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Transition Updates: Finally, Acknowledgement

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 19, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 19, 2021 |


5:55 — Thank you for just this simple and elegant acknowledgment. I am so grateful we did not fall into an autocracy, y’all.

4:30 — Trump gives a farewell speech. It’s 20 minutes long. I skipped around. It’s a list of his “accomplishments,” and it’s a teleprompter speech, so it’s also very dull, although it does end with a Kimberly Guilfoyle callback (“The best. Is yet. To come.”)

3:00 — Tiffany Trump took the opportunity on her Dad’s last full day in office to use it as a backdrop to announce her engagement to Michael Boulos.

2:30 — An emotional Joe Biden bids farewell to Delaware. I’m sure we’ll get tired of saying things like this in a few months, but still, my god! A President who feels things!

Meanwhile, a few National Guardsmen providing security for the Inauguration have been relieved of their duties.

I don’t want to talk about Mike Pompeo’s bigotry here, but Soledad had a great response, so I can’t help myself:


1:07 — The Senate returned today, and if you’re wondering what the position of Mitch McConnell — who has six years left on his term — is on Donald Trump, well, here the Turtle burns that bridge to the ground:

Chuck Schumer will be overseeing that impeachment.

Meanwhile, PASS THIS BILL.

Oh, and one more no show to Trump’s farewell “party.”

12:00 — 24 hours.

Meanwhile, nobody wants to go to Trump’s send-off? Awww.

I guess that’s going to put a damper on Trump’s slightly better mood. From WashPo:

In her final days as first lady, Melania Trump has largely stayed away from the West Wing. While her husband spends his time there in anger — though aides said his dark mood has lightened since he began planning a rousing military send-off for himself — she has shown no sign of any disappointment for how the president’s era is ending.

This is gotta sting.

9:30 — We’re all on tenterhooks this morning, which is a weird saying, actually, because does anyone even know what a tenterhook is any more? Or a tenter? The point is: We’re waiting anxiously for hopefully nothing to happen up until Joe Biden is sworn in, and then hopefully, nothing will continue to happen. There are concerns right now about white supremacists posing as National Guardsman, but also, there are fears that National Guardsmen could already belong to far-right groups. Among the rioters in the insurrection, they have already identified six members of the military. In fact, the woman who was shot and killed is former military. So, it is a very credible threat.

— Elsewhere, Parler is resurfacing. They switched their domain registrar to the same one that provides registration for Gab, 8chan and the neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer, and their servers are being hosted now by a Russian provider. Wow! A Russian-hosted site that shares the same domain registrar as a neo-Nazi site! Sounds like a great place to hang out with Dan Bongino.

— Tomorrow morning around 8 a.m., Trump will leave the White House and head to Mar-A-Lago. I guess he’s getting some sort of military send-off. Around the same time, Joe Biden will be attending church with — among others — Mitch McConnell. But hey! That deprogramming joke is really upsetting Fox News, Alisyn Camerota!

— The Trumps have not and will not communicate with the Bidens, nor will they welcome them to the White House. They’ll be gone before the Bidens take over, and while all of that is a huge break with norms, I’m guessing Joe and Dr. Biden are just fine with that. Trump will not be giving a farewell speech, either. He’s just gonna slink back home. I still remember Obama’s farewell speech. It was really good and left us all with a false sense of hope that we could survive four years of Trump!

Trump doesn’t have Twitter anymore, and he will no longer be surrounded by aides who will leak status updates on his mood to the press, and he doesn’t otherwise have anything valuable to say. What if Trump just … fades into obscurity? Is that even a possibility?

— Confirmation hearings will begin today for the Director of National Intelligence, Treasury Secretary, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Homeland Security. Because they are not loony folks with a history of shitty behavior that will have to be interrogated, I don’t expect much in the way of fireworks.

— Meanwhile, Biden has also nominated Pennsylvania’s top health official, Rachel Levine, as assistant health secretary. She would become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

— I’ve been meaning for a few months now to write about Ashley Biden just because it feels like almost no one knows that Joe Biden has a daughter. Everyone knows about Beau (RIP) and everyone knows about Hunter (ugh), but people forget about Ashley, although she has always kept a super low profile. She gave her first nationally televised interview this morning, if you want to get to know her a little. She, uh, seems “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking!” (j/k, Joe!)

— Finally (for now), today Biden will arrive in D.C. and preside over a national memorial honoring the nearly 400,000 people who have died of the coronavirus.

Mr. Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their families plan to participate in the lighting of 400 lights to illuminate the perimeter of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial in their first stop in the city ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration, the committee said.

Each light is meant to represent the approximately 1,000 Americans who will have perished related to the virus at the time of his swearing-in.

This feels like a huge deal since the current occupant of the White House has barely even acknowledged the mounting death toll. And I want to say, like, “Oh wow! This is amazing!” But also, like, it’s not. I’m not taking anything away from Biden here, but this is completely typical behavior for a President. This is what Presidents do. They honor those that we have lost.

And again, I’m not trying to diminish what I hope will be some major accomplishments from the Biden/Harris Administration, but there are going to be a lot of moments I think in the next year where we will find ourselves celebrating Joe Biden for doing exactly what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s going to accrue a lot of goodwill from Americans for just showing up, acknowledging reality, and showing an interest in helping. I genuinely do believe that Joe Biden is going to be a very good President, but I also believe that he is going to be a huge beneficiary of a super low bar. It’s going to take some time for us to get used to a President who behaves normally, and until we do, we may get a little misty every time Biden holds a press conference and doesn’t yell at us. Remember when Fauci used to come out and give us numbers and data, and it felt so comforting just because it reflected reality? It’s gonna be like that for four years! I am so excited.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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