👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
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1/ Biden introduced six of his top foreign policy and national security appointments and nominees, saying “the team meets this moment.” The announcement comes a day after the Trump administration ended its 16-day stalemate and said it would to begin cooperating with the incoming administration. “It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back,” Biden said. “Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.” Biden added that his nominees bring “experience and leadership, fresh thinking and perspective, and an unrelenting belief in the promise of America.” Hours after the General Services Administration authorized the Biden transition, Trump tweeted his insistence that he had won the election and that he will “never concede.” (New York Times / CNN / NPR / ABC News / Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
The White House signed off on Biden receiving the President’s Daily Brief. (CNN)
📌 Day 1404: Biden named a number of high-level administration and Cabinet positions for his foreign policy and national security team, tapping Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the ambassador to the United Nations, Alejandro Mayorkas as homeland security secretary, and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence. Mayorkas would be the first Latino to run the department responsible for managing the nation’s immigration policies. Haines would be the highest-ranking woman to serve in the intelligence community. Biden also named his longtime adviser Antony Blinken as secretary of state, John Kerry as his climate czar, and Jake Sullivan as his national security adviser. Biden also plans to nominate Janet Yellen as treasury secretary. (Bloomberg / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times / Politico / Bloomberg / CNN / The Guardian / New York Times / NPR)
2/ Pennsylvania and Nevada certified their 2020 election results, awarding a combined 26 electoral votes to Biden. North Carolina also certified its presidential vote totals, awarding the state’s 15 electoral votes to Trump. Biden has collected 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. (CNN / Associated Press / NBC News / Axios /Politico / CNBC / Washington Post)
- The lame-duck president pardoned his final turkeys. “Thanksgiving is a very special day for turkeys,” Trump said. “Not a very good one, if you think about it.” Before walking off, Trump ignored a question from a reporter about whether he would pardon himself. (New York Times / ABC News)
3/ Trump made an impromptu appearance in the White House briefing room to celebrate the Dow surpassing 30,000 points for the first time, telling reporters he wanted to “congratulate the people of our country because there are no people like you.” Trump called the milestone a “sacred number” and then left without taking questions. The Dow rose by over 450 points a day after the Trump administration agreed to start the transition process and the news that Biden was set to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary. Trump has repeatedly claimed that if Biden won the election, the stock market and the economy would “crash.” In the three weeks since Election Day, Trump has tweeted some 400 times in an attempt to undermine the integrity of the 2020 election results. (Politico / NPR / New York Times / CNBC / The Hill / NBC News)
4/ The White House coronavirus task force called for “significant behavior change of all Americans,” including the wearing of masks, to mitigate the spread. “There is aggressive, rapid, and expanding community spread across the country, reaching over 2,000 counties,” a set of task force reports said. The U.S. reported 154,656 new infections Monday, continuing a record high seven-day average of new cases. More than 85,000 coronavirus patients have been admitted to hospitals – a 17% rise – and daily fatalities increased by more than 30% over the past week. The nation is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day – about doubling since the end of October. The CDC, meanwhile, is finalizing new guidance to shorten the length of time it recommends that people self-quarantine after potential exposure to the coronavirus from 14 days to seven or 10 days. The goal is to encourage more people to comply with self-quarantining. (CNN / Washington Post / CNN / Associated Press)
About 5.8 million Americans are expected to face eviction by the end of the year. In total, 17.8 million adults are behind on rent or mortgage payments. (Bloomberg)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~59,598,000; deaths: ~1,406,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~12,547,000; deaths: ~260,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
poll/ 53% of Republicans would vote for Trump in 2024. 12% said they would support Pence, and 8% would support Trump Jr. (Politico)
poll/ 3% of Trump voters believe that Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, while 73% consider Trump the winner. 24% said they are not sure. (CNBC)
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