fter weeks of refusing to concede election defeat and violating the tradition of transition of power at the White House, President Donald J. Trump’s administration on Monday authorised President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to begin a formal transition process.
Trump’s green light to proceed with the transition is a strong sign that the President’s last-ditch bid to overturn the results of the election may be coming to an end.
This is a major relief for everyone as the US is struggling with the rising number of coronavirus cases and the uncertainty over leadership is the last thing that anyone wanted.
However, President-elect Biden waited for neither Trump to concede nor to allow the formal transition of power as he set the ball rolling with a flurry of Cabinet picks announced over the last few days.
The speed with which Biden acted, immediately after it emerged that he was the apparent winner in the November 3 election, is a sign of his resoluteness on ascending the office of the President of the United States (POTUS) and its myriad challenges.
Biden’s Cabinet picks suggest a resumption of a more traditional approach to governing, relying on seasoned policymakers with deep expertise and strong relationships in Washington and global capitals. And with a roster that includes several women and people of colour — some of whom are breaking historic barriers in their posts — Biden is fulfilling his campaign promise to lead a team that reflects the diversity of America.
By tapping into many Obama era officials for several key roles, Biden has signalled a sharp shift in foreign policies and the Democrat President’s immediate priority after assuming office on 20 January, 2021 could be to reverse some of Trump’s policies including the Iran nuclear deal which he helped negotiate as vice-president during Obama’s era.
While tackling the pandemic and reviving the US economy are said to be the priority of Biden administration, the President-elect has also laid out a fast-paced agenda to unwind Trump’s harsh immigration policies. Biden could face choppy waters in his efforts to reverse some of Trump’s policies as a closely divided Congress could hamper sweeping legislative actions on immigration reform. The Democrat President-elect made his reputation for reaching across the political aisle as one of the central tenets of his candidacy. During his 36-year career in the Senate, Biden earned admiration – and some criticism – for his commitment to bipartisanship and could use this skill to reach out to his opponents to score legislative wins.
On Monday Biden tweeted that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and he spent the afternoon meeting with a bipartisan group of mayors, signalling a start of a strong partnership in the months and years ahead.
During the campaign, Biden had pledged to be a president who seeks not to divide but to unify the American society. If his actions since he won the presidency are any indication, he is already on his way to achieving what he set out to accomplish.
However, the biggest challenge for Biden would be dealing with a global perception about the US. It is no more a question of simply lack of evidence on electoral fraud that Trump has been repeating every single day in his tweets. Some may label it as a domestic issue. But what Trump is doing, with his every utterance, is that he is breaking down the edifice of Democracy itself. It was, repeat was, the USA which had been considered the epitome of what is called the free world. Trump and his campaign team have gone ahead, with virtually no facts substantiating their preposterous charge of voter fraud, and filed cases in several courts in various states of the USA. Although many courts are dismissing their petitions outright, the impression across the world has solidified that elections in the US are susceptible to wrongdoings. This feeling itself has been enough to weaken the eternal struggle across the world for freedom, democracy and the wide spread yearning for elected representatives to govern countries. The blame lays squarely on Trump for bringing the USA down to such repute that an undemocratic and totalitarian leader like Vladimir Putin could dare to say he does not accept the results of the recent US election. This could be Biden’s toughest job coming up!