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Good morning. The Trump administration has began the transition to Joe Biden’s presidency.
Many Americans have spent weeks, if not months, asking some model of this query: What if President Trump refuses to go away workplace?
The essential reply to the query has at all times been the identical: It’s less than him.
As lengthy as different components of the federal government — like Congress, the courts and the navy — insisted that he honor the election’s final result, he would have to take action. He may accomplish that shortly and cleanly, as all of his predecessors have achieved. Or he may make it messy, discrediting American democracy alongside the way in which. But he would ultimately want to go away the White House.
Last evening, he took a giant step towards doing so.
Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee who runs the company accountable for presidential transitions, formally designated Joe Biden because the election’s obvious winner. Murphy’s transfer supplies Biden with federal funds for his transition and authorizes Biden’s aides to start working with Trump administration officers.
On Twitter, Trump signaled that he accepted the choice, however he didn’t concede. He additionally indicated that he would proceed his authorized efforts to overturn the election consequence, however they’ve proven no signal of success. (Election officers in Michigan and a number of Pennsylvania counties yesterday licensed their election outcomes.) In each substantive approach, the Trump presidency is now coming to an finish.
All of which is a reminder of how a lot affect our system of presidency offers to folks aside from the president.
At occasions, a president can appear omnipotent, and Trump’s presidency had an particularly consuming high quality to it, for each his supporters and detractors. Even members of Congress, particularly Republicans, favored to say in the course of the previous 4 years that they have been powerless to vary Trump’s conduct.
But that’s not how the U.S. authorities actually works. As Matt Glassman, a Georgetown University political scientist, has advised me: “Presidents compete with numerous actors — Congress, the courts, interest groups, political appointees in the departments and agencies, and career civil servants — for influence over public policy. The president must rely on his informal ability to convince other political actors it is in their interest to go along with him, or at least not stand in his way.”
When a president fails to take action, he typically finally ends up being powerless to behave. And that’s what occurred to Trump. Hundreds of native election officers refused to bend to him. Over the previous few days, a number of congressional Republicans publicly advised him that he wanted to acknowledge actuality. (Many different congressional Republicans have been solely mildly supportive of him, giving credence to his lies however doing nothing concrete to assist his efforts to vary the consequence.) Business teams — conventional Republican allies — additionally advised him to start the transition.
In the top, Trump did as they advised him to do.
For extra: The Times’s Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman write about what Trump favored about being president. One factor he appeared to genuinely take pleasure in: pardoning turkeys.
THE LATEST NEWS
The Presidential Transition
A mass taking pictures at a celebration in Brooklyn over the weekend killed one lady and wounded six folks, a part of a stark rise in shootings in New York City.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, 87, will step down as the highest Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee subsequent 12 months. She angered some progressives when she praised Republicans’ dealing with of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination.
General Motors dropped its assist for a Trump administration lawsuit difficult California’s stricter gasoline economic system guidelines. The firm additionally signaled that it might work with Biden to cut back climate-warming emissions from automobiles and vans.
Five N.B.A. gamers met with Pope Francis on the Vatican to debate social justice efforts. They gave him workforce jerseys and a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.
Ken Jennings, a former “Jeopardy!” champion, would be the sport present’s first short-term visitor host after the dying of Alex Trebek.
Modern A.I.: After analyzing almost a trillion phrases of human language, a man-made intelligence system known as GPT-Three can write its personal poetry and far more. It has even written just a few “Modern Love” columns.
From Opinion: Drawing down U.S. troops within the Middle East acknowledges what members of the navy have lengthy wrestled with: We failed, writes Timothy Kudo, a former Marine captain. And Bret Stephens and Jamelle Bouie have columns.
Lives Lived: Lady Elizabeth Anson, a cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, was a celebration planner to rock stars and royals. Among the numerous, many occasions she oversaw: Margaret Thatcher’s 80th birthday and Sting’s second wedding ceremony. She died at 79.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Beware the ‘Covid cabanas’
On a latest stroll by a enterprise district close to my home, I used to be excited to see that a number of eating places have been constructing heated tents — tents that appeared to supply the promise of an occasional restaurant meal this winter. When I bought home, I advised my spouse about them. She replied, “How is that different from indoor dining?”
Lots of people appear to be asking that query this week. James Hamblin, a health care provider who writes for The Atlantic, posted this tweet:
Patrick LaForge, a Times editor, responded by calling them “Covid cabanas.”
To make sense of this, I requested Apoorva Mandavilli, a Times science reporter, for steering. Her reply: “Outdoors is safe because moving air would instantly dilute any virus that is exhaled. But the second you start adding ‘walls’ to the outdoor space, you cut off the air circulation, and increase the chances of the virus accumulating in that space.”
Apoorva added: “A tent with heaters and with the sides open may be safe enough, and maybe even a space with one ‘wall.’ But those fully zipped up tents? Shudder. They are like virus incubators if anyone infected enters the space with you.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
What to Read
The Times Book Review launched its checklist of the 12 months’s 10 finest books. It contains novels by Ayad Akhtar, Brit Bennett, James McBride, Lydia Millet and Maggie O’Farrell, in addition to nonfiction by Robert Kolker, Margaret MacMillan, Barack Obama, James Shapiro and Anna Wiener.
What to Watch
A campy vacation musical with authentic songs by Dolly Parton, who performs a homeless angel with classes for the city Scrooge, performed by Christine Baranski. Yes, such a film exists: “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square.”
Read an in-depth dialog with the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
The late-night hosts had so much to say about Trump’s authorized workforce.