WASHINGTON – Behind the iron fences that surround the seven hectares that occupy the White House complex, the 2020 presidential election is still red hot: entrenched, President Donald Trump insists on not accepting defeat. But the rest of the world is already in another, including the president-elect, Joe Biden.
Western European leaders have already reached out to Biden, as has the president of the rising world superpower, el chino Xi Jinping. The PayPal CEO extended his “warmest congratulations to President Elector Joe Biden, who will become the 46th President of the United States of America.” The Boeing corporation, which was favored by large defense contracts during the Trump era, issued a statement on Friday expressing its desire “to work with the Biden administration.”
It’s as if the vast machinery of diplomacy, business, and lobbying has suddenly already been recalibrated for the Biden era. And as if Trump, the dominant global figure of the past four years, was increasingly irrelevant.
Investment banking associations are already meeting with Biden associates in anticipation of a new dispute over financial regulations. Foreign diplomats, who take a 180 degree turn in US foreign policy for granted, are reorienting their agendas. And corporate CEOs, usually allergic to political statements, are not afraid to speak out what Trump supporters so far refuse to acknowledge.
“Former Vice President Biden was fairly elected as our next president, and it is time to proceed with the transition,” says Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health.
Biden seizes the moment, not to aggressively confront the defeated president, but to slip into the inauguration. While it demands that no obstacles be placed at the beginning of an orderly transfer of power, the president-elect acts as if the political drama created by Trump is little more than background noiseWhat his new chief of staff described as the “hysteria” of the lame duck president.
A senior Biden official called Trump’s intransigence “irritating,” but the president-elect’s aides say they were not alarmed: have already resigned themselves to the president’s denialism, they have no expectation that he will ever admit that he lost and they are willing to use all legal mechanisms at their disposal to ensure that the transition moves forward.
Anyway, they also prepare forthe possibility that Trump will prevent the formal gears of the transition from being activated, an implicit recognition that he lost. Biden leads the overwhelming transition process remotely, from his home in Delaware, and his associates are making rapid progress in assembling the new government.
Next week, they will announce the composition of the cabinet that will accompany the president in the White House. Political planners, for their part, are busy thinking about Biden’s first steps as soon as he takes office.
The growing belief that there will be a new president is set against the backdrop of a pandemic that has hit the United States especially hard and that under the Trump administration has claimed the lives of more than 253,000 Americans. But it is Biden, and not the current incumbent president, who seems determined to keep the spotlight on the coronavirus threat..
On Friday, Trump made a brief public announcement about some measures to lower the price of drugs, ranted on Twitter about the election, and met with Republican legislators from the state of Michigan, in his desperate search for strong local leaders, to whom considers his last hope to turn his deficit in the Electoral College.
Biden continues to push for stronger measures to address the health crisis, and is meeting with Democratic leaders from both houses of Congress to discuss an additional stimulus package to help businesses recover and new shipments of federal funds to states and governments. local governments that have cash problems after a year of response to the pandemic.
On Thursday, in an attempt to demonstrate the need for bipartisan cooperation in the face of the health crisis, the president-elect hosted a virtual meeting with five Democratic and five Republican governors. After the meeting, Biden said he was very encouraged that the Republican governors were so willing to work collaboratively with his future government.
That turn, from Trump to Biden, is particularly conspicuous on the international scene, where allies and adversaries alike have turned. Starting with Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who came to power hoping to exploit his affinity for Trump, dug in and immediately turned around. Pleased for a first conversation with Biden as soon as he was elected, Johnson rolled out a series of ambitious military spending plans and climate policies that seem calculated to ingratiate himself with the new president and align with his government priorities.
Iran, for its part, has already issued statements clearly intended to seduce the incoming government to return to the negotiating table. and go back to the basics of the 2015 nuclear deal.
And German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said this week that his administration already had proposals for Biden, and celebrated the president-elect’s enthusiasm for NATO, the Atlantic alliance that Trump so many times threatened to abandon. According to François Heisbourg, a French defense expert, all Europe’s foreign ministers are doing the same.
“People take it for granted that America is a constitutional democracy,” says Heisbourg. Europeans closely follow Trump’s court filings and his attempts to throw the election burden on Congress, but most have no idea what happened in the United States in 1800 and 1876, when the election was actually decided in the Capitol. “If they knew American history, they wouldn’t be so sure,” says Heisbourg.
The corporate world, too, seems to have come to the conclusion that the die has been cast, rapidly refocusing its strategy. Many large North American companies and business groups recognized Biden’s victory on November 7, when the main media outlets declared the election over.
Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, contacted Biden’s campaign team that night and offered collaboration to the new government to combat the pandemic and reactivate the economy. “While there will always be differences in a country as large and diverse as the United States, I still believe that there is much more that unites us than what divides us,” Kirby says in a letter sent to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Goldman Sachs began preparing its clients for a Biden government Just days after the election: The Nov. 5 videoconference to discuss a likely Biden win drew thousands of the firm’s clients.
The McDonald’s spokesperson also expressed his company’s conviction in Biden’s triumph, as did the CEO of JP Morgan, who did not mince words: “We had elections. We have a new president. That should unite us.”
The New York Times
(Translation by Jaime Arrambide)
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