By LIBBY CATHEY and MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 34 days.
Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:
Dec 17, 1:25 pm
Pence rallies for Georgia Senate runoffs, pushes absentee voting as an option
Vice President Mike Pence touched down in Columbus, Georgia, Thursday afternoon to stump for sitting Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue on the fourth day of early voting in that state for runoff races which will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
“It all comes down to Georgia,” he told the crowd.
“I bring greetings from the 45th president of the United States, President Donald Trump,” Pence said at the top of the first of two rallies Thursday to cheers. “We’re gonna keep fighting for every legal vote in America. And we’re gonna to keep fighting to hold the line in the United States Senate.”
In referring to Biden’s visit to Atlanta earlier in the week, when he campaigned for Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, Pence indirectly recognized Biden will be the next president.
“He said that we didn’t need to go back to Washington. Because he said, “We don’t need two senators that are just going to get in the way.” Well Georgia, that’s exactly what we need in the United States Senate. We need David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler to get in the way.”
In a reversal from GOP messaging in the presidential election, Pence pushed absentee voting as an option, directing Georgians to a website to request their ballots “today.”
“I want you to be confident about your vote, right David?” Pence said, to the senator who, along with Loeffler, joined a Texas Supreme Court lawsuit seeking to nullify ballots in their state. “Our great GOP state chairman and the senators will tell you, you request a ballot. We’re on it this time. We’re watching.”
Trump has attacked Republican officials in the state over absentee ballots for weeks despite signature matching done twice for those ballots and three counts of the presidential vote there. Biden is the first Democrat to win the state of Georgia since 1992, and senators speaking ahead of Pence urged voters to show the country Georgia is a red state.
Dec 17, 10:20 am
Friendly and unfriendly fire confronts emerging Biden agenda: Analysis
How’s this for party unity? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Jon Tester agree … that current Democratic leaders in Congress aren’t the right faces for their segments of the Democratic Party.
How’s this for bipartisanship? If Americans get another round of stimulus checks, they’ll have the teamwork of … Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Josh Hawley in part to thank.
Those are just tastes of the tangled intra- and interparty dynamics that await Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Washington isn’t really working. When it does work it does so in sporadic and sometimes chaotic fashion, as with year-end deals to keep the government open and potentially resume COVID-19 relief funds.
For a party about to assume the presidency, keeping control of the House and still in the hunt for the Senate, Democrats are still all over the map — even arguing over what the map should look like.
They’re about to lose the thing that unites them most effectively — President Trump — at a time of continuing national crisis, and with a Republican Party that will be searching for its new, post-Trump identity.
Much of this will be left to Biden to sort out. There’s a difference between claiming a mandate and finding votes — assuming they want to be found.
-ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein
Dec 17, 10:14 am
Overview: Pence to campaign in Georgia, Biden meets with transition advisers
While Trump, once again, has no public appearances on his schedule for Thursday, his vice president is assuming the spotlight.
Ahead of being scheduled to receive the coronavirus vaccine publicly Friday, Vice President Mike Pence returns to Georgia on Thursday to stump for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue who are locked in runoff elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate — and Biden’s subsequent ability to pass the big ticket legislation he campaigned on.
The sitting Georgia senators face Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock for the Jan. 5 races, and early voting kicked off in the state this week. Warnock is appearing on ABC’s The View at 11 a.m. to discuss his candidacy.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harrisand Biden, fresh off his own visit to Georgia to stump for those Democrats, are meeting with transition advisers Thursday as they prepare to unveil more Cabinet picks ahead of Christmas. The president-elect is expected to receive the coronavirus vaccine himself as soon as next week.
It’s unclear when Trump will receive the vaccine. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Tuesday the president is “absolutely open” to taking it but is still protected by his Regeneron — an antibody cocktail from his COVID-19 bout in October. She also said Trump is not taking it yet to “set an example” that health care workers and long-term care facility residents should get it first.
On Capitol Hill, negotiations for another COVID-19 relief package continue ahead of lawmakers also facing a government spending deadline on Friday in order to avoid a shutdown. The $908 billion COVID-19 relief package is expected to include $300 per week in expanded federal unemployment benefits through March and a one-time check of $600 for millions of Americans below a certain income level. It would come as at least 20.6 million Americans head into the holidays unemployed.
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