Scoop: Biden's plan to assert control
If news organizations declare Joe Biden the mathematical president-elect, he plans to address the nation as its new leader, even if President Trump continues to fight in court, advisers tell Axios.
Why it matters: Biden advisers learned the lesson of 2000, when Al Gore hung back while George W. Bush declared victory in that contested election, putting the Democrat on the defensive while Bush acted like the winner.
So if Biden is declared the winner, he'll begin forming his government and looking presidential — and won't yield to doubts Trump might try to sow.
- Biden's schedule for Tuesday includes a clue to this posture: He "will address the nation on Election Night in Wilmington, Delaware."
Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon told reporters Monday that even if all the votes aren't counted tonight, the campaign should have "a very good sense of where we're headed":
- "We're not really concerned about what Donald Trump says. ... We're going to use our data, our understanding of where this is headed, and make sure that the vice president is addressing the American people."
To show momentum, Biden may begin transition announcements quickly, starting with senior staff appointments.
- That way, core aides won't have to worry about their own jobs, but will immediately be able to get to work.
Biden plans to adopt what one confidant called "a healing tone," and begin talking about the path forward in battling the coronavirus.
- Look for Biden to embrace science, and talk up the role of Dr. Anthony Fauci, after Trump threatened Sunday to try to fire the trusted official.
From there, the transition would move with unprecedented speed:
- Biden had eight years in the White House, and he's surrounded by aides with decades of government experience.
- So the transition has made the most thorough agency-by-agency preparations in history, including offices no one's thinking about.
Biden has blueprints for staffing every single agency, and has extensive plans for executive orders, including ones to undo Trump actions.
- Look for Biden to send all-business signals: He won't pack the courts, and is unlikely to push for repeal of the Senate's filibuster rule and its 60-vote requirement anytime soon.
- Instead, look for Biden to push to pass as much as possible under the banner of budget reconciliation, which requires just a simple majority.