Compiled by Mary Lou Masters
Wood Smith opened up the show with some breaking news. Pfizer says its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based on initial trial results and have so far found no serious safety concerns. The company and its German partner BioNTech SE are expected to seek US authorization this month for emergency use of the vaccine, raising the possibility of a regulatory decision as soon as December.
Cason Smith followed with the latest on the Senate runoffs in Georgia. Republicans and Democrats are racing to Georgia on Sunday to get in place for a nine-week, high-stakes, year-end sprint that could cost another $100 million and determine the balance of power in Washington. The two runoffs will likely thrust Georgia into the center of the nation’s political fray and test the extent of Democrats’ emerging strength in what was once a Republican stronghold in the South.
Nationally, the senate-elect stands at 48-48. Incumbent Republicans lead uncalled races in North Carolina and Alaska. If the GOP holds on to those two seats, the balance of power would be 50-48. However, if Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win their races, it would be a 50-50 split in the Senate with the Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris able to break a tie.
Wood reported how China and Russia held off congratulating US President-elect Joe Biden on Monday, with Beijing saying it would follow usual custom in its response and the Kremlin noting incumbent Donald Trump’s vow to pursue legal challenges.
Some of the United States’ biggest and closest allies in Europe, the Middle East and Asia quickly congratulated Biden over the weekend despite Trump’s refusal to concede, as did some Trump allies, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for the European Union and United States to work “side by side”, holding up Biden as an experienced leader who knows Germany and Europe well and stressing the Nato allies’ shared values and interests. Beijing and Moscow, however, were cautious.
“We’ve noticed that Mr. Biden has declared election victory,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily media briefing. “We understand that the U.S. election result will be determined following U.S. law and procedure.”
The Kremlin, meanwhile, said it would wait for the official results of the election before commenting, and that it had noted Trump’s announcement of legal challenges.
“We think it appropriate to wait for the official vote count,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.
Peskov noted that President Vladimir Putin had repeatedly said he was ready to work with any US leader and that Russia hoped it could establish dialogue with a new US administration and find a way to normalise troubled bilateral relations.
Wood went on to detail that Georgia Lieutenant Governor Republican Geoff Duncan said Monday his office has not seen any evidence of widespread voter fraud or irregularities in his state.
When asked if he’s seen any evidence of widespread systemic voter fraud or irregularities, Duncan told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day” and said, “we’ve not seen any get to our office yet. And certainly we’ll make sure that every sort of legal opportunity to make sure of that — if there’s an issue out there, we want to make sure we understand it, investigate it, and be able to make sure we were able to rectify it. We’ve not had any sort of credible incidents raised to our level yet and we’ll continue to make sure that the opportunity to make sure every legal ballot is counted is there, but you know at this point, we’ve not seen any sort of credible examples.”
Mariah Rose delivered news of Alex Trebek’s death. The long-time host of Jeopardy! lost his battle to pancreatic cancer and passed away yesterday. While on Jeopardy!, Trebek expressed to fans that he was fine, though he did struggle privately.
In honor of his life, the Los Angeles Times released a list of little known facts about the host including: he graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in philosophy, spoke French, was the son of a chef, ran a leg carrying the Olympic torch in 1996 and bred racehorses.
Trebek appeared as himself in many movies and television shows, including “Rain Main,” “Short Cuts,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons” and “Orange Is the New Black.” The legendary host passed away peacefully in his home, according to the Jeopardy! Twitter account, and was surrounded by friends and family.
Cason gave listeners some more national news. At a Monday morning news conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that if New Yorkers don’t act quickly, a second wave of coronavirus could force more closures and restrictions in the city.
“It means alot more restrictions,” Mayor de Blasio said.
While the COVID-19 test positivity rate continues to exceed 2% in New York City, de Blasio said that there are no current plans for new restrictions but cautioned that they could be coming in the days or weeks ahead and include businesses and schools.
The city announced a “Day of Action” on Staten Island to try to get as many people tested as possible. It was going to take place across the borough on Tuesday as a surge of cases has popped up on the island.
“If these numbers we’re reporting today continue to grow, then people are going to have to get used to more and more restrictions and going back to some of the ways we had to live in the spring,” de Blasio said.
Mariah closed out the show with the Sports Power Minute. ESPN is laying off 10% of their employees worldwide due to COVID-19. The lack of live sports for so long left ESPN in a financial hole, and left journalists and on air talent with little to talk about. Many employees were working from home, which left no need for fully staffed shows on the network. This led ESPN to let go of about 500 people.
In NFL news, the New Orleans Saints beat the Tampa Bay Bucs 38-3 this weekend in a head to head battle between Tom Brady and Drew Brees where Brees beat Brady in total passing touchdowns, recording four for the night. This was Brees fifth win in his seven NFL matchups against Brady. Brady threw three interceptions and recorded the worst loss of his career since 2003.
Finally, the mock NBA draft predicts former Bulldog Anthony Edwards to go first to the Minnesota Timberwolves due to his size and strength and ability to sneak in shots.