of his administration.
Biden named a former surgeon general, Dr Vivek Murthy, and a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, David Kessler, as co-chairs of a coronavirus working group set to get started, with other members expected to be announced today.
Transition team officials said that also this week Biden will launch his agency review teams, the group of transition staffers that have access to key agencies in the current administration to ease the transfer of power.
The teams will collect and review information such as budgetary and staffing decisions, pending regulations and other work in progress from current staff at the departments to help Biden’s team prepare to transition. White House officials would not comment on whether they would cooperate with Biden’s team on the review.
The second Catholic to be elected president, Biden started his first full day as president-elect by attending church at St Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Wilmington, as he does nearly every week. After the service, he visited the church cemetery where several family members have been laid to rest, including his late son, Beau.
Trump told to accept defeat
Meanwhile, US media have reported that President Donald Trump’s inner circle is beginning to split over his ongoing refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election, as Jared Kushner and first lady Melania Trump advised him to come to terms with President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and his adult sons pressed him and allies to keep fighting.
Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has approached him to concede, two sources told CNN. The first lady, according to a separate source familiar with the conversations, has privately said the time has come for him to accept the election loss.
Trump’s two adult sons, Donald Jr and Eric, have urged allies to continue pressing on and they have pushed Republicans and supporters to publicly reject the results.
The President, who was at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia, on Saturday when the race was called, has not denied the outcome of the election privately even as he does so publicly. But he’s continuing to push his attorneys to pursue legal challenges that would delay formal certification of the results, and he has made no public indication that he is ready to accept the results of the election.