â€œTo say that elections have consequences feels like a gross understatement. Elections, as we learned tragically this year, are a matter of life and dead,â€ Warnock said. â€œAnd so vote, Georgia, like your life depends on it because it actually does.â€
â€œI am an example and an iteration of the American story,â€ Warnock continued. â€œIâ€™m a kid who grew up in public housing down in Savannah, Georgia.â€ He said he was born the 11th of 12 kids in his family, and the recipient of a Pell grant that allowed him to go to Morehouse College.
â€œOnly in America is my story even possible,â€ he said. â€œThe kid who grew up in public housing goes on to receive four degrees, including a PhD degree, and now Iâ€™m running for the united states senate against the wealthiest member of Congress. Thatâ€™s the American promise.â€
Nancy Pelosi announced that masks will now be required at all times in the chamber, including on the floor, â€œwithout exceptionâ€.
â€œThe message today is simple Georgia: the polls are open and it is time to vote. It is time to vote like we never have before Georgia,â€ Ossoff told voters. â€œWe have hope in our hearts because for the first time in four years we have the opportunity to define the next chapter in American history. Itâ€™s Georgia voters who have the power.â€
â€œThink how far the American South has come,â€ Ossoff added. â€œWe are the most competitive battleground state in this country. We did that. All of you did that. Stacey Abrams did that.â€
â€œGood afternoon to the great, blue state of Georgia,â€ Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, opening her remarks at the rally. â€œIt always seems impossible until itâ€™s done.â€
Georgia narrowly voted for Biden in November, the first time the state voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.
Stacey Abrams has taken the stage in Atlanta, Georgia, where Biden is due to host a rally for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
In a fiery speech, Abrams warned of the cost of re-electing Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
â€œWhen people who proclaim to be capitalists seem to believe in capitalism only for themselves, when we need money to our families and businesses to help our communities while Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue watch Mitch McConnell burn our economy down and they stand behind him holding the matches,â€ she said, her voice rising as supporters honked car horns in a sign of approval, â€œwe need to send our firefighters, our first responders. We are sending Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to DC to save America. Thatâ€™s what we deserve.â€
She added that at a moment when American was in the midst of a racial reckoning, â€œKelly Loeffler poses accidentally for the second time with a KKK leader and unfortunately David Perdue has a hard time pronouncing the letter Kâ€ â€“ a reference to the moment when Perdue pretended he couldnâ€™t pronounce the name of his Senate colleague, Kamala Harris â€“ he â€œdoesnâ€™t seem to understand that the diversity that built America is the diversity that will save America. But we donâ€™t have to wait for them to do their jobs,â€ she said in a blistering attack on the Republican senators, encouraging Georgians to vote early ahead of the runoffs next month.
Several outlets have confirmed that McConnell and his deputies pleaded with their colleagues not to object to the election results on 6 January, when Congress ratifies the electoral collegeâ€™s vote.
A handful of Trump allies in the House are planning a last-ditch challenge to try to reverse Bidenâ€™s victory. While the effort may succeed in disrupting the process, it is likely to fail.
According to outlets who reported on the private call, McConnell warned that the campaign would force Republicans into a â€œterribleâ€ position.
According to CNN, no Republican senator expressed a desire to join the House effort.
Mitch McConnell, reminding reporters that he is a survivor of polio, said he was anxious to take the Covid-19 vaccine. He said he hopes his decision to take the shot will inspire others to follow suit.
â€œAll of us who have some following in the country need to step upâ€ and take the vaccine, he said.
Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wisconsin and a physician, applauded the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine and urged Americans to take it. â€œAs a physician, sign me up,â€ Barrasso said.
â€œAs Iâ€™ve said repeatedly, No 1, weâ€™re not leaving here without a Covid package. Itâ€™s not gonna happen. … No matter how long it takes, weâ€™ll be here until we get a Covid package,â€ Mitch McConnell told reporters at a weekly news conference, hours before he is due to meet with the â€œfour cornersâ€ â€“ the four Congressional leaders â€“ to discuss a relief deal.
He said the best way to move forward is if Republicans and Democrats set aside the two major sticking points: Democratsâ€™ demands for additional funding for state and local governments and Republicansâ€™ desire for a liability shield to protect against coronavirus-related lawsuits.
Referring to Biden, he said the â€œnext administrationâ€ has made clear it wants another relief bill in addition to the one passed by Congress this year. He said Democrats and Republicans could forestall negotiations over the state and local funding and liability protections until the next bill.
Joe Biden has tapped Pete Buttigieg, his rival for the 2020 Democratic nomination, to lead the department of transportation, The Guardianâ€™s Daniel Strauss confirmed.
The 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, helped the president-elect secure the nomination in March when he dropped out of the race and quickly threw his support behind Biden. He helped campaign and fundraise for the Democratic ticket and was widely discussed as a potential member of Bidenâ€™s cabinet. The news was first reported by Reuters.
Neither a Biden transition official or a spokesman from Buttigieg has confirmed the report.
McEnany ended the briefing by chastising the media for its coverage â€“ or what she said was a lack of coverage â€“ about a report that a Chinese spy had cozied up California congressman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat and vocal critic of the president. A group of House Republicans have called on Pelosi to remove Swalwell from his position on the House Intelligence Committee.
She also slammed the press for not making a bigger deal of the revelation that Hunter Bidenâ€™s tax affairs are under federal investigation. Nearly all major outlets, including The Guardian, have covered the disclosure.
McEnany signaled that Trump would sign a potential coronavirus relief deal if the Congressional leaders reach a deal in the coming days. Trump has lobbied for direct cash payments to Americans, which was not included in the latest bipartisan framework. McEnany emphasized that the White Houseâ€™s priority was to get relief to the American people but would not say if he would a bill that does not include those payments.
She said Trump still planned to veto the $740bn National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill was approved by Congress with a veto-proof majority.
Asked whether Trump would support the Senate taking up Bidenâ€™s cabinet nominees before he is sworn in on 20 January, McEnany called the scenario a â€œhypotheticalâ€ and said Trump has taken all steps to ensure a â€œsmooth transition or a continuation of power.â€
In response to a question from Guardian reporter David Smith about Trumpâ€™s future political ambitions, McEnany said she Trump was still focused on attempting to reverse the outcome of this election. As such, she would not say whether she would work for a potential Trump 2024 campaign.
Asked about the electoral college vote, McEnany said: â€œThe president is still involved in ongoing litigation related to the election. Yesterdayâ€™s vote was one step in the constitutional process so I will leave that to him.â€
She said she has not spoken to Trump since McConnell recognized Biden as the president-elect and directed further questions to the presidentâ€™s campaign.
Whether Trump will get the vaccine remains unclear. McEnany said he is â€œabsolutely openâ€ to taking the vaccine but because he recovered from Covid-19 earlier this year did not believe he should be among the first to receive the vaccine. She said other senior administration officials would receive the virus, but did not offer names.
â€œThe president wants to send a parallel message which is, our long-term care facility residents and our frontline workers are paramount and he wants to set a good example in that regard,â€ she said, adding: â€œI absolutely would be open to taking the vaccine.â€
McEnany is now addressing reporters from the briefing room, beginning by declaring that the nation had witnessed a â€œmedical miracleâ€ on Monday, after Americans began receiving the first doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus.
She started her remarks by quoting a host of news reports that suggested a vaccine by the end of the year was unlikely. â€œThese reports deserve their own fact check: false,â€ she said.
â€œPresident Trump has not only been the optimist… he has also been a leader,â€ she said.