Joe Biden’s priorities as president-elect in 500 words

Biden is moving ahead with plans to take the White House in January, while Trump gears up for a legal fight.

Construction workers on a maintenance project along the North Lawn driveway at the White House in Washington [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

President-elect Joe Biden is proceeding with transition plans, including meeting today with a panel of advisers on the coronavirus pandemic amid news of progress on a vaccine.

President Donald Trump is refusing to concede and plans to hold campaign-style rallies to promote claims of fraud and is organising legal teams to push for recounts in key states.

With new COVID-19 cases rising in the United States at a rate of 110,000 per day, Biden announced the formation of an advisory board of 13 public health experts to advise his incoming administration.

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement.

The advisory board will be co-chaired by Dr David Kessler, a former FDA commissioner, Dr Vivek Murthy, a former Surgeon General of the US, and Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith, professor of public health at Yale School of Medicine.

Pharmaceutical maker Pfizer announced that a vaccine it is developing had prevented more than 90 percent of infections in a large study. The preliminary data means the US may be able to begin distributing doses early next year, assuming additional safety checks.

US financial markets surged on the report and Biden lauded the news while issuing a cautionary note.

“It is also important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away,” Biden said. “It will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”

President Trump hailed the news in an all-caps tweet this morning.

Trump has no public events scheduled today and has not spoken publicly since November 5, but continues to amplify claims on right-wing media outlets that the election was stolen from him.

To prolong his fight against the election results, Trump plans to hold campaign-style rallies, four Trump advisers told the news outlet, Axios.

Trump will cite examples of dead people who voted by brandishing obituaries, among other specific evidence of fraud, according to the report.

While former President George W Bush congratulated Biden yesterday, most Republicans have not conceded the election outcome.

Lawyers on both sides are lining up for a legal battle. For Biden and the Democrats, the effort is being led by Marc Elias of Perkins Coie law firm in Washington, DC.

Elias is a longtime Democratic election law advocate who has been managing the response nationally to more than a dozen lawsuits already filed by Trump and Republicans before the election.

Trump’s team has named lead lawyers in three states where it will demand recounts – Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona.

They are: Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, Pittsburgh lawyer Ron Hicks in Pennsylvania, and former Trump 2016 counsel Kory Langhofer in Arizona.

The Electoral College is scheduled to convene on December 14 and the newly seated Congress would accept the results on January 6. Inauguration day is set for January 20 by the US constitution.

Source: Al Jazeera

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