Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called Rudy Giuliani’s Thursday news conference a “train wreck” and said it only distracted from the real work that must be done as President-elect Joe Biden’s team works on the transition from President Donald Trump.
Hogan told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd Friday that the news conference by Trump’s personal lawyer — during which some kind of dye ran down Giuliani’s face — was an embarrassment.
“I thought it was a train wreck. … I thought it was absolutely incredible,” Hogan said. “On the one hand, it’s outrageous. On the other hand, it’s really not surprising. … But it’s all a sideshow.”
Hogan said that “real progress” was being made, citing meetings he had with Vice President Mike Pence, the coronavirus task force and members of Biden’s incoming administration.
“When you get away from the sideshows of what’s going on, … people are working together on the important issues in the country,” Hogan said.
Hogan is among a host of GOP politicians — which includes Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott — who have either supported Biden or criticized Trump for trying to undermine the election.
Hogan wrote a July editorial in The Washington Post decrying the president’s scattershot COVID-19 response and criticizing Trump for calling South Koreans “terrible people” in front of his wife, Yumi Hogan, who is of South Korean descent.
Hogan has also called Trump’s premature election remarks “a terrible mistake” and repeatedly argued that America’s system of democracy is more vital than any one election or person.
Several of the key members of the team that helped deliver the presidency for George W. Bush after the Florida recount in 2000 don’t see a path for President Donald Trump to overturn the election won by President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump has claimed he won based on early leads in Pennsylvania and other battleground states. But those leads evaporated as mail-in ballots were counted, so his campaign began filing multiple lawsuits to invalidate those ballots. The campaign has said it plans to seek a recount in Wisconsin and hopes to stop certification of the results in Pennsylvania and Michigan that would make Biden’s win official.
But several members of Bush’s team in 2000 predict this election won’t be overturned because of the size of Biden’s lead in multiple states and a lack of evidence on which to base any claims.
“You can’t just say, ‘This election’s tainted, throw it out,’” said Benjamin Ginsberg, national counsel for Bush’s 2000 campaign. “You have to have some specificity, and so far, they’re sorely lacking in specificity. Their airplane crashed on takeoff because they forgot to add fuel.”
Ted Olson, the lead attorney for Bush in the U.S. Supreme Court case in 2000 that ended the recount in Florida and delivered the presidency for him, said there’s no doubt about the outcome.
“I do believe the election is over,” Olson said at a Federalist Society event last week. “We do have a new president.”
Olson also wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post with David Boies, lead attorney for Democrat Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore case that went to the Supreme Court, saying the Trump campaign’s litigation “will serve only to delay the inevitable resolution of this year’s presidential election.”
Even Karl Rove, Bush’s top strategist in 2000, said in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that Trump’s litigation to overturn Biden leads won’t succeed because there’s no evidence of the systemic fraud that Trump must prove. And he said a recount underway in Georgia won’t flip that state either.
“The president’s efforts are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden’s column, and certainly they’re not enough to change the final outcome,” Rove said.
Trump’s campaign and its supporters have argued in lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania and Michigan that Republican observers were kept too far away from the ballot-counting process to see whether there was fraudulent activity. But courts are unlikely to throw out votes based on minor irregularities that don’t affect enough votes to change the election results. And on Sunday, the Trump campaign withdrew its request that the court do so in Pennsylvania.
“If the court were to overturn this election on that basis, they’d be disenfranchising many thousands of voters just because somebody said there was some irregularity in a particular place,” said Barry Richard, the lead Florida attorney in the 2000 recount case.
Not all members of the Bush legal team in Florida are saying Trump has no path. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has said he thinks the legal process must play out and that he still hopes Trump is re-elected. Other Republican lawyers who worked for Bush in the 2000 election fight include now-Supreme Court justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
The Trump campaign has sued to stop Pennsylvania from certifying results based on the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution — which was at the heart of Bush v. Gore. Republicans argue that largely Democratic counties allowed voters to fix mistakes on their mail-in ballots and Republican counties didn’t. But the Florida case was different because it involved ballots being counted differently by different counties, Richard said.
Lawsuits from Republicans alleging various ballot irregularities have failed in recent days, including one in Arizona that the Trump campaign walked away from last Friday. Courts have also rejected efforts to throw out certain votes, such as 8,329 ballots in Philadelphia with defects such as a voter failing to print his name.
Some conservative commentators are still holding out hope that Trump campaign lawsuits in one or more states needed to flip Biden’s advantage in the Electoral College can still reach the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the race, as in 2000.
But that case revolved around counting in Florida after the presidency came down in just one state. And the margin was only 537 votes — close to enough to require the recount that produced the litigation. Now, Biden leads by tens of thousands of votes in some states.
The idea of the Supreme Court intervening this year to sway the election is wishful thinking, Ginsberg said.
“With the paucity of proof that’s been presented so far, it’s not remotely realistic,” he said.
Over a week after the presidential election was called for Joe Biden by all major news organizations, President Donald Trump has acknowledged Biden’s victory – but still refuses to concede. In a series of tweets on Sunday morning, Trump continued his claims that the election was rigged, citing the media and faulty election equipment.
“He won because the Election was Rigged,” Trump tweeted above a post from Watters’ World claiming that Biden did not “earn” the election. “NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!”
Although Trump’s statement of “He won” is significant, the claims of election fraud that followed made it clear that he has no plans to concede. Trump also called mail-in voting “a sick joke,” alleging that the Democratic party was stealing votes. “All of the mechanical ‘glitches’ that took place on Election Night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes. They succeeded plenty, however, without getting caught. Mail-in elections are a sick joke!”
Later on, Trump contended that Biden “only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA,” adding: “I concede NOTHING!” All three tweets were flagged by Twitter for false information, with the tag saying, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
There has still not been a formal acknowledgement by Trump’s administration of Biden’s victory, causing a delay in the transition effort. In order for the transition to begin, the administrator of the General Services Administration must issue a letter of ascertainment that will allow Biden and his team access to funds and use of government offices. Despite this, Biden has carried on with the transition himself, beginning to build his team by naming Ron Klain as his White House Chief of Staff.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Biden said Trump’s refusal to concede is an “embarrassment,” adding that the transition to the Biden administration is “well under way.”
A number of lawyers were so disturbed by Rudy Giuliani’s conspiracy-riddled rant at a news conference last week that they bailed on commitments to work on President Donald Trump’s election legal challenges, Politico reported Saturday.
Now Trump has put Giuliani, his personal attorney, in charge of all of his campaign lawsuits, which already faced stiff odds.
Campaign aides reportedly tried desperately to talk Giuliani out of his wild Nov. 7 news conference in Philadelphia on the day several media outlets declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election. The bungled event took place at the wrong Four Seasons — not the luxury hotel but rather the Four Seasons Total Landscaping company between a sex shop and a crematory.
Earlier in the week, Giuliani was widely mocked after he argued that mail-in ballots “could be from Mars as far as we’re concerned.” He also said Biden could have voted “5,000 times” in Pennsylvania, a state where he’s not registered to vote.
“I can’t imagine that a rational person … wouldn’t be adversely affected by the way he conducts himself,” Barry Richard, a lawyer who represented George W. Bush in the 2000 Florida election recount, told Politico.
Unnamed sources told Politico that Giuliani’s over-the-top claims sharply undercut a “meticulous” legal strategy forged over months by Trump’s advisers. Campaign aides characterized the news conference as a disaster that triggered the flight of valuable legal talent that the campaign had spent months cultivating, sources told Politico.
Now they fear not only that the suits will wither, but also that Giuliani will further hurt Trump’s reputation and his political future.
Trump tapped Giuliani to handle his lawsuits on Friday after a series of setbacks in the president’s court battles to challenge the outcome of the presidential election.
Lawyers from the prominent law firm of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur withdrew from the campaign’s lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, judges in Pennsylvania and two other states dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuits seeking to prevent or stop mail-in ballots from being counted.
For a brief moment earlier this week, it looked like the volatility that’s gripped equity markets virtually all year was ready to recede. Four tumultuous days later, anxiety remains elevated, and traders are betting it’s going to stay that way.
Futures rose overnight into Monday after the presidential election was called for Joe Biden without much chaos at the polls. Then Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine trial data sparked a rally, sending the Cboe Volatility Index tumbling toward 20 — a level it last fell below in February. Late Thursday, the VIX was headed back toward 30. VIX futures are elevated, with the January contract the most expensive.
Traders hoping for a respite from whipsawing markets are now retrenching for a rough start to the year. Fresh restrictions across the country have overtaken vaccine optimism. On the political front, a divided Congress seems disinterested in delivering an aid package even as restrictions mount across the country. That’s driving up the cost to protect against stock turmoil to levels rarely seen in recent periods, ahead of Senate runoffs in Georgia early next year.
“We won’t know for another eight weeks, a period that encompasses the all-important year-end measuring stick for investment managers, which can lead to big positioning swings, or higher volatility,” Mike Wilson, chief U.S. equity strategist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note, calling the runoffs in Georgia a more important event than year-end. “We recommend investors keep their head on a swivel as this market likely has a few more cheap shots in it.”
This is shaping up to be one of the most volatile years in decades as the Covid-19 pandemic sent the economy into a recession. The VIX has stayed above 20 for 186 sessions, the longest stretch since the 2008-2009 run. The S&P 500 has moved at least 1%, in either direction, in 10 of the past 15 sessions, even as it sits near an all-time high.
The Cboe VVIX Index, a measure of implied volatility in VIX options, signaled traders are betting on wider price swings. For the 28th time since 2006, the VVIX climbed to a level that’s fives times the VIX. In previous instances, the VIX rose 90% of the time two months later, according to a study by Chris Murphy, co-head of derivatives strategy at Susquehanna International Group.
The S&P 500 fell 1% Thursday as the U.S. recorded 145,000 new cases, roughly double the figures from just two weeks earlier, and three of the world’s top central bankers warned that the prospect of a vaccine isn’t enough to put an end to the economic challenges created by the pandemic. The benchmark rebounded Friday, trading 0.6% higher as of 10:250 a.m. in New York, and on track for a weekly gain of 1.5%.
“We are seeing large intraday and overnight moves in equities, and believe that risk-off will manifest more strongly and quickly in equities as developments in Covid cases put earnings estimates for next year at risk,” Cantor Fitzgerald & Co.’s strategists led by Eric Johnston wrote in a note. “With a myriad of looming risks, for those that need it, now presents a great entry point into year-end hedges.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to accept the reality that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated at the White House on Jan. 20 and told Fox Business that President Donald Trump will likely attend “his own inauguration” instead.
McEnany told Fox Business’ Stuart Varney on Friday that Trump was “not even at that point yet” of conceding to Biden and instead remained focused on various lawsuits challenging the election’s outcome.
“It would look pretty bad if he did not attend the inauguration,” said Varney, normally an adamant supporter of Trump. “It would look like sour grapes, wouldn’t it?”
“I think the president will attend his own inauguration,” McEnany responded. “He would have to be there, in fact.”
“You really think you can turn this around?” a skeptical Varney asked.
“Absolutely,” McEnany said before adding that Trump’s administration only wants to “lift the hood of the car” and examine the election results — though there is no evidence to support the president’s claims of election fraud.
McEnany predicted before the election that Trump would win in a landslide. On Friday, she argued that Trump was “fighting for the men and women of this movement who have brought real questions and claims forward” about the voting process
These were far from McEnany’s first comments at odds with the reality of the election and its aftermath. She deflected a question on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday about allowing Biden access to daily classified briefings, saying that such an issue would better be addressed by “the White House” —ignoring the fact that she is, in fact, the spokeswoman for the White House.
Watch the full video of McEnany’s statements to Fox Business below.
A Republican senator said Wednesday that he’ll "step in" if President-elect Joe Biden still isn’t receiving daily security briefings by Friday.
Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma lawmaker who sits on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told local KRMG radio that “there's nothing wrong with Vice President Biden getting the briefings to be able to prepare himself and so that he can be ready.”
While President Donald Trump, 74, refuses to accept the results of the 2020 election, which show he lost to Biden, his administration has also refused to move forward with transition operations to help Biden’s incoming administration prepare to take over in January.
Emily Murphy, the General Services Administration’s administrator who was appointed by Trump, has refused to sign off on the transition process and said there hasn’t been an “ascertainment” about who won the election yet.
"There is no loss from him getting the briefings," Lankford, 52, said. "If that's not occurring by Friday, I will step in as well and be able to push them and to say this needs to occur so that regardless of the outcome of the election, whichever way that it goes, people can be ready for that actual task."
Biden, 77, has called Trump’s refusal to concede an “embarrassment,” while the country’s national security experts have argued the incoming administration needs to receive security briefings in order for the country to be ensured of a safe transition of power.
"As has been done in every other transition, the President should order that Biden and his team receive the PDB [President’s Daily Brief], as has been done in the past, even during the contested election of 2000," said Sen. Mark Warner, a Democratic lawmaker on the Intelligence Committee, according to CNN. "It's simply irresponsible to withhold this in these uncertain times."
Trump has been criticized by both Democratic and Republican officials for continuing to push baseless conspiratorial theories alleging the election was “stolen” from him.
Election officials in every state told The New York Times there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Trump’s refusal to accept the election results have played into fear that the president, with his history of trafficking in unfounded conspiracy theories and lying, may refuse to willingly leave office. Trump officials have waved off those concerns, however.
One former Trump administration official tells PEOPLE his team is on track to exhaust their legal efforts before the president would concede: "He feels he has to see it through for his supporters."
Lankford says he believes there’s “no question” Trump will leave office peacefully, once the elections are certified across the country.
“I can assure you there will be a peaceful transition of power in the United States,” Lankford said. “There is no question there will be a peaceful transition of power.”
When Joe Biden searched for the words for his first speech as president-elect — words with which he hoped to lead a divided nation to its first step toward healing — it was the lyrics to On Eagle's Wings that kept coming back to him.
The hymn was long a favorite of Biden's big Irish-Catholic family but it had attached to a memory painful to him when it played at his son Beau's funeral Mass in 2015.
“On Eagle’s Wings was a very special song to Beau and in the period after Beau passed, it was very difficult for Joe to listen to that hymn," says former Sen. Ted Kaufman, a close friend.
Now, as the hymn tugged at Biden's thoughts, he recognized it as proof that healing can happen — here at the end of a bitter presidential campaign, after a year of upheaval and protest against injustice, in the shadow of a deadly pandemic.
He found the right words.
"In the last days of the campaign, I’ve been thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and to my family, particularly my deceased son Beau. It captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America," Biden, 77, said on Saturday night, hours after the 2020 presidential race was called for him and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.
Beau, the eldest of Biden's three children and Delaware's former attorney general, died of brain cancer at age 42.
• For more of PEOPLE's coverage of the history-making election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, subscribe now or pick up the new issue, on newsstands Friday.
Speaking Saturday in a vast parking lot in Wilmington, Delaware, where his hometown supporters cheered from their cars to remain socially distanced (in accordance with protocols for reining in the novel coronavirus), President-elect Biden continued about the hymn: "I hope it can provide some comfort and solace to the more than 230,000 families who have lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year. …
"And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
"Bear you on the breath of dawn,
"Make you to shine like the sun,
"And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”
"And now, together — on eagle’s wings — we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do. With full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with a love of country — and a thirst for justice — let us be the nation that we know we can be," Biden said.
"A nation united. A nation strengthened. A nation healed."
In the wake of Biden's speech, Kaufman told PEOPLE for its new cover story on the election: Biden "has become kind of an expert on healing."
Weeks after he was first elected in 1972 to a Senate seat from Delaware at age 29, Biden had to bury his wife and baby daughter, killed in a car crash that left his young sons Beau and Hunter hospitalized.
Says Valerie Biden Owens, his sister and longtime adviser: "People don't care what you know until they know that you care. And because Joe has tasted tragedy as well as triumph, as he has walked the walk, people respond to him. And there's comfort in knowing that somebody else gets it."
"So when it comes to healing for the country, he knows it’s possible. Him standing there, reciting that hymn proves that you can come back from even the worst kind of pain.”
Biden assembles list of executive orders to sign Inauguration Day
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest on ‘Special Report’
President-elect Joe Biden rarely took questions from reporters during his campaign and it doesn’t appear that a projected victory over President Trump is going to change the Democrat’s elusiveness from tough questions.
Reporters typically lob softballs on the rare occasions that Biden makes himself available, such as an infamous mid-October moment when he was asked what flavor ice cream he ordered at the height of controversy over his family’s overseas business dealings.
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall thinks it’s finally time for Biden to answer some tough questions.
JOE BIDEN AVOIDS REPORTERS' QUESTIONS FOLLOWING REMARKS ON CORONAVIRUS ADVISORY BOARD
“Biden should, indeed, hold a formal press conference and take any and all the questions the media might have. His presidential campaign was on the stealthy side, but now that he appears headed towards the White House, it would behoove him to become transparent,” McCall told Fox News.
“This would rhetorically signal that he is ready to begin his administration and is ready to be the nation's leader. Reporters should have plenty of questions to ask. Such a wide-ranging press conference could also signal to the nation how the establishment media intends to treat a Biden presidency, and whether the press intends to challenge the new administration or give it soft treatment like during the campaign.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond when asked if the president-elect plans to hold a press conference.
REPORTERS BLASTED FOR 'SHAMEFULLY EMBARRASSING' SOFTBALL QUESTIONS AT RARE BIDEN PRESS CONFERENCE
Reporters shouted questions to Biden on the eve of Election Day, but they weren’t exactly the type of hard-hitting questions that are barked to President Trump on a daily basis.
“Where are you watching the results?”
“Are you feeling confident?
Biden ignored shouted questions from reporters after announcing his coronavirus advisory board on Monday in Wilmington, Del., quickly exiting the stage after his prepared remarks.
The former vice president lashed out at CBS News reporter Bo Erickson last month for asking about the explosive New York Post report that alleged emails show his son made millions trading on his father's influence.
BIDEN LASHES OUT AT CBS REPORTER WHEN ASKED ABOUT NY POST REPORT: 'I HAVE NO RESPONSE, ANOTHER SMEAR CAMPAIGN'
"I have no response,” Biden said. “It’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask."
Biden also snapped at a reporter in August during a feisty interview when asked if he’d taken a cognitive test amid repeated attacks from Trump about his mental stamina.
"No, I haven't taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?" Biden answered. "Come on, man. That's like saying you, before you got on this program, you take a test where you're taking cocaine or not. What do you think? Huh? Are you a junkie?"
Biden has also snapped at Fox News’ Peter Doocy, once sarcastically calling him “classy.”
BIDEN SNAPS AT QUESTION ON COGNITIVE TEST, LIKENS IT TO ASKING REPORTER IF HE’S ‘A JUNKIE’
But with the exception of a few questions that resulted in a Biden outburst, the media’s treatment of the president-elect is reminiscent of the 2009 moment when then New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny asked President Obama what “enchanted” him the most during his first 100 days in office.
Zeleny now works for CNN, which spent four years attacking Trump at every turn. The liberal network has already been accused by media watchdogs of pivoting to a pro-Biden TV platform.
“CNN will be state-run TV,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck tweeted while watching coverage on Saturday. “You honestly think Jim Acosta, Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, Abby Phillips, Brian Stelter, and Jake Tapper will hold Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accountable?”
Acosta, the network’s chief White House correspondent, emerged as a hero of the anti-Trump media with his combative exchanges with Trump and White House press secretaries, but it remains to be seen if he will treat Biden the same way.
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Biden would actually have to hold a press conference for anyone to find out.
Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson thinks the media has already set a terrible precedent.
“The mainstream liberal media is in no position to demand a press conference from Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, after an entire election season of showing no interest in probing those candidates' positions or background,” Jacobson told Fox News.
“The dye has been cast that the mainstream liberal media plays little role in holding them accountable for anything. Joe and Kamala control the media, not the other way around."
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
In true Philly fashion, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney did not mince words when reporters asked him about President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept a loss to Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
“I think what the president needs to do is, frankly, put his big boy pants on,” Kenney, a Democrat, said at a Friday news conference after he announced that vote counting continued in the city but that he expected Biden to come out on top.
“He needs to acknowledge the fact that he lost, and he needs to congratulate the winner, just as Jimmy Carter did, just as George H.W. Bush did and, frankly, just as Al Gore did and stop this and let us move forward as a country,” he added.
Kenney said he doubted that Trump would listen to him. But he took a jab at Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who threatened legal action in Philadelphia on Wednesday and alleged voter fraud within the city.
“He’s wrong, and he’s baseless, and he’s Rudy Giuliani, so he says whatever he wants,” Kenney said.
Kenney also dismissed allegations of voter fraud as “baseless claims” for which the Trump administration has “not produced one iota of evidence” and stressed that democracy was taking place in the City of Brotherly Love.
The race in the battleground state of Pennsylvania has yet to be officially called, but Biden overtook Trump in vote tabulations in the early hours of Friday.
Trump, for his part, has not taken the news well. He tweeted a quote Friday morning attributed to Fox News host Stuart Varney suggesting without evidence that Philadelphia “has got a rotten history on election integrity.”
Hundreds of demonstrators, meanwhile, gathered in the city to demand that every vote be counted.