The Hill's 12:30 Report: Republicans secure 50 Senate seats

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Alaska GOP senator wins reelection | Republicans secure 50 Senate seats | Georgia announces hand recount | Trump attends Veterans Day event | First public event since race called for Biden | Biden hits the ground running on COVID-19 | Jill Biden set to redefine first lady role | Restaurants go seasonal with winter shutdowns | Native American DC memorial unveiled



Republicans have 50 seats in the Senate:



Republican Sen. Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanTrump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview MORE was projected this morning to win a second term in Alaska. https://bit.ly/3ncJiMS 

That means: Republicans have secured 50 seats in the Senate.

Sullivan’s opponent: “Sullivan defeated Al Gross, an independent who was backed by national Democrats in their effort to flip the seat. Gross is a former orthopedic surgeon and commercial fisherman and is the son of former Alaska Attorney General Avrum Gross (D).”


Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Senate Republicans are pulling out all the stops as they try to fend off an uphill Democratic effort to flip the two Georgia seats. If Democrats won both seats they would clinch a majority, since Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force Club for Growth to launch ad blitz in Georgia to juice GOP turnout Biden's political position is tougher than Trump's MORE (D-Calif.) would be able to break a 50-50 tie once sworn in as vice president.” https://bit.ly/2Ueyxx6

*Cracks knuckles* Let’s get to work:

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) announced a hand recount of ballots in the state.https://bit.ly/3pmoqV8

It’s Wednesday and today is Veterans Day. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to cmartel@thehill.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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Joe is trying to hit the ground running on COVID-19:

Via The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel, “President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE is wasting no time in using his bully pulpit to push public health measures, like mask wearing and physical distancing, that public health experts say will work best to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.” https://bit.ly/3lyAGzy 

For example: “During a speech Monday, Biden implored Americans to put aside politics and wear masks, saying it was a necessary step to take for ‘the soul of this country.’” 

And: “As president, Biden said he will rapidly scale up the nation's testing capacity, invest in contact tracing and use the Defense Production Act to ramp up production of protective equipment for front-line workers.” 

What else to expecthttps://bit.ly/3lyAGzy

Adding a touch of red to make it a periwinkle:

Via The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis, “President-elect Joe Biden, who called for ending this ‘grim era of demonization in America,’ is ... signaling he might reach across the aisle to name Republicans to a Cabinet post and other key slots in his administration.” https://bit.ly/32xjfIc

The pro — it would be a return to the norm: “It would be a return to bipartisanship, tradition and normalcy that has been missing in the Trump administration. President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE ... did not name any Democrats to his Cabinet during his four years in office.”

The con: “Biden’s victory has energized the left, which is gearing up to push an ambitious slate of legislative priorities ... Trump’s refusal to concede Biden’s victory ... has only soured Biden’s base on the GOP at large, heightening the pressure on the president-elect to stick with Democrats as he fills out his administration.”  

Examples of who Biden might choosehttps://bit.ly/32xjfIc

What to expect from Jill Biden as first lady:

Via The Hill’s Julia Manchester and Morgan Chalfant, “Former second lady Jill Biden is expected to contribute to the historic nature of the Biden administration as incoming first lady, redefining the role of the president’s spouse.” https://bit.ly/2IuC3kB

What to know about Jill Biden: “Biden, who has two master’s degrees in English and a doctorate in education, has spent much of her career as a community college teacher. She even retained her educational position as second lady during the Obama administration. Known to her students as ‘Dr. B,’ Biden is set to make history as the first person to hold the title of first lady while maintaining a paid position elsewhere, putting her own mark on a role that has evolved with each of its occupants.”


Swapping in Trump loyalists at the Pentagon:

Via CNN’s Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, since Joe Biden’s election win on Saturday, four senior Pentagon officials have either been fired or resigned — and have been replaced with Trump loyalists. https://cnn.it/2IrwyTs

Including: Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperActing Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia Overnight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition MORE, his chief of staff, a top intelligence official and a top policy official. 

An especially controversial replacement: Retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata is taking the top policy role. “[Tata has reportedly] made numerous Islamophobic and offensive comments and promoted various conspiracy theories. In several 2018 tweets, he claimed Obama was a ‘terrorist leader’ who did more to harm the US ‘and help Islamic countries than any president in history.’” He had been nominated for a Pentagon job last summer, but withdrew after bipartisan opposition. https://cnn.it/2IrwyTs

What to know about the departures and replacementshttps://cnn.it/2IrwyTs 


Hyperlink https://bit.ly/2IrQWE9



The New York Times spoke to election officials in every state:

Via The New York Times’s Nick Corasaniti, Reid J. Epstein and Jim Rutenberg, “Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election.” 

The full story — it must have been fun playing phone tag with 50+ state officialshttps://nyti.ms/2IvP5OI


President-elect Biden is shrugging off President Trump and Republicans who are refusing to concede. https://bit.ly/38zpCia


Publicly: “Republicans and some of the president's family members have publicly entertained the president's unproven claims that widespread voter fraud is to blame for his deficit in key swing states such as Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania” 

Privately: “But inside the White House, there is more uncertainty about the benefits of Trump’s ongoing fight.” 

What we know via The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfanthttps://bit.ly/36q62lV


Lots of restaurants are going into hibernation mode:

Via The Hill’s Alex Gangitano, “Congressional inaction on COVID-19 relief combined with rising coronavirus cases is prompting more restaurants to close up shop for the winter and go into hibernation until warmer weather returns.” 

“Many restaurant owners, faced with the prospect of daily financial losses, are choosing to lay off employees until spring when customers can sit outside in settings where the risk of spreading the coronavirus is minimized.”

The full story — it’s pretty interestinghttps://bit.ly/2GQklY2


Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 10,270,611

U.S. death toll: 239,846 

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y


Tidbit — wow, what a campaign slogan:



Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3keK6yY




Hyperlink https://bit.ly/36uE2O5


The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C., and visiting Arlington, Va., today.  

Today: President-elect Joe Biden meets with transition advisers. 

Today: Veterans Day. Op-edhttps://bit.ly/36u36Vl

10:45 a.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump holds his last turkey pardon ceremony MORE leave for Arlington, Va.

11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump return to the White House.


11 a.m. EST: President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceSpaceX capsule arrives at International Space Station The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - World reacts to news of second COVID-19 vaccine with 90 percent efficacy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by UAE - US records 1 million COVID-19 cases in a week; governors crack down MORE participated in a Veterans Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery. Livestreamhttps://cs.pn/2Uje0ro


Today is National Sundae Day!

A new memorial in town:

Via DCist’s Elliot C. Williams, “On Veterans Day, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will unveil a new memorial honoring the military service of Native Americans, marking the end of a years-long effort that involved an act of Congress and a national design competition.” Photo of the new memorial: https://bit.ly/35kPOLq

Where the new memorial is located: by National Mall on 4th Street SW.

And because you made it this far, here’s a very skilled golden retriever: https://bit.ly/2Iq3lZu