As Hillary Clinton heads into Super Tuesday as a heavy favorite, her team has begun to work on a battle plan against Donald Trump in the ever-increasing likelihood that he and she become their party's nominees. Speaking with many of Clinton's aides, advisers, and strategists, The New York Times found that it was agreed by Democrats that the best chance against the Trump steamroller was turning his wild comments and promises against him.
Along those lines, Clinton's super PAC Correct the Record is ready to go with "a montage" of Trump's "hateful speech" — a turn for Clinton, who has so far fought back at Trump with positive energy ("Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers").
However, if those tactics fall short, Trump threatens to take the volatile states President Obama managed to win in 2008 and 2012:
"Can you imagine what he'll do?" [Matthew] Dowd, the former Bush strategist, said. [Clinton] will bring up equal pay for women and abortion rights, Mr. Dowd said, "and he'll turn to her and say, 'You can't even handle your stuff at home.'"
Mr. Clinton calls Mr. Trump ideal in the era of the "Instagram election," when voters want bite-size solutions ("Build a wall!" "Ban the Muslims!") to complex problems. Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, can appear scripted and static when she tries to hurl planned one-liners in debates. [The New York Times]
Further, the off-the-script nature of Trump's attacks threatens Clinton's tidy campaigning. “Hillary has built a large tanker ship, and she's about to confront Somali pirates,” said Dowd.
It is a concern that stretches to the White House: "The president sees Trump as formidable, no question. He takes him seriously. The campaign takes him seriously," Former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges said. Jeva Lange
Lady Gaga just brought the house down at President Biden's inauguration.
Gaga, using a gold microphone, sang the national anthem at the start of Biden's inauguration ceremony, the first of numerous performances that were set to take place on Wednesday; minutes later, Jennifer Lopez also won praise for her performance.
Gaga has a history with the new president, having previously worked with him on a campaign against sexual assault and performing at a rally for him during the 2020 election. In a Twitter thread earlier in the day, Gaga called it an "honor" to be performing the national anthem.
"I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change — between POTUS 45 and 46," Gaga wrote. "For me, this has great meaning. My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land." Watch Gaga's performance below. Brendan Morrow
Kamala Harris took the oath of office on Wednesday, making history as the first woman and first woman of color to break the glass ceiling of the executive branch.
Harris also makes history as the nation's first African-American and first South Asian vice president of the United States. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath. Watch the moment below. Jeva Lange
Vice President Mike Pence has arrived at President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration— while President Trump, at almost the same time, landed in Florida.
Pence was introduced at Biden's inauguration on Wednesday alongside second lady Karen Pence, and they received "hearty, bipartisan applause," CNN's Jeremy Diamond writes. The vice president's arrival was more notable than usual considering Trump refused to attend the ceremony, leaving Washington, D.C., beforehand despite the tradition of presidents being in attendance for their successor's swearing-in.
Among those who were previously introduced at the inauguration include former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and according to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Clinton went "out of her way to greet" Pence, and "they exchanged a few words." Despite his refusal to attend the inauguration, Trump left a note in the White House for Biden, as is tradition, and The New York Times' Maggie Haberman reports Pence also left a note for his successor, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Brendan Morrow
BREAKING: VP Pence arrives at the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in Washington, DC, as President Trump, who is not attending the ceremony, lands aboard Air Force One in south Florida. pic.twitter.com/PPO6ws7sK1
It's a little known fact that the presidential inauguration actually doubles as a fashion show of preppy winter 'fits, and President-elect Joe Biden's was no different. But the winner of the Capitol steps on Wednesday wasn't Michelle Obama, in her plum Sergio Hudson, or Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' step-daughter, Ella Emhoff, in her embellished coat, or Jill Biden, in her custom blue Markarian.
No, it was the grumpy chic outfit of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:
Bernie is your uncle who walks into your graduation dinner, hands you a check he just ripped out of his checkbook, no card, and asks the waiter where the nearest UPS Dropbox is because he needs to return something while he’s out. pic.twitter.com/Hpc8EWABCl
Sanders, naturally, wears mittens made by a teacher from Essex Junction, Vermont, and knit from "repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles," BuzzFeed News' Ruby Cramer reports. Jeva Lange
President Trump departed Washington, D.C., before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, but three of the other four living presidents and first ladies have gathered on stage to support their latest successor. Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. and Laura Bush, and Barack and Michelle Obama were all introduced ahead of the ceremony.
It's customary for former presidents to attend the inauguration — the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas were all at Trump's ceremony in 2017 — though Biden's event comes amid a pandemic and security concerns following the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Still, they were all on board.
Former President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, decided not to attend, marking the first time he's missed a ceremony since he was sworn in in 1977. Of course, it's quite safe to assume the 96-year-old Carter is not snubbing Biden, but rather staying home for health and safety reasons, as he has through much of the pandemic, per ABC News. Tim O'Donnell
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had a fitting escort to walk her up the stairs of the Capitol on Wednesday: Eugene Goodman, the lone, Black police officer who bravely lured rioters away from the Senate chamber during the invasion of the Capitol building earlier this month.
Goodman is the new acting deputy House Sergeant at Arms, and a candidate for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. "I've always said, if bullets start ripping through, I'm finding Goodman," a friend of Goodman's told The Washington Post. "He's been in hostile firefights [in Iraq], so he knows how to keep his head."
Goodman will also accompany Harris on the presidential platform on Wednesday, where she will be sworn in as vice president of the United States. Jeva Lange
NEW: Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who put himself in harms way while defending the building from a violent mob, has been named the Acting Deputy House Sergeant at Arms.
President-elect Joe Biden is revamping outgoing President Trump's coronavirus approach before he even takes office.
On Wednesday morning, Biden asked Surgeon General Jerome Adams, whom Trump nominated for a four-year term back in 2017, to step down from his post. Biden has already announced his intention to nominate former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to the post, but will install an acting surgeon general in the meantime, The Washington Post reports.
The nation's top doctor is appointed for four-year terms; Adams took office in Sept. 2017, allowing him to stay on through this September. But amid the Trump administration's bungling of the COVID-19 crisis, it seems Biden wants a fresh start. He'll even bypass Deputy Surgeon General Erica Schwartz, a career civil servant, in naming an acting top doctor to take Adams' spot, the Post reports.
Adams acknowledged his forced resignation in a statement, which focused more on smoking cessation and other health crises than on COVID-19. Kathryn Krawczyk
I've been asked by the Biden team to step down as Surgeon General. Its been the honor of my life to serve this Nation, and I will do all I can to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve and maintain health. See my full statement at: https://t.co/pCkbpealt8