Highlights of President-Elect Joe Biden’s Transition: November 18, 2020

Election workers at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta recounted ballots on Saturday.
Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

ATLANTA — Georgia’s county-by-county hand recount of roughly five million ballots in the presidential race is nearly complete, as officials said they expected to finish by tonight’s midnight deadline and reiterated that the revised count would not alter President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s narrow victory in the state over President Trump.

As of Wednesday morning, officials in Georgia’s 159 counties had recounted about 4,968,000 ballots, said Gabriel Sterling, an official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office.

During the recount, which began last Friday, four counties — Floyd, Fayette, Walton and Douglas — discovered votes that were not part of the original count because county memory cards did not upload to the state elections system. Floyd, Fayette and Walton Counties were all carried by Mr. Trump; Douglas County was carried by Mr. Biden.

Factoring in these newly discovered ballots cut Mr. Biden’s lead from 14,156 votes to 12,781 votes, Mr. Sterling said.

Patrick Moore, a lawyer for the Biden campaign, said Wednesday that the results would show that “the president-elect has won of the state of Georgia.”

He added: “We continue to agree with the secretary of state that there is no reason to believe that any widespread irregularity has occurred.”

The state has until Friday to certify its results. At that point, assuming that Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden finish within half a percentage point of each other (Mr. Biden leads by 0.3 percentage points), the Trump campaign can request another recount, which would be carried out with high-speed scanners.

Georgia has been at the center of an internecine postelection feud among Republicans, with the state’s two Republican senators calling on Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, to resign.

And Mr. Raffensperger said that Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who has been pushing Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread vote fraud in several states, suggested to him that he find a way to toss legally cast ballots from some counties.

An effort to block the state’s certification of the results is being waged by L. Lin Wood, Jr., the Atlanta lawyer best known for defending Richard A. Jewell, the security guard falsely accused of the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing. Mr. Wood has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming that Mr. Raffensperger overstepped his bounds by entering into a consent order that sets rules for checking signatures on absentee ballots.

In his complaint, Mr. Wood argued that the right to set the rules for a presidential election was reserved for state legislatures under the U.S. Constitution. On Tuesday, Mr. Wood filed a motion seeking an injunction to block the state’s certification.

On Wednesday, Marc Elias, a lawyer heading up a special team of lawyers for the Biden campaign, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said he expected the effort to fail.

Jonathan Kinloch, right, a Democratic member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, said he tried to persuade Monica Palmer, left, a Republican, that certifying the county’s votes was the right thing to do.
Credit…Robin Buckson/Detroit News, via Associated Press

DETROIT — Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit on Wednesday accused President Trump’s allies in Michigan’s most populous county of racism after they initially refused to certify the election results over slight discrepancies in majority-Black precincts — while ignoring similar problems in heavily white areas.

The complaint echoed accusations against Mr. Trump and his allies around the country, charging Republicans with preying on ugly racist stereotypes to cast doubt on Black voters in their last-ditch effort to overturn a legitimate election that Mr. Trump lost decisively.

Republican election board members in Wayne County, which contains Detroit and its inner suburbs, refused to certify the county’s election results in a nakedly partisan effort to hold up President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory over Mr. Trump. Hours later, they reversed themselves after an outcry from state officials and Detroit residents who accused them of trying to steal their votes.

“You could see the racism in the behavior last night,” Mr. Duggan said at a news conference on Wednesday. “American democracy cracked last night, but it didn’t break. But we are seeing a real threat to everything we believe in.”

The Rev. Wendell Anthony, the head of Detroit’s N.A.A.C.P. chapter, said the Trump campaign’s attempts to discredit the election in cities with large Black populations like Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta fit a racist pattern of stoking divisions and undermining democratic institutions.

“We are not going to let them steal the election right before our eyes,” said Mr. Anthony, who helped quickly organize a protest on Tuesday night to push the Republican board members to reverse their votes.

The two Republican members of the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, which voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Biden, are white. The Republicans, Monica Palmer and William Hartmann, said they were voting against certifying the results because precincts in the county had conflicting figures for the numbers of votes cast and the number of voters recorded as having participated, even though the disparities mostly involved small numbers of votes.

At one point, Ms. Palmer moved to “certify the results in the communities other than the city of Detroit.

The board’s initial 2-2 deadlock was among the starkest examples of how previously routine aspects of the nation’s voting system have been tainted by Mr. Trump’s monthslong effort to undermine confidence in the election.

Mr. Biden won nearly 95 percent of the vote in Detroit, which is more than three-quarters Black. The rest of Wayne County, which voted for Mr. Biden by a smaller margin, is more than three-quarters white.

The Trump administration has been criticized before for fostering anti-immigrant sentiment and ties to white nationalists.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

The White House drew criticism from a prominent Jewish group on Wednesday, a day after it appointed a speechwriter it fired for attending a gathering with white nationalists to a commission that helps preserve sites related to the Holocaust.

Darren Beattie, who was fired in 2018, was appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad for a three-year term that will last into the next administration. Mr. Beattie’s dismissal followed the revelation that two years earlier he had appeared on a panel with Peter Brimelow, the founder of the anti-immigrant site VDare, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a “hate website.”

The commission, founded in 1985, is tasked with identifying and preserving cemeteries and historic buildings in Europe, including sites used to kill primarily Jews during the Holocaust.

The Anti-Defamation League denounced Mr. Beattie’s appointment.

“It is absolutely outrageous that someone who has consorted with racists would even be considered for a position on a commission devoted to preserving Holocaust memorials in Europe,” said the group’s chief executive, Jonathan Greenblatt. “We urge the administration to rescind his appointment immediately.”

Asked for comment, Mr. Beattie said of the group: “The ADL pretends to be an organization that protects Jews, but it really exists to protect Democrats. As a Jewish Trump supporter, I consider it an honor to be attacked by the far-left ADL and its disgraced leader, Jonathan Greenblatt.” A White House spokesman declined to comment.

Mr. Beattie’s dismissal from the White House followed years of criticism that the Trump administration has fostered anti-immigrant sentiment and ties to white nationalists.

Shortly after Mr. Trump took office, the White House issued a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day that neglected to mentioned Jews. And in 2017, the president was denounced after saying there were “very fine people on both sides” after a protester was killed at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va.




Biden Pressures Trump for Access to Federal Resources

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with a group of health care workers on Wednesday, pressuring the Trump administration to authorize giving him access to federal resources to plan his coronavirus response.

One of the problems that we’re having now is the failure of the administration to recognize — the law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is. And then they have to have access to all the data and information that the government possesses to be prepared. And it doesn’t require there to be an absolute winner, it says the apparent winner, the apparent winner. And we’ve been unable to get access to the kinds of things we need to know about the depth of the stockpiles, we know there’s not much at all. And there’s a whole lot of things that are just, we just don’t have available to us, which unless it’s made available soon, we’re going to be behind by weeks or months being able to put together the whole initiative relating to the biggest promise we have with two drug companies coming along and finding 95 percent effectiveness, efficiency in the vaccines. And I’m hoping that the reason why my friends on the other side have not stepped up to do something is because of their fear of retribution from the president. And hopefully when he’s gone, they’ll be more willing to do what they know should be done — has to be done — in order to save the communities they live in.

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President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke with a group of health care workers on Wednesday, pressuring the Trump administration to authorize giving him access to federal resources to plan his coronavirus response.CreditCredit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. put new pressure Wednesday on the Trump administration to authorize a presidential transition, telling a group of workers that the head of the General Services Administration could act now to give him access to federal resources to help plan his coronavirus response.

“The law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is,” Mr. Biden said. “And then they have to have access to all the data and information that the government possesses.”

“And it doesn’t require that there be an absolute winner. It says the ‘apparent’ winner. The ‘apparent’ winner,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden asked the small group gathered on a video call, which included nurses and a firefighter, to describe their experiences dealing with the virus, and he pledged to mount a major new effort to combat the pandemic. “We’re all ready to go and do an awful lot of work right now,” Mr. Biden said.

But he said his ability to plan was restricted by the delayed transition caused by President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his victory and the refusal of Emily W. Murphy, the G.S.A. administrator, to sign the paperwork that would grant Mr. Biden’s transition team access to funds, equipment and government data.

Mr. Biden said he did not “have any budget for any of this” until he was sworn in or until Mr. Trump conceded defeat and began a transition. But he noted that he planned to work with state and local leaders on mask mandates.

Mr. Biden also complained that Senate Republicans had not agreed to the stimulus spending passed by the House earlier this year. (Senate Republicans offered their own scaled-back stimulus plan that failed to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to advance the bill.)

“I’m hoping that the reason why my friends on the other side have not stepped up to do something is because of their fear of retribution from the president,” Mr. Biden said. “And hopefully when he’s gone, they’ll be more willing to do what they know should be done — has to be done — in order to save the communities they live in.”

“This is like going to war,” Mr. Biden added about fighting the pandemic. “You need a commander in chief.”

Mr. Biden also noted that, while deprived of access to federal experts and data, he had been immersing himself in the details of the pandemic since the spring, saying that he had been getting regular briefings for months “from some of the leading docs in the country.”

The Biden transition did not provide names and precise job descriptions of the people with whom Mr. Biden spoke.

Two runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5 will determine control of the Senate.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday acknowledged the challenging political landscape he could face in Washington next year, predicting that he would run into “brick walls” in the Senate if Republicans controlled the chamber.

Mr. Biden offered the candid assessment to supporters during a private video call in which he also expressed confidence in his ability to serve as a unifying figure at a polarizing moment for the nation.

“We’re going to run into some real brick walls initially in the Senate unless we’re able to turn around Georgia and pick up those two seats, but even then it’s going to be hard,” Mr. Biden said during the call. “But I believe, I believe I know the place. I believe we can ultimately bring it together.”

The two runoff elections Jan. 5 for Georgia’s Senate seats will determine control of the chamber, which in turn will have an enormous impact on Mr. Biden’s ability to advance his agenda as president. Democrats need to win both races in order to gain control of the Senate.

In his remarks on Wednesday, during what was billed as a “coalitions thank you call,” Mr. Biden expressed gratitude to supporters for believing in his candidacy “with our very democracy on the line.”

“If we ever had to wonder whether that was hyperbole or not, everybody knows now watching how this man is responding, this president,” Mr. Biden said.

And he emphasized the need to engage with those who supported President Trump.

“I think at least half those folks who voted against us are just looking for answers,” Mr. Biden said. “They’re looking for answers. They’re not bad folks.”

Election workers in Milwaukee tabulating mail-in and absentee ballots on Election Day.
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

President Trump’s campaign said it would request a recount of votes in Wisconsin’s two largest and most Democratic counties, the latest effort to reverse the result of an election Mr. Trump lost to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The Trump campaign said it would file a petition with the Wisconsin Elections Commission to recount results in Milwaukee County and Dane County, which includes Madison and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin. The commission on Wednesday morning said in a tweet that it had received a $3 million wire transfer from the campaign but no petition.

State law requires a recount petition to be filed by 6 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday to prompt a recount.

The commission on Monday said it would cost $7.9 million to conduct a statewide recount of the presidential contest, which Mr. Biden won by 20,608 votes out of 3.2 million cast. The estimate for recounting the race in Milwaukee County was $2.04 million, and $740,808 for Dane County.

A statewide recount following the 2016 election added 131 votes to Mr. Trump’s margin of victory over Hillary Clinton.

Dane and Milwaukee counties provided Mr. Biden’s two largest margins of victory in Wisconsin. He took 76 percent of the vote in Dane and 69 percent in Milwaukee, providing him a cushion of 364,298 votes. The city of Milwaukee is also home to the state’s largest population of Black voters, though Mr. Trump’s performance there was roughly equal to how he did against Mrs. Clinton four years ago.

The recount request comes a day after Mr. Trump and his campaign cheered a brief effort by Michigan Republicans to deny certification of election results in Wayne County, which includes Detroit. After an outcry, the Wayne County result was certified late Tuesday night.

The county clerks in Dane and Milwaukee will have until Dec. 1 to complete their recounts.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs of Arizona wrote that the threats she received were “a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country.”
Credit…Bob Christie/Associated Press

The secretary of state of Arizona, Katie Hobbs, said on Wednesday that she had received threats toward her office and family as the Nov. 30 deadline for her to certify the state’s election results for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. nears.

In a letter posted on Twitter, Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat, wrote that she blamed the divisive language that has been advanced partly by President Trump as he continues to make baseless claims of fraud and refuses to concede the election.

“There are those, including the president, members of Congress and other elected officials, who are perpetuating misinformation and encouraging others to distrust the election results in a manner that violates the oath of office they took,” she wrote. “It is well past time they stop. Their words and actions have consequences.”

The Arizona Republican Party has pressured state officials to delay their certification of election results despite no evidence of legitimate questions surrounding Mr. Biden’s win.

Ms. Hobbs did not describe the type of harassment she has faced, but she said that she had been “prepared for these threats of violence and vitriol” and that “they are a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country.”

In recent days, a Twitter post of Ms. Hobbs’s from three years ago resurfaced, in which she said Mr. Trump was “more interested in pandering to his neo-nazi base than being @POTUS for all Americans.”

Mr. Trump’s supporters have shown significant anger about Arizona’s election results, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate has won the state since 1996. Many have lashed out at Fox News for calling Arizona for Mr. Biden on election night, days before many other networks.

The threats to Ms. Hobbs follow a pattern that a number of Democratic and female election officials and lawmakers have faced in recent weeks, much of it related to the election or the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Trump’s coronavirus adviser, Dr. Scott W. Atlas, posted on Twitter on Sunday that people should “rise up” and protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to put a three-week pause on indoor dining, in-person learning and other activities in Michigan. As his statement drew criticism, he wrote in a subsequent tweet that he “NEVER was talking at all about violence.”

“It actually took my breath away, to tell you the truth,” Ms. Whitmer said on MSNBC a day later, regarding Dr. Atlas’s earlier tweet, which he deleted.

The federal prison complex in Terre Haute, Ind., where three death row inmates are scheduled to be executed in the coming weeks.
Credit…Michael Conroy/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In the final weeks of President Trump’s term, his administration intends to execute three inmates on federal death row, the last scheduled executions by the Justice Department before the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has signaled he will end federal use of capital punishment.

Since July, when it resumed carrying out the death penalty after a 17-year hiatus, the Trump administration has executed seven federal inmates. Weeks before Mr. Biden is sworn in, the three inmates face the prospect of being the last federal prisoners to die by capital punishment for at least as long as Mr. Biden remains in office.

Orlando Cordia Hall, 49, convicted in the brutal death of a teenage girl, is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. Two other prisoners are to be executed in December, including Lisa M. Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row.

Mr. Biden has pledged to eliminate the death penalty. His campaign promised to work to pass legislation to end capital punishment on the federal level and incentivize states to follow suit. An aide reiterated Mr. Biden’s platform when asked how he planned to do so and did not respond to requests for comment on the scheduled executions.

The Justice Department under Mr. Trump resumed federal capital punishment this summer after a nearly two-decade informal moratorium. Before then, only three people had been executed by the federal government in the past 50 years, according to Bureau of Prisons data.

Federal executions during a transition of power are extremely unusual, according to Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. He said that presidents have generally deferred to the incoming administration.

“This is another part of the Trump legacy that’s inconsistent with American norms,” he said. “If the administration followed the normal rules of civility that have been followed throughout the history in this country, it wouldn’t be an issue. The executions wouldn’t go forward.”

The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment about the timing of the executions.




‘I’m Very Honored,’ Pelosi Says of Nomination for Another Term

Democrats nominated Representative Nancy Pelosi for another term of as speaker of the House, and she suggested it could be her last.

So I’m very honored. I’m actually, I was kind of emotional earlier because of some of the things that were said in nomination. But also listening to the other nominations as well, as to not only the vision, but the depth of commitment, the values of our caucus. So I’m thrilled. I’m excited. And I can’t wait to be elected — working with the new president of the United States, Joe Biden. By having the majority, having the gavel, holding the House and winning the White House is time, it is opportunity for us to work together with the president, and having a president is a unifying — has a unifying impact as well, especially when he’s a unifier like Joe Biden.

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Democrats nominated Representative Nancy Pelosi for another term of as speaker of the House, and she suggested it could be her last.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

House Democrats, preparing for what may be the slimmest majority in two decades, re-elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi as their leader on Wednesday by voice vote, formally nominating the California Democrat for another term as speaker, which she later suggested could be her last.

Ms. Pelosi, 80, still has to secure 218 votes on the House floor to become speaker come January. But she is on track to do so, with some of the Democrats who opposed her acquiring the gavel in 2019 now lining up behind her and others packing up their offices after losing.

At a news conference after Democrats convened virtually to pick their leaders, Ms. Pelosi said it was still her intention to abide by a commitment made in 2018 to step aside as speaker after two more terms. She left room for herself to change course, but the implication was clear that the coming term was likely to be her last after nearly two decades as Democratic leader and that she intended to help cultivate the next generation of leadership.

“If my husband is listening, don’t let me have to be more specific than that,” she teased. “We never expected to have another term now. I consider this a gift. And I can’t wait to be working with Joe Biden and preparing us for our transition into the future.”

She added, “I don’t want to undermine any leverage I may have, but I made the statement.”

Democrats also re-elected for another term Ms. Pelosi’s top deputies, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, 81, as majority leader and Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, 80, as Democratic whip.

But the caucus’s actions on Wednesday made clear they were assembling a new cohort of leaders in waiting to succeed them.

The Democrats re-affirmed Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the leading contender to succeed Ms. Pelosi, as their chairman and elevated Representative Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, a progressive, to be assistant speaker, the party’s No. 4 position, over Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island. Mr. Jeffries, 50, and Ms. Clark, 57, have a close relationship and are likely to ascend together.

“This is the moment for America to unite together and finally build a nation that fulfills our promise of justice for all,” Ms. Clark said. “We cannot settle for normal, but must instead expand the parameters of prosperity to ensure everyone has the same opportunities for success.”

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. congratulated Ms. Pelosi in a phone call on Wednesday and told her he was looking forward to working together on responding to the coronavirus and improving the economy, his office said.

Ms. Pelosi will face a unique challenge come January with little room to maneuver between the party’s feuding progressive and moderate wings as she works to deliver Mr. Biden’s agenda.

Democrats’ failure to defeat a single Republican incumbent as they lost at least eight of their own transformed what was a comfortable 232-to-197 advantage into what is likely to be Democrats’ thinnest margin since World War II. With a handful of races still to be called, Democrats will probably control around 222 seats, allowing no more than a few of their members to defect on any given vote.

“The theme, I think, of what we do next has to be about justice,” Ms. Pelosi told fellow Democrats in private remarks after the votes, according to an aide. She added that “it has to be about justice” in the economy, the justice system, the environment and health care.

Ms. Pelosi’s re-election on Wednesday came one day after Republicans chose Representative Kevin McCarthy of California to again serve as minority leader.



Here’s what really has me worried. Where are the rest of the Republicans? We have all just kind of baked into our assumptions that Donald Trump is going to put no one’s interests front and center except his own. But the Republicans who aren’t calling him out, that is dangerous. And this is not a game. People around the world, people who would do us harm are watching what’s happening. They’re watching the delay in the transition. The pandemic is raging out of control. There were nearly a million new cases in a week. And Trump is all about Trump and he is being enabled by the Republicans in the House and the Senate. And that is outrageous. And it is dangerous.

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CreditCredit…New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday urged the incoming Biden administration to use all the “tools in their toolbox” to push through Democrats’ priorities — even as the party gave up seats in the House and remains at risk of being unable to take the Senate.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris “won on the most progressive agenda that a general election candidate has ever run on in the United States of America,” the senator told DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin. She cited some down-ballot victories, calling out Florida’s vote to raise the minimum wage and Arizona’s vote to raise taxes on higher incomes to fund education.

The election, she said, “is a mandate to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to do the things we can do.” She pressed for the cancellation of student loan debt, calling it the “single biggest stimulus we could add to the economy.” Ms. Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, also urged the incoming administration to invest in child care — “because we can do it” — and to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour for employees of government contractors.

She said the pledge that Mr. Biden made to not raise taxes on those making less than $400,000 a year “makes sense.”

To achieve the Democrats’ aims, Senator Warren urged Mr. Biden to use “all of the tools — and I mean all of the tools of their administration,” which she noted included both executive orders and agency actions.

Ms. Warren, who has been floated as a potential Treasury secretary, declined to comment on whether she wants a role in the administration. However, she said she believed that “personnel is policy.”

“I think it is really important that we have people in this administration who understand the magnitude of the health crisis that we face, who understand the magnitude of the economic crisis — that is right behind that health crisis. And who have a real ambition for making the federal government work for people making it meet the moment.”

Ms. Warren indicated there might be room for Wall Street in the administration — even as a debate rages over what the limits should be on finance’s role in Democratic governance for the next four years.

“Remember, I hired people whose background was on Wall Street when I set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” she said. “The question is: What does your overall team look like? It is important to have a team that brings a lot of different perspectives.”

She also expressed concern over the transition process, as President Trump refuses to concede the election and tries to challenge the results in court.

“The Republicans who are not calling him out — that is dangerous,” she said. “This is not a game — people around the world, people who would do us harm, are watching what’s happening.”

Watch the full session:



CEOs, a lot of us can drive by the worst parts of our society, the inner cities, the South Bronx et cetera, we can drive by literally and figuratively. And we should not. We should say, and I’m gratified to see a lot of CEOs, Doug McMillon, the chair of the BRT, these CEOs, white men, are saying this is our problem too. And we are going to double down and try to be part of fixing it. I think we should.

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CreditCredit…New York Times

In this era of upheaval — from social injustices to the fraught politics to the pandemic — it’s more important than ever for business leaders to speak up, even on issues not directly related to their companies, said Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase.

“C.E.O.s are being asked to do a lot of things today that they weren’t asked to do in the past,” he told DealBook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday.

Speaking personally, Mr. Dimon added, “I’m a patriot before I’m the C.E.O. of JPMorgan.”

It is that attitude — which he said he shared with other chief executives, like Doug McMillon of Walmart — that has led corporate America to call for unity after the contentious 2020 election, to speak out on erasing the racial equality gap and to demand that political leaders help out ordinary Americans.

“If you travel out of Washington, D.C. and New York City, there is deep, deep, deep frustration” with political leaders, particularly over stimulus negotiations. When asked how he would handle the talks, in which Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked, Mr. Dimon declared, “You need to just split the baby and move on. This is childish behavior by our politicians.”

(Would he himself be interested in taking a more active role by seeking to become Treasury secretary, as some have speculated? He demurred: “I love what I do, and I have never coveted the job ever. I love my country, so I will help anyone who has that job.”)

Other issues that Mr. Dimon addressed:

  • On the racial justice protests that sprang up this year in the wake of killings of Black Americans by the police, Mr. Dimon said, “Covid and the murder of George Floyd pointed out something we already knew: That there’s been inequality in America, and the racial part is even worse.”

  • On China, Mr. Dimon said that he wouldn’t have started a trade war with Beijing, but he believed that President Trump at least “got them to the table.” Businesses, Mr. Dimon added, “can help lead the conversation” and move the relationship to a better place.

  • On the nation’s global leadership role, Mr. Dimon had a somber assessment. “We are not good at thoughtful, long-term policy,” he said. A key part of maintaining the United States’s economic strength: “If we don’t get it right, it would be bad for the world for the next 50 years.”

Watch the full session:

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign manager, has been named his deputy chief of staff.
Credit…Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. made a slew of appointments to his White House senior staff on Tuesday, selecting high-level campaign aides and longstanding supporters to join him in the West Wing when he takes office.

Mr. Biden has said he wants to build a team that “looks like America.” His appointments on Tuesday included five women and four people of color.

Here are some of the key appointees:

  • Representative Cedric L. Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana, will be a senior adviser to Mr. Biden and the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, roles that will allow him to build on his deep relationships in Congress, where he started in 2011. Mr. Richmond, who served as Mr. Biden’s national campaign co-chairman, led the Congressional Black Caucus and became one of the most influential Black voices on Capitol Hill. He is poised to become one of the highest-ranking Black officials in the Biden administration.

  • Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, who was Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, will become his deputy chief of staff. A stalwart of Democratic politics, Ms. O’Malley Dillon has never worked in the White House and is a rare new admission into Mr. Biden’s inner circle. After managing a presidential campaign remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, she is expected to be in charge of White House operations, overseeing logistics and administration.

  • Steve Ricchetti, Mr. Biden’s longtime friend, will join the administration as his counselor, a role that normally comes with relatively unrestricted access to the president. Mr. Ricchetti has been a key player in Mr. Biden’s life since joining the vice president’s staff in 2012 and is one of his most loyal advisers.

  • Mike Donilon, who was Mr. Biden’s chief strategist during the campaign, will become a senior adviser. A veteran Democratic strategist, pollster and media specialist, Mr. Donilon helped develop Mr. Biden’s central campaign theme to defeat President Trump: a fight for the soul of the nation.

  • Dana Remus, the Biden campaign’s top lawyer, will become White House counsel, where she will help guide Mr. Biden through legal fights with Republican lawmakers. Ms. Remus, a Yale-educated lawyer who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., was an early member of Mr. Biden’s third bid for the presidency.

The Biden campaign also announced that Julie Chavez Rodriguez, a former national political director for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign, will run the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Annie Tomasini, now Mr. Biden’s traveling chief of staff, will be director of Oval Office operations.

Julissa Reynoso Pantaleon, a former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, will serve as first lady Jill Biden’s chief of staff. And Anthony Bernal, who was Ms. Biden’s chief of staff on the campaign, will be her senior adviser.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has said he plans to create the most diverse cabinet in history.
Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — While President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has signaled he plans to tap a diverse team to lead his administration, diversity advocates are making clear they will be watching closely to ensure he casts a wide net to fill the 4,000 political appointees in his administration.

In a letter to Mr. Biden sent earlier this month, an advocacy group, Inclusive America, stressed the importance of putting together an administration that reflects “the evolving demographics of our nation.”

“For too long our government has drawn overwhelmingly on the talent of specific groups of people,” said the letter, signed by Mark Hanis, a former National Security Council staff member in the Obama administration who is co-founder of Inclusive America.

The group is endorsed by a number of former cabinet secretaries, generals and politicians, including Michael Hayden, a retired Air Force general who directed both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency under President George W. Bush, and Leon E. Panetta, a former California congressman who was President Barack Obama’s C.I.A. director and then secretary of defense.

Mr. Hanis said that while the Trump presidency saw a clear backtracking from the previous administration on diversity in the government, even the Obama administration was predominantly white and male.

“Back when I worked for Biden on the National Security Council in 2012, it still felt like all white-guy meetings,” he said in an interview.

The group wants Mr. Biden to sign an executive order committing to specific goals to promote diversity and inclusion in the federal work force and presidential appointments process.

As Mr. Biden rolls out his top cabinet officials in the next few weeks, he is expected to break the norm in at least one high-profile position. While every past defense secretary has been white and male, the top two candidates in the running for the position are Michele Flournoy, a former top policy official at the Pentagon in the Obama administration, and Jeh Johnson, who was Mr. Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary. Mr. Johnson is Black.

President Trump’s cabinet has been 87.5 percent white, compared to Mr. Obama’s, which was 65 percent white, according to Inclusive America. Mr. Trump’s cabinet was also 87.5 percent male, compared to Mr. Obama’s 77 percent.

Some 93 percent of the people currently running the federal government are white and 80 percent are men, according to the group.

Officials with Mr. Biden’s transition team say the president-elect is on the case. His staff, they said, includes 46 percent people of color. And of the Agency Review Team members who will be looking at how to staff Mr. Biden’s administration, more than half are women and around 40 percent represent communities that have historically been underrepresented in the federal government, including people of color, people who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. and people with disabilities.

“The president-elect and the vice president-elect are committed to building an administration that looks like America,” Cameron French, a spokesman for Mr. Biden’s transition team, said in a statement.

Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, is being urged by alumnae of her alma mater, Smith College, to recognize President-elect Biden’s victory.
Credit…Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

Graduates of Smith College, the elite women’s school in Northampton, Mass., are urging one of their own, Emily W. Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, to formally recognize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Ms. Murphy has yet to issue the letter of ascertainment needed to allow Mr. Biden’s transition team to begin the transfer of power as President Trump continues to challenge the election results over what he baselessly claims is widespread fraud.

Ms. Murphy, who graduated from Smith in 1995, worked for the Republican National Committee before law school and was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2017, goes against the modern stereotype of Smith as a hotbed of feminism and liberal politics. The school’s prominent alumnae include the feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan (though the Republican first ladies Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush were also Smith alumnae).

In a statement, a spokesperson for Smith College said that while the school did not wish to influence the professional actions of any alumna, “We hope that a peaceful transition of power takes place in alignment with the core values of democracy.”

Ms. Murphy has declined to publicly state a reason for not issuing the ascertainment letter. On Wednesday, she declined to speak to a reporter and directed inquiries to her agency’s press office. A G.S.A. spokeswoman said that the G.S.A. administrator does not pick the winner of the election and that the administrator “ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution.”

Sabrina Berent Infante, a foreign language instructor who graduated from Smith in 1996, posted messages across several Smith Facebook groups urging her fellow alums to call on Ms. Murphy to recognize the president-elect. She said she knew of more than 70 who had reached out. Ms. Infante said that Ms. Murphy’s information has been removed from Smith’s alumnae directory. It was not clear when, why, or at whose request it was removed.

One younger alumna, Becca Damante, 25, said that her Facebook feed had been flooded with posts about Ms. Murphy.

“If you’re a woman in power, you have the responsibility to be doing what’s right because there are so few women in power,” said Ms. Damante, a research associate at a public-interest law center in Washington, D.C.