POLITICO Playbook: What Biden did on Day One vs. what he promised
DAY ONE PROMISE TRACKER: We recently compiled a list of the many actions President JOE BIDEN pledged to take on Day One of his presidency. He followed through on most of them.
But there are a few big ones that were NOT included in the flurry of activity this week. (We were generous in our accounting and included Biden’s actual first day, Wednesday, and his first full day, Thursday.)
Here are the promises he didn’t keep and the reasons why:
X “On day one, I’ll move to: eliminate the Trump tax cut for the super-wealthy, cut the unjustified loopholes in our tax code, and use that money to invest in America’s future.” June 27, 2019
X “On Day One, if I’m president of the United States, you’re going to see the end of Trump’s tax cut for the top 10th of 1%.” (Said during an address to the Philadelphia AFL-CIO in September 2019, according to Bloomberg)
These two economic priorities were put forward before the pandemic and the subsequent recession that led Biden to overhaul his initial economic agenda.
X “My first day of office, I’m going to send a bill to the Congress repealing the liability protection for gun manufacturers, closing the background check loopholes and waiting period.” Feb. 20, 2020
This is the most conspicuous First Day pledge that Biden has abandoned, an apparent concession to the reality of slim Democratic margins in Congress and a shift in post-pandemic priorities.
X “I’d double that tax [on foreign profits] and do that on Day One.” July 9, 2020
This was probably a Biden ad lib.
X “On Biden’s first day in office, he will restore federal employees’ rights to organize and bargain collectively, and will direct his agencies to bargain with federal employee unions over non-mandatory subjects of bargaining.” The Biden plan for strengthening worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions
Biden is scheduled to sign this one today. (A White House spokesman told us, “We’re thinking about ‘Day One promises’ not literally on Jan. 20, but across multiple days.”) Even without that caveat, Biden did indeed keep the overwhelming majority of Day One pledges that we could find from his speeches, press releases and interviews over the last two years.
WHAT DAY ONE DOESN’T MEAN: Biden has long promised to outline an immigration plan on Day One, and he followed through on that pledge. That might suggest that immigration is his top legislative priority. Not so fast. He’s made it clear that his Covid-19 relief and stimulus bill is first up.
And even after that, there’s still no consensus among Democrats about what comes next. During an interview Thursday, CEDRIC RICHMOND, senior adviser to the president, confirmed to us that just because an immigration proposal was sent to the Hill didn’t mean it was Biden’s biggest priority — congressional leaders will have to decide what to prioritize next.
“We’re not going to just enforce our will,” Richmond said. “They have to buy into it. … But I believe him sending it up so early is a statement of values and a statement of priority, and that’s the key to it.”
We hear from sources on both sides of the Capitol that any immigration plan would be much narrower than the sweeping 2013 plan. Think legislation to help Dreamers.
A HANDY RECAP — “The 17 things Joe Biden did on Day One,” by Alice Ollstein, Arjun Kakkar and Beatrice Jin
MCCONNELL PROPOSES MID-FEBRUARY IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL wants to wait several more weeks before starting former President DONALD TRUMP’S second impeachment trial, saying the ex-president’s new legal team needs time to prep his defense. McConnell ensured Trump was quickly acquitted last time, but has since broken with him and even privately held out the possibility of convicting the departed president. (Color us skeptical.) In a private call with his members Thursday, however, McConnell argued that House Democrats gave the president zero due process and it’s only fair to give him some time. CBS scoop
What it means: If Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER agrees, we could be looking at a trial in mid-February — to the chagrin of Democrats who are eager to get to Biden’s agenda. But the delay could give Schumer more time to confirm Biden nominees.
GRAHAM HOOKS TRUMP UP WITH IMPEACHMENT LAWYER: We briefly caught up Thursday night with Trump ally Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.), who announced Thursday that Trump hired one of his longtime pals to be his impeachment lawyer. Graham served in the same National Guard unit BUTCH BOWERS, a South Carolina lawyer who served in George W. Bush’s Justice Department.
“The president asked if I know of any lawyers. He thinks South Carolina has good lawyers. He mentioned Trey Gowdy. I said, ‘Well, I got some names.’ Butch was one of the names I gave them.” And what about Gowdy, the former South Carolina congressman-turned-Fox News TV star? “I think he’s got obligations that won’t allow him to do it,” Graham said. Gowdy didn’t respond to a question about whether he declined to represent the ex-president. GABBY ORR and MERIDITH MCGRAW: “Trump starts taking his second impeachment seriously”
Bowers “is no stranger to impeachment proceedings,” according to the Post and Courier newspaper. Among other cases, he “worked for then-Gov. MARK SANFORD when lawmakers considered impeaching him after he left the state to see his mistress in Argentina in 2009.”
OVER IN THE HOUSE …
CHENEY STARES DOWN A MUTINY: House Republican Conference Chair LIZ CHENEY is having a rough week, to put it mildly. After joining nine other House Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment, the No. 3 House Republican is facing a mutiny from more than 100 House Republicans who want her gone from leadership. Also: A primary challenger announced his bid and a local county Republican Party in her district voted to censure her.
As our Mel Zanona and Olivia Beavers report in this deep dive on the divide within the House GOP Conference, Trump ally ELISE STEFANIK (R-N.Y.) is making calls about running for Cheney’s position if the conference ousts her. And Cheney’s GOP critics are circulating a video of Democrats quoting her supporting impeachment.
Mel and Olivia are hearing from most of their GOP sources that Cheney will hold on; the bar for her removal is pretty high. Also, removing her might send the message that they’re more keen on taking out one of their own for holding Trump accountable than holding accountable the man who helped instigate the riot in the first place.
The upshot: Trump may be gone, but this is still his party — at least for now. Just listen to House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY after the riots vs. now. McCarthy on Jan. 13: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on congress by mob rioters.” McCarthy on Thursday: “I don’t believe he provoked, if you listened to what he said at the rally.”
— ALEX ISENSTADT: “Trump forces seek primary revenge on GOP impeachment backers: Candidates, donors and local party officials are already organizing against the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.”
— RELATED: “Senate Republicans uniting behind impeachment defense,” by Andrew Desiderio
BIDEN’S FRIDAY — The president and VP KAMALA HARRIS will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m., have lunch at noon and get a briefing on the economic recovery at 2 p.m. At 2:45 p.m., Biden will speak about the administration’s economic crisis response and sign executive orders in the State Dining Room, with Harris in attendance. Harris and National Economic Council Director BRIAN DEESE will meet virtually in the evening with small business owners affected by the pandemic.
— Press secretary JEN PSAKI and Deese will brief at 12:30 p.m.
TRUMP INC. — “Trump steps out of the White House and into a company in crisis,” WaPo
JACK SHAFER column: “How About a Little Sobriety, Please?: At a time when large portions of the country think mainstream media is a tool of the left, perhaps it’s time to tone down the Biden adulation.”
SO MUCH FOR BIDEN’S OUTREACH — “Republicans bludgeon Biden’s big stimulus plans,” by Burgess Everett: “Put simply, the Senate GOP says Biden’s proposal spends too much money and comes too soon on the heels of Congress’ $900 billion stimulus package from last month. And that unless the proposal has major changes made to it or Democrats use budget reconciliation to pass it with a simple majority, it is doomed on the Senate floor.”
CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: The U.S. reported 3,889 Covid-19 deaths and 185,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday. Trend lines are continuing to look favorable, albeit from incredibly high levels. More in The Atlantic
2022 WATCH — “Cornale tapped for DNC executive director,” by Holly Otterbein and Natasha Korecki
PERSPECTIVE — “Hard Times,” by Harper’s ANDREW COCKBURN
MORE FROM THE CAPITOL …
JAN. 6 FALLOUT — “Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Republicans Hawley, Cruz over roles in Capitol riot,” NBC
REVERSAL — “‘We feel incredibly betrayed’: Thousands of Guardsmen forced to vacate Capitol,” by Lara Seligman, Natasha Bertrand and Andrew Desiderio: “Thousands of National Guardsmen were allowed back into the Capitol Thursday night, hours after U.S. Capitol Police officials ordered them to vacate the facilities, sending them outdoors or to nearby parking garages after two weeks pulling security duty after the deadly riot on Jan. 6.
“One unit, which had been resting in the Dirksen Senate Office building, was abruptly told to vacate the facility on Thursday, according to one Guardsman. The group was forced to rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet, and one bathroom with two stalls for 5,000 troops, the person said. Temperatures in Washington were in the low 40s by nightfall.”
ABOUT THOSE METAL DETECTORS — “GOP Rep. Andy Harris Tries To Bring Gun Into House Chamber,” HuffPost: “Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who has repeatedly flouted the magnetometers that were installed near the House chamber after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, set off the metal detectors while trying to enter. When an officer with a metal detector wand scanned him, a firearm was detected on Harris’s side, concealed by his suit coat. …
“HuffPost watched Harris try to get another member to take the gun from him so he could go vote. The member, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), told Harris he didn’t have ‘a license’ and refused to hold the weapon for him. HuffPost also heard Harris complain to some fellow members that he had asked his staff to remind him about the screenings and they hadn’t.”
BYE BYE BUTTON: It appears Biden’s redecoration of the Oval Office included the removal of a red button that Trump would use to call a butler to serve him Diet Coke.
STAFFING UP — “He helped Adam Schiff impeach Trump. Now he’s joining Biden’s NSC,” by Natasha Bertrand: “Adam Schiff’s top legal adviser is joining President Joe Biden’s National Security Council as its senior director for intelligence … Maher Bitar, who has served as the general counsel for House Intelligence Committee Democrats since 2017 and played a key role during the first impeachment of former President Donald Trump, is set to begin in the new job in the coming days.”
THE POLITICS OF FASHION — “A New Dawn For White House Fashion Is Upon Us,” by Glamour’s LEAH BOURNE: “Harris’s signature pearls — a reference to her membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha, a Black sorority founded in 1908 — have become a rallying cry for a certain group of women. The Facebook group Wear Pearls on Jan. 20, 2021 now boasts more than 450,000 members and encouraged women to wear their pearls for the inauguration. Women across the internet happily obliged.”
SYMONE SANDERS’ NOVEL TAKE ON THE WHITE HOUSE: Eugene caught up with Symone Sanders, the 31-year-old senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Harris, on the phone Thursday night after her first full day on the job. A few highlights from the chat:
— She described 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a way we haven’t really heard before: “I walked into the White House today for the very first time, and it is tiny. It’s very narrow. I couldn’t believe it.”
— On the weight of taking office for Harris: “The history of this moment is not lost on her. She feels a great sense of responsibility, but she’s also very focused. … And she’s a full governing partner here in this effort.”
— On what the Trump White House left behind: “We are in an unprecedented time with four converging crises” — Covid-19, the recession, climate change and racial justice. “And we walked in to find that there was no plan, there was no playbook from our predecessors.” She promises they “didn’t wait to see what our predecessors have left for us,” and got ready during the transition.
TV TONIGHT — PBS’ “Washington Week,” guest-hosted by Amna Nawaz: Laura Barrón-López, Errin Haines, Anna Palmer and Ashley Parker.
SUNDAY SO FAR …
“Fox News Sunday”: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) … Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Panel: Jason Riley, Donna Brazile and Gerald Seib. Power Player: Bryan Cranston.
“Full Court Press”: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) … House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“This Week”: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Panel: Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Matthew Dowd and Margaret Hoover.
“America This Week”: Austan Goolsbee … Dave Rubin … Steve Cortes … Marc Fisher … Caleb Ecarma … Katelyn Caralle.
“Meet The Press”: Panel: Tim Alberta, Yamiche Alcindor, David Brooks and Andrea Mitchell.
VACCINATED THIS WEEK: Anthony Fauci (second shot)
MEDIAWATCH — “Fox News’ Bret Baier on His 13-Year-Old Son’s 4th Open-Heart Surgery: ‘He Could’ve Not Made It,’” People magazine
TRENDING: “Meet the woman behind Bernie Sanders’s viral mittens,” Jewish Insider: “They were made by Jen Ellis, a 42-year-old second grade teacher and craft hobbyist who lives in Essex Junction, Vt., outside Burlington — where Sanders was mayor in the 1980s — with her partner, Liz, and their kindergarten-age daughter. She gave the mittens to Sanders as a gift five years ago, but has never met him, even though she is an admirer.”
JOE EXOTIC thinks he knows why he wasn’t pardoned by Trump.
THE POST-TRUMP SHUFFLE — Alexander Willette is now on active orders as a judge advocate for the Maine Army National Guard. He previously was a special assistant to the president and deputy director for outreach in the Trump White House’s Office of Political Affairs.
— NYT’S @davidenrich: “The Trump administration’s former solicitor general, Noel Francisco, just got promoted to run the DC office of @JonesDay – the law firm that made millions representing the Trump campaign.”
TRANSITIONS — Cody Keenan is now a partner at Fenway Strategies. He previously was chief speechwriter for Barack Obama. … Kevin Liao is now press secretary at the Department of Energy. He previously was Nevada comms director for the Biden campaign, and is a Warren for President alum. …
… Alyssa Franke is joining Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) office as director of digital media. She most recently was senior content strategist for the Raphael Warnock campaign, and is a Warren for President and EMILY’s List alum. … Matthew Schneider will join Honigman as a partner and co-leader of the white-collar defense and investigations practice, based in D.C. and Detroit. He previously was U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) … Obama press secretary turned corporate spox Josh Earnest (h/ts Ben Chang and Teresa Vilmain) … Reuters’ Jim Oliphant … Boehner world’s Dave Schnittger … POLITICO’s Brianna Ehley, Zach Warmbrodt and Jesse Shapiro … WaPo’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran … Elise Flick … CNN’s Kevin Bohn and Sarah Jorgensen … Diane Lane
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