Joe Biden promises group of pandemic-hit workers more aid
President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday promised a group of workers hit by the raging Covid-19 pandemic that more aid would be on the way, while President Donald Trump hinted he may be ready to begin planning another run for the White House in 2024.
Biden, who has pledged to act quickly to provide more resources to fight the health crisis after he is inaugurated on January 20, told a group of workers and business owners that any emergency aid approved by Congress before he takes office would be only a “down payment”.
Republicans and Democrats are trying to resolve a months-long standoff in Congress over a stimulus package for businesses affected by coronavirus shutdowns as well as the millions who have lost jobs.
“My transition team is already working on what I will put forward to the next Congress to address the multiple crises we’re facing, especially the economic crisis and Covid,” Biden told the workers at a roundtable in his home state of Delaware.
More than 270,000 people in the US have died of Covid-19, which is resurgent across the country. The US leads the world in the number of infections as well as the number of deaths reported every day.
“I don’t want you to give up hope,” Biden told the workers. ”Hang on, we’ll get through this.”
Trump has refused to concede the November 3 election and his lawyers continue to file legal challenges to the outcome, alleging electoral fraud without providing evidence.
State and federal election officials have repeatedly said there is no such evidence. Most of the lawsuits have been rejected by judges.
At a White House holiday reception on Tuesday night, Trump appeared to acknowledge that those efforts could fail and in that case he would run again.
“We are trying to do another four years,” he told the assembled group, according to a Republican source who was at the event. “Otherwise, I’ll see you in four years.”
A source familiar with the internal debate says Trump has been discussing with advisers not attending the inauguration ceremony on January 20 but instead announcing his 2024 bid that day. The source said there had been no decision. Only a handful of outgoing US Presidents have chosen to miss the swearing-in of their successors.
Trump tweeted a video on Wednesday in which he repeated unfounded accusations about the election being rigged and said he would keep up the fight against the outcome.
Trump, who spoke from behind a lectern with the presidential seal, posted a two-minute version of the message on Twitter with a link to a 46-minute version on Facebook.
A day earlier, attorney-general William Barr, who has long been seen as a Trump ally, said the justice department has found no evidence of widespread fraud.
US deaths surge
US deaths from the coronavirus pandemic have surged past 2,000 for two days in a row as the most dangerous season of the year approached, taxing an overwhelmed healthcare system with US political leadership in disarray.