With President Joe Biden having been sworn into office, Americans from all walks of life, have wished the newly-minted president the best of luck and health, including former President Donald Trump.
This was not the case in 2016 when President Trump was sworn in. Democrats and the media welcomed him with the threat of impeachment.
Florida Democrats are celebrating, and they should be. But, while Democrats are relishing their win, Trump Republicans are pushing forward with the America First Agenda.
In liberal Broward County, a rally has been set up in Fort Lauderdale to kick off the 2022 mid-term election. Well, that is what we think they are doing, but according to the group putting on the event, it’s to take on the establishment GOP. READ MORE
On Day 1, Biden Smacks Israel in the Face
You can’t make this up even if you tried. The Biden administration, after just mere hours from taking control of the government, signaled to Israel that the new administration saw them a little differently. MUST-READ (WARNING!!! — Your head might explode after you read this)
Getting the COVID Shot
Somewhere in Tallahassee Gov. Ron DeSantis is quietly laughing at the likes of AG Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida Progressives like Reps. Carlos “Carlito’s Way” Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani, after Florida was ranked at the top state for COVID-19 vaccinations. READ MORE
Marco Rubio @marcorubio –Our enemies aren’t going to wait around for a new administration to staff critical positions. Which is why it was important to clear objections & confirm in an expedited manner @POTUS nominee to be the Director of National Intelligence tonight.
Rick Scott @SenRickScott- .@POTUS is throwing the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement just to appease his liberal friends. This deal does nothing to hold real polluters like Communist China accountable & unfairly puts U.S. taxpayers on the hook. More here:
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch-Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement was an abdication of American leadership and an abandonment of our commitments to our allies. Today, President Biden let our allies know: #WeAreStillIn. I’m proud to stand with him in rejoining the Paris Agreement.
US Rep. Darren Soto @RepDarrenSoto-Hundreds of thousands of #Dreamers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. After years of uncertainty, #DACA is safe and here to stay! We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to put immigrant youth on a pathway to citizenship.
“Biden insults Israel by embracing West Bank and Gaza as official states” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – In what could be his first move as president, Joe Biden changed the Twitter title from the U.S. Ambassador to Israel to U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, giving credibility to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Palestinian Authority. Florida Senator Rick Scott tweeted his disgust over the change, stating “there is no country of West Bank or Gaz, only territories that Israel hs been willing for decades to negotiate sovereignty over has been met with only hostility and terrorism. Sen. Scott adds that Biden’ss move “shows the Democrats’ hostility to Israel.” Could President Biden’s next move be to move the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv? *** UPDATE — The Biden Administration has now changed the Twitter handle back to U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
“Rubio defends Trump, says ‘he didn’t create’ current problems” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Appearing on the Brian Kilmeade Radio Show on Wednesday, Senator Marco Rubio defended outgoing President Donald Trump from the allegations made against him that blamed him for all current problems the nation faces today. “This idea that Donald Trump created all these problems — Donald Trump was elected because of some of the challenges we face in our country,” said Rubio “He didn’t create them, he was elected because of them. And those challenges did not leave with him today, they’re not going to magically solve themselves because we have a new president. Sen. Rubio became a close ally to President Trump shortly after the contentious 2016 presidential election and supported him during the 2020 presidential election. Rubio is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2022 and will need Trump’s support and the support of the 75 million Trump-supporting voters. There has been talk that Rubio could face a strong primary challenge from a pro-Trump candidate, but after Rep. Matt Gaetz took his name out of consideration, hardcore Trump supporters will have a hard time finding someone to fit the bill. Rubio confirmed that he would not be attending President Joe Biden’s inauguration, citing his senatorial duties. The Floridian first reported that Rubio would not be attending the ceremony.
“DeSantis Makes Shopping a Pleasure, Partners With Publix for Vaccine Distribution” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) continues to travel across the Sunshine State (even on Inauguration Day) , holding press conferences with Publix to promote the partnership that is spreading awareness concerning the vaccines available to Floridians during this time. In recent weeks, the Governor has faced significant contention and pushback from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), who has criticized the Governor for not doing enough when it comes to providing vaccinations for Floridians. She penned a letter noting that his vaccination plan has been disastrous, but the Governor’s office has quickly countered by highlighting the needs of Floridians and how the State government is responding to the call. As well, both DeSantis and Fried have shared words over Big Tech and the changes that have been widespread over social media. Questioning DeSantis’ claim that the First Amendment threat faced by the Parler app is his “most important legislative issue,” Fried wondered, “Floridians are suffering all across our state, and this is our governor’s priority?” In a series of social media posts, the Governor shared information on the partnership with Public, announcing that “we want every Florida senior to have an opportunity to get a vaccine, and by partnering with Public the state is expanding access.”
“Deutch Shares Inauguration Day Thoughts” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Hours before President-elect Joe Biden (D) and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (D) are scheduled for inauguration, Florida Democrats are praising the incoming team for the history made and the work moving forward that they hope to accomplish considering that Democrats now have control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. One lawmaker that shared what today means to him is Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D), expressing that his family comes to mind as the 46th President of the United States is set to be inaugurated. In a social media post, the Florida lawmaker shared that his “dad, the late Bernard Deutch, served our country in battle, earning the Purple Heart fighting the Nazis at the Battle of the Bulge.” His father “believed in America because of the opportunities it offered his immigrant father and the hope it offered the little guy to succeed.” Similarly, his mother came to mind, and he detailed that “the late Jean Deutch… never got to go to college, but she made sure her five kids had that opportunity.” His mother “sat in the House gallery when her youngest son was sworn into Congress, and she was proud of the family she and my dad raised together.” In connection to the historic occasion today, Deutch noted that he will “be thinking about them and everyone just like them at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.” As well, “I’ll be thinking of my wife, our kids, my siblings and everyone we know and the millions we have admired from afar who went to the Women’s March because women’s rights are human rights, fought the Muslim Ban, saw no very fine people marching with the racists and anti-Semites in Charlottesville, believed in science and fighting climate change when those in power rewarded polluters, decried the separation of families and putting kids in cages, responded to attacks on equality by demanding that the civil rights of LGBTQ people in our society must be enshrined in law, followed the leadership of our young people who marched for their lives to end gun violence, honored our health care heroes and front line workers while mourning the lives lost to a pandemic and the failure of leadership that made it worse.”
“DeSantis criticizes Biden’s vaccine plan as ‘big mistake,’ ‘not necessary’” by Tampa Bay Times’ Lawrence Mower – Gov. Ron DeSantis isn’t impressed with President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to enlist the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with the nation’s vaccine rollout. During a news conference in Cape Coral on Tuesday, DeSantis said Biden’s plan to use federal disaster agency and the National Guard to build COVID-19 vaccine clinics across the country would be a “big mistake.” “I saw some of this stuff Biden’s putting out, that he’s going to create these FEMA camps, I can tell you, that’s not necessary in Florida,” he said. “All we need is more vaccine. Just get us more vaccine.” “To try and reinvent the wheel at this point I think would be a big mistake,” DeSantis added. “The more bureaucracy that’s involved in this, the worse it’s going to be.” The comments were the first Florida’s governor has made about the incoming administration’s vaccine plans. Unlike President Donald Trump’s approach of letting states distribute the vaccines, which has been slower than expected at getting shots into arms, Biden said last week he would speed the process by enlisting federal help. “Our plan is going to focus on getting shots into arms, including by launching a fundamentally new approach, establishing thousands of federally run or federally supported community vaccination centers of various size located in places like high school gymnasiums and N.F.L. stadiums,” Mr. Biden said during an interview with WFXE-FM in Columbus, Ga., according to The New York Times. DeSantis, a Trump ally, has also faced intense criticism over the state’s slow and confusing vaccine rollout. But he dismissed Biden’s idea.
“Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs arrested in Florida in connection with the Capitol riot” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz, Mallory Simon and Amir Vera – A leader of the Proud Boys, an extremist group that took part in the US Capitol insurrection, was taken into custody and is facing charges, federal officials said. Joseph Randall Biggs, 37, of Florida was arrested Wednesday and is facing three counts — obstruction of a proceeding, entering restricted grounds and disorderly conduct — for his part in the siege of the Capitol on January 6, according to the Justice Department and an FBI affidavit. The FBI described Biggs in the affidavit as an organizer for the Proud Boys. Biggs appeared in court in Orlando on Wednesday and was released under home confinement and other restrictions, according to his court file. A lawyer who represented him in court did not respond to a request for comment. CNN Orlando affiliate WESH asked Biggs about insurrection allegations against the Proud Boys and he said, “That’ll be discussed in court.”
Ahead of the Capitol riot, Biggs posted messages on Parler, the social media platform favored by the far right, telling his followers to blend in and not wear identifiable clothing, an FBI special agent wrote in the affidavit. “The only thing we’ll do that’s us is think like us! Jan 6th is gonna be epic,” Biggs wrote, according to the affidavit. The document says Biggs was also directing his statements at Antifa.
“3 South Florida men being investigated over involvement in U.S. Capitol attacks” by Local 10’s Terrell Forney – Nearly a dozen people have been taken into custody across the state of Florida for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. The latest arrests involve residents of South Florida. One of them lives in a gated community in Coral Springs. Felipe Marquez is seen in a snapshot inside the U.S. Capitol building during the seize by a violent mob, and authorities said it is a slice of evidence against the 25-year-old. Marquez is accused of damaging the Washington, D.C. office of a senator from Oregon. The FBI took Marquez into custody from his Coral Springs home early this week. Marquez is out after posting a $100,000 bond. Investigators said they received a tip about Marquez’s action after he allegedly posted numerous videos about his actions to his Snapchat account. A social media tip also led detectives to Deerfield Beach resident Sam Camargo, whose Instagram stories showed a struggle with police at the entrance to the sacred government building. He also posted keepsakes from Jan. 6 and later, an apology about participating in the insurrection. FBI agents swarmed his home Tuesday, placing Camago in custody and confiscating boxes of evidence. Another of those arrested was Gabriel Garcia, who recently ran a failed bid for a state senate seat. The FBI said he posted videos of himself outside and inside of the Capitol during the riot even writing in a social media post, “We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It’s about to get ugly.” Garcia is a former Army captain and, according to authorities, a member of the extremist group, Proud Boys.
“Florida announces COVID-19 vaccination site in Hillsborough County” by ABC News’ Lisette Lopez – The Florida Department of Health and Florida Division of Emergency Management announced a new state-supported COVID-19 vaccination site in Tampa. The vaccination site will be at the University Mall, 2200 E. Fowler Ave. The site will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. and will offer the vaccine to all individuals 65 years of age and older, as well as frontline healthcare workers. The site will offer 1,600 doses of Pfizer vaccine to pre-registered seniors per day, free of charge. No walk-ups will be accepted.
“Florida Senator Rick Scott on Paris Climate Agreement: ’a bad deal for Americans’” by WCTV’s Christi McKee – Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to express the United States’ intent to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2016, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement deals with greenhouse gas emission mitigation, adaptation and finance in an effort to limit global warming. Following this executive order, Florida Senator Rick Scott release the following statement: “We all want to take care of our environment and protect it for generations to come, but we have to stop joining deals that are bad for America. President Biden is throwing the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement just to appease his liberal friends. This deal does nothing to hold real polluters, like Communist China and India, accountable and it unfairly puts American taxpayers on the hook. It was bad for America when Obama signed it and it’s still bad now.” Pres. Biden additionally canceled the Keystone XL pipeline as well as ordered federal agencies to start the process of reinstating environmental regulations that were reversed under Pres. Trump.
“Small group of demonstrators stood outside Florida Capitol during presidential inauguration” by Local 10’s Roy Ramos and Andrea Torres – The Florida Capitol in Tallahassee was quiet on Wednesday during the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. Amid the high security, Earl and Susan Austin were among a few protesters who met outside of the state capitol to express their disapproval of the Nov. 3rd election results. “We just feel with all the bad things that happened in the election that it shouldn’t happen again,” said Earl Austin, of Jacksonville. Although there was no evidence of election fraud, the supporters of former President Donald Trump who were in Tallahassee said they did not believe President Joe Biden deserved to be in the White House. Len Murray, who drove to Tallahassee from Fort Lauderdale, to show his support of Biden said he disapproves of the U.S. Capitol siege on Jan. 6. “I am hoping the first thing we do is accept the election,” Murray said adding, “I think the air was let out of their sails at the Capitol.” As law enforcement used drones to watch the small crowd from above, Robert Allen said the First Amendment protected them all and there was a need for more civility.
“‘Trumplicans’ greet Donald Trump in South Florida after snub of Joe Biden inauguration” by Miami Herald’s David Smiley and Martin Vassolo – Donald Trump spent his final moments as America’s 45th president in South Florida waving to his new neighbors from inside an armored Escalade and settling into post-presidential life in Palm Beach, rather than attending President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Trump, in the company of his family, touched down at Palm Beach International Airport at 10:54 a.m. Wednesday in Air Force One, becoming only the fourth president in the history of the United States to skip the swearing-in of his successor. Without taking questions from reporters at the airport, the Trumps entered their motorcade, which proceeded to crawl slowly down Southern Boulevard, giving the outgoing president time to wave and give double thumbs-ups to cheering crowds grouped at various points along his route. By 11:49 a.m., when Biden took his oath of office, Trump had already arrived home at Mar-a-Lago, his private Palm Beach club and residence. Trump’s decision to leave Washington early took him far from the nation’s frigid capital, where he had been largely isolated and frustrated following a riot at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters that led to his historic, second impeachment. And it delivered him into the warm embrace of South Florida, where he is expected to live in his retirement.
“Some South Florida Republican Trump supporters say they want to form new party” by Local 10’s Christina Vazquez and Michelle Solomon – While a national message of healing and finding unity within the United States was being broadcast, we saw the ongoing division that is happening within the Republican party, which began during the Donald Trump administration. It’s happening nationally, but we saw it firsthand locally. Miguel Saavebra was one of a handful of Trump supporters outside Miami’s Versailles Restaurant on Wednesday. “At this moment, I don’t know what’s going to happen with the unity,” Saavebra said referring to the Republican party. Trump may have said his farewell on Wednesday, but the election fraud claims that the former president promoted without providing evidence that passed legal scrutiny remain. “Biden and the house of Democrats, they cheating to the American people,” Saavebra sad. Trump may have said his farewell on Wednesday, but the election frau claims the former president promoted without providing evidence that passed legal scrutiny remain. A November poll by Politico/Morning Consult found that 70 percent of Republicans don’t think the election was free and fair.
“Florida lawmaker wants to rename roadway ‘President Donald J. Trump Highway’ by Nexstar Media Wire and KTLA Digital Staff – A Florida lawmaker says he will be supporting an amendment to rename a major Florida highway after former President Donald Trump — replacing a designation that now honors a longtime Democratic lawmaker. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini said he plans to sponsor a bill in the upcoming legislative session that would rename U.S. Highway 27 to “President Donald J. Trump Highway,” KTLA sister station WFLA in Tampa reported. “Looking forward to working on this important designation honoring one of the greatest Presidents in American History,” Sabatini, a Republican, tweeted Tuesday. U.S. Highway 27 runs from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Miami. Sabatini’s proposal would affect the more than 400-mile portion that runs through the state of Florida. In the Sunshine State, the roadway is already named Claude Pepper Memorial Highway in honor of a longtime liberal Democratic lawmaker who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for more than five decades in total. Pepper died in 1989, and the Florida Legislature named the highway to honor him 10 years later, according to WUSF, a public radio station in the Tampa area. Sabatini’s renaming bid comes after a year in which he drew attention for opposing local mask mandates intended to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, WUSF reported, describing him as a “conservative firebrand” on Twitter.
“Sheriff: Florida deputy charged with threats after US Capitol attack” by Associated Press – A Florida deputy was arrested Tuesday for threatening to kill federal officials following the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, officials said. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced during a news conference that Deputy Peter Heneen, 29, was charged with making written threats to kill, conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism. The deputy, who was hired more than six years ago, has been suspended pending termination, Judd said. “I am angry beyond words,” Judd said. “Having him arrested was important. Having him arrested before Inauguration Day was even more important.” Joe Biden was sworn in as president Wednesday in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington. Congress had met there Jan. 6 to certify the results of the presidential election. But an angry mob coming from a rally for former President Donald Trump near the White House broke into the Capitol, forcing members of Congress to flee. Five people died during the riot, including one Capitol Police officer. Heneen had been communicating with another deputy on Facebook private messenger, angry about a rioter who had been fatally shot while trying to break through a door, the sheriff’s office said. According to screenshots of the conversation, Heneen talked about shooting “the feds” and making “the streets of DC run red with the blood of these tyrants,” officials said. The other deputy, who officials did not name, reported Heneen to his supervisors Jan. 8. Judd said they are still investigating, but Heneen does not appear to be part of any organized group or militia. Online jail records did not list an attorney for Heneen.
“Florida Politicians React to Biden Inauguration” by Spectrum News’ Scott Harrell – Before and during the inauguration proceedings on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where former Vice President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States and former Senator Kamala Harris became the country’s first woman and POC vice president in history, politicians from across the Sunshine State weighed in on the historic moment. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, long a strident supporter of Donald Trump before an armed cadre of the former president’s loyalists stormed the Capitol last week softened his stance a bit, wished the incoming president “health, strength & wisdom as he leads our nation at this moment of great & unprecedented challenges.” Florida’s other Trump-loving senator, former Governor Rick Scott, simply announced that he would be attending the inauguration, in a tweet that emphasized the importance of the tradition: U.S. Representative Val Demmings of Florida’s 10th District, a Democrat, “could not be more honored to congratulate President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.” Another Florida Representative, former Republican and current Democrat Charlie Crist, congratulated the new president and vice president with a call to action, saying, “tomorrow we get to work restoring this great nation!” The two progressive mayors of Tampa Bay’s largest cities spoke up online to relay their congratuations, as well. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor took to Twitter to express her excitement over the new administration, while St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman posted a parting shot at the outgoing president and an admiring comment on President Joe Biden’s acceptance speech on his Facebook page.
“Biden, in first tweet as president, says ‘no time to waste’ on agenda” by Fox News’ Brooke Singman – President Biden, just after delivering his inaugural address, said he would head to the White House to “get right to work” on his agenda. Biden, in his first tweet as president of the United States from the @POTUS account, tweeted: “There is no time to waste when it comes to tackling the crises we face,” Biden said in his first tweet as president from the @POTUS account. “That’s why today, I am heading to the Oval Office to get right to work delivering bold action and immediate relief for American families.” Biden is expected to sign 17 executive orders and actions Wednesday afternoon from the Oval Office — some of which are expected to restore a number of Obama-era policies, and others will reverse some of what Biden’s team calls “the gravest damages” of the Trump administration. In his first actions as president, Biden is set to roll back and reverse a number of Trump-era policies and directives. Biden, on Wednesday, will declare an “immediate termination” of funding for the border wall construction — putting an end to a key Trump campaign and administration promise to “build a wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border. The move will direct an “immediate pause” in wall construction and will “determine the best way to redirect funds that were diverted by the prior administration to fund wall construction.” Biden will also sign an executive order revoking Trump’s previous order that directed aggressive immigration enforcement. The Biden team said that the move will allow for the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to set “civil immigration enforcement policies that best protect the American people” and that are “in line with our values and priorities.”
“Anti-Biden Antifa attack Portland police officers forcing cops to retreat” by Fox News’ Louis Casiano – Antifa protesters in Portland clashed with authorities Wednesday as they gathered to voice dissatisfaction with President Joe Biden, forcing officers to retreat and taking at least one police bicycle, authorities said. The Portland Police Bureau said several events were planned in the city just hours after Biden was sworn in and implored the nation to come together. A crowd of up to 150 people gathered at Revolution Hall around 2 p.m. and marched to the headquarters of the Democratic Party of Oregon, Portland police Sgt. Kevin Allen said. The so-called J20 protest was a demonstration against Biden and law enforcment. Some in the group smashed windows and vandalized the building with graffiti. Calls and messages to the party headquarters were not immediately returned. When the group left the area and marched to a nearby park, police officers made “targeted arrests” in connection to the damage at the Democratic headquarters. The group later dispersed. In total, eight adults were arrested for crimes ranging from rioting and possession of a destructive device to reckless burning. At one point when officers on bicycles entered the crowd to tell someone to remove metal poles affixed to a banner that could be used as a weapon, they were swarmed and pelted with objects, Allen said.
“Who is Jen Psaki, Biden’s White House press secretary?” by Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn – Jen Psaki made her debut in the White House Briefing Room on Wednesday as President Biden’s press secretary. Psaki previously served in the Obama administration from 2009-2017. She first began as deputy White House press secretary and was later elevated to deputy White House communications director. In 2013, she moved to the State Department where she served as a spokesperson for then-Secretary of State John Kerry. During her tenure at the State Department, Psaki was known for her combative exchanges with reporters. One of those exchanges became at the center of a controversy after it was discovered in 2016 that an eight-minute exchange from 2013 with Fox News reporter James Rosen was edited out of the State Department archives, where she appears to admit that the department previously misled reporters and the American people about the origins of the Iran Nuclear Deal. In 2015, Psaki returned to the White House, this time as communication’s director, which she served until the end of President Obama’s second term. Following serving the Obama administration, she became CNN contributor and was featured on-air during the 2020 presidential election. After it was announced that Psaki would become Biden’s White House press secretary, a resurfaced clip from October 2019 showed her appearing to question the then-Democratic candidate’s questionable gaffes on the campaign trail, specifically one he made at a CNN town hall when he referred to “gay bathhouses” on the subject of LGBTQ issues.
“Biden targets Trump’s legacy with first-day executive actions” by CNN’s Eric Bradner, Betsy Klein and Christoopher Hickey – President Joe Biden is finalizing 17 executive moves just hours after his inauguration Wednesday, moving faster and more aggressively to dismantle his predecessor’s legacy than any other modern president. Biden is signing a flurry of executive orders, memorandums and directives to agencies, his first steps to address the coronavirus pandemic and undo some of former President Donald Trump’s signature policies. “There’s no time to start like today,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office as he began signing a stack of orders and memoranda. “I’m going to start by keeping the promises I made to the American people.” With the stroke of a pen, Biden has halted funding for the construction of Trump’s border wall, reversed his travel ban targeting largely Muslim countries and embraced progressive policies on the environment and diversity that Trump spent four years blocking.
Biden also reversed several of Trump’s attempts to withdraw from international agreements, beginning the process of rejoining the Paris climate accord and halting the United States’ departure from the World Health Organization — where Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, will lead the US delegation. His first action was to impose a mask mandate on federal property, a break in approach to dealing with the pandemic from Trump, who repeatedly downplayed the virus. Biden also installed a coronavirus response coordinator to oversee the White House’s efforts to distribute vaccines and medical supplies. Press secretary Jen Psaki and other top Biden officials had told reporters on the eve of his inauguration that the first-day actions are only part of what will be a series of moves to undo Trump policies and implement Biden’s campaign promises in his first weeks in office.
“Biden rescinds 1776 commission via executive order” by CNN’s Caroline Kelly – President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order to dissolve the 1776 commission, a panel stood up by President Donald Trump as a rebuttal to schools applying a more accurate history curriculum around slavery in the US, Biden’s transition team announced Wednesday. The commission had been formed as an apparent counter to The New York Times’ 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project aimed at teaching American students about slavery that Trump, speaking last fall, had called “toxic propaganda.” The announcement comes just two days after the commission issued an inflammatory report on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and just hours before Biden will take over from Trump, whose time in office was marked by racist statements and actions. In its report released Monday, the commission asserted that “the Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders,” specifically criticizing affirmative action policies and arguing that identity politics are “the opposite of King’s hope that his children would ‘live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.’ ” Calling today’s ideological divisions akin to those experienced during the Civil War, commission members also took aim at feminists and the widespread use of ethnic and racial identities in American life, arguing that they had been constructed by “activists.” “A radical women’s liberation movement reimagined America as a patriarchal system, asserting that every woman is a victim of oppression by men. The Black Power and black nationalist movements reimagined America as a white supremacist regime. Meanwhile, other activists constructed artificial groupings to further divide Americans by race, creating new categories like ‘Asian American’ and ‘Hispanic’ to teach Americans to think of themselves in terms of group identities and to rouse various groups into politically cohesive bodies,” the report stated.
“QAnon believers are in disarray after Biden is inaugurated” by CNN Business’ Brian Fung and Kaya Yurieff – For years, believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory had been waiting for the moment when a grand plan would be put into action and secret members of a supposed Satanic pedophilia ring at the highest ranks of government and Hollywood would suddenly be exposed, rounded up and possibly even publicly executed. They were nearly always sure it was right around the corner, but “The Storm” never came — and the moment of Joe Biden’s inauguration was the last possible opportunity for President Donald Trump to put the plan in motion. But as Biden raised his hand and swore an oath to defend the Constitution, becoming the nation’s 46th president — nothing happened. The anti-climax sent QAnon adherents into a frenzy of confusion and disbelief, almost instantly shattering a collective delusion that had been nurtured and amplified by many on the far right. Now, in addition to being scattered to various smaller websites after Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) cracked down on QAnon-related content, believers risked having their own topsy-turvy world turned upside down, or perhaps right-side up. Members of a QAnon-focused Telegram channel, and some users of the image board 4chan, vowed to keep the faith. Others proclaimed they were renouncing their beliefs. Still others devised new theories that purported to push the ultimate showdown further into the future. One of the ideology’s most visible icons, Ron Watkins — who goes by the online moniker CodeMonkeyZ — told supporters to “go back to our lives.” “The most hardcore QAnon followers are in disarray,” said Daniel J. Jones, president of Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks extremist groups and misinformation online. “After years of waiting for the ‘Great Awakening,’ QAnon adherents seemed genuinely shocked to see President Biden successfully inaugurated. A significant percentage online are writing that they are now done with the QAnon, while others are doubling down and promoting new conspiracies.”
“Florida Ophthalmologist With Ties to Sen. Menendez Among Those Granted Clemency by Trump” by WSJ’s Christopher Weaver – A Florida eye doctor convicted of defrauding Medicare of $73 million got a break when President Trump commuted the man’s sentence hours before vacating the White House. The doctor, Salomon Melgen, age 66, received a 17-year sentence in 2018, which he has been serving at a federal prison in Miami, according to the Bureau of Prisons. While Mr. Trump has been criticized for pardoning political allies such as his former chief strategist Steve Bannon, Dr. Melgen’s case represents a reprieve for a politically connected convict linked to a top Democrat: Before his fraud conviction, the North Palm Beach-based ophthalmologist stood trial alongside U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez for allegedly bribing the New Jersey Democrat. That case was dropped in 2018 after a mistrial. A lawyer for Dr. Melgen, Sam Stern, didn’t respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Spokespeople for Mr. Trump didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Trump White House said in announcing the pardons and commutations that Dr. Melgen’s “patients and friends testify to his generosity in treating all patients, especially those unable to pay,” and that his reprieve had been supported by a Republican congressman in addition to Mr. Menendez. Mr. Menendez said in a statement that he didn’t know what motivated President Trump to act, “but I am pretty sure it’s not me.” He said that he had spoken on Dr. Melgen’s behalf in connection with the commutation but “had no expectation that [President Trump] would act.”
“Democrats Officially Take Control of the U.S. Senate” by WSJ’s Lindsay Wise – Democrats officially control the U.S. Senate, with the swearing in of three new Democratic senators, but negotiations with Republicans have yet to yield a deal on power sharing. Vice President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office on Wednesday to newly elected Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia and to her own successor, Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of California. Both the Democratic and Republican Senate caucuses now have 50 members, and Ms. Harris will cast any tie-breaking vote. Messrs. Warnock and Ossoff are Georgia’s first Black and first Jewish senators, respectively. And Mr. Padilla is the first Latino senator from California. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) now becomes the Senate majority leader. But talks on an organizing resolution for the new Senate have stalled, complicating the timing of confirmation votes for President Biden’s cabinet nominees, as well as the prospects for new legislation. But the parties did come together Wednesday night to confirm Avril Haines, Mr. Biden’s pick to lead the U.S. intelligence community, 84-10. The broadly bipartisan vote made Ms. Haines the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence and delivered the newly inaugurated president his first Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretary. Power-sharing negotiations between Mr. Schumer and top Republican Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.)—now the minority leader—ran into trouble this week over the fate of the legislative filibuster, a longstanding rule that empowers the minority party to block most bills. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, didn’t say what the holdup was on reaching an agreement with Republicans on the organizing resolution, or when he expected a deal to get done. “The first meeting was not as productive as we hoped,” he told reporters.
“Biden’s Stimulus Is a Two-Pronged Attack on Income Inequality” by WSJ’s Greg Ip – There are two ways for the federal government to address income inequality. One is to redistribute more money to people at the bottom of the income ladder. The other is to use the tools of fiscal and monetary policy to drive unemployment low enough to drive up demand and wages for those workers. President-elect Joe Biden is trying to do both. A sizable chunk of the $1.9 trillion fiscal plan he laid out Thursday is aimed at lower-income people, and, in combination with ultralow interest rates and widespread vaccination, the stimulus could drive down unemployment far faster than after any other recent recession. Mr. Biden proposed raising the child tax credit 50% to $3,000 or more for the year and making it refundable, meaning families who owe less tax than the credit would get a check for the difference. He would extend and boost enhanced weekly unemployment insurance benefits by $100 from the $300 in December’s stimulus package to $400. He would extend a 15% increase in food stamps through the summer, raise the maximum earned-income tax credit for childless adults by nearly $1,000 and extend it to more people. Those steps, plus adding $1,400 to the $600-per-adult checks approved in December, would slash the poverty rate from 12.6% to 9%, or by more than 11 million people, according to an analysis by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University. The number of children in poverty would drop by half, or 5 million. Then there’s the macroeconomic impact. If Mr. Biden’s proposal is enacted, it would, along with $900 billion in December and previous measures, add $5.3 trillion to deficits, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. That’s a staggering 25% of gross domestic product.
“Trump-backing California legislator ousted as GOP caucus leader” by Politico’s Jeremy B. White – State Senate Republicans have chosen Sen. Scott Wilk to lead their caucus, ousting incumbent Sen. Shannon Grove, according to multiple Capitol sources. In trading Grove for Wilk, Republicans are opting for a more moderate choice. Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) periodically votes with Democrats, and he has scored rare endorsements from organized labor — the types of connections that could increase his clout in a Capitol dominated by Democrats. He just won back a battleground seat, thanks in part to massive spending by the California Republican Party and interest groups, and he is termed out in 2024. Dissatisfaction with Grove’s leadership was already mounting after Senate Republicans lost two seats this election even as California Republicans picked up multiple House seats, shriveling the Senate GOP caucus to just nine members. Grove (R-Bakersfield) exacerbated the situation with a tweet blaming the U.S. Capitol riots on antifa. While Grove deleted and sought to walk back the tweet, sources said it amplified concerns among mainstream Republican allies like business groups that Grove embraces fringe views. She had previously asserted that President Donald Trump won a second term. Grove’s ouster came on the day President Joe Biden took office, underscoring the larger decisions facing the California Republican Party. She has been a stalwart defender of Trump, but many California Republicans believe the president’s enduring toxicity in California has damaged down-ballot candidates and alienated moderates. A source within the Republican caucus who requested anonymity cited “the super-tight association with the Trump administration and the not well-timed comments on antifa.”
“Donald Trump leaves as he arrived, minus his microphone” by Politico’s Anita Kumar, Meridith McGraw, and Michael Grunwald – Donald Trump left Washington the same way he came in — flouting traditions, demanding praise and fixated on making himself the center of the story. There was only one difference: The spotlight he so religiously craves was no longer on him. Trump departed the White House early Wednesday, hours before his successor, Joe Biden, took the oath of office at a scaled-back inauguration ceremony outside the heavily fortified Capitol. After boarding Air Force One, he flew to south Florida, where he awaits an uncertain post-presidency amid criminal investigations, lawsuits and a second impeachment trial over the Capitol riots he helped foment. Trump skipped the traditional farewell speech to the nation, news conference and televised interviews designed to serve as capstones to his time in office. He did leave a handwritten note for Biden at the Resolute Desk at the urging of people around him, including Republican leader Kevin McCarthy — about the only custom he followed. But just as Trump came into office in his own unique way, he left on his own terms too. The outgoing president hosted his own ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base. In the lead up to it, his team pressed former officials — including spurned former White House aides like John Kelly, John Bolton, and Omarosa Manigault-Newman — to attend in hopes of producing a grand send-off. But it fell far short of that. Only several hundred die-hard supporters showed up to watch the president depart. Aides Mark Meadows, Stephen Miller and Kash Patel were there. So was surrogate Sebastian Gorka. Vice President Mike Pence and GOP leaders in Congress were not. Neither was Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who is still recovering from surgery. Those who came stood in a cold breeze as the Trump campaign playlist — from Macho Man to Tiny Dancer — blared over the loudspeakers. A military band played as Trump stepped off Marine One and walked down a red carpet to a makeshift stage.
“Trump leaves QAnon and the online MAGA world crushed and confused” by Politico’s Tina Nguyen and Mark Scott – The pardons went to Democrats, lobbyists and rappers, with nary a “patriot” among them. The mass arrests of Antifa campaigners never came. The inauguration stage at the Capitol, full of America’s most powerful politicians, was not purged of Satan-worshipping pedophiles under a shower of gunfire. Even the electricity stayed on. The moment the clock struck noon on Wednesday, Jan. 20, it was over — and the extreme factions of Trump’s diehard base were left reeling. Inauguration Day 2021 was supposed to be a culminating moment for the legion of online conspiracy theorists and extremists who have rallied around the now former president. But the lengthy list of prophecies they’d been told would eventually happen under Trump’s watch never came. In the days leading up to Trump’s departure from office, his online followers watched with horror as his pardons that were supposed to go to allies and supporters instead went to people who were inherently swampy: white-collar criminals convicted of tax fraud, family friends, Steve Bannon, even Democrat Kwame Kirkpatrick. “So just to recap: Trump will pardon Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, high profile Jewish fraudsters … No pardons for middle class whites who risked their livelihoods by going to ‘war’ for Trump,” fumed a user in a white supremacist channel on Telegram, the encrypted messaging service that has gained thousands of new subscribers since the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Conspiracies flew — out of the mouth of Fox News host Tucker Carlson — that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had blackmailed Trump out of pardoning Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, further infuriating MAGA hardliners. Trump’s anti-immigrant base, who’d been with him since his initial run for the presidency in 2015, flipped out when he granted amnesty to tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants.
“U.S. ends program sending asylum seekers to Mexico to wait for court hearings” by Reuters Staff – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the first day under President Joe Biden, suspended all new enrollments in a program that has pushed tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico for asylum hearings in U.S. courts. The program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, was put in place by President Donald Trump and has left people stuck for months in limbo near the U.S. border. It will end on Jan. 21 but current COVID-19 non-essential travel restrictions will remain in place, a statement from the agency said. “All current MPP participants should remain where they are, pending further official information from U.S. government officials,” it said.
“Biden administration calls China sanctions on Trump officials ‘unproductive and cynical’” by Reuters Staff – China’s move to sanction former Trump administration officials was “unproductive and cynical”, a spokeswoman for President Joe Biden’s National Security Council said on Wednesday, urging Americans from both parties to condemn the move. Around the time Biden was sworn in as president on Wednesday China announced sanctions against “lying and cheating” outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and 27 other top officials under former President Donald Trump.