GOP members of Inauguration Committee refuse to acknowledge Biden as president-elect

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is off to a bumpy start. Generally speaking, this committee isn’t one that creates headlines. This is 2020, though, and nothing is normal. Tuesday when the committee met, it failed to pass a resolution that named Joe Biden as the president-elect.

The committee is comprised of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and JCCIC Chairman Roy Blunt on the Republican side. The Democrats are Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Hoyer offered a motion recognizing that the group was preparing for the inauguration of Biden and Harris, as is routine, and just like that, things went south. Because of the legal actions still continuing, the Republicans on the committee voted to reject the motion. If the motion had passed, it would allow the JCCIC to announce it was preparing for the inauguration of Biden and Harris, in coordination with the Biden Presidential Inaugural Committee and public health experts.

“So, you know, I made a motion that the committee notify the American people that it is preparing for the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, and in consultation with them and health experts are doing so to protect the health of our people — those who attend or don’t attend. And that motion was defeated 3 to 3,” Hoyer told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Hoyer declined to speculate why Republicans voted against the measure.

“You’ll have to ask them, you’ll have to ask them,” Hoyer said when pressed about whether Republicans voted against the motion because it recognized Biden as president-elect.

Hoyer’s restraint in his remarks didn’t last long. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi told him to say something stronger to slam the Republicans. Hoyer said Republicans are going along with Trump’s “temper tantrums.”

“The extent to which Republicans are refusing to accept the outcome of the election and recognize Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next President and Vice President is astounding,” Hoyer said in a statement.

“Their continued deference to President Trump’s post-election temper tantrums threatens our democracy and undermines faith in our system of elections. … Republicans are refusing even to allow JCCIC to say that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will be inaugurated on January 20, even when there is no serious dispute over that fact.”

Instead of describing Trump’s legal actions as “temper tantrums”, he could have just said that Trump is pursuing these available options, as guaranteed in our constitutional republic, but no. The alleged desire of Team Biden to unite the country is going swimmingly.

Senator Blunt, chairman of the committee offered a response.

“It is not the job of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to get ahead of the electoral process and decide who we are inaugurating,” Blunt said in a statement after the meeting.

“The JCCIC is facing the challenges of planning safe inaugural ceremonies during a global pandemic. I would hope that, going forward, the members of the JCCIC would adhere to the committee’s longstanding tradition of bipartisan cooperation and focus on the task at hand,” Blunt said.

In other words, Republicans will acknowledge Biden as the president-elect when the process finishes playing out. Hoyer’s lame motion was just to own the Republicans, as he knows most Republicans are remaining silent until the court challenges are completed.

The six-member committee met in a closed-door meeting in Chuck Schumer’s office. Blunt doesn’t think the committee will meet again. He noted that when he chaired the last inauguration committee, that committee never met. The inauguration will be scaled back because of the coronavirus pandemic and public participation will be at a minimum. Members of Congress won’t have as many tickets to give to family, friends, and colleagues as they normally do.

“It’s clearly going to be quite a bit different than any inauguration in the past. Probably some costs of testing we haven’t had before. People will have masks on, would be socially distanced, wherever we are.”

Joe Biden has named five co-chairs for his inauguration committee. They are responsible for organizing the inauguration and all of them have deep ties with Biden. The lead chair of the committee is Rep. James Clyburn. That isn’t a surprise. Biden is indebted to Clyburn for his primary victory in South Carolina. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is an inaugural co-chair. She served as a Biden campaign chair. The other members of the committee are Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Cedric Richmond, and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester. They were also campaign chairs. Richmond has been named a senior advisor to Biden and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

“Kamala and I are honored and grateful to these leaders for joining our inaugural committee as co-chairs and helping to organize a safe inauguration for all Americans,” Biden said in a statement.

Members of Black Lives Matter are protesting the appointment of Garcetti to the inaugural committee. He was named to the committee about 24 hours after the Los Angeles Police Department broke up a BLM protest outside the mayor’s official residence and made arrests.

“It’s beyond disheartening that Biden would ignore the calls of Black organizers who helped elect him and appoint Garcetti to any position the very day after LAPD violently assailed protestors in front of the mayor’s mansion,” BLM LA co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah told Deadline on Monday. “We hope that this will be no more than a consolation prize and that Biden will heed the calls not to appoint one of the most problematic mayors in the nation to his cabinet.”

For the past two weeks, BLM-LA protesters have been outside the mayor’s house garnering attention to their opposition to Garcetti being nominated to any cabinet or top position in the Harris-Biden administration. His name has come up for Transportation or Commerce Secretary. They cite Garcetti’s public transportation and homelessness policies, his support for LAPD, and what they call his neglect of civic affairs for reasons of their opposition.

The Marxist wing of the Democrat Party is turning on the liberal wing of the party. Sleepy Joe has his hands full trying to please everybody and keep all the promises he made about diversity and racial unity. He’s set himself up for failure. No sympathy from me, though. The party that lives by identity politics, dies by identity politics.

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