The TAKE with Rick Klein
To rekindle an infamous discussion, taking President Donald Trump literally at this precarious moment means the president believes the election was rigged against him; that he believes he received more lawful votes than his opponent; that he believes the vote count in a series of battleground states is flawed and corrupt; and that there are election officials and state and federal judges that are ready to deliver him a second term.
Taking him seriously at this moment ... might be even scarier.
President-elect Joe Biden is choosing neither option. This election was not particularly close -- and, the above falsehoods notwithstanding, this period is exceedingly unlikely to end in any way other than with Biden being sworn in Jan. 20.
While Biden may have more reason than most to be offended by the behavior of Trump and Republicans in his Cabinet and in Congress, he isn't sounding particularly concerned about the hold-up.
Asked by ABC News senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce for his message to Trump, Biden responded, "Mr. President, I look forward to speaking with you."
It's a revealing response -- not just because Biden and his team know the White House and transitions well. Biden is keeping his faith in the processes and systems that govern elections, in state capitals and in Washington.
Some Democrats may bristle at Biden's refusal to condemn Republicans who are backing Trump.
Notably, Biden also said he looks forward to “a negotiation” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over his Cabinet picks Many progressives, of course, view McConnell as not worthy of negotiating with, and still more hope he will actually be minority leader in the next Congress anyway.
Ugly as this moment is, and awful as it may get, Biden's team sees this as the system holding its ground. Biden's faith in a sturdy middle drove his campaign from the start and looks like a defining feature of what will become his presidency.
Election latest: Joe Biden leads the popular vote total with 77,083,679 votes and is projected to have 279 electoral votes. President Donald Trump follows with 72,159,215 popular votes and is projected to have 214 electoral votes.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Assuming the mantle of commander-in-chief-in-waiting, Biden is not waiting to get moving on both foreign and domestic policy.
Tuesday, Biden took calls from a series of international allies. In a shocking development in the twists and turns of American history, it seems to be foreign leaders working to underscore and legitimize U.S. elections.
His message to his soon-to-be counterparts abroad: "America is back. We're going to be back in the game. It's not America alone."
Asked about working with Republicans who are still refusing to acknowledge his legitimate and reasonable claim to victory, Biden pivoted back to the urgency of the moment and the need to pass a coronavirus relief package.
"People need relief right now. Small businesses, people who are about to be evicted from their homes because they can't pay their mortgage, unemployment insurance. You know, what's going to happen is you're going to see -- what people don't realize is the failure to provide state and local assistance, you're gonna see police officers, firefighters, first responders laid off," Biden said when asked about McConnell's recent comments that he may not recognize the outcome of the election until the Electoral College meets next month.
Turning to the business of such passing legislation, the former senator added, "I think the pressure is going to build. But the fact is that I would hope that the president at least has the -- the sensitivity and knowledge to know that a lot of people are in real trouble right now, between now and the time we get elected -- 'til we get sworn in. And so, it's my hope and expectation, I'm sure that the majority leader -- the speaker of the House, as well as the minority leader, are working right now on priorities they have laid out."
The TIP with Quinn Scanlan
With Democrat Cal Cunningham's concession to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, the only Senate race yet to be projected is in Alaska, where Democrat Al Gross is hoping to take down Dan Sullivan, the Republican incumbent. After a weeklong hiatus without any results, Alaska elections officials uploaded about 70,000 ballots overnight, and Sullivan is still leading, 58% to 36%.
If that race continues to lean in Republicans' favor, Democrats' only hope for taking control of Congress' upper chamber is by winning not just one, but both of Georgia's Senate runoff elections. It's an uphill battle for Democrats, but while they think enthusiasm is on their side, Republicans are working to build up some of their own.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is headlining a rally for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue Wednesday morning, and Vice President Mike Pence plans to campaign in the state for the two Republicans on Nov. 20, tweeting on Tuesday, "We’re going to keep Fighting to send @Perduesenate and @KLoeffler Back to a Republican Majority in the Senate! See you in Georgia next week!"
In their arsenal, Democrats have 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who's receiving a lot of credit for Biden's 14,000-vote lead in the Peach State. Her fundraising effort to support Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock's campaigns and her voting rights organization, Fair Fight, has raised nearly $10 million so far.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl and ABC News Senior congressional correspondent Mary Bruce – the two discuss the growing number of lawmakers refusing to admit that President Donald Trump lost the election. ABC News Senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer recaps Tuesday's Supreme Court oral arguments in a key Obamacare case. And ABC News' Megan Williams tells us about the key findings in a report released by the Catholic Church about disgraced former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Renowned sports broadcaster Jim Gray discusses his new book, "Talking to GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard" and his interviews with the greatest of all-time athletes including, Muhammad Ali and Tom Brady. He's also interviewed every president since Gerald Ford and will share his reflections on sports and politics. https://bit.ly/3jXffaT
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