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Biden selects transgender doctor as assistant health secretary

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Rachel Levine

President-elect Joe Biden announced Tuesday he will select Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she will become the first openly transgender federal official.

“Dr. Rachel Levine will bring the steady leadership and essential expertise we need to get people through this pandemic — no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — and meet the public health needs of our country in this critical moment and beyond,” Biden said in a statement. “She is a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

PA Gov. Tom Wolf (D) first appointed Levine as Pennsylvania’s physician general — the state’s top doctor — in 2015. Levine was appointed by Wolf in 2017 as acting health secretary. She was confirmed three times by the state Senate to serve as secretary of health and the state’s physician general.

In 2020, Levine became the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Levine came under scrutiny in May 2020 for removing her 95-year-old mother from a personal care home amid a statewide coronavirus outbreak and transitioning her to another location.

Many criticized her for this decision, including York County state Rep. Seth Grove (R), saying that she’s done what many families are unable to do for financial or logistical reasons.

Shortly after this incident, Levine announced that she would begin testing every nursing home resident and staff member for coronavirus, a massive undertaking.

Some lawmakers called for the immediate resignation or removal of Levine from her position.

PA rep. Russ Diamond (R) cited “the horrific results of the department’s COVID-19 policy” in regard to the number of cases and deaths that occurred in nursing homes and other facilities under the department’s oversight. He introduced a resolution for her resignation.

PA state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), also called for Levine’s resignation, saying she committed the equivalent of policy malpractice in her handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its spread through nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Still, Gov. Wolf defended Levine, saying, “My assessment of Dr. Levine is that she is doing a phenomenal job, and I think we’ve got to be careful about blaming the messenger for the message.”

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Biden’s Poor Polling and Harris’ Low Electability Rating Could Have Democrats Considering ‘Nuclear Option’

Behind-the-scenes discussion of how Democrats could arrive at a third option for the next election is underway

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Biden Kamala
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With polls consistently showing a poor approval rating for President Joe Biden at below 40 percent, and a recent poll put Kamala Harris’ electability at only 28 percent, Democrats are in full panic mode.

Behind-the-scenes discussion of how Democrats could arrive at a third option for the next election is underway. Operatives are preparing for the possibility of a contested presidential primary in which other would-be nominees take on Ms. Harris, but that could be damaging for the party” reports the Telegraph.

Therefore, Democrats are allegedly whispering about a potential “nuclear option” that would call for current Vice President Harris to be nominated to the Supreme Court. The Telegraph writes that “while the scenario is highly improbable, and perhaps a reflection of a Washington rumor mill in overdrive, the fact it has come up at all shows the depths of the predicament the Biden administration currently finds itself in, amid rising inflation, a stalled domestic agenda, and foreign policy disasters.”

The theory in question would call for President Biden to nominate Harris to the Supreme Court in the event a seat opens in the next three years during his administration. Biden could then use “Section 2 of the 25thAmendment to nominate a more popular vice president”, adds the Telegraph.

Under Section 1 of the 25th Amendment, that new vice president could assume the presidency if Biden were to step down while president. They would then become the Democratic nominee in the 2024 presidential election. That same individual could also be the presumptive Democratic nominee in 2024 if Biden chooses not to run for re-election.

One piece of information that is wetting Democrats’ whistle is that current Supreme Court Justice Breyer has said he does not “want to stay on the Supreme Court until I die.”

The Telegraph notes that “the discussion over potential successors to Mr. Biden is highly unusual less than a year into an administration.”

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