WASHINGTON — President Trump is leaving office the same way he started his political career — by attacking fellow Republicans.
But the fights he’s picked with Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in Georgia, as well as with Gov. Doug Ducey in Arizona, are different than those insults at John McCain, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Rick Perry in 2015.
One, they’re taking place with the top elected leaders in onetime GOP-leaning states that just turned blue in 2020 — and with one of them (Georgia) holding twin runoffs in January that will decide the control of the Senate.
And two, Trump is upset that these Republican officials aren’t helping him overturn election results in states that he narrowly yet clearly lost.
Let us repeat that again: He. Wants. Them. To. Reverse. The. Results.
“ALL 15 counties in Arizona — counties run by both parties — certified their results,” Ducey replied to Trump via Twitter. “That’s the law. I’ve sworn an oath to uphold it, and I take my responsibility seriously.”
“Georgia law prohibits the governor from interfering in elections,” Gov. Kemp’s spokesman said in a statement, per NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard.
These intraparty fights not only complicate the Senate runoffs in Georgia, but also future statewide contests in these two states.
As NBC’s Ed Demaria reminds us, Ducey might be the best Republican on paper who could win both a GOP Senate primary and a general election in Arizona in either 2022 or 2024. But what if Trump decides to sink his chances?
And that’s the dilemma for Republicans if Trump — once out of office — becomes the face of the GOP opposition to Biden.
Does he use his powers to help the party? Or exact revenge?
Tweet of the day
NYT: Trump has raised $170 million since Election Day
“President Trump has raised about $170 million since Election Day as his campaign operation has continued to aggressively solicit donations with hyped-up appeals that have funded his fruitless attempts to overturn the election,” the New York Times reports, citing one person familiar with the matter.
The rub: The fine print on the president’s call for donations to his “Official Election Defense Fund” show that the vast majority of donations don’t necessarily support a recount at all. Most of the money instead is headed for the president’s personal leadership pac, which he’ll be able to use to fund his post-presidential political activity, and to the Republican National Committee.
It's not surprising, but it’s still astonishing.
Data Download: The numbers you need to know today
6,238,766: Joe Biden’s lead in the popular vote at the time of publication.
13,624,624: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 170,294 more than yesterday morning.)
268,990: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,394 more than yesterday morning.)
192.77 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.
96,039: The number of people currently hospitalized with coronavirus
35: The number of days until the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs.
50: The number of days until Inauguration Day.
Biden rolls out his economic team
“President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday will formally introduce his picks for his economic policy team, including Janet Yellen for treasury secretary,” NBC’s Geoff Bennett and Rebecca Shabad write.
Biden Cabinet/Transition Watch
State: Tony Blinken (announced)
Treasury: Janet Yellen (announced)
Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas (announced)
UN Ambassador: Linda Thomas-Greenfield (announced)
Director of National Intelligence: Avril Haines (announced)
Defense: Michèle Flournoy, Jeh Johnson, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Attorney General: Doug Jones, Xavier Becerra, Sally Yates
HHS: New Mexico Gov, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Calif. Rep. Raul Ruiz, Calif. Rep. Karen Bass, Dr. Vivek Murthy
Interior: Deb Haaland
Agriculture: Heidi Heitkamp
Labor: Andy Levin, Bernie Sanders, Marty Walsh
Education: Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Randi Weingarten
OMB Director: Neera Tanden (announced)
CIA: Michael Morell
Chief of Staff: Ron Klain (announced)
National Security Adviser: Jake Sullivan (announced)
Climate Envoy: John Kerry (announced)
White House Communications Director: Kate Bedingfield (announced)
White House Press Secretary: Jen Psaki (announced)
VP Communications Director: Ashley Etienne (announced)
VP Chief Spokesperson: Symone Sanders (announced)
Georgia Runoff Watch by Ben Kamisar
Today’s Runoff Watch checks in on the enormous amount of money pouring into Georgia over the next few months.
As of now, there’s been $293 million devoted to both runoffs (this includes TV and radio advertising already spent and booked, per Advertising Analytics). The special runoff (Loeffler vs. Warnock) has $158 million devoted to it, compared to the other runoff’s (Perdue vs. Ossoff) $135 million, with Republican groups outspending Democrats in both.
If no one else commits a dime to either race, the special runoff alone (from Nov. 4 on) will have more TV and radio spending in it than every single 2020 Senate race except for three (North Carolina, Iowa and Arizona). And in the Perdue-Ossoff runoff, that $135 million spent and booked between Nov. 4 and Jan. 5 is virtually the same amount spent on the race by Election Day.
But of course, it’s almost certain that there will be a lot more money flooding the state as both parties dig deep into the piggybank to help decide control of the Senate.
The Lid: Man! I feel like a woman
Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at the rise of women in Congress and now in Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks.
All this week, NBC News will have in-depth coverage on the “Race for a Vaccine” across its programs and platforms, including NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TODAY, Dateline NBC, MSNBC, NBCNews.com and NBC News NOW.
ICYMI: What else is happening in the world
Joe Biden is outpacing or exceeding Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s timelines for choosing Cabinet members.
Some progressives aren’t happy about the business ties of some of Biden’s top picks for White House jobs.
Politico looks at how Janet Yellen became Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary.
The Washington Post looks at how Neera Tanden has become one lightning rod for the transition.
Biden received his first presidential daily briefing yesterday.
Controversial White House coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas has resigned.
Some House Republicans want to challenge the Electoral College count on the House floor.
Georgia voters will choose John Lewis’s short-term successor in a runoff election today.
There could be a huge economic recovery next year. But a lot depends on the winter.
What does an inauguration look like in a pandemic?