Biden Declines Democratic Calls to Push DOJ for Probes into Trump, Says 'I Won't Do What He Does'

Democratic president-elect Joe Biden has declined calls from within his party to push the Department of Justice to investigate President Donald Trump, saying he won't use the DOJ like his Republican opponent has done in the past.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks to media.

 President-elect Joe Biden speaks with the media as he departs the Queen Theater after introducing key foreign policy and national security nominees and appointments on November 24, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.

Reports released this month indicated Biden's reluctance to press ahead with investigations into Trump during his upcoming presidency out of fear that it would divide the nation. But New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell disagreed. In a series of tweets shared earlier this month, the lawmaker called for an investigation of the entire Trump administration after Biden's inauguration.

Biden on Tuesday night said he would not push the DOJ to go forward with investigations against Trump after he leaves office.

"I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen," the Democrat said. "There are a number of investigations that I've read about that are at a state level. There's nothing at all I can or cannot do about that."

On November 17, Pascrell demanded that Trump and his inner circle be "tried for their crimes against our nation and Constitution and insisted that the president had engaged in "treason." When he leaves office, Trump will lose his immunity from federal criminal indictments guaranteed to sitting presidents under DOJ policy.

"In 2021 the entire Trump regime must be fully investigated by the Dept of Justice and other relevant offices," Pascrell tweeted. "Any further pardon abuse would itself be obstruction of justice and any self-pardons illegal."

Pascrell accused Trump and his administration of having committed "innumerable crimes," including endangering national security, ripping families apart, profiting from office and attempting to "throttle democracy."

"He's engaged in treachery, in treason. If he had a shred of dignity he'd resign today," the lawmaker added. "Failure to hold financial & political wrongdoing accountable has invited greater malfeasance by bad actors. A repeat of those failures in 2021 further emboldens crimes by our leaders & continues America down a path of lawlessness and authoritarianism. There must be accountability."

Democrats had previously accused Trump of using the role as president for his own personal gain, but Pascrell's comments marked one of the strongest from within the party in support of a Democratic-led probe into the Republican's administration under a Biden presidency.

During the Democratic presidential primaries, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said that her DOJ would likely pursue obstruction of justice charges against Trump if she was elected. Since Election Day, Harris has echoed Biden's view that department officials should make the decision "without any interference from the Whitehouse".



NYC's first African American mayor, David Dinkins, has died

In this Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1989, file photo, Democratic candidate David Dinkins and his wife, Joyce, give thumbs-up to supporters after he won the mayoral race in New York. Dinkins, New York City's first African-American mayor, died Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. He was 93.

David Dinkins, who broke barriers as New York City’s first African American mayor, but was doomed to a single term by a soaring murder rate, stubborn unemployment and his mishandling of a riot in Brooklyn, has died. He was 93.

Dinkins died Monday, the New York City Police Department confirmed. The department said officers were called to the former mayor’s home in the evening. Initial indications were that he died of natural causes.

Dinkins' death came just weeks after the death of his wife, Joyce, who died in October at the age of 89.

Dinkins, a calm and courtly figure with a penchant for tennis and formal wear, was a dramatic shift from both his predecessor, Ed Koch, and his successor, Rudolph Giuliani — two combative and often abrasive politicians in a city with a world-class reputation for impatience and rudeness.

In his inaugural address, he spoke lovingly of New York as a “gorgeous mosaic of race and religious faith, of national origin and sexual orientation, of individuals whose families arrived yesterday and generations ago, coming through Ellis Island or Kennedy Airport or on buses bound for the Port Authority.”

But the city he inherited had an ugly side, too.

AIDS, guns and crack cocaine killed thousands of people each year. Unemployment soared. Homelessness was rampant. The city faced a $1.5 billion budget deficit.

Dinkins’ low-key, considered approach quickly came to be perceived as a flaw. Critics said he was too soft and too slow.

“Dave, Do Something!” screamed one New York Post headline in 1990, Dinkins’ first year in office.

Dinkins did a lot at City Hall. He raised taxes to hire thousands of police officers. He spent billions of dollars revitalizing neglected housing. His administration got the Walt Disney Corp. to invest in the cleanup of then-seedy Times Square.

In recent years, he’s gotten more credit for those accomplishments, credit that Mayor Bill de Blasio said he should have always had. De Blasio, who worked in Dinkins’ administration, named Manhattan’s Municipal Building after the former mayor in October 2015.

“The example Mayor David Dinkins set for all of us shines brighter than the most powerful lighthouse imaginable,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James, who herself shattered barriers as the state's first Black woman elected to statewide office.

“I was honored to have him hold the bible at my inaugurations because I, and others, stand on his shoulders,” she said.

Results from his accomplishments, however, didn’t come fast enough to earn Dinkins a second term.

After beating Giuliani by only 47,000 votes out of 1.75 million cast in 1989, Dinkins lost a rematch by roughly the same margin in 1993.

Giuliani, now President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, tweeted his condolences to Dinkins' family. “He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City,” the former mayor said. “That service is respected and honored by all.”

Political historians often trace the defeat to Dinkins’ handling of the Crown Heights riot in Brooklyn in 1991.

The violence began after a Black 7-year-old boy was accidentally killed by a car in the motorcade of an Orthodox Jewish religious leader. During the three days of anti-Jewish rioting by young Black men that followed, a rabbinical student was fatally stabbed. Nearly 190 people were hurt.

A state report issued in 1993, an election year, cleared Dinkins of the persistently repeated charge that he intentionally held back police in the first days of the violence, but criticized him for not stepping up as a leader.

In a 2013 memoir, Dinkins accused the police department of letting the disturbance get out of hand, and also took a share of the blame, on the grounds that “the buck stopped with me.” But he bitterly blamed his election defeat on prejudice: “I think it was just racism, pure and simple.”

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 10, 1927, Dinkins moved with his mother to Harlem when his parents divorced, but returned to his hometown to attend high school. There, he learned an early lesson in discrimination: Blacks were not allowed to use the school swimming pool.

During a hitch in the Marine Corps as a young man, a Southern bus driver barred him from boarding a segregated bus because the section for Blacks was filled.

“And I was in my country’s uniform!” Dinkins recounted years later.

While attending Howard University, the historically black university in Washington, D.C., Dinkins said he gained admission to segregated movie theaters by wearing a turban and faking a foreign accent.

Back in New York with a degree in mathematics, Dinkins married his college sweetheart, Joyce Burrows, in 1953. His father-in-law, a power in local Democratic politics, channeled Dinkins into a Harlem political club. Dinkins paid his dues as a Democratic functionary while earning a law degree from Brooklyn Law School, and then went into private practice.

He got elected to the state Assembly in 1965, became the first Black president of the city’s Board of Elections in 1972 and went on to serve as Manhattan borough president.

Dinkins’ election as mayor in 1989 came after two racially charged cases that took place under Koch: the rape of a white jogger in Central Park and the bias murder of a Black teenager in Bensonhurst.

Dinkins defeated Koch, 50 percent to 42 percent, in the Democratic primary. But in a city where party registration was 5-to-1 Democratic, Dinkins barely scraped by the Republican Giuliani in the general election, capturing only 30 percent of the white vote.

His administration had one early high note: Newly freed Nelson Mandela made New York City his first stop in the U.S. in 1990. Dinkins had been a longtime, outspoken critic of apartheid in South Africa.

In that same year, though, Dinkins was criticized for his handling of a Black-led boycott of Korean-operated grocery stores in Brooklyn. Critics contended Dinkins waited too long to intervene. He ultimately ended up crossing the boycott line to shop at the stores — but only after Koch did.

During Dinkins’ tenure, the city’s finances were in rough shape because of a recession that cost New York 357,000 private-sector jobs in his first three years in office.

Meanwhile, the city’s murder toll soared to an all-time high, with a record 2,245 homicides during his first year as mayor. There were 8,340 New Yorkers killed during the Dinkins administration — the bloodiest four-year stretch since the New York Police Department began keeping statistics in 1963.

In the last years of his administration, record-high homicides began a decline that continued for decades. In the first year of the Giuliani administration, murders fell from 1,946 to 1,561.

One of Dinkins’ last acts in 1993 was to sign an agreement with the United States Tennis Association that gave the organization a 99-year lease on city land in Queens in return for building a tennis complex. That deal guaranteed that the U.S. Open would remain in New York City for decades.

After leaving office, Dinkins was a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

He had a pacemaker inserted in August 2008, and underwent an emergency appendectomy in October 2007. He also was hospitalized in March 1992 for a bacterial infection that stemmed from an abscess on the wall of his large intestine. He was treated with antibiotics and recovered in a week.

Dinkins is survived by his son, David Jr. .Donna and two grandchildren.




Trump Skips Pandemic Session At G-20 Summit, Heads To Golf Club

Trump drives a golf cart at Trump National Golf Club on Saturday.

Donald Trump attended the summit’s opening session but headed for the links rather than listen to world leaders discuss COVID-19.

President Donald Trump participated in the opening session of this year’s virtual Group of 20 summit on Saturday but did not attend a side event dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump instead left for the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, while that session was underway, CNN, The New York Times and Mother Jones reported.

The G-20 summit, an annual forum of leaders from 19 countries and the European Union, was initially slated to take place this year in Saudi Arabia but became a virtual event because of the ongoing pandemic.

Trump attended the opening session Saturday morning, during which he touted the United States economy and military and told world leaders he looked forward to working with them “for a long time,” The Guardian reported. He also tweeted multiple times during the session, alleging voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Trump left the summit not long after he finished speaking, according to Bloomberg News. Other unnamed leaders also left after delivering their own speeches, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed officials. Coming and going from the long G-20 summit is standard practice, Bloomberg reported, adding that Trump stayed for at least the first hour.

Following the opening session, the summit hosted an event on pandemic preparedness and response, which was largely made up of prerecorded speeches, according to The Guardian. Trump had already left for the golf club when that session kicked off.

The event included remarks from Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South Korean President Moon Jae-In, among others.

More than 11.7 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The United States saw 195,000 new reported infections Friday, a record for new cases in a single day. Health experts said cases are likely to surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, and hospitals around the nation braced for onslaughts of new coronavirus patients.

Trump is expected to participate in the second day of the G-20 summit Sunday.



Science Will Save Us From COVID-19, But First We Have To Save Ourselves

Close Up Portrait Of Young Black Woman Wearing Face Medical Mask To Prevent Coronavirus Infection  stock photo

Without political leadership, it’s up to everyday Americans to do what it takes to get the pandemic under control

The most hopeful pandemic news in a long time came last week when Pfizer announced that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be 90% effective at preventing infection.

The vaccine still needs further testing and outside review, in part to be more certain about safety. Still, the prevailing assumption has been that a COVID-19 vaccine would be a lot like the flu shot, which in most years is effective around half the time. If Pfizer’s vaccine and similar ones in development come even close to hitting 90%, the U.S. could be months away from getting the pandemic under control.

But months away is still … months away. And right now the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. is as bleak as it’s been since the pandemic’s start. The case total is above 10 million. The death tally is approaching 250,000. And both numbers are climbing at an accelerating rate ― just as cold weather is pushing people indoors, where the virus spreads most efficiently, and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday promises both more travel and large indoor gatherings.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem boasted at August's Republican National Convention about her defiance of "an elite class o
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem boasted at August’s Republican National Convention about her defiance of “an elite class of so-called experts.” South Dakota’s per capita COVID-19 death rate is now among the highest in the nation.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We know a lot more about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 than we did in the spring, just as we know a lot more about how to treat those who have it. And the two go hand in hand. The health care system can save many more people as long as it has the time and the resources, which depend on containing the spread so providers don’t become overwhelmed.

But knowledge alone is not enough. Containing COVID-19 requires both collective will and political leadership, neither of which is in great supply right now ― the former because the entire country is so understandably tired of living this way, the latter because Donald Trump will still be president until Jan. 20, and many of his allies will remain in power afterward. 

The Upper Midwest Is Now The Nation’s Worst Hot Spot

The part of the country hardest hit right now is the Upper Midwest, where several governors have resisted taking the kind of aggressive public health action their counterparts in other parts of the country did.

Two Republican governors stand out in this regard. From the earliest stages of the pandemic, Govs. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Kim Reynolds of Iowa ignored calls to require masks or to limit public activity more strictly on the grounds that their states’ wide open spaces and spirit of rugged individualism dictated a different approach.

“South Dakota is not New York City,” Noem said in April. 

The bit about the virus not spreading in airy, wide open spaces at least had some scientific plausibility to it. And if every single person in Iowa and South Dakota were doing nothing all day but driving tractors, fishing or skipping across the prairie, then stricter rules truly wouldn’t have made sense. But even in the Great Plains, people gather indoors sometimes ― at churches and on college campuses, not to mention in meatpacking plants and prisons

And then there was the motorcycle rally in SturgisSouth Dakota, which drew nearly half a million bikers from across the country in August. The bikers spent a lot of time outdoors, where perhaps the risk was low. They also spent a lot of time packed into bars, where the risk was almost certainly high. Mask wearing was sporadic. Experts agreed that the event likely led to thousands of cases, if not tens or even hundreds of thousands, as bikers returned home. 

This really is the worst it’s been in our hospitals.Dan Diekema, infectious disease division at the University of Iowa

South Dakota’s big surge started shortly after the rally, whether it was because of Sturgis or some other combination of factors. But Noem, who had used her August speech at the Republican National Convention to brag about her state’s defiance of public health experts, insisted the numbers were misleading even as the numbers climbed. “We’re doing really good,” she said, citing among other things the state’s low rates of hospitalization and death. 

Epidemiologists predicted it was only a matter of time before hospitalizations and deaths spiked, too. They were right. The state’s current death rate, 165 per 100,000 residents, is among the highest in the country. On Saturday, the state reported 53 new deaths, a new record. The test positivity rate is sitting at an eye-popping 60%, which could mean there’s even more spread in the community, while hospital administrators are struggling to find staffed beds for new patients. 

In Iowa, Reynolds spurned calls ― including some from the White House’s own coronavirus task force ― to limit indoor bar and restaurant service more aggressively. In the last few days, Reynolds has relented a bit by issuing a limited mask order and urging residents to be vigilant by social distancing and avoiding activities that seem risky. But the mask order applies only to large gatherings and businesses such as barbershops.

“You can still go to a movie and work out at the gym — and in many states you can’t do that,” Reynolds said in announcing the new measures. “Iowa is open for business, and we intend to keep it that way.” 

Meanwhile, the state’s health care infrastructure is buckling, much as South Dakota’s is. “This really is the worst it’s been in our hospitals,” Daniel Diekema, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Iowa, told HuffPost this week. 

The main shortage right now isn’t rooms or equipment, Diekema said. It’s personnel, because many workers end up sick or in quarantine ― frequently because of the inevitable exposures outside the hospital, where they are in the community.

Hospitals can adjust by reducing non-COVID-19, non-essential procedures and bringing in personnel from different specialties or out of retirement. But, Diekema said, rural hospitals were already struggling financially and might not survive without the revenue from elective procedures ― many of which, such as biopsies for possible cancer, are not really that elective and could lead to serious health consequences if delayed. Retired health care workers are usually older, putting them at greater risk for severe COVID-19 complications, while workers shifted from other departments don’t have the same level of specialized experience. 

If it sounds a lot like the dire situation that some cities faced when the pandemic first hit, Diekema said, that’s because his state and those around him are approaching that point with no immediate relief in sight.  

“It could get to the point where the health system is just overwhelmed, similar to what was happening in Italy or New York City, where you’re running out of protective gear again, having to ration care, keeping people home or sending them home even though they should be in the hospital,” he said. “It could definitely get that bad.”

Public Gatherings Are Spreading The Disease Everywhere

It could get that bad in other places, too. Pretty much every state now has rising COVID-19 cases, and many have desperate front-line workers sounding alarms as they confront a mentally and physically draining onslaught of patients 

Geographic spread from the Midwest is part of the story here. In Michigan, a state that had the outbreak mostly under control during the summer and early fall, the third wave started with the virus coming across the Wisconsin border to the Upper Peninsula and from Indiana into the state’s southwest corner. 

But regional spread alone doesn’t explain what’s happening in Michigan or other states now seeing more COVID-19. A gradual loosening of guidelines and a growing ambivalence about social distancing among individuals are also big factors, sparking new outbreaks in areas where COVID-19 had receded but not disappeared altogether. 

“We most definitely had an uptick in the Upper Peninsula that was directly related to travel to Wisconsin or people who work in one state and live in the other,” said Emily Martin, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan. “However, what we are seeing now is not so much a spread pattern as it is a breakdown in prevention happening in multiple areas of the state at once. ... The reality is that Michigan, and the west side of Michigan especially, never got close enough to containment over the summer, and so every region still had enough embers around to restart a fire as soon as behavior changed.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) and President Donald Trump have both resisted calls for more aggressive public health efforts. Iow
Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa) and President Donald Trump have both resisted calls for more aggressive public health efforts. Iowa, like South Dakota, is now one of the worst hot spots in the country.

Maybe the most vivid example of how public gatherings seed outbreaks is the now-infamous superspreader event in Maine, whose record at controlling the virus was otherwise as good as any state’s. 

The event was a wedding attended by 55 people at an inn in Millinocket, a previously COVID-19-free town of about 5,000 people. The wedding party and guests, many of whom came from out of state, got tested before attending and took temperature checks on the day of the event. But the room was slightly overcapacity, and, according to a subsequent investigation by state health inspectors, many guests “did not comply” with a posted requirement to wear masks.

A few days later, a local resident who attended as a guest developed COVID-19 symptoms. It’s not clear how this “index patient” got it, but soon several other people at the wedding also got sick, including inn staff members. They in turn spread it to the community, infecting, among others, a worker at a local long-term care facility, who then infected some patients. 

Over the span of 38 days, 176 people became ill, and seven died. None of the seven had been at the wedding. 

National Leadership Continues To Fail

Among the other superspreader events in the news lately were those involving Trump, starting with the late September Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett and followed more recently by the election-night soiree at the White House. Administration officials keep getting sick, as Trump himself did a month ago. This week brought news that at least 30 members of his personal protection detail in the Secret Service tested positive as well. 

None of this has affected the administration’s outlook, which is (notwithstanding official denials) to embrace a “herd immunity” strategy of letting the virus run rampant while supposedly protecting the elderly and the vulnerable. By now, the flaws of this strategy are well known: Isolating and protecting the vulnerable isn’t really feasible, since community spread inevitably gets into long-term care facilities, and a huge number of vulnerable people are younger and not in such facilities anyway.

Nor can the economy survive when the virus runs rampant because, with or without official restrictions, most people aren’t going to shop and socialize at normal levels when they are afraid of a deadly illness. The best proof of this comes from Sweden, which tried a version of this strategy. Its economy didn’t perform markedly better than that of other nations. But it did have a high number of deaths, especially relative to its immediate neighbors in Scandinavia

We know what’s coming the next few weeks. But how long it continues and how bad it gets, that really depends on our actions today.Nahid Bhadelia, Boston Medical Center Special Pathogens Unit

Europe has its own surge now, which is a reminder that attentive leadership is a necessary condition for containing the virus but not a sufficient one. Experts there put much of the blame on everyday Europeans who, feeling the same sort of fatigue as everyday Americans, flouted social distancing rules during August vacations. But rates remain dramatically lower in countries such as Germany, which throughout the pandemic has been among those successful both at containing the virus and supporting its citizens during the inevitable economic slowdown.

This was actually the part of the pandemic response that the U.S. handled reasonably well for much of 2020. A series of relief measures — most important among them the CARES Act — propped up businesses and individuals, especially low-income people

But that money has run out, and Congress hasn’t found its way to agreement on a renewal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants a major package that, among other things, will help financially depleted local and state governments. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insists a relatively small bill is enough, given that the economy has held up reasonably well so far.

It’s Not Too Late To Avoid the Worst For The Winter

It’s true that the economy has not deteriorated as much as experts once predicted. But more than 20 million Americans remain out of work; extra benefits are expiring; and the new spike in the virus is sure to deter economic growth as the majority of people, scared of contracting or spreading the virus, reduce their activity. (Some kind of rescue for bars and restaurants in particular could save those businesses and help save lives, too, by making it easier for those venues to scale down operations until it is safe to serve people indoors again.)

How much economic assistance the country needs and for how long will ultimately depend on the duration of the pandemic ― which, in turn, depends not only on whether the vaccines really work but also on whether they can get to the population quickly and efficiently.

That is no small thing. The Pfizer vaccine, for example, requires two doses and storage in subfreezing conditions because it is sensitive to heat. Smaller rural hospitals will have trouble getting the equipment to handle the vaccine, and there are reports that dry ice, which is necessary for shipment, is in short supply.

The Trump administration said that it has distribution under control and that 20 million doses could be administered before the end of the year, which is a perfectly reasonable boast — except that Trump administration boasts along those lines almost never turn out to be true.

There’s good reason to think the Biden administration will be better prepared, starting with this week’s announcement that the White House chief of staff will be Ronald Klain, whose long resume of highly relevant experience includes coordinating President Barack Obama’s Ebola response, an effort considered now to be a model. Other advisers include Ezekiel Emanuel, also an Obama administration veteran, who over the summer co-wrote a paper with Topher Spiro of the Center for American Progress with a detailed plan for managing vaccine production and distribution.

That report included some detailed benchmarks to hit, such as securing an adequate supply of vials and plungers and getting enough freezers for the vaccine. At this point it’s impossible to know whether the Trump administration has met such goals: It is not sharing information that it is supposed to during the presidential transition because Trump still won’t allow that to happen.

So for the next two months, the crisis response from Washington may amount to nothing ― or worse than nothing, which is what happened last week when congressional leaders from both parties inexplicably decided to host indoor dinners for incoming members of Congress. At a time when public health experts beg families to stay home and avoid large gatherings over the holidays, the Republican and Democratic leaders of Congress apparently decided it would be a fine time to have some. (Democrats subsequently canceled their dinner; it’s not clear whether Republicans did.)

The mixed messaging couldn’t come at a worse time. Hospitalizations and deaths are sure to increase over the next month because they lag a few weeks behind the infection rate. But things could improve afterward if the public takes the COVID-19 threat seriously and the infection rate falls. 

“That’s why you’re hearing desperation in the voices of so many of us,” Nahid Bhadelia, medical director at the Boston Medical Center Special Pathogens Unit, told HuffPost. “We know what’s coming the next few weeks. But how long it continues and how bad it gets, that really depends on our actions today.”

Some officials are paying attention. On Sunday, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a wave of new restrictions, following the lead of Democratic governors in New Mexico and Oregon. But there’s only so much they can do without federal help.

That help may come on Jan. 20. And eventually, science will stop this plague. But until those things happen, Americans may have to save themselves



Black Americans Largely Rebuked Trump’s Overtures, Helped Lift Biden

President sought to win more Black support by highlighting economy, policy gains

Black Americans overwhelmingly backed President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election, largely rejecting years of effort from President Trump to peel away support from one of the Democrats’ most crucial voting blocs.

Nationally, Mr. Trump earned slightly more support from Black voters compared with 2016, according to a comparison of this year’s AP VoteCast survey to the Pew Research Center’s validated voter survey in 2016. He carried 8% of Black voters this year, compared with 6% four years ago.

Black voters this year sided with Joe Biden 90% to 8%, according to the AP VoteCast survey of more than 110,000 voters conducted Oct. 28 through the evening of Nov. 3. In Saturday’s victory speech, Mr. Biden nodded to that support, in particular to those in South Carolina who revived his candidacy during the primary. “Especially in those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African-American community stood up again for me,” Mr. Biden said. “You’ve always had my back, and I’ll have yours.”

Mr. Trump did better with Black men than with Black women: 12% of Black men in the survey voted for Mr. Trump, while 6% of Black women did so. Because of differences in the survey, including a smaller sample size in the Pew 2016 data, the 2020 figures by gender can’t be compared with those from four years ago. But there is typically a gender gap within the demographic, and Democrats for months had tried to shore up support with Black men specifically.

In appealing to Black voters, President Trump emphasized economic gains made by many Black Americans during his administration.


Republicans have said Mr. Trump deserves credit for making extensive appeals to Black Americans, even if it didn’t result in widespread support. “You’re not going to change anybody overnight, but you’ve got to go where you’re not invited,” said Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) in a recent interview ahead of the election.

Results in some of the nation’s cities, typically Democratic strongholds where Black voters make up a significant chunk of the electorate, suggest a mixed outcome from Mr. Trump’s attempts to make inroads.

In Detroit, home to a majority-Black population, Mr. Biden easily beat Mr. Trump in the city but earned slightly fewer votes than Hillary Clinton did four years ago despite increased turnout. The new votes went to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump increased his share of the vote by about 2 percentage points, while receiving 12,654 votes out of 250,138 cast in the city. The gain wasn’t enough to overcome Mr. Biden’s winning more votes than Mrs. Clinton in some of Detroit’s suburbs.

However, Black voters in Milwaukee may have helped put the former vice president over the top in Wisconsin. Mr. Trump held a lead in Wisconsin until a tranche of about 170,000 votes from Milwaukee helped lift Mr. Biden to a 20,000-vote victory. Blacks make up about 38% of the population of the city.

Joe Biden Wins 2020 Presidential Election; Watch His Road to Victory
Joe Biden Wins 2020 Presidential Election; Watch His Road to Victory
Joe Biden, on his third run for the presidency, defeated President Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports. WSJ’s Jason Bellini reports on his path to victory. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Press Pool

“We have a lot of power in this state if we come out and vote,” said Charles Johnson, a 67-year-old retired machinist and lifelong Democrat, who supported Mr. Biden. “People complain, I tell them don’t complain, use your vote.”

Mr. Trump hasn’t conceded the race to Mr. Biden, and he has taken legal actions across some battleground states. His campaign, assessing the results, took pride in his improvement in some cities.

“This president won the highest share of nonwhite voters of any Republican since 1960—mission accomplished,” said Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump and one of his most prominent Black surrogates.

Black voters this year sided with Joe Biden 90% to 8%, according to the AP VoteCast survey.


Heading into Election Day, the Trump campaign expected the president to do better than he did in 2016 with Black male voters, according to a person briefed on the conversations.

Speaking in Minnesota four days from Election Day, Mr. Trump contrasted his support for the First Step Act, a criminal-justice overhaul package, to Mr. Biden’s support of the 1994 crime bill, which resulted in higher Black incarceration rates.

Mr. Trump predicted his record would help him peel away a significant share of the Black electorate. He highlighted efforts by his administration to help Black families, such as new tax incentives for investments in low-income neighborhoods; the bipartisan First Step Act he signed into law, under which thousands of federal inmates have qualified for release; and millions of dollars in new funding he has signed into law for historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. He also cited economic gains, including the lowest unemployment rate for Black Americans on record.


How can Republicans expand their reach to Black Americans in future elections? Join the conversation below.

Mr. Trump, however, damaged his reputation among many Black Americans with his rhetoric around race, according to interviews with voters. In his first debate against Mr. Biden, he deflected when asked to condemn white supremacists.

During the summer’s racial-justice protests, Mr. Trump lamented the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, but he also called some demonstrators thugs. He has also described Black Lives Matter as “such a racist term. It’s a term that sows division between Blacks and whites and everybody else.”

While President Trump stressed some policy and economic gains for Black Americans, many Black voters said the president’s rhetoric on race turned them off.

Michael Steele, the former Republican National Committee chairman, said Mr. Trump’s outreach to Black Americans didn’t pay off because the president lacked an “appreciation for the ongoing difficulties and struggles.”

“You cannot get past the pain with a policy prescription. It doesn’t work like that,” said Mr. Steele, who still considers himself a Republican but backed Mr. Biden and advised the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group. “You can fund my HBCUs—thank you for the money—but if you still think my grandfather came from a shithole country, that’s going to hurt more. I’m not going to turn a blind eye to that.”

DeAndre Carter of East Lansing, Mich., who attended a Democratic rally in Detroit in the run up to the election, said that he noticed Mr. Trump’s policies on criminal justice reform and HBCU funding. But, he said, “I don’t think a candidate has to have a 100% negative impact to be a bad candidate,” citing Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on race as insurmountable in terms of earning his support in the election. “You have to look at it all.”



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