rainn.png
Friday October 22nd, 2021 2:41AM

Biden faces challenge in guiding American past Trump era

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden appeared on television last week as a bipartisan group of lawmakers huddled in an undisclosed location to protect them from a violent mob that was ransacking the U.S. Capitol.

“The whole room went silent,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., recalled as everyone listened to Biden denounce the insurrection and call for calm.

The respectful manner in which the lawmakers listened to Biden during one of America's darkest moments gave Klobuchar hope that the new president has an opportunity to guide the country past the tumultuous final stretch of Donald Trump's presidency.

That's quickly becoming one of Biden's top tasks as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20. It's an immensely complex challenge, requiring him to balance demands for accountability after Trump incited the riot against those who worry about further dividing the country.

Any misstep could not only intensify the nation's polarization, but threaten Biden's ability to win quick congressional approval of his Cabinet picks and other priorities such as coronavirus response legislation.

For now, Biden seems content to leave decisions about Trump's fate to Congress.

“What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide," Biden told reporters last week. “But I’m going to have to and they’re going to have to be ready to hit the ground running, because when Kamala (Harris) and I are sworn in, we’re going to be introducing, immediately, significant pieces of legislation that will deal with the virus, deal with the economy, and deal with economic growth.”

Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania, have called on Trump to resign.

Absent that, House Democrats are moving quickly to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday and vote as soon as Tuesday. That would give an outlet for lawmakers to formally condemn Trump, but would delay a Senate trial until after Biden addresses other priorities during his first 100 days.

Biden essentially framed his presidential campaign as a response to Trump, pledging to “restore the soul” of America. He has said he decided to seek the White House after watching Trump say there were “very fine people on both sides” of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Still, the insurrection sharpens the debate over how to break with the Trump era.

Many Democrats say the best way for Biden to unify the nation and restore faith in government is to achieve tangible results on issues that matter to all Americans, including the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.

“We need to get the vaccine out," she said. “We need to get the economy back to where it was so that’s number one on his agenda number one on our agenda so you start with what’s number one on everyone’s agenda."

Steve Israel, a former New York Democratic congressman, said that in his experience in Congress, when lawmakers “sense that things are going too far, you want to take a few steps back.”

“I think that there are a lot of Republicans now who are going to want to take a few steps back towards the middle,” he said.

But he also emphasized that if Biden hopes to move past Trump, he’ll need to move fast to show that bipartisan action is possible.

“If President Biden tests the appetite of Republicans to try and get a quick and substantive win on a COVID relief package, or perhaps infrastructure investments, that will send a message to the entire country that bipartisanship and healing is possible,” he said.

Biden will also have to navigate a number of ongoing investigations into Trump’s actions during the U.S. Capitol breach and in trying to pressure state officials to overturn the results of the election in his favor.

He has repeatedly said that his Justice Department will remain entirely independent and that he won’t interfere in any ongoing investigations into his predecessor.

Democrats say that’s exactly the tone they’d like him to take. But it’s also important, as Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy put it, to hold those involved in the events of this week accountable.

“There were an enormous number of crimes, felonies, that were committed. We have to make sure those are handled,” he said. “If we just totally ignore it, we tell everybody else you can commit any crime you want because the Congress will ignore it.”

So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies related to assaults on police officers, possessing illegal weapons and making death threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.

While Democrats emphasize that they want Biden to focus on the issues confronting his administration and not the investigations into his predecessor, they also say it’s important to address the systemic issues again laid bare by the unequal police treatment of the violent Capitol rioters.

Many have noted that the police presence and response to the largely white mob was far smaller and less aggressive than that seen at a number of peaceful Black Lives Matter protests where the crowd was much more diverse. It’s important, said Democratic strategist Karen Finney, for Biden to acknowledge that.

“This is who we are but it’s not who we have to be,” she said. ”If that’s the message, it would be a powerful one to try to start to bring us together.”

The last time the nation faced such serious questions about how a new president would respond to the actions of his predecessor was in 1974. Gerald Ford assumed the presidency after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace over his role in the Watergate break-in.

Ford ultimately pardoned Nixon, a move that was initially deeply unpopular but was later viewed as an important step toward healing.

Historian Mark Updegrove, the president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation, said that because of the magnitude of Trump’s actions — and the fact that the country is far more divided over his presidency than they were on Nixon’s — it’s better for Biden to stay away from any actions taken against Trump once he leaves office.

“Richard Nixon, while he lied to the American people and participated in obstructing justice in the Watergate investigation, he did not orchestrate an insurrection on our Capitol and try to overturn the election,” he said.

“Biden has to be very conscious of dealing with President Trump," Updegrove continued. "I think it’s probably rightfully left in the hands of Congress right now, and the judicial branch.”

Klobuchar will play a leading role into a bipartisan investigation into what went wrong at the Capitol, and said whatever her team finds, it will be up to the Justice Department to decide how to act.

But the senator said the inauguration itself may offer the most important opportunity for Biden to set a forward-looking tone.

“I can’t think of another year that the peaceful transition of power was more important than this one,” she said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Biden faces challenge in guiding American past Trump era
Joe Biden has already been preparing for months to take on a series of historic crises — a pandemic that’s killed at least 373,000 Americans and a sluggish economy that’s left millions jobless
12:20AM ( 8 minutes ago )
N. Korea's Kim adds title: General secretary of ruling party
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been given the new title of general secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, a designation formerly held by his late father and grandfather
12:07AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Same old Browns? Hardly. Cleveland drills Steelers 48-37
The Cleveland Browns are bottom feeders no more
11:52PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Pelosi says House will impeach Trump, pushes VP to oust him
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will proceed with legislation to impeach President Donald Trump as she pushes the vice president to invoke constitutional authority to force him out
10:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Indonesia intensifies search for crashed plane's black boxes
The search for the black boxes of a crashed Sriwijaya Air jet has intensified to boost the investigation into what caused the plane carrying 62 people to nosedive into Indonesia seas
9:54PM ( 2 hours ago )
Capitol police were overrun, 'left naked' against rioters
Despite ample warnings about pro-Trump demonstrations in Washington, U.S. Capitol Police did not bolster staffing on Wednesday and made no preparations for the possibility that the planned protests could escalate into massive violent riots, according to several people briefed on law enforcement’s response
9:48PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
EXPLAINER: Can social media companies boot Trump? Yes
Social media companies decided this past week they had finally seen enough from President Donald Trump
4:35PM ( 7 hours ago )
VIRUS TODAY: Lag in vaccinations underscores lack of support
The slower-than-expected start to the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history is confirming the warnings of public health officials
3:21PM ( 9 hours ago )
Parler squeezed as Trump seeks new online megaphone
Though stripped of his Twitter megaphone, President Donald Trump does have alternative options of much smaller reach
3:17PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Trump to honor Belichick with Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Donald Trump will present one of the nation’s highest civilian honors to Bill Belichick, the football coach of the New England Patriots and the only coach to win six Super Bowl titles
10:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Scores test positive in China's Hebei province
Chinese health authorities say scores more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Hebei province bordering on the capital Beijing
8:55PM ( 3 hours ago )
Records show fervent Trump fans fueled US Capitol takeover
The violent mob that stormed the U.S. capitol last week was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals
8:05PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: White House flag now at half-staff for Sicknick
The U.S. flag at the White House is now flying at half-staff after calls for the flag there and at other federal locations be lowered to honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick
2:51PM ( 9 hours ago )
The Latest: Blunt urges Trump to be 'careful' in final days
Sen. Roy Blunt says he doesn’t see a need for congressional Republicans to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his role in promoting last week’s Capitol riot but warned him to “be very careful” in his last 10 days in office
1:08PM ( 11 hours ago )
The Latest: Jeffries calls Trump 'clear and present danger'
Democratic Rep_ Hakeem Jeffries says President Donald Trump is out of control and should be immediately removed from office as a “clear and present danger to the health and safety of the American people.”
11:58AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Asian shares mostly higher on optimism despite pandemic
Asian shares are mostly higher as bullish sentiments stuck to global markets despite continuing signs of economic damage from the pandemic and a new version of the virus was reported in Japan
10:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Browns open 28-0 lead over Steelers
The Cleveland Browns are off to a record-setting start in Pittsburgh
9:14PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Japanese Health Ministry finds new virus variant
The Japanese Health Ministry has found a coronavirus variant in people arriving from Brazil that’s different from the ones in Britain and South Africa
7:28PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
UN envoy: Britain is `gung ho' about world role after Brexit
Britain’s new U.N. ambassador says the government is feeling “gung ho” about continuing its role as an important player on the world stage despite its exit from the European Union
12:34AM ( 23 hours ago )
The Latest: Mexico sees record 16,105 new virus cases
Mexico has posted another daily record for newly confirmed coronavirus cases, with 16,105 new infections reported Saturday, and a near-record of 1,135 deaths related to COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour period
10:22PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: Montreal enacts curfew as virus cases spike
A curfew meant to curb a rising tide of COVID-19 cases took effect across Quebec on Saturday evening
9:55PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Economy
N. Korea's Kim adds title: General secretary of ruling party
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been given the new title of general secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, a designation formerly held by his late father and grandfather
12:07AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Same old Browns? Hardly. Cleveland drills Steelers 48-37
The Cleveland Browns are bottom feeders no more
11:52PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Yemen, China, Cuba top Pompeo to-do list as time runs down
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced he will designate Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels as a “foreign terrorist organization" as time runs down on the Trump administration
11:46PM ( 42 minutes ago )
The unfolding of 'home-grown fascism' in Capitol assault
The full extent of the assault on the U.S. Capitol is coming into sharper focus, with scenes of violence so vast they are difficult to grasp
11:33PM ( 54 minutes ago )
Trump remains defiant amid calls to resign
President Donald Trump enters the last days of his presidency facing a second impeachment and growing calls for his resignation after his supporters launched an assault on the nation’s Capitol in an effort to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power
11:31PM ( 56 minutes ago )