The Washington Post – Anne Gearan and Mike DeBonis / Calls intensify to remove Trump from office even as he acknowledges ‘a new administration’
- President Trump promised a smooth transition in a video message posted on Twitter Thursday night, saying that his supporters had pursued post-election challenges in good faith, but “now tempers must be cooled and calm restored.”
- Trump’s comments are the closest he has come to acknowledging his loss, and they follow escalating calls for his removal, coming hours after the nation’s top congressional Democrats demanded he be removed from office for his role in the deadly sacking of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on officials to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment, warning that they are prepared to begin impeachment proceedings if the Cabinet and vice president do not act.
- Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who served the entire four years of Trump’s presidency, announced her intention to resign, effective on Monday. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also submitted her resignation Thursday, citing the president’s role in the riot on Capitol Hill.
- The New York Times – Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman / Capitol attack leads Democrats to demand that Trump leave office
Wired – Gilad Edelman / Even Mark Zuckerberg has had enough of Trump
- As of Thursday morning, following a day in which a mob of the president’s supporters violently invaded the US Capitol, the president’s Twitter account was temporarily frozen; YouTube had taken down his latest video; and, most remarkably, Mark Zuckerberg had announced that Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were suspended indefinitely.
- The sequence that led to Trump’s suspension for inciting violence began, ironically, with him calling for peace. A few minutes after president-elect Joe Biden gave a speech urging him to call off the mob, Trump released a brief recorded video in which he told his supporters to “go home.”
- The trouble is that he couldn’t resist insisting that the election had been stolen—the precise false claim underlying the day’s chaos. Soon, Facebook and YouTube had taken the video down, and Twitter had added a fact-check label and blocked users from liking, retweeting, or replying to it.
- So social media finally drew a line. The question that lingers is whether they should have drawn one earlier. Should it take a terrifying physical assault on the Capitol, while Congress is in session, to stop letting a demagogue like Trump use their platforms to convince millions of Americans that their country is being stolen from them?
- Politico – Mark Scott / Capitol Hill riot lays bare what’s wrong with social media
Bloomberg – Joe Mayes / Brexit becomes trucker nightmare as red tape ties up drivers
- A week on from Brexit, the main road to Dover has been so quiet that officials were able to close half of it Thursday for a litter-picking operation without causing delays for drivers.
- But behind such placid scenes, many truckers are still warning of chaos as they struggle to adjust to the new paperwork required by Britain’s departure from the European Union. Drivers are being held up for hours because they lack the right documents, they say.
- Faced with the threat of chaos at the border in the weeks after Brexit, many firms decided to stockpile goods or delay deliveries, leaving Dover eerily quiet. Traffic through the port is down 85% from its 2019 average.
- Firms now have to fill in forms such as customs declarations and export health certificates that weren’t required when Britain was a member of the bloc. The problem, some logistics firms say, is many customers don’t understand what documents are required.
- Politico / 5 ways Brexit got real
Financial Times – Richard Milne / Sweden’s distinctive Covid strategy nears an end as lockdown proposed
- Sweden’s coronavirus strategy has always stood out from the crowd. That distinctive approach is now coming to an end. There has been no public abandoning of its approach — which drew huge international attention for its lack of formal lockdown and use of face masks.
- Instead, there has been a gradual shift in various policies as the winter Covid-19 wave has hit Sweden far harder than health officials or politicians expected. Sweden has reported more than 2,000 Covid-19 deaths in a month and 535 in the past eight days alone.
- The government this week proposed an emergency law that would allow it to lock down large parts of society; the first recommended use of face masks came into force; and the authorities gave schools the option to close for pupils older than 13 — all changes to its strategy to combat the pandemic.
- As Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf said just before Christmas: “We have failed.” Public confidence in Sweden’s government and various authorities has come under strain after multiple reports of ministers appearing to breach their own guidelines on how to behave.
- The Guardian – Denis Campbell / ‘The worst by a cataclysmic margin’: the race to save the NHS from Covid
Further reading for the weekend:
- The Economist / Cynicism explains a flawed new EU-China commercial pact
- Euractiv – Alexandra Brzozowski / Portugal aims to seal EU-Mercosur trade agreement, progress on other deals
- Financial Times – Tim Harford / Is ‘first dose first’ the right vaccination strategy?
- The Guardian – Damian Carrington / Climate crisis: 2020 was joint hottest year ever recorded