Biden, Harris meet in person with Pelosi and Schumer

Rebecca Shabad and Dareh Gregorian and Peter Alexander
·4 min read

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held an in-person meeting Friday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in Wilmington, Delaware.

Their meeting came as Congress finishes up its lame-duck session and Democrats and the White House have been unable to find a compromise on another Covid-19 relief package. Biden and Harris will be working closely with both Democratic leaders in the new Congress in their efforts to pass some of the new administration's legislative proposals.

Biden served with both Pelosi and Schumer in Congress and Harris has been in the Senate representing California since 2017. Biden also spent his time as vice president during the Obama administration using his experience on Capitol Hill to help negotiate legislation.

During brief comments to reporters during the meeting, Biden told Pelosi and Schumer, "I hope we're gonna spend a lot of time together."

  • It's Biden’s birthday. He turns 78 on Friday, which will make him the oldest U.S. president to take office.

  • The Biden transition announced several low-profile White House appointments Friday morning, including Mala Adiga as the policy director to Dr. Jill Biden, Carlos Elizondo as the White House social secretary, Cathy Russell as the director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, and Louisa Terrell as the director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs.

  • Michigan GOP lawmakers are meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday, where they expect the president to pressure them to overturn the state's election results based on unproven claims of fraud and irregularities in Detroit, a state GOP leader said.

  • Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, slammed Trump in a tweet late Thursday: "Having failed to make even plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election. It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President."

  • Retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement Friday “If there is any chance whatsoever that Joe Biden will be the next president, and it looks like he has a very good chance, the Trump Administration should provide the Biden team with all transition materials, resources, and meetings necessary to ensure a smooth transition so that both sides are ready on day one. That especially should be true, for example, on vaccine distribution."

  • House Democratic committee chairs sent the General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy a letter demanding that she personally brief them about her refusal to grant the Biden-Harris transition team access to services and facilities that they need to make the transition to the new administration.

Trump, for the first time in days, has public events on his daily schedule. He participated in a virtual meeting with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders in the White House Situation Room early in the morning, and gave remarks about delivering lower prescription drug prices to Americans in the briefing room in the afternoon. Continuing a two-week tradition, he did not take questions from reporters.

A person close to the president told NBC News that Trump “knows he lost, but he wants to make it at least as difficult for Democrats as he believes they made his transition into office.”

At the briefing, Trump maintained he'd won the election, and complained that pharmaceutical companies ran negative ads against him and didn't announce coronavirus vaccines until after the election.

"It would have probably had an impact, who knows? Maybe it wouldn't have," he said. "I'm sure they would have found the ballots some place, the Democrats and the group."

"I won, by the way, but we will find that out. Almost 74 million votes," he added at another point.

NBC News' tally has Biden with nearly 80 million votes and Trump with nearly 74 million — an almost 6 million vote advantage for the president-elect.

The person close to the president was frustrated with how Trump is handling the defeat.

“He could have framed this as his being a disrupter who came into Washington and shook things up and is now returning to his beautiful life with his beautiful wife," the person said. "Instead, he’s allowing this to become an ugly sideshow and not focusing on his accomplishments.”