The presidential transition continues its rocky course on Thursday with President Donald Trump still refusing to concede the election and President-elect Joe Biden putting forward more plans for his administration.
Trump met with several top aides on Wednesday to discuss a path forward as the vote count in several key states winds down. Biden, meanwhile, picked up another win in Arizona, NBC News projected, which brings his lead in the Electoral College to 290-217. There are only two states that have not yet been called: Georgia and North Carolina.
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Pope Francis congratulates Biden on projected election win
President-elect Joe Biden spoke with Pope Francis on Thursday, according to his transition team.
Biden, a devout Catholic, thanked the Pope for "extending blessings and congratulations," saying he expressed a desire to work together "on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind."
Biden's faith made a presence on his victory speech, where he cited the Catholic hymn, "On Eagles' Wings." He closed his speech with the hymn, adding: "And now, together — on eagle’s wings — we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do."
Biden is the only the second Catholic president, following President John F. Kennedy.
RNC chief of staff tests positive for Covid-19
Republic National Committee chief of staff Richard Walters has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a GOP official.
The RNC says it is following CDC guidance and notifying staff who came into contact with him about their potential exposure.
Unlike other Trump allies who have recently tested positive, Walters was not at the White House election night party.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel tested positive for Covid-19 last month.
Corey Lewandowski the latest member of Trump circle to test positive for Covid-19
Corey Lewandowski, who has been a part of President Trump campaign’s legal challenges, has tested positive for Covid-19, a source familiar with the diagnosis tells NBC News.
Lewandowski confirmed the diagnosis in text message to CNBC, saying, "I feel great."
Lewandowski is the latest person to test positive for the virus after attended last week's Election Night party at the White House. His diagnosis follows chief of staff Mark Meadows and Housing, Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and several White House staffers.
Lewandowski was also in Philadelphia, in recent days, including at the news conference last Saturday at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping with Rudy Giuliani and Pam Bondi.
Schumer calls on Trump, GOP to stop their 'temper tantrum' over the election results
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced President Donald Trump and Republicans on Thursday for sowing doubt in and refusing to accept the presidential election results.
“The election is not in doubt," Schumer said at joint news conference with Pelosi on Capitol Hill. "This is nothing more than a temper tantrum by Republicans, nothing more than a pathetic political performance for an audience of one: President Donald John Trump.”
Schumer said the results of the 2020 presidential election cannot be compared to the 2000 election, which came down to Florida and a difference of several hundred votes.
“Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College has been secured by several states, where tens of thousands of votes separate the candidates," he said. "Joe Biden leads Wisconsin by 20,000, Pennsylvania ... 50,000, Michigan ... 146,000. That's the facts. Biden's won. Nothing Republicans or Trump can do will change that.”
Republicans who have broken with Trump to congratulate Biden on his win
A small but growing group of prominent Republicans have broken with President Trump and the rest of their party in congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their projected election victory.
Trump has refused to concede the race, and the vast majority of Republicans in Congress and elsewhere have yet to acknowledge the Democrats' win.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is the latest Republican to refer to Biden as the president-elect.
Read the full list of Republicans who have publicly acknowledged the former vice president is the winner of the election.
FIRST READ: The path to 270 is changing, fast
In 2004, George W. Bush won Colorado by more than 4 percentage points and Virginia by 8 points, while winning the presidency by capturing Ohio by some 100,000 votes.
Sixteen years later — and with still not all the vote in — President-elect Joe Biden won Colorado by more than 13 points and carried Virginia by 10 points, while outgoing President Donald Trump appears to have won Ohio by 8 points for a second-straight cycle.
It’s all a reminder that electoral maps aren’t forever.
With changing demographics, education levels and political coalitions, how our states break in presidential elections aren’t set in stone.
Biden wants to scrap Betsy DeVos' rules on sexual assault in schools. It won't be easy.
The Biden administration will have limited options to scrap Title IX regulations implemented three months ago that control how schools deal with sexual assault cases.
The Trump administration's rules, which were opposed by anti-rape activists and K-12 and college administrators, gave more rights to students accused of assault and restricted how schools are allowed to investigate sexual misconduct allegations.
Proponents of the new rules, including Republicans and the civil liberties nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, celebrated them as a balanced approach to the gender equity law Title IX. But Democrats and advocates for assault victims, including the National Women's Law Center, argued that the regulations would discourage students from reporting assaults.
'Ohio has taken a different turn': Ohio no longer appears to be a swing state
CINCINNATI — President-elect Joe Biden is the first person to win the presidency without carrying Ohio since 1960.
Biden's victory, and the matter in which he won, left many political pundits wondering what it means for the bellwether state moving forward.
"I think that Ohio really isn't a representative of the whole country the way that it once was," said Mark Caleb Smith, a professor of political science at Cedarville University in Ohio.
"Ohio now is a much more red state than it is a purple state," Smith said. "If you look at recent elections, statewide, presidential or gubernatorial, Republicans have done extremely well. I just think that means Ohio has taken a different turn. I think Ohio has shifted a little bit and it's no longer that middle part of the country — it's probably a little more on the right, traditional, conservative side."
Some national political experts take it a step further.