WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump will hold dueling health care-related events on Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies nationwide.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will formally introduce their nominees and appointees for their health team in the afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware. The picks include California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a leading expert on virus testing, prevention and treatment, to serve as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.
Meanwhile, the White House will hold a summit in the afternoon on the Covid-19 vaccine, which the incoming administration will largely be responsible for distributing to the public.
No Biden official was invited to participate in the vaccine summit, a transition official told NBC News.
In other transition news:
- Biden and Harris will participate in a virtual meeting later in the day with civil rights leaders in Wilmington that will be closed to the press. The NAACP and other civil rights groups have been advocating for greater access and representation.
- Christopher Krebs, who was recently fired by Trump as the head of the federal government’s election cybersecurity efforts, filed a defamation lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump campaign and one of its lawyers, Joseph diGenova, who said in an interview last week that Krebs should be shot for contradicting the president’s unfounded and false election fraud claims. The complaint, obtained by NBC News, was filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland and says “fears were shared” by Krebs’ wife and several of his five young children, “including his ten-year old, who piercingly asked: ‘Daddy’s going to get executed?’ No parent should ever have to hear those words.” Krebs told the ‘TODAY’ show last week that he was considering legal action
- The president-elect is expected to announce this week that he’s chosen to nominate retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as his defense secretary, according to three people familiar with the decision. If he’s confirmed by the Senate, Austin would be the first African American to lead the Defense Department. Biden is expected to announce additional members of his Cabinet before Christmas.
- States that haven’t yet certified their votes for president or that face legal challenges are rushing to resolve any remaining disputes by Tuesday, known as safe harbor day, another step toward locking in Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Tuesday that he’s suing Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the Supreme Court alleging the states “exploited the Covid-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 general election.”
- A senior Trump administration official said on a call with reporters Monday that the purpose of the vaccine summit Tuesday is to educate Americans about the vaccine development process, to instill confidence in the public so that they know the vaccine is safe and to “congratulate the members of Operation Warp Speed, the members of the administration, the members of the scientific community, the members of the public sector, the U.S. military all coming together in, really, the most spectacular mobilization since World War II to get a vaccine to market much, much faster than has ever been done before.”
When speaking about the costs associated with the distribution of the vaccines, the official said: “No American will have to pay a penny out of his or her pocket to get vaccinated. There will be absolutely no copays, deductibles or coinsurance associated with this.”
“We feel absolutely confident we will get the vaccine doses for which we’ve contracted, and we’ll have sufficient number of doses to vaccinate all Americans who desire one before the end of the second quarter of 2021,” the official said.
Monica Alba and Mike Memoli contributed.