Joe Biden Live Updates: The President-Elects Transition – The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris met with their newly appointed Covid-19 advisory council in Wilmington, Del., on Monday.
Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday made an urgent plea for Americans to wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, declaring that “a mask is not a political statement” as he vowed to make defeating the pandemic his number one priority when he replaces President Trump on Jan. 20.

“It doesn’t matter who you voted for, where you stood before Election Day,” Mr. Biden said in short remarks in Delaware after meeting with members of a newly formed Covid-19 advisory board. “It doesn’t matter your party, your point of view. We can save tens of thousands of lives if everyone would just wear a mask for the next few months.”

He added: “Not Democratic or Republican lives — American lives.”

The magnitude of his task became starkly clear on Sunday as the nation surpassed 10 million cases and sank deeper into the grip of what could become the worst chapter yet of the pandemic. In his remarks, the president-elect said the grim statistics suggested that the country was “facing a very dark winter” ahead.

“Infection rates are going up. Hospitalizations are going up. Deaths are going up,” Mr. Biden said after listening to his advisers, who called into the meeting remotely.

The drug maker Pfizer announced on Monday that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19, a promising development as the world has waited anxiously for any positive news about a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people.

Mr. Biden called the development “excellent news” in a statement, but cautioned that Americans would need to rely on basic precautions in order to “get back to normal as fast as possible.” He said Americans would not be wearing masks forever, but should do so until the vaccine is readily available.

“It’s clear that this vaccine, even if approved, will not be widely available for many months yet to come,” he said. “The challenge before us right now is still immense and growing.”

Mr. Biden’s comments about masks were a striking contrast with Mr. Trump, who has spent the last eight months dismissing or playing down the need for Americans to wear masks, saying frequently — and falsely — that there was deep disagreement about whether masks were effective.

As cases surge in over half of the country, the nation’s worsening outlook comes at an extremely difficult juncture: Mr. Trump, who remains in office until January, is openly at odds with his own coronavirus advisers — including about mask-wearing — and winter, when infections are only expected to spread faster, is coming.

Mr. Biden named Dr. Rick Bright, a former top vaccine official in the Trump administration who submitted a whistle-blower complaint to Congress, as a member of the Covid-19 task force advising him during the transition, officials announced Monday morning.

Dr. Bright, who was ousted as the head of a federal medical research agency, told lawmakers that officials in the government had failed to heed his warnings about acquiring masks and other supplies, and that the failure to act may have cost American lives.

Mr. Biden had already revealed the three co-chairs of the panel: Dr. Vivek Murthy, a surgeon general under former President Barack Obama, who has been a key Biden adviser for months and is expected to take a major public role; David Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton; and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of public health at Yale University.

The 13-member panel will also include Dr. Zeke Emanuel, the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the brother of Rahm Emanuel, an Obama administration adviser; Dr. Luciana Borio, a vice president at In-Q-Tel; Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Dr. Celine Gounder, a clinical assistant professor at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine; Dr. Julie Morita, the executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota; Loyce Pace, the executive director and president of Global Health Council; and Dr. Robert Rodriguez and Dr. Eric Goosby, both professors at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Dr. Vivek Murthy was the first surgeon general of Indian descent.
Credit…Andy Katz/Pacific Press, via Getty Images

In selecting his coronavirus transition team, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has turned to a trio of high-powered doctors with Washington experience, Ivy League pedigrees and activist bents. He has also fulfilled his pledge to surround himself with advisers who look like America.

Here’s a quick look at the three doctors who will lead the effort.

Mr. Kessler, a Harvard-educated pediatrician who picked up a law degree from the University of Chicago, made his name in Washington in the 1990s fighting Big Tobacco.

Dr. Kessler was appointed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush to lead the Food and Drug Administration, but his activist bent made him popular with Democrats, and he also ran the agency during President Bill Clinton’s first term.

Under his watch, the F.D.A. sped up drug approvals and enacted regulations requiring food manufacturers to print standardized nutrition labels on their products in a bid to expose “stealth fat” in foods. But Dr. Kessler is best known for his crusade against smoking. His push for the F.D.A. to regulate cigarettes was unsuccessful but ushered in a new era of lawsuits against the tobacco industry. The power to regulate tobacco was finally granted to the F.D.A. early in the Obama administration.

After leaving the F.D.A., Dr. Kessler, 69, served as the dean of the Yale School of Medicine, and later as a vice chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, where he is now a professor. He is also the author of the 2009 book, The End of Overeating.

Dr. Murthy, a son of Indian immigrant parents who were also physicians, was the 19th surgeon general of the United States.

Appointed in 2014 by President Barack Obama, he also served briefly under President Trump, who asked for his resignation in April 2017 and then fired Dr. Murthy when he refused to step down.

He was the first surgeon general of Indian descent, and, at 37 when he was appointed, the country’s youngest surgeon general since John B. Hamilton, who left the office in 1891.

At the time of his appointment in 2014, Dr. Murthy was treating acutely ill patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and teaching at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Murthy has for years made headlines for calling gun violence a public health threat, and his appointment was contentious. The National Rifle Association urged the Senate not to confirm him, but the Senate ultimately did, in one of its last acts before Republicans took control in 2015.

In 2008, Dr. Murthy helped found a group called Doctors for Obama that supported Mr. Obama’s campaign for president, and later fought for the passage of the Affordable Care Act under a new name, Doctors for America.

Like Dr. Kessler, whom Dr. Murthy has known since he was a student at Yale Medical School while Dr. Kessler was the school’s dean, Dr. Murthy has dual degrees; he also has a master’s degree in business administration from Yale.

Dr. Nunez-Smith was raised in St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and is an associate professor of internal medicine, public health and management at Yale, where she has devoted her career to ending racial disparities in health — a perspective that will inform her work on the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color.

At Yale, she is the founding director of a research center devoted to creating health equity for marginalized populations, and is also the founding director of the Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership, which trains health care professionals to address disparities in health and medical care.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper’s downfall had been expected for months.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper was fired by President Trump on Monday, the latest casualty in the president’s revolving door of top national security officials who fell on the wrong side of their boss.

Mr. Esper’s downfall had been expected for months, after he took the rare step in June of disagreeing publicly with Mr. Trump and saying that active-duty military troops should not be sent to control the wave of protests in American cities. The president, who had threatened to use the Insurrection Act to do exactly that, was furious, officials said.

Mr. Esper’s spokesman tried at the time to walk back the damage, telling The New York Times that Mr. Trump did not want to use the Insurrection Act, either, or else he would have invoked it already. “We fail to see the disconnect,” said Jonathan Hoffman, a spokesman for Mr. Esper.

White House officials disagreed.

Mr. Esper, 56, a former secretary of the Army and a former Raytheon executive, became defense secretary last July after Mr. Trump withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, amid an F.B.I. inquiry into allegations from Mr. Shanahan’s former wife that he punched her in the stomach. Mr. Shanahan denied the accusations.

Mr. Shanahan had been standing in for Jim Mattis, who resigned as defense secretary in 2018, citing his own differences with the president.

Mr. Esper had taken pains to hew to the Trump line during his tenure. But concern over invoking the Insurrection Act to send active-duty troops to battle protesters across the country is deep in the Pentagon. Under heavy public criticism, Mr. Esper ultimately broke with the president.

Mr. Trump’s has referred to Mr. Esper as “Mr. Yesper.” But the insult is ironic by itself, since it was the defense secretary’s public break with the president during a news conference in June in which he spoke against use of active-duty American troops to quell civil unrest that infuriated Mr. Trump to begin with. Those comments came after he had accompanied Mr. Trump on his walk across Lafayette Square outside the White House, where protesters had just been tear-gassed, prompting condemnation from former military and civilian Defense Department officials.

By midsummer, Mr. Esper was walking a fine line to push back on other contentious positions involving the military that Mr. Trump had taken.




‘Our Country Is Under Threat,’ Biden Says of Virus

On Monday, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. gave a coronavirus update where he named a task force to help combat the coronavirus spread, as cases reach all-time highs across the country.

We can’t forgo the important work that needs to be done between now and then to get our country through the worst wave yet in this pandemic. To reduce the spread, to save lives. So that’s why today I’ve named a Covid-19 transition advisory board comprised of distinguished public health experts to help our transition team translate the Biden-Harris Covid-19 plan into action, a blueprint that we can put in place as soon as Kamala and I are sworn in to office on Jan. 20, 2021. It doesn’t matter whether or not we always agree with one another. It doesn’t matter who you voted for. We are Americans and our country is under threat. And now we’re called to do the same thing that generations of proud Americans have done when faced with a crisis throughout our history: rise above our differences to defend the strength and the vitality of our nation. You know, that’s the character of patriots. That’s the character of Americans. We have to do this together. Wearing a mask may seem like a small act. Maybe you think your individual choice won’t make any difference. But throughout our history, throughout the history of our nation, we’ve seen over and over how small acts add up to enormous achievements.

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On Monday, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. gave a coronavirus update where he named a task force to help combat the coronavirus spread, as cases reach all-time highs across the country.CreditCredit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. plans to move aggressively this week to start setting up his administration, putting in motion staffing decisions aimed at accelerating his policy agenda as soon as he replaces President Trump in the Oval Office early next year.

The moves come on the heels of a whirlwind weekend in which Mr. Biden cemented his victory in the Electoral College, even as Mr. Trump and the leadership of the Republican Party refused to concede defeat, making baseless claims of elections fraud without providing any evidence.

Over the weekend, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, promised more court challenges to come as part of the campaign’s multipronged legal effort to challenge the election. One attempt ran aground on Monday when an appellate court in Michigan ruled that the campaign’s bid to reverse an earlier ruling was “defective” and incomplete, giving the campaign three weeks to complete its submission before the case would be dismissed.

The Trump campaign was trying to reverse a decision from Thursday by Judge Cynthia Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims who had refused to halt the counting of absentee ballots in the state, pointing out, among other things, that by the time the campaign requested the halt, the tallying of absentee ballots was already complete.

Mr. Biden and his team have planned a weeklong focus on health care, and Mr. Biden is expected to announce some key White House positions, including his chief of staff. That job is likely to go to Ron Klain, who served in that role when Mr. Biden was vice president and has been a longtime member of the president-elect’s inner circle.

Decisions about who will fill cabinet posts — including the secretary of health and human services, the secretary of state and the attorney general — will come later, starting around Thanksgiving, according to one person familiar with the planned schedule for the transition announcements.

Transition officials said that Mr. Biden had yet to make decisions on individual cabinet posts and would be meeting with top advisers in the days ahead. Potential candidates for cabinet secretaries will need to be vetted by the transition team’s lawyers and political advisers before being publicly nominated, officials said.

It is not clear how public Mr. Biden will be during the early days of the transition. He delivered a speech Saturday night after clinching the presidency and went to church on Sunday morning, then visited the grave of his late son, Beau Biden. But Mr. Biden made no other public appearances over the weekend, leaving it to allies and surrogates to appear on Sunday morning talk shows.

Most presidents-elect have met quickly at the White House with the outgoing president. Mr. Trump met with Mr. Obama for 90 minutes on Nov. 10, 2016, just two days after the election in which Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. There appear to be no plans for Mr. Trump to invite Mr. Biden to the White House in the days ahead, people close to the president said.

By: Ella Koeze·Source: Refinitiv

  • Stocks rocketed higher after the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said early data showed that its coronavirus vaccine appeared 90 percent effective. The news followed Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election as the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, a sign that the American vote, which some investors worried could spiral into a chaotic period if President Trump lost, appeared to proceed more or less normally.

  • On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose more than 3 percent in early trading before falling back as the day went on. A gain of more than 2 percent for the day would leave it above its Sept. 2 closing record of 3,580.84.

  • The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index surged 4 percent, its biggest one-day gain since March, while the FTSE 100 in Britain rose 4.7 percent. In Asian markets, which closed before Pfizer announced its news, the Nikkei 225 in Japan ended the day 2.1 percent stronger, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong finished up 1.2 percent.

  • Markets were already higher before Pfizer said a vaccine it was developing with BioNTech was found to have been more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections, based on a large study. Pfizer said by the end of the year, it will have manufactured enough doses of the vaccine to immunize 15 million to 20 million people.

  • Scientists have cautioned against hyping early results before long-term safety and efficacy data has been collected, and no one knows how long the vaccine’s protection might last. It’s likely to be months before Pfizer’s vaccine or any other is able to substantially curb the coronavirus outbreak.

  • “Hurdles still remain,” said Karen Ward, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “We need to find out more about production capabilities, rollout and takeup. But for now, this is shifting the winners and losers.”

  • Shares of companies that would benefit from a return to economic normalcy surged. American Airlines and United Airlines rose about 17 percent. Carnival, the cruise ship operator, rose nearly 36 percent. Also sharply higher were the shopping center owners Simon Property Group and Kimco Realty, the concert promoter Live Nation, and the office-building owner Vornado Realty Trust.

  • Crude oil prices also leapt about 9 percent, to more than $40 a barrel. Prices for government bonds — where investors traditionally park funds during times of uncertainty — tumbled sharply.

  • Trading on Monday followed the best week for the S&P 500 since April, as investors became more convinced that President-elect Biden would govern alongside a Republican-held Senate. However, two runoff elections in Georgia mean the control of the Senate will not be known until January.

  • “With more certainty around the election, a strong quarter of earnings across many sectors, and extremely positive news on the vaccine front, there is little to hold us back,” said Chris Larkin, managing director of trading and investment products at E-Trade Financial.

People dining at a restaurant in Arcata, Calif. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has the power to influence some parts of the economy using executive action.
Credit…Alexandra Hootnick for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will take office in January with a weak economy weighed down by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans still unemployed and businesses struggling and closing as winter bears down.

Addressing that economic challenge and following through on his campaign’s tax and spending promises could be complicated if Republicans maintain control of the Senate.

But as President Trump has demonstrated time and again, Mr. Biden has the power to pull some levers unilaterally, without congressional approval, and could influence the federal government’s economic policymaking machinery through an array of executive actions, regulations and personnel changes.

“There’s a tremendous amount that can be done without Congress,” said Felicia Wong, who serves as an adviser on the Biden transition board but who was speaking in her capacity as head of the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank.

  • For economic stimulus, among actions he could take include using executive authority to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour, directing his education secretary to forgive student loans to a certain amount and repurposing unspent funds from the previous stimulus legislation.

  • The Biden administration could act on its own to raise taxes in a few areas, largely by changing regulations governing how Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax law is carried out.

  • On trade, Mr. Biden faces several decisions in the short term, including whether to continue with Mr. Trump’s ban on TikTok and WeChat, the social media apps, and whether to retain America’s tariffs on Chinese goods and foreign metals. He does not need congressional approval to deal with these and other outstanding trade issues.

  • A new crew of officials will have leeway to undo changes to financial regulation, but much like the slow drip of deregulation under the Trump administration, any changes from the Fed and its fellow regulatory agencies are likely to be small and steady.

  • The new administration could exert huge influence over consumer protections, including those involving debt collection, payday lending and foreclosure abuse.

The inauguration stage was under construction in front of the Capitol last week.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to be sworn in as the 46th commander in chief of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021, at an outdoor inauguration ceremony, though the coronavirus pandemic might cause the plans to be scaled back.

“We are moving forward, anticipating an outside, full-scale inauguration,” Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, said on Sunday on the ABC News program “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

But Mr. Blunt, who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, was still hedging about which candidate he expected to be placing his hand upon a Bible that day.

“This is a great time for us to show how a true democracy works,” Mr. Blunt said, adding: “I’m confident we are going to see that. I expect to see both Vice President Biden and President Trump on the stage on Inaugural Day, and that will be a powerful message, no matter which one of them is sworn in.”

It is tradition for the departing president to attend the inauguration of his successor, but Mr. Trump has ignored many of the norms of the office.

Other Republican leaders and scores of party lawmakers have also refrained from acknowledging Mr. Biden’s victory out of apparent deference to Mr. Trump, who continues to refuse to concede. For many of them, the president’s reluctance to accept the election results created a dilemma, making even the most cursory expression of support for Mr. Biden seem like a conspicuous break with Mr. Trump.

President Trump speaking about health care in September in Charlotte.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. wants to bring an end to “America First” — a slogan that came to define a United States that built walls and made working with allies an afterthought.

Mr. Biden says he will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, assuming the Iranians are willing to reverse course and observe its limits. He would sign up for another five years of the only surviving nuclear arms treaty with Russia and double down on American commitments to NATO. At the same time, Mr. Biden says he will make Russia “pay a price” for what he says have been disruptions and attempts to influence elections — including his own.

But it is far easier to promise to return to the largely internationalist approach of the post-World War II era than it is to execute one after four years of global withdrawal and during a pandemic that has reinforced nationalist instincts. The world does not look remotely as it did when Mr. Biden was last in the White House four years ago. Power vacuums have been created, and filled, often by China. Democracies have retreated. The race for a coronavirus vaccine has created new rivalries.

So while foreign allies may find Mr. Biden reassuring — and smiled when they heard him say in a town-hall meeting that “‘America First’ has made America alone” — they also concede that they may never fully trust that the United States will not lurch back to building walls.

Those who have known Mr. Biden for decades say they expect him to move carefully, providing reassurance with a few big symbolic acts, starting with a return to the Paris climate accord in the first days of his administration. But substantive rebuilding of U.S. power will proceed far more slowly.

“He’ll inherit a situation which both gives him enormous latitude and, oddly, constrains him,” said Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a longtime friend of Mr. Biden’s. “Clearly, what Trump did by executive order can be undone by executive order.”

But “any act that requires Senate approach or any new use of force, absent a clear provocation, will be pretty much off the table,” he added.

But when it comes to relations with China, the new administration has vowed to be equally tough. While many will welcome the expected change in tone from the strident, at times racist statements by Mr. Trump and other officials, few expect Mr. Biden to quickly reverse the confrontational policies his predecessor has put in place.

China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has instead been pushing a strategy that would better insulate the country from rising international risks. But without significant concessions by the Chinese government, the fundamental tensions between the two countries could even become more pronounced — over trade, tech, Taiwan and other issues.

Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development,  has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesman said on Monday.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a spokesman for the agency, becoming the latest in a long list of Trump administration officials, including the president himself, to contract the virus.

“Secretary Carson has tested positive for the coronavirus. He is in good spirits and feels fortunate to have access to effective therapeutics which aid and markedly speed his recovery,” said Coalter Baker, the agency’s deputy chief of staff, in an email.

Mr. Carson, a neurosurgeon who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has defended Mr. Trump’s response to the virus.

Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, tested positive last week. Five other White House aides and a Trump campaign adviser also tested positive for the virus in the days before and after Election Day, people familiar with the diagnoses told The Times on Friday.

At 69, Mr. Carson is at an elevated risk for complications. He is also a cancer survivor, having undergone surgery in 2002 for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Jon Meacham, the presidential historian and biographer, endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr. and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
Credit…Terray Sylvester/Reuters

Jon Meacham, the presidential historian and biographer, has been helping to craft President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s speeches, according to multiple sources involved, including helping to write the acceptance speech that Mr. Biden that he delivered Saturday night from Wilmington.

In that address, Mr. Biden spoke of a mission “to rebuild the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class and to make America respected around the world again.” Mr. Meacham’s 2018 book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” has long served as a touchstone for Mr. Biden, who read it and has reached out to Mr. Meacham in the past to discuss passages he liked.

Mr. Biden’s speech-writing process is run by Mike Donilon, the president-elect’s longtime adviser. But behind the scenes, Mr. Meacham has been playing a larger role than was previously known, both writing drafts of speeches and offering edits on many of Mr. Biden’s big addresses, including one he gave at Gettysburg last month and his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in August.

TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, downplayed Mr. Meacham’s role. “President-elect Joe Biden wrote the speech he delivered to the American people on Saturday night, which laid out his vision for uniting and healing the nation,” Mr. Ducklo said. “Given the significance of the speech, he consulted a number of important, and diverse, voices as part of his writing process, as he often does.”

A Biden official added that Mr. Meacham was involved in discussions about the themes in the victory speech.

Mr. Meacham, who has voted for presidents in both parties, played an unusual role during the campaign. He publicly endorsed Mr. Biden in an op-ed and received a prime speaking slot at the D.N.C. this year.

“To record history doesn’t mean you are removed from it,” Mr. Meacham said over the summer, noting he had been friends with Mr. Biden for a long time.

Mr. Meacham is currently not expected to join the administration. But his role helping to craft Mr. Biden’s biggest addresses has shades of the presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.’s relationship with President John F. Kennedy. Mr. Schlesinger worked for Mr. Kennedy’s campaign and as a member of his White House staff.

Mr. Meacham declined to comment on his role.

President Trump maintained a close relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia throughout his administration.
Credit…Saudi Royal Court, via Reuters

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia have each sent cables congratulating President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on his electoral victory, an initial effort by Saudi leaders, who have benefited from a strong relationship with President Trump, to build ties with the new American administration.

Throughout his term, Mr. Trump maintained close bonds with the Saudi monarch, King Salman, and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, often protecting the kingdom from outrage in other parts of Washington over its role in the war in Yemen and the killing and dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in 2018.

Mr. Trump defended the Saudis as necessary friends in the Middle East and great buyers of American weapons, and Jared Kushner, a senior adviser and the president’s son-in-law, kept in close contact with Prince Mohammed, sometimes over the messaging platform WhatsApp.

Mr. Biden adopted a tougher line toward Saudi Arabia during the campaign, saying he would limit weapons sales and hold the kingdom accountable for human rights violations. During a debate last year, he said he believed that Prince Mohammed had ordered Mr. Khashoggi’s killing and would treat the Saudis “like the pariah that they are.

It remained unclear how that rhetoric would translate into policy, but the Saudi leadership considers the United States its most important ally and clearly wants warm ties with its new president.

The cables, reported late Sunday by the Saudi press agency, congratulated Mr. Biden on his victory, spoke of strong relations between the two countries and the Saudis’ desire to deepen them.

President Trump meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last year.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

For years, the Kremlin has painted Western democracy as dangerously chaotic compared to what it says is the safety and stability offered by President Vladimir V. Putin. Thanks to President Trump’s unfounded allegations that Democrats stole last week’s presidential election, the Kremlin now has a fresh chance to claim vindication.

On Monday, a spokesman for Mr. Putin said Russia will not recognize Joseph R. Biden Jr. as president-elect until Mr. Trump’s court challenges to the election results run their course.

“We believe it would be proper to wait for an official announcement” of the election results, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters. “There are certain legal procedures pending that were announced by the current president.”

Mr. Peskov sought to couch the delay as a technical matter of diplomatic protocol, and pledged that Mr. Putin would be ready to work with “any elected president of the United States.” But after a weekend during which leaders around the world congratulated Mr. Biden on his electoral victory — even close allies of Mr. Trump like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel — it was clear that the Kremlin was jumping at an opportunity to criticize the United States rather than to try to improve ties.

In unison, Russian officials and state-controlled media echoed Mr. Trump’s depiction of the election as riddled with widespread fraud. On the flagship weekly news program on state television on Sunday night, the host, Dmitri Kiselyov, said the election showed the United States to be “not a country but a huge, chaotic communal apartment, with a criminal flair.” And on a political talk show, Oleg Morozov, a lawmaker, said American democracy had deteriorated to the point that “one can manipulate it, tune it and tamper with it to achieve certain result.”

In Russia, elections are tightly scripted, with challengers to the ruling party winning in very rare cases and popular opposition politicians generally unable to get on the ballot. But on Monday, Ella A. Pamfilova, the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, also sounded off on the superiority of the Russian governance. She said she had studied mail-in voting and decided against using in Russia because it made it too easy to cheat.

“This anachronism in its American version opens up boundless possibilities for potential fraud,” she told Tass, a state-run Russian news agency, of voting by mail. “It turns out I was right — what’s going on now in the United States is the best illustration of that.”


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Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany welcomed the prospect of a new administration in Washington, striking a note of personal affection for Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Kamala Harris.CreditCredit…Pool photo by Michael Kappeler

Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the prospect of a new administration in Washington, striking a note of personal affection for President-elect Biden after four fraught years in which the partnership between the U.S. and Germany suffered under a flurry of punitive tariffs and angry tweets.

“Joe Biden brings decades of experience in domestic and foreign policy. He knows Germany and Europe well,” the chancellor said of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. in a statement to reporters on Monday, recalling her “fond memories” of their many meetings.

Her remarks reflected the views of other European leaders, and could signal a return to the more collaborative partnership Ms. Merkel developed with President Barack Obama.

The relationship between the United States and one of Europe’s most influential countries broke down under President Trump amid a collapse in communication between the two leaders, Mr. Trump’s persistent threats to reduce U.S. involvement in NATO, and sharp divergences over Russia, Iran, China and trade.

The loss of trust between Ms. Merkel and Mr. Trump threatened something much more fundamental — faith in the strategic foundation of the trans-Atlantic alliance itself, officials and analysts have said.

Ms. Merkel, the first woman to govern her country, also offered praise for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. “As the first woman in this office,” Ms. Merkel said about Ms. Harris, “as the child of two immigrants, she is an inspiration for many people, an example of America’s possibilities. I look forward to getting to know her.”

The tone was markedly different from four years ago, when she congratulated Mr. Trump by offering to work with him on the basis of the common values shared by the two countries, which she noted were “democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person.”

Those values still bind the two partners, the chancellor said Monday, but stressed that the time had come for Germany to take on more responsibility in defense and as an actor on the global stage.

“America is and remains our most important ally. But it expects — rightfully so — that we do more to ensure our own for our security and to represent our own interests in the world,” Ms. Merkel said.

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York, could be positioned to be a crucial voice as Democrats figures out how to govern with an ally in the White House.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Representative Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklynite who is chairman of the unruly Democratic Caucus, is urging his jostling colleagues to take a deep breath and enjoy President-elect Biden’s victory before plunging in their inevitable infighting.

Mr. Jeffries, 50, who helps plot his party’s policy and legislative strategy in the House, plans to announce on Monday that he will seek re-election to that post.

“Democrats won the White House, kept the majority in the House and are on the midnight train to Georgia to take the Senate,” Mr. Jeffries said in an interview. “That’s a good day as far as I am concerned.”

If he wins, as expected in a race in which he is unlikely to face a challenger, he would be positioned to be a crucial voice as the party figures out how to govern with an ally in the White House, but a slimmer majority on Capitol Hill.

As other Democrats compete to climb the ranks and secure a spot in the future of the party’s House leadership, Mr. Jeffries is also a top contender to succeed Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has led the party in the House since 2003, whenever she steps aside.

But while he represents a different generation of leadership from Ms. Pelosi, he sees little need to upend the approach that Democrats put in place after the 2016 election, either by veering further to the left or tacking to the center.

He has no problem with a hard “family conversation” about what went wrong in last week’s elections, Mr. Jeffries said, but his pitch to fellow Democrats is that their strategy — focusing on policies that affect Americans’ wallets and broadly popular issues, like gun safety — is sound and their message is resonating.

He has encouraged his colleagues to set aside the lure of “irrationally exuberant expectations,” take a deep breath, and stay focused on economic and social justice.