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Live election updates: Kushner, Melania reportedly urge Trump to concede; AOC almost didn’t run again

Nicholas Wu | Michael Collins | Matthew Brown | Sarah Elbeshbishi

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McEnany slams ‘superspreader’ Biden celebrations

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany ripped the celebrations that occurred after news spread of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, calling them “superspreader events” and asking Biden to denounce them.

Shortly after major news networks projected that Biden would win, backers of the Democrat took the streets around the United States in celebration, honking horns, popping champagne, and gathering at landmarks, including the White House.

However, the gatherings came on a day where 126,742 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the U.S., the third day in a row the total exceeded 120,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

Many who gathered at the various events appear to have worn face masks but were not social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people keep 6 feet apart from those whom they do not live with when outside their homes. “The mask is not a substitute for social distancing,” the CDC also says on its website.

“Where is @JoeBiden calling on the massive Super Spreader events held in his name to end,” McEnany tweeted, sharing a video of the massive crowd that had gathered outside the White House in Black Lives Matter Plaza in support of Biden.

– Ryan W. Miller 

Whitmer urges Biden to keep focus on ‘dinner table issues’

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said President-elect Joe Biden’s administration can avoid drifting too far to the left by focusing on everyday issues that matter to voters. By zeroing in on issues such as the economy, health care and the climate crisis, Democrats can keep the swing state of Michigan blue, Whitmer said in an interview with The New York Times. 

“The most important thing our leaders can do is to have an agenda that really addresses the dinner table issues for the people they serve. Whether it is infrastructure, which Joe Biden cares a great deal about, which is wonderful news for us, or it’s health care, or it’s the pandemic that is threatening our lives and our livelihood, these are the dinner table issues of 2020,” Whitmer said. “And I do believe by staying focused there, you meet the needs of the majority of people on both sides of the aisle.”

The Biden-Harris transition team hit the ground running Sunday, the day after media outlets projected him the winner of the presidential race, by launching its website and social media pages. The website,, lists the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its priority issues.

Whitmer was on the short list to be Biden’s running mate, and her home state is among the battleground states that were key to Biden’s victory. Biden beat President Donald Trump in Michigan by more than 146,000 votes after largely Democratic urban and suburban areas turned out in record numbers for the former vice president.

“I always said the road to the White House runs through the state of Michigan. And you can’t get this road without going through the city of Detroit,” Whitmer told the Times.

– Kristine Phillips 

Conservative paper fact-checks Trump campaign spokesperson after he posts ‘doctored’ front page

A top official for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign shared a “doctored” newspaper front page Sunday in an effort to accuse the news media of calling the election incorrectly, leading the outlet to fact-check him on Twitter.

Trump campaign has asserted he won the election, despite outlets’ projections of a Biden win, and the president and his campaign have accused the news media of erroneously declaring Democrat Joe Biden the winner. Biden secured the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency on Saturday.

The campaign’s communications director Tim Murtaugh posted a picture on Twitter of what he said was the front page of the conservative Washington Times declaring Democrat Al Gore the winner of the 2000 election instead of Republican George W. Bush.

“PRESIDENT GORE,” the headline supposedly read. Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, posted pictures of the alleged front page, plastered over a refrigerator and cabinets. The post read “greeting staff at @TeamTrump HQ this morning, a reminder that the media doesn’t select the president.”

There was just one problem – the Washington Times never printed a front page calling Gore the winner.

“Those photos have been doctored. The Washington Times never ran a ‘President Gore’ headline,” the official Washington Times Twitter account replied to Murtaugh, noting it had emailed Murtaugh about “this error.”

Murtaugh later deleted the post.

– Nicholas Wu

Reports: First lady, Jared Kushner approach Trump about conceding

Both first lady Melania Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, have approached President Donald Trump about conceding the election, according to news reports.

Kushner has told others that he has urged the president to accept the outcome of the race – even if Trump won’t come to terms with how it was reached, The Associated Press reported. CNN filed a similar report, citing two unnamed sources. 

CNN also reported Sunday that the first lady had also urged the president to accept defeat. 

This comes after the Trump campaign said in a statement saying that Joe Biden is “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” after several networks projected Saturday that he will be the next president of the United States.

The Trump campaign is gearing up for a legal battle over the election results beginning on Monday, according to a statement.

Axios’ Jonathan Swan disputed the reporting on the president’s son-in-law, tweeting, “Kushner has been encouraging the legal strategy and is not some conciliatory/restraining voice telling him to concede.” 

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Clyburn reflects on role of Black voters in Biden win; denounces ‘defund the police’

Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his victory and criticized President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

“It doesn’t matter to me whether or not he concedes,” Clyburn said of Trump’s comments claiming that he had not lost the election.

Clyburn, a longtime Biden ally, gave a pivotal endorsement to the president-elect in the South Carolina Democratic primary. Biden won the state by almost 50%, setting the campaign on a renewed path to the nomination.

“I just came to the conclusion that Joe Biden was our best bet,” Clyburn said, contending that Biden’s time as vice president to Barack Obama made him the strongest candidate in the field.

Black voters were pivotal in Biden’s path victory in the Democratic primary and general election. Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in the House of Representatives and a stalwart of the Civil Rights movement, said that his decision to endorse “bubbled up from the people that I serve.”

The South Carolina Congressman also denounced calls to “defund the police,” arguing that the “sloganeering” was harmful to the Black Lives Matter movement. Clyburn said that the phrase reminded him of when the slogan “burn, baby burn” was attached to later activist efforts during the Civil Rights movement.

“We lost that movement over that slogan,” Clyburn warned. “I feel very strongly we can’t pick up these things just because it makes a good headline. It sometimes destroys headway. We need to work on what makes headway, rather than what makes headlines.”

Clyburn said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” he believed the “defund the police” cost Democrats the Senate. 

“I really believe that that’s what cost Joe Cunningham his seat,” Clyburn said. “Jaime Harrison started to plateau when ‘defund the police’ showed up with a caption on TV, ran across his head. That stuff hurt Jaime. And that’s why I spoke out against it a long time ago.”

Clyburn has not been shy about the electoral consequences of some of the rhetoric from liberal activists and has been firm in condemning progressive groups’ more radical proposals. In June, Clyburn said that “nobody is going to defund the police” and “I don’t want us to allow sloganeering to hijack this movement & cause people of goodwill to resist making the changes we need to make.”

– Matthew Brown 

President Bush congratulates Biden on victory 

Former President George W. Bush, who faced his own hotly contested election, offered a congratulatory message to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Sunday, the day after the race was called. 

“I just talked to the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden,” Bush said in a statement Sunday. “I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night.”

Bush said he also called Harris to congratulate her on her historic election as vice president.

“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said. “The president-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”

Bush also congratulated President Donald Trump and his supporters “on a hard-fought campaign.”

“He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans – an extraordinary political achievement,” Bush said. “They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government.

– Courtney Subramanian and Michael Collins 

President-elect Biden goes to church

Joe Biden started his first full day as president-elect by going to church.

The former vice president arrived Sunday morning for services at St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware. He was joined by his daughter, Ashley Biden, and his grandson Hunter.

Biden, who was declared president-elect on Saturday, will be the nation’s second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy.

In his victory speech Saturday night, Biden recited the Catholic hymn “On Eagle’s Wings,” a song he said was important to his family and his deceased son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

“It captures the faith that sustains me, which I believe sustains America,” he said.

– Michael Collins and Courtney Subramanian

‘Time to heal in America’:President-elect Joe Biden, VP-elect Kamala Harris talk of unity

It’s another day of golf for Trump

President Donald Trump returned to his golf resort in northern Virginia on Sunday with no indication that he’s planning to concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump departed the White House at 9:15 a.m. EST and arrived 40 minutes later at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, just a few miles from the White House.

Trump was at the resort on Saturday when, four days after the election, Biden pulled far enough ahead in the vote count in Pennsylvania that he was declared the president-elect. Trump stayed at the resort for several hours while celebrations of Biden’s victory erupted outside the White House and in cities across the country.

Trump has refused to concede the election, arguing in a statement shortly after the race was called that Biden was “rushing to falsely pose as the winner” and that the race is “far from over.” Trump and his attorneys claim, without evidence, that hundreds of thousands of ballots are still in question.

– Michael Collins

Four Seasons Total Landscaping:Giuliani holds press conference at landscaping business, prompting confusion

Romney says Trump is still the ‘900-pound gorilla’ in the GOP

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said President Donald Trump’s influence was unlikely to disappear from the Republican Party.

“He’s not disappearing by any means,” Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, said in a pretaped interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“He’s the 900-pound gorilla when it comes to the Republican Party.”

Trump has declined to concede the presidential election despite media outlets’ projections of a victory for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and baselessly alleged voter fraud.

Romney said later on CNN’s “State of the Union” of Trump’s claims, the president “is who he is, and he has a relatively relaxed relationship with the truth.” 

But Romney was sure Trump would eventually “accept the inevitable.”

“I’m convinced that once all remedies have been exhausted, if those are exhausted in a way that’s not favorable to him, he will accept the inevitable,” he said.

– Nicholas Wu 

AOC may not see a future in politics for herself

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., won reelection this year after gaining much attention – both positive and negative – during her first term. However, she thought about making her first term, her last.

Ocasio-Cortez said she had considered not running for reelection, telling The New York Times on Saturday the stress and lack of support from the Democratic party made her hesitant. The youngest woman ever elected to Congress faced heavy criticism from Republicans, including the president, throughout her first two years in Washington. The self-described democratic socialist also dealt with criticism from her own party.

Despite her hesitancy, Ocasio-Cortez decided to run and won with nearly 70%of the vote.

“I chose to run for re-election because I felt like I had to prove that this is real,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Times. “That this movement was real. That I wasn’t a fluke. That people really want guaranteed health care and that people really want the Democratic Party to fight for them.”

Although she decided to seek a second term, her future in politics beyond that still isn’t set.

“I’m serious when I tell people the odds of me running for higher office and the odds of me just going off trying to start a homestead somewhere – they’re probably the same,” the congresswomen said.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi