Analysis: Trump’s attempt to steal the election expires when coronavirus cases rise

On Saturday, it was Judge Matthew Brann, a Republican who, by throwing a Trump-backed lawsuit, felt compelled to emphasize, with a literary boom, the absurdity of the campaign’s claims.

“This claim, like Frankenstein’s monster, is randomly sewn together from two different theories in an attempt to avoid checking precedent,” Wrote Brann. His decision got another Republican, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey – who is not running for re-election in 2022 – to do the absolute minimum to break ranks with party leaders and recognize Biden as the elected president.

But while Trump’s cheeky attempts to undermine American democracy continue to make headlines, it is his appalling handling of the pandemic that now seems poised to etch itself more permanently into history books.

The United States surpassed 12 million coronavirus cases on Saturday, adding nearly 200,000 more to its staggering count. Trump has not mentioned the frightening milestone. Rather, he spent part of the day golf.

It was just as good.

Trump’s petulance exacerbates pandemic pain

When the lame duck president talks about the pandemic, he only undermines further efforts to curb it. That Trump jumped out of a side session focusing on pandemic preparedness with world leaders at the G20 virtual rally on Saturday surprised no one. It is unlikely that he was missed. All the while, states and cities around this country reported a record number of infections when hospitalizations were installed – triggering alarm bells over a collapse of an overwhelmed healthcare system. And that’s before millions of Americans begin their ill-advised vacation trips before Thanksgiving this week.

More than 255,000 is already dead, millions out of work, and the administration and its Republican allies in the Senate appear determined to deepen despair – while undermining Biden’s efforts to rectify the ship when he takes control on January 20 next year. By blocking Biden’s team from accessing sensitive regulatory information, complicated operations such as distributing a vaccine are likely to be delayed or more cumbersome.

Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the leader of the White House’s coronavirus vaccine effort, lamented on Sunday that “it is very unfortunate that the whole process (vaccine) has been politicized and therefore the context has created conditions where people’s perception has deteriorated and we is where we are today. “

Vaccines are safe for Americans, Slaoui told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union”, and with two separate vaccine manufacturers – Moderna and Pfizer – reporting that their vaccines are approx. 95% effective without major security issues, “it’s almost a full insurance against this pandemic,” he said.

Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed, told Tapper that the operation has stayed out of the political arena, but when asked about the transition between Trump and the upcoming Biden administration, he said: “Smoothness is what we all have. aims and therefore it would be better. “

About nine months after the coronavirus first invaded the country, there is still no overall plan to fight it. And measures taken by Congress to alleviate the pain lapse. The expanded federal unemployment benefits expanded as part of the $ 2 trillion package passed earlier this year are due to expire just after Christmas, affecting an estimated 12 million Americans. There is currently little indication of an impending renaissance of negotiations on Capitol Hill, with Republicans from the Senate refusing to take a new aid package passed by the House Democrats, and speaking Nancy Pelosi rejected potential piecemeal offers hovered by the GOP during the period. up to the election.

The impact of passivity in Washington, DC, is felt most acutely at the state and local levels, where even officials recognizing the scale of the crisis are reluctant to take bold action and implement the kind of drastic measures proven to help in slowing the spread of the virus.

“You shut down non-important workplaces or indoor dining, you basically put a bullet in them,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said Friday about the absence of federal aid, suggesting that something along the lines of a “two-week break” is actually out of the question without a capital increase from Capitol Hill.

Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, tore up Republicans from the Senate over their reluctance to act – in contrast to the body’s relatively quick passage of the original $ 2 trillion package back in March.

“With more than 12 million cases, over a quarter of a million Americans dying, more than 60 million unemployment claims filed since March, 8 million people being pushed into poverty, and over a hundred thousand businesses being closed, the same exact Senate has sunk without even the notion hope for relief for Americans destined to die more likely from homelessness than a violent pandemic, “Nelson said.” Anyone who thinks about politics, does actions that can be explained better, just resign now and let the patriotic important workers take the reins. ”

Even within the ranks of Congress, the number of Covid cases is steadily rising. Just this week, Republican senses tested. Chuck Grassley from Iowa and Rick Scott from Florida positive. On Saturday night, Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Republican who is fighting ahead of a runoff for her seat, announced that she, too returned a positive test, bringing the total to more than three dozen legislators from both parties.
The two crises of Covid and Trump’s anti-democratic war collided over the past 48 hours when two leading Michigan GOP lawmakers came out of a White House meeting by saying again that they had not seen any evidence to suggest that Biden did not win their state fair and square. Instead, state Senate Leader Mike Shirkey and Michigan House speaker Lee Chatfield apparently spent at least part of their time with the president delivering a letter asking for more federal help in fighting the virus.

“Months ago, Michigan received funding through the Federal CARES Act, and we used that funding to quickly support frontline workers, improve testing, ensure appropriate PPE, provide additional support to Michiganders outside of work, and provide assistance to local businesses struggling without their own guilt, “the Michigan Republicans said in a joint statement.” We are once again facing a time in our state where additional support will go a long way in helping the same residents who need our help. “

Trump retweeted the statement Saturday morning, but ignored the call for help and focused on pumping air into his deflationary campaign to end the election.

“This is true, but very different from what was reported by the media,” Trump said. “We are showing massive and unprecedented fraud!”

But with a handful of local and state certification deadlines early next week, it has become clear that – as with so many other promises – Trump’s promise to expose some sort of massive, coordinated fraud will never materialize.

Shortly before news of the embarrassing defeat of the Pennsylvania case began to spread, Trump withdrew to a more hospitable territory – the Wild West of social media – to engage in a round of coronavirus whataboutism. He pointed to the pandemic’s toll on other countries and attacked the media for not reporting on the effects of new drugs.

“The fake news does not speak to the fact that ‘Covid’ is running wild all over the world, not just in the United States,” he wrote, presumably referring to the part of this morning’s international summit he attended. “I was on it virtual G-20 meeting early this morning, and the biggest topic was Covid. We will heal quickly, especially with our vaccines! “

Although these vaccines are promising, they are still available for months to millions of desperate Americans, tens of thousands of whom are expected to die before they arrive.

Trump allies to undermine Biden

Meanwhile, Trump’s finance minister appears to be doing his best to starve the troubled business community of a key lifeline. Thursday, Steve Mnuchin requested that the Federal Reserve returns approx. $ 455 billion in hitherto unused funding, which the central bank insists is – and will – remain crucial to preventing further economic problems.

Mnuchin himself acknowledged in a letter to the Federal Reserve that the loan programs “clearly reached their goal.” But he still demanded the return of nearly half a trillion dollars, a move that drew objections from business leaders – hardly an excavation of anti-Trump opposition – and the Fed, which said it preferred “the full package of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue” in serving their important role as a backstop for our still strained and vulnerable economy. ”

Some experts said the rationale for the decision appeared to be an attempt to obstruct the incoming administration.

“This appears to be a political move by Team Trump to limit what President-elect Joe Biden can do next year to boost the economy,” wrote Jaret Seiberg, financial services and housing policy analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, in a research note, “especially if Congress does not survive a major stimulus.”

And with the balance in the next Senate currently ready to be ready, with Democrats needing to sweep the January run-off election in Georgia to gain control, the prospect of a package large enough to match the country’s needs , at best uncertain.

Then it is also for Biden and his transition team, who remain locked out of the agencies, that it is ready to take over after the inauguration, and cut off from information that can help plan its way out of the current devastation. Emily Murphy, the Trump nominee who heads the General Services Administration, has given no indication of when or if she plans to exercise her power to recognize Biden as the “apparent” winner, which will open up important lines of communication and make use of President-elect’s team for millions of dollars in federal funds.

Jen Psaki, who oversees Biden’s nomination team, said Sunday that “the longer this goes on, the longer it will endanger people’s well-being.”

But lawsuits, she told Tapper about “State of the Union,” are not the transitional team’s “preference” for getting the GSA to formally begin the transition process.

“If that were the case, we would have done it days ago because we have known the clear outcome for two weeks now and that is the only trigger for finding,” Psaki said.

She tweeted shortly after her interview with Tapper that Biden will name his first cabinet elections on Tuesday – a date also confirmed by Chief of Staff Ron Klain on ABC Sunday.

With Murphy at a standstill, Biden’s transition team is now trying effectively Crowdsource its efforts. On Friday, it sent a fundraising email to followers as it weighs legal options.

“The nation faces many challenges to not having a fully funded and smooth transition to preparing the elected president and vice president to rule on day one,” a transitional official told CNN.

But no amount can buy access to classified briefings that are typically given within a few days to election winners. Biden – and the country – seem doomed to wait for Trump to relinquish his wounded pride and admit reality.

The wait continues. The wave of death and despair does, too.

This story has been updated with further developments on Sunday.

CNN’s Devan Cole, Sarah Mucha, Kevin Bohn and Daniella Mora contributed to this report.


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