Jan 22, 2021: Biden Unveils Pandemic Strategy
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Joe Biden has unveiled his national strategy for fighting the coronavirus pandemic. But does it aim high enough?
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s businesses are hurting, big time. And his creditors will soon come knocking for $300 million – or more – that he owes.
And lastly, the Biden administration is calling a halt to deportations while they figure out what’s going on at the Homeland Security Department. It’s a big relief for immigrant families.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
The new message from the White House is that things may get worse before they get better, but help is on its way. President Joe Biden used his first full day in office yesterday to go on the offensive against the coronavirus, the New York Times reports. He promised to make aggressive use of executive power to tame the worst public health crisis in a century. In a two hundred-page document called the National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, the new administration outlines the kind of centralized federal response that Democrats have long demanded and Donald Trump refused. To carry it out, Biden signed a dozen executive actions in an afternoon White House ceremony.
The Biden plan is in some respects overly optimistic and in others a little timid, according to the Times. His promise to inject one hundred million vaccines in his first hundred days is aiming low, since those hundred days should see twice that number of doses available. Because the approved coronavirus vaccines require two doses, Biden is promising only to vaccinate fifty to seventy million Americans. Biden bristled when a reporter asked if the goal should be higher. He said QUOTE Come on, give me a break, man ENDQUOTE.
The Biden team has been quick to point fingers at the Trump administration’s failures, the Times reports. Jeff Zients, the new White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said QUOTE What we’re inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined. The cooperation or lack of cooperation from the Trump administration has been an impediment. We don’t have the visibility that we would hope to have into supply and allocations ENDQUOTE. Fair enough, but the new administration can’t expect a long honeymoon. Biden himself acknowledged that the death toll will probably top five hundred thousand next month.
Trump Businesses Bleeding Revenue
Soon we’ll be able to take a break from covering Donald Trump, but this story is too juicy to pass up. According to the Associated Press, Trump is returning to a family business ravaged by pandemic restrictions. Revenue is plunging more than forty percent at his Doral golf property, his Washington hotel and both his Scottish resorts. Trump’s financial disclosure released as he left office this week was just the latest bad news for his empire. It came after banks, real estate brokerages and golf organizations announced they were cutting ties with his company following the storming of the Capitol.
The disclosure showed sizable debt facing the company of more than $300 million, much of it coming due in the next four years, the AP reports. The disclosure report shows only revenue figures, not profits, but the hit to Trump’s business appeared widespread. The National Doral Golf Club outside of Miami took in $44.2 million in revenue, a drop of $33 million from 2019. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, once buzzing with lobbyists and diplomats, generated just $15.1 million in revenue, down more than sixty percent. Trump’s Turnberry club in Scotland took in less than $10 million, down more than sixty percent. Revenue at the family’s golf club in Aberdeen also dropped by roughly the same proportion.
The financial blow from former business partners cutting ties to Trump could be sizable, the AP says. The PGA of America canceled a tournament at Trump’s Bedminster club in New Jersey. Several banks said they would no longer lend to the company. And New York City said it would be canceling contracts with the company, including those running skating rinks and a golf club in the Bronx. Revenue at that course, the Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, fell twenty percent last year to $6.4 million. Maybe he should downsize. Try mini golf.
Homeland Security Pauses Deportations
The Biden administration has ordered US immigration agencies to focus their energies on threats to national security and public safety, the Washington Post reports. The policy shift ends a four-year stretch during the Trump administration that exposed anyone in the United
States without papers to deportation. Acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske issued a memo hours after Biden’s inaugural setting strict limits for arresting and deporting immigrants while the department reviews its policies. He also imposed an immediate hundred-day pause on many deportations, to take effect no later than today.
Pekoske is in charge as the Senate considers the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas, the former deputy DHS secretary during the Obama administration, according to the Post. The memo is the first step in a broader plan to find a different solution for the eleven million undocumented immigrants in the US, many of whom are essential workers, have lived here for years and have children who are citizens. Congress has not passed a major citizenship bill since 1986. Biden has unveiled legislation that would allow millions to apply for citizenship.
The Post says that during the review period, DHS said it will impose sensible priorities for enforcing civil immigration laws. Starting February 1st, immigrants eligible for deportation will fall into three categories: National security threats, such as spies or terrorists; border crossers who arrived on or after November 1st; and aggravated felons currently serving time for crimes such as murder or drug trafficking, after they are released from prison. Immigrants who voluntarily waive their rights to remain in the US, after seeking legal counsel, may be deported. Biden has said it was a QUOTE big mistake ENDQUOTE to deport as many people as the Obama administration did. Biden will announce additional immigration actions on January 29th. This country is desperate for sanity on immigration. Maybe we’ll finally get it.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Two suicide bombers detonated explosive vests in a crowded market in central Baghdad yesterday morning, killing at least thirty-two people in the biggest such attack in several years, according to the New York Times. ISIS eventually claimed responsibility, although it’s supposedly been defeated.
The Washington Post reports that Lieutenant General Charles Flynn, the brother of disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, was involved in a key meeting during the US Army’s response to the US Capitol insurrection. What’s more, the Army falsely denied this fact for days. How strange! Maybe Congress will figure it out.
The Biden administration fired the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel, Peter Robb, on Wednesday night, ending the tenure of a figure seen as a foe by worker advocates and labor unions, according to the Post. Biden will now need to nominate a replacement, who must receive Senate confirmation. May we suggest Scabby the Rat?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to give former Donald Trump two weeks to prepare his legal case for his second impeachment trial, Politico reports. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet transmitted the article of impeachment to the Senate, but said yesterday she would do so QUOTE soon ENDQUOTE. Let’s get it over and done.
JAN 22, 2021 - AM QUICKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn