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That echoes comments from Biden’s newly minted chief of staff Ron Klain, who said last month that the inauguration will “definitely have to be changed,” as a result of the risk such an event poses of spreading the deadly virus.

Biden contrasted his cautious approach to the Republican National Convention in August, which included hundreds of GOP dignitaries sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on the White House lawn as Trump accepted his party’s nomination during a 71-minute speech — capped off with a fireworks display.

“It’s going to have to be more imaginative,” he said from a theater in Wilmington, Del. “I think the convention we put on re ally opened up avenues that we never thought existed.”

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Trump, who for weeks has not accepted Biden’s electoral victory and instead pursued attempts to overturn those results, has remained coy about whether he will attend Biden’s inauguration. Trump is also reportedly mulling whether to announce a bid that same day to reclaim the Oval Office in 2024, potentially drawing attention away from Biden.

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Trump’s inauguration drew hundreds of thousands of spectators in 2017 — prompting him to boast of “perhaps record-setting turnout — but it quickly became a PR debacle after it was juxtaposed against photos of Barack Obama’s perceptively larger crowd from 2009. (The Women’s March held the day after Trump’s ceremony also appeared to dwarf his crowd.)

The president heavily criticized the unfavorable comparison to his predecessor, touting images composed in a way that emphasized the numbers of those in attendance. Trump’s first White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, also strained his credibility with the White House press corps through his vigorous defense of the president’s inauguration claims — a display that was memorably lampooned on “Saturday Night Live” by Melissa McCarthy.


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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s sister dies from Covid as city passes 1,000 deaths

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The statement came as the mayor declared Wednesday a day of remembrance for the more than 500,000 Americans and 1,000 D.C. residents who had died from the disease. The city announced that it had passed 1,000 deaths on Wednesday.

Bowser ordered flags to fly at half-staff and encouraged houses of worship to honor those who died in the pandemic on Wednesday evening.

“These beautiful souls who passed were grandparents, parents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, classmates, colleagues, friends and loved ones,” Bowser said in a statement announcing the day of remembrance. “This tragic milestone is a reminder that this pandemic has forever changed families and communities.”

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Mercia Bowser had previously worked for Catholic Charities and the D.C. Office on Aging, focusing her work on children, the elderly and those with behavioral disorders, the mayor said in her statement.


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A possible Tanden replacement privately touts her own Senate support

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Privately, too, O’Leary has reiterated her belief that the White House could and should still muster the votes needed for Tanden’s confirmation—noting that Tanden is qualified for the job and that her friends and allies should come to her side and not back down from defending her.

It’s a message that synced with administration officials who have refused to retreat from the nomination despite mounting evidence it’s going down.

But, at the same time, O’Leary has not shied away from touting her own qualification for the Biden administration’s top budget job should that no longer be the case. In conversations with numerous Democratic associates since her name began appearing in news stories as a possible fallback option, O’Leary has portrayed herself as a skilled policy architect and less partisan alternative, according to three Democrats familiar with the exchanges. O’Leary has gone as far as telling them that she could be confirmed by the Senate, two of the sources told POLITICO.

Reached by phone Wednesday, O’Leary restated her support for Tanden.

“Neera Tanden is exceptionally well qualified and should be confirmed for this position,” O’Leary said. “I have worked with her for years and years, and I can’t imagine a better advocate for President Biden to get his budget through Congress and help manage the policies of this administration. I am 1,000 percent behind her.”

One friend who spoke with O’Leary said the feeling they got from their conversation was that she was not campaigning for the OMB post. But the timing of O’Leary’s private comments raised eyebrows for others given her stated commitment to Tanden’s Senate confirmation battle and their history together. The two, at one point in time, were considered part of an exceedingly small “brain trust” for Hillary Clinton that included Heather Boushey, who now is on the Biden White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

O’Leary’s private conversations in recent days also lend credence to a dynamic the White House itself has refused to publicly acknowledge: that Tanden’s chances of confirmation are increasingly dim and that machinations are underway to be her replacement.

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Several alternatives have emerged with competing constituencies in their corners. House Democrats are making the case for Shalanda Young, Biden’s deputy director nominee at OMB, whom they know from her time as staff director of the Appropriations Committee. Support for Shalanda on the Hill is so strong that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and lieutenants, including Rep. Jim Clyburn, were on board before Biden named Tanden. Progressives in the party are coalescing behind Gene Sperling, a former National Economic Council director.

O’Leary has a close relationship with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, who she would likely need the backing of to secure the OMB nomination if one opens. But she faces headwinds from her tenure with Newsom, a Democrat whose stewardship of the state amid the coronavirus crisis has been so uneven that opponents are closing in on the signatures to qualify a recall effort.

While O’Leary has loyal allies in California, including current and former Newsom aides who praise her policy command and record of accomplishments with Newsom, she confounded other advisers who argued that she struggled to get up to speed on the inner workings of Sacramento and its complex power dynamics.

She also co-chaired the state’s now-defunct Covid business task force with billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer that ultimately was more for optics than actually addressing the issues at hand, with some high-profile defections at the end including Bob Iger.

The possible recall campaign, which comes against the backdrop of shuttered schools and irate business owners who blame their struggles on the state’s see-sawing coronavirus restrictions, could form the basis for critics trying to thwart an O’Leary Senate confirmation.


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Dominion Voting Systems takes out ad on conservative radio

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Dominion appears to have taken out similar ads touting itself as a “proud American company” on The Hayride, a right-wing Louisiana politics blog. Representatives for Dominion did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the ads were part of a broader public relations push or were being run elsewhere.

Dominion is one of the contractors seeking to fulfill Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin’s request to replace 10,000 decades-old voting machines, according to The Associated Press, and the state deal is estimated to be worth as much as $100 million. Dominion has furnished voting equipment for Louisiana since 2011.

But the former president and numerous prominent Republicans launched unsubstantiated attacks against the company in the run-up to last year’s White House race, alleging that it manipulated votes in favor of then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

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Some high-ranking GOP officials sought to distance themselves from those conspiratorial claims ahead of last month’s Georgia Senate elections, worried that Trump’s rhetoric would dissuade Republican voters from casting their ballots. The pair of runoff races ultimately flipped control of the chamber to Democrats.

Meanwhile, Dominion is embarking on a string of litigation against Trump allies who promoted the baseless theories about rigged voting machines. The company has filed defamation lawsuits against Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell for $1.3 billion in damages each.




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