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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Trump fires cyber chief, blocks transition, as many Republicans say he was robbed

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Election Day may be over, but the polls are not.

As President Trump continues his legal assault on the results–and has now fired the cybersecurity chief who says the election was fair–many Republicans are rallying to his side.

To be sure, 73 percent of those questioned in a new Reuters/Ipsos survey say Joe Biden won the election, while just 5 percent say Trump won, which would seem to validate the criticism of his refusal to concede.

But when asked if Biden had “rightfully won,” 52 percent of Republicans said no. On a separate question, 68 percent of Republicans said they were concerned the election was “rigged”–Trump’s precise terminology–while only 16 percent of Democrats and a third of independents shared that concern.

TRUMP FIRES CISA DIRECTOR CHRIS KREBS

Separately, a Monmouth University poll finds that 52 percent of those surveyed are happy or satisfied about Trump’s defeat, while 38 percent are dissatisfied or angry. But here’s the telling part: 57 percent of Biden voters say they’re happy their man won, but a whopping 73 percent are happy that Trump lost.

On the legal front, the Trump team continues to suffer one setback after another. He praised as “a beautiful thing” the move by two GOP appointees in Michigan’s largest county, which includes Detroit, to refuse to certify the election results, but they caved after an enormous backlash. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court rejected, in a 5-2 ruling, the Trump claim that its poll watchers were denied meaningful access to the ballot counting. Georgia did find a few thousand votes that weren’t counted in small counties, blaming it on human error, but that merely cut Biden’s lead from 14,000 to just under 13,000.

In firing his own cyber unit chief at Homeland Security, the president made no attempt to hide the reason. “The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate,” he tweeted, “in that there were massive improprieties and fraud.” It looked like Krebs, a former Microsoft executive, had been cashiered for telling the truth. A Republican senator, Richard Burr, praised Krebs for doing a “remarkable job,” and former Bush DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called the dismissal a “badge of honor.” 

The media debate has shifted from whether Trump should be refusing to concede to the potential harm being done by the blocking of the transition. As a few more Republicans, such as Marco Rubio, say they view Biden as the president-elect, there is growing criticism of his inability to get classified briefings and Trump’s decision to slash troop levels in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Given the massive challenge of making and distributing the new Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, some cable news anchors and hosts are saying Trump will boost the death toll by not cooperating with a Biden transition. They say it’s crazy for the Biden team to be denied a running start when they confront the virus issue on Jan. 20.

A conservative media counterattack is accusing Biden and Kamala Harris of undermining confidence in vaccines with their criticism of Trump’s handling of the effort. As some Democratic officials have urged people to cancel Thanksgiving plans to avoid spreading the virus, some on the right are accusing them of trampling civil liberties. The War on Thanksgiving is the new War on Christmas.

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These things appear to me self-evident:

Trump deserves some credit for the lightning-swift vaccine effort, just as he would have gotten the blame if it had stalled.

Trump is so focused on challenging the election that he appears publicly tuned out on Covid matters, just as the death toll passes 250,000.

Allowing the Biden folks access to federal health officials, even out of an “abundance of caution,” would help the country save lives and cost him nothing politically.

Especially in a country where more than half of Republicans think he was robbed.  

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