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Here's the evidence that suggests the White House knew of Trump's illness before debate — but deliberately hid it

Even after rattling off various positive measures of Donald Trump's health in various press conferences, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley has been adamant about not answering one of the most vital questions facing those exposed to Trump in recent days: When was the last time testing showed Trump was not carrying the pandemic virus that would send him to the hospital only a day after the White House admitted he was sick?

That's important, because it would allow those who came into contact with Trump during last Tuesday's presidential debate to know whether they spent 90 minutes in an enclosed space with a COVID-19 carrier shouting at them for most of that time—one of the precise scenarios that experts warn is most likely to result in pandemic spread.

It's also important because all evidence so far points to the White House knowing of Trump's illness at least as of Monday, before the debate. And it's important because the pattern of infections coming out of the White House do not appear to correlate with people who attended the Rose Garden celebration the previous weekend. They appear to more closely correlate with people known to have spent significant amounts of time in proximity to Donald Trump himself.

On Monday, we were treated to a rare sight at the White House: An outdoor press briefing in which Trump spoke at a podium alone, while all other speakers at the pandemic-related briefing used a podium set up on a separate platform well-distanced from Trump's own.

Tuesday's debate featured another unusual sight: Melania Trump alone, among the Trump family, followed debate venue rules and kept her mask on during the full event—only removing it when approaching Donald at his podium for the usual post-debate family visuals. But the Trump family arrived at the debate venue too late to be given COVID-19 tests at the venue, debate moderator Chris Wallace said afterward. "There was an honor system when it came to people that came into the hall from the two campaigns."

There are reasons to believe the White House is lying about the outbreak timeline, and it is absolutely certain that they are hiding key elements of that timeline, as White House doctor Conley did yet again on Monday. The first known illnesses from the White House outbreak are, for the most part, those immediately surrounding Trump himself.

• White House adviser Hope Hicks and assistant Nicholas Luna

• First lady Melania Trump

• Trump's debate prep team member Chris Christie and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien

• White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two assistant press secretaries

But what of the multiple Rose Garden guests who tested positive after the Saturday celebration held for Amy Coney Barrett, including Sen. Thom Tillis, Sen. Mike Lee, pastor Greg Laurie, Notre Dame president John Jenkins, and Kellyanne Conway?

All of them were seen in close proximity to Trump in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, during an indoors reception for Barrett that featured a much smaller group of people. Infections during the Rose Garden event were not, as far as we know, spread evenly throughout the outside crowd. They have appeared predominantly among the most important guests, the ones allowed to sit and the first few rows—and who were invited inside for a more personal meet-and-greet hosted by Trump.

The evidence, then, is that Trump himself may have been the source of infection for most of the COVID-19 cases in his orbit. Whether he was or wasn't, the outbreak was in full swing as of Saturday, during the Diplomatic Room event.

The White House, however, is flatly refusing to tell the public, the Biden campaign, the debate staff and others Trump met with when Trump, who is allegedly as president tested daily or near-daily, was last known to be free of the virus. They either don't know—because they haven't been doing the testing—or they're hiding it because they have a reason to hide it. The White House has also announced that it will not be doing contact tracing of Rose Garden guests, nor will they allow the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to launch that effort itself.

They are quite insistent on not finding out either the true extent of the White House outbreak, or revealing its origins.

It's reasonable to question whether the White House knew Trump was infected, or suspected it, at least as of Monday, when Trump's press event was set up to have the unusual dual-podium arrangement. It's reasonable to question whether the Trump campaign avoided testing at the venue not out of lateness, but because they did not want testing to be done. It's not just reasonable to assume Trump, a malevolent narcissist, would willingly expose others to his illness for momentary gain: It's proven, both from Trump's pointless but self-celebrating joyride around Walter Reed, unnecessarily putting Secret Service agents in an airtight container with him at the likely height of his own contagiousness, and his immediate removal of his mask upon returning to the White House.

There are very good reasons to suspect that the White House knew or believed Trump to be infected with COVID-19 before the debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took place, and that the White House covered up his infection to allow the debate to go forward. It is possible that, had Trump not become so physically ill two days afterward as to require public acknowledgement, then hospitalization, the White House intended to hide Trump's infection from the public completely.

This would be unconscionable behavior by itself, but exposing a rival presidential candidate to a deadly disease on purpose brings it past unconscionable and into the realm of the unthinkable. But here we are.

This is not an idle, fringe supposition. Senate Democratic leaders are themselves demanding that the White House explain their secrecy around Trump's initial diagnosis, accusing the White House (correctly) of "deliberately" hiding this information. The press is focusing in on this question as well. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that this White House would cover up a presidential illness even if it caused the possible death of others, and even if it exposed Trump's immediate campaign rival to the same disease. On the contrary, it is the most plausible theory we have as to why the White House is refusing to clarify the timeline of Trump's illness.

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley is explicitly hiding this information—and endangering lives. This is not tenable. If the press cannot scrape an answer from him, Vice President Biden's Secret Service detail might need to go question him directly.

'Defeated, disgraced and twice impeached': Conservative perfectly sums up Trump's downfall

During former President Donald Trump's four years in the White House, conservative pundit Charlies Sykes was among his most consistently outspoken critics on the right. Sykes bluntly expressed his views on the end of Trump's presidency in an Inauguration Day column for the conservative website The Bulwark, declaring, "Goodbye and good riddance."

Sykes' column was published not long before Trump departed the White House, Joe Biden was sworn in as president and former Sen. Kamala Harris became the United States' first female vice president and its first Black vice president. Sykes, who was glad to see Biden defeat Trump in 2020, noted some of the ways in which Trump's presidency came to a terrible conclusion.

"This is it," Sykes wrote. "Trump's presidency ends at noon today, and he leaves defeated, disgraced and twice impeached. Let the pariah ex-presidency begin."

Trump, according to Sykes, did nothing to redeem himself during his final weeks in office. January 6, Sykes wrote, will be remembered for pro-Trump insurrectionists violently storming the U.S. Capitol Building. And Trump, Sykes pointed out, decided to leave the White House "in the swampiest way possible" by pardoning former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon — who was facing criminal fraud charges — on Tuesday.

Sykes included some biting humor in his column, noting that while President Bill Clinton "was ushered into office" by poet Maya Angelou in January 1993 and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used the pop standard "Happy Days Are Here Again" for his 1932 campaign, a poem that should be associated with Trump is "The Snake."

Trump used the poem as a racist attack on immigrants, sending the message that they were inherently untrustworthy and dangerous. But the poem also always seemed to have a double-meaning as a warning about his own character.

And for Trump, who is not known for an interest in literature or the arts, the poem is all the more fitting.

"It's probably the only poem he knows by heart," Sykes wrote.

'It’s shocking': Biden transition team fears Trump officials hid the most 'toxic' damage they’ll encounter

President-elect Joe Biden's transition team is worried that President Donald Trump's administration hid the worst damage they'll encounter in government agencies after taking over on Inauguration Day.

Biden's team expected to encounter hollowed-out and mismanaged agencies, but transition officials are increasingly concerned that Trump's team only showed them "the tip of the iceberg" that's lurking within the executive branch, reported Politico.

"Even as late as now, they're not conveying information," said one person close to Biden's transition. "Data about where vaccines are, their distributional analyses, data they haven't released publicly about COVID cases. It's shocking. I don't remember this happening from Clinton to Bush, from Bush to Obama, or from Obama to Trump."

The lack of cooperation from many Trump officials was "laughable," said one senior aide, ranging from slow-walking requests for information or not responding to requests at all.

The National Security Council officials, for instance, were reluctant to share information about who was serving on the staff, and the Department of Defense officials ignored or partially answered requests for information -- and Biden's team won't allow acting Defense secretary Chris Miller to maintain an office after Jan. 20.

"Given Mr. Miller's acting capacity in that role, as well as reduced staffing and occupation of the Pentagon and auxiliary offices during COVID-19, we deemed it appropriate not to extend that perk in this instance," said a Biden transition official.

The Office of Management and Budget declined to make career officials available to Biden's team, which could delay the new administration's budget, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative made clear no help would be forthcoming.

"Transition is not a priority for USTR," said Robert Lighthizer's chief of staff, according to a person briefed about that exchange.

How Biden's inauguration sent a strong signal about the kind of president he could be

Steny Hoyer was right, and we should thank the House Majority leader for clarifying things. In a stem-winding speech urging the second impeachment of Donald Trump, he said he keeps hearing about "the peaceful transfer of power," but there hasn't been one. Indeed, according to federal prosecutors, the seditionaries who stormed the US Capitol intended to "capture and assassinate" members of the Congress. A self-styled militia conspired days in advance to make "citizen arrests," according to the Post. Some 25,000 National Guard troops were guarding today's swearing-in ceremony.

We should thank Hoyer for not only pointing out the truth, but for making us aware of this moment in our history. "The last time an incoming inauguration of a president was met with this level of violence and real threat to the life and safety of the president and members of Congress," Thomas Balcerski, a presidential historian at Eastern Connecticut State University, told the Connecticut Post, "would have been 1861."

Biden could have chosen a priest to give the inauguration homily. Instead, he chose the most powerful voice of the religious left since Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death.

That's the last time "treason was in the air," said David Holahan. Abraham Lincoln, before he took office, "was not threatening to abolish slavery in states where it already existed," he wrote Tuesday in the Connecticut Mirror. "Indeed, he had proclaimed that it was not in his Constitutional power to do so. No, the rebels simply didn't like the outcome of the 1860 election. They would not abide the will of the American voters."

Given the Civil War-like milieu we're living in right now, I think it's meaningful that the person chosen to give Thursday's inauguration homily is the Rev. Dr. William Barber, senior pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. According to the Times, "the initiatives he has helped to start—the Moral Mondays series of protests and the Martin Luther King Jr.-inspired Poor People's Campaign—have motivated legions across the country to engage in demonstrations and peaceful civil disobedience in support of racial, economic and environmental justice as well as the protection of voting rights, among other issues as much moral as political."

But Barber is meaningful for reasons other than prominence in grassroots politics. For one thing, he was active in 2008 when Barack Obama, the first Black president, could have selected him to do what Joe Biden selected him to do tomorrow. Instead, Obama, because he was the first Black president, went out of his way to seem nonpartisan by selecting Rick Warren to deliver the homily. Warren, as you might already know, is the head of a mostly white evangelical megachurch in California. His politics are Obama's opposite. He's against abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ-friendly laws and policies, etc. By picking Warren, Obama was sending a message: I'm not a scary Black man.

Biden doesn't carry Obama's burden, obviously, but he could have followed suit, choosing, perhaps, a white religious conservative like Rick Warren who openly opposed Donald Trump. Or Biden could have, as a practicing Catholic, chosen a priest, and no one would have batted an eye. Instead, he raised eyebrows by choosing Barber, the most powerful voice of the religious left since Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, that is to say, the most important activist since the end of America's Second Reconstruction.

That's how Barber sees political history. The First Reconstruction came after the Civil War when white people and Black people came together—in what Barber calls a mass social movement of "fusion politics"—to fulfill partially the first principle of the United States enshrined in the Declaration of Independence in which everyone is created equal. The results included the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Then came the Second Reconstruction during the postwar years when, again, white people and Black people came together to fulfill partially that same promise. The results included the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. We are now, Barber believes, living in a time of the Third Reconstruction and have been since Obama's election.

That has been hard to see given that Trump's election was a backlash against Obama's. But remember the energies that coalesced in the past six months. The politics of Black Lives Matter, which came to be after Michael Brown was shot to death in 2014, merged with anti-Trump politics. Literally, white people came together with Black people—in other words, their interests fused—to create the biggest coalition in the history of presidential elections to defeat Trump and, consequently, save the American republic.

Will that lead to a Third Reconstruction? Let's just say there's now reason to hope.

National affairs correspondent explains the one policy area where Biden should 'imitate' Trump

The presidency of Donald J. Trump officially came to an end when Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States and former Sen. Kamala Harris of California became the country's first female vice president as well as its first Black vice president. Journalist Jeet Heer, in an article published by The Nation on Inauguration Day, has some advice for the new U.S. president: focus heavily on the economy.

Heer stresses that although Trump was a "terrible" president in countless respects, he managed to convince millions of supporters that he cared about their economic needs. Trump campaigned on a pseudo-populist agenda in both 2016 and 2020, repeatedly claiming to care deeply about the American working class. That wasn't enough to prevent him from getting voted out of office in 2020 — Biden won 306 electoral votes and defeated Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote — but as Heer notes, 74 million U.S. residents wanted to give Trump a second term.

"The painful reality is that despite Trump's innumerable terrible acts, there was a significant number of Americans who were willing to give him a second chance," Heer explains. "The question is: why? The most plausible explanation is the economy, where Trump bucked the misguided mainstream consensus that had long held that 4% unemployment was the lowest that could be achieved without triggering inflation. Trump successfully bullied the Federal Reserve to adopt a loose money policy that brought America much closer to full employment and rising real wages before the pandemic hit."

During his many years in U.S. politics, Biden has had a reputation for being a centrist — first in the U.S. Senate, then during his two terms as vice president under President Barack Obama. But Heer argues that if Biden wants to do well as president, he will need to stress economic populism.

"Trump truly didn't care about deficits, which has led liberals to brand him a hypocrite since he had previously accused Democrats of running up the national tab," Heer explains. "But the accusation of hypocrisy only carries a weak sting. Rather than flay Trump as a hypocrite, it would be far better to imitate him as a robust Keynesian."

Heer continues, "The other political lesson that Trump teaches is that there is no reason to be shy when you are giving people money. In previous recessions, presidents like George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not put their names on checks. Trump's insistence that his name appear on stimulus checks was seen as tawdry. That may be the case, but it was also effective politics and helped bolster the strong showing Trump had in polls measuring his management of the economy."

Trump was mocked for saying things like, "I love the poorly educated" — which, rhetorically, was a departure from previous Republican presidents but played well with his MAGA base. Even when he was pushing corporate tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Trump still managed to convince millions of working class MAGA voters that he cared about them.

Biden, according to Heer, should ignore the "deficit hawks" in the months to come and make it clear that he is looking after Americans who are hurting economically.

"Biden would do well to emulate at least some aspects of Trump's policy approach," Heer argues. "Biden should focus on forcing the Federal Reserve to keep with an agenda of full employment and easy money, disregard deficit hawks in his party, loudly hog credit for generous stimulus checks, and keep his promises to his political base. If he does that, he'll have learned the right lessons from the Trump era."

Donald Trump is the now biggest loser in US political history

For four years we have heard that Republicans are afraid to stand up to Donald Trump because he will insult them and humiliate them into submission. They could not handle his childish taunts. They shrank from his barbs and slights, delivered largely on Twitter, the social media platform that has now evicted him permanently. Trump took advantage of their cowardice. He was like the big bully on the playground at school who intimidated smaller and weaker kids, then boasted about his easy conquests.

But no one should be afraid of Donald Trump now. After all, he is the biggest loser in U.S. political history. Indeed, he has relinquished the right to be feared.

Trump's record distinguishes him as the worst president ever. He has lost the popular vote in two national elections. He has been impeached twice, with conviction still possible in the second case. He has been an accomplice to the mass murder of over 400,000 Americans and counting due to the coronavirus. He has caused a massive economic crash. He has incited an insurrection against the government of the United States. He played a corrupt game of footsie with the president of Ukraine, and has been oddly but consistently subservient to the president of Russia. He has grifted the American people out of millions of dollars. He has pardoned associates and acquaintances who could implicate him in crimes. He has been incompetent, indifferent, lazy and vindictive. To top it all off, he has rushed to execute 13 people before his term is up — the most by any president in 120 years.

Trump intimidates via bullying, name-calling, threats and loud exclamations of bravado. His sense of grandiosity and superiority is enhanced when he is successful at embarrassing and humiliating others. To be sure, intimidation is his modus operandi. He rose to the top of the national political ladder through his use of intimidation. It is his only "skill."

But he is a total coward. He hides behind his lawyers and lets them do his "dirty work." He cannot fire people in person. He sent a bodyguard to deliver his letter of dismissal to former FBI Director James Comey's empty office. His specialty is to incite others to action and then deny any responsibility for their behavior. Ask Michael Cohen. Ask Rudy Giuliani. Ask the thousands of attackers at the Capitol. Trump did not have the guts to march with them to the Capitol — but he had no trouble sending them off into battle for his sole benefit.

Trump's political life has been based on lies and propaganda. His most egregious lie is that the election was rigged and stolen from him. It has been dubbed the "Big Lie." The truth is that the election was the most open and transparent in history. Joe Biden won fair and square. Trump lost by 7 million votes. He has lost more than 60 lawsuits in contesting the results. His lie about the election led to his seditious rhetoric and to his incitement of the insurrectionists.

Let us be clear: Trump actively tried to undermine and overthrow our democracy. He was fomenting a coup. He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does not love our democracy and does not love our country. He is addicted to power, adulation, grift and corruption — and would rather overturn democracy than give up his addictions.

Trump must be finished as a political figure. It may take some time, but his political clout will wane gradually but assuredly into oblivion. He will try to hold onto his supporters by promulgating his conspiracy theories and his victimhood, but both will be disproven as we return to a world of observable facts and truth.

His gravitas is evaporating. He has become a pathetic and tragic joke. All the major leaders in the world are ecstatic at his upcoming exit from the scene — except perhaps Vladimir Putin, who has enjoyed having Trump in his back pocket.

Trump is already kryptonite. Social media platforms have banned him. Banks will not lend him money. Lawyers are hesitant to defend him against impeachment. Corporations have paused their financial contributions. Even the PGA has yanked its 2022 championship from his New Jersey golf course. His standing will continue to drop as he is further ostracized and purged from American public life.

Trump must be punished for all his federal and state crimes. His supporters need to understand the depth of his criminality. He is a bad actor who will soon face the consequences of his malfeasance. Nothing can erase power and adulation faster than prison. But not even prison can reverse the abuse and trauma inflicted by Trump upon the American people.

His reign of corruption and incitement of insurrection was fueled by his belief that he would not be punished for it, that he could break laws with impunity. This is exactly why his prosecution is required. He must face swift and firm consequences so that others will understand the reality — that Trump's corruption is a part of his DNA. He has been compromised all his adult life. Until now, his corruption was confined to the state of New York and the Trump Organization. In 2016, thanks to his flukish election victory, he started sharing his criminality with the entire country.

Trump has been living in his alternate universe of lies, conspiracy theories and magical thinking for so long that he is unable to face reality. But his alternate universe is crumbling. And Americans are becoming acquainted once again with facts, science and truth. In 2016, Trump told the Republican National Convention and a national television audience, "Only I can fix it." But he could not fix our country because he exacerbated and capitalized on our grievances for his own personal and political gain. That is the playbook of an authoritarian.

There is encouraging news, however. In recent polling, nine out of 10 Americans frown upon the insurrection on Jan. 6. Seven out of 10 Americans say Trump bears some responsibility for the violence. Fifty-six percent are in favor of Trump being banned from future elected office. His approval rating now stands at 29%.

Right-wing extremism was present long before Trump. Cultural and economic resentments have been brewing for years. Trump has seized upon these resentments and made them more mainstream through his radicalization of his supporters. Hopefully, right-wing extremism will recede as Trump's voice is silenced. Citizens who engage in political violence must be rooted out. Trump's unforgiving act of insurrection has shown his true stripes as an authoritarian who does not give a damn about anyone other than himself. Authoritarianism is antithetical to our representative democracy — and must be stamped out at every opportunity. And Trump has given us opportunities.

No one should be afraid of Donald Trump now. He is defeated, disgraced and repudiated. This is the trifecta of the biggest loser in U.S. political history.

This is our chance to show we have finally conquered our fear of that bully on the playground at school.

Inside the Christian crowdfunding sites used by right-wing extremists to fund trips to DC for Capitol riot

Right-wing extremist organizations managed to use Christian crowdfunding websites to finance their efforts to breach the U.S. Capitol. According to CNN, prior to Proud Boys member Nick Ochs' arrest for participating in the U.S Capitol riot, he raised a total of $300 through the Christian fundraising platform GiveSendGo.com to fund his trip to Washington, D.C.

The discovery led to a more in-depth look at how fundraising efforts may have aided the pro-Trump mob who invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. After Ochs was arrested, one of his supporters turned to the same platform to raise funds for his legal defense. CNN also conducted a review of the site and similar platforms which confirmed that hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised in connection with the Capitol riots.

Below are the findings of that investigation, per CNN:

  • Among the campaigns and their beneficiaries: Ali Alexander, a Stop the Steal organizer who raised money for a "security and administrative team." As of today, he's reached 75% of his $40,000 goal on the platform.
  • Friends and family of Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, have raised more than $113,000 for his legal defense on GiveSendGo.com. Tarrio was arrested two days before the insurrection at the Capitol and charged with destruction of property for burning a Black Lives Matter banner after a protest in December and with possessing high-capacity firearm magazines.
  • Jim Hoft, founder of the conservative news outlet Gateway Pundit, is currently the beneficiary of two campaigns on GiveSendGo.com, totaling more than $135,000, intended to fund an investigation into alleged voter fraud in Michigan and to "take on the tech giant censorship of conservative voices."
  • At least five other campaigns that collectively raised nearly $200,000 are tied to self-described Proud Boys members looking for funds for "protective gear," travel expenses to the January protest in Washington, DC, and medical costs after a December rally in the capital turned violent.

In wake of the investigation into the Capitol riots, GiveSendGo CEO Jacob Wells defended the use of the site's crowdfunding capability. During an interview with CNN, Wells argued that "just because a cause may be unpopular it doesn't mean a person shouldn't have an opportunity to raise money from like-minded supporters."

"We're not here to take sides," Wells said to the publication. "We don't necessarily condone on our platform a campaign anymore than when you tweet on Twitter that Twitter somehow agrees with you," Wells said.

However, the site's terms and conditions "prohibit any 'abusive or hateful language' on its platform, as well as campaigns for 'items that promote hate, violence, and racial intolerance'" which is a clear conflict considering all that transpired during the deadly riot on Capitol Hill.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has also warned donors to do their own research before contributing to crowdfunding platforms. The bureau recently took to Twitter with a public announcement saying, "Fraudsters will take advantage of any tragedy to try to steal your money. Do research before donating — crowdfunding sites can look legitimate but criminals behind them steal money instead of giving to an org/cause. Don't be fooled."

China imposes sanctions on top Trump allies minutes after his leaves office: report

China's federal government has announced sanctions against some of former President Donald Trump's top allies, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro.

At 12:10 p.m. on January 20 — while President Joe Biden was delivering his inaugural speech — Bloomberg News reporter Nicholas Wadhams tweeted:

The sanctions, Wadhams noted, will also affect former Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon — who Trump granted a pardon for federal criminal charges during his last full day in office — and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

'I'm the laughing stock of my family': QAnon believers implode as they watch Biden getting sworn in

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on Wednesday, and some believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory have apparently realized that they have wasted years of their lives believing in a complete fabrication.

As flagged by Jared Holt of Right Wing Watch, a QAnon group chat that occurred during Biden's inauguration found many one-time faithful followers disillusioned with the false claims they had been sold over the last four years.

"Well I'm the official laughing stock of my family now," wrote one. "Awesome."

"OMG none of this was real," wrote another.

NBC News reporter Ben Collins, who has been covering the QAnon phenomenon since it first started gaining traction on social media, has similarly found devotees slowly realizing that they've been had.

"I dont (sic) think this is supposed to happen?" asked one while watching the Biden inauguration. "How long does it take the fed (sic) to run up the stairs and arrest him?"

"It's like being a kid and seeing the big gift under the tree thinking it is exactly what you want only to open it and realize it was a lump of coal," wrote another.

And the Daily Beast's Will Sommer flags a QAnon post that simply reads, "I'm about to puke."

Trump spent his final moments in the White House raging at Republican leaders on Capitol Hill: report

With no one else to blame for his own election defeat, President Trump has zeroed in on one of his earliest Congressional backers, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.

According to the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, Trump is spending his final moments in the White House fuming because he is still convinced that he won the election. In keeping with his aversion to personal responsibility, Trump has now put a target on his once stalwart ally, who has, as of late, not shown the unconditional support he demands.

McCarthy –– who supported the President's crusade to overturn the election and voted against the electoral certification of President-elect Joe Biden –– surprised his colleagues on the House floor last week when he cast slight aspersion on Trump following the riot on Capitol Hill. "The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters," McCarthy said, treading a fine line, "He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."

After condemning the riot despite propagating the very lies which incited it, McCarthy stopped short of calling for Trump's impeachment, instead suggesting that censure or a bi-partisan investigation would be better suited for the circumstances. Although McCarthy said just about the bare minimum to oppose Trump, the President is reportedly furious with him for not staying true to the Big Lie. The President's sudden disownment of one of his most loyal boosters comes just after Trump's bizarre disavowal of Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump asked to do the impossible by invalidating the Electoral College votes.

After supporting Trump's baseless election fraud crusade, but condemning the Capitol riot while defending Trump against a second impeachment, McCarthy has now alienated himself on Capitol Hill, with Democrats and Republicans alike demanding that he step down.

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican political action committee, denounced McCarthy as a "pathetic enabler," telling the Senator, "pack up [his] desk." A blistering op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, a paper-based in McCarthy's home state of California called him a "soulless anti-democracy conspirator." Even McCarthy's very own mentor retired California Congressman Bill Thomas tarred his former protégé as a "hypocrite" for supporting the "the phony lies the President perpetuated."

The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump Republican political action committee, denounced McCarthy as a "pathetic enabler," telling the Senator, "pack up [his] desk." A blistering op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, a paper-based in McCarthy's home state of California called him a "soulless anti-democracy conspirator." Even McCarthy's very own mentor retired California Congressman Bill Thomas tarred his former protégé as a "hypocrite" for supporting the "the phony lies the President perpetuated."

'My whole soul is in this': President Joe Biden calls for unity in inaugural address

The Trump era officially came to an end when, on Wednesday, January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States and former Sen. Kamala Harris was sworn in vice president. During his inaugural speech, the United States' new president described some of the many daunting "challenges" confronting the U.S. but also maintained an optimistic tone.

The 78-year-old president noted that Americans are facing everything from a deadly pandemic to unemployment to civil unrest, declaring, "We still have much to do…..much to restore, and much to gain."

Problems confronting the U.S., President Biden said, include "police extremism, White supremacy, domestic terrorism" — and those problems, he stressed, must be "defeated."

Biden had a considerably different tone from former President Donald Trump when discussing the COVID-19 pandemic. While Trump repeatedly downplayed the pandemic's severity, Biden warned that Americans might be facing the "toughest and deadliest period of the virus."

The new president discussed the violent January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building but noted that the rioters could not overturn the 2020 election results.

Biden said, "A riotous mob thought they could silence the will of the people….. It did not happen. It will not happen."

Biden pointed out that 108 years ago, some Americans were fighting against women getting the right to vote. But now, the new president said, the U.S. has its first female vice president.

The Democratic president vowed to work across party lines, declaring, "I will be a president for all Americans — all Americans. I will fight as hard for those who didn't support me as for those who did."