Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.

Montanaro joined NPR in 2015 and oversaw coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, including for broadcast and digital.

Before joining NPR, Montanaro served as political director and senior producer for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. There, he led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.

Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read." He has also worked at CBS News, ABC News, The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, and taught high school English.

Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Montanaro is a life-long Mets fan and college basketball junkie.

President Biden is calling for unity to address each of the nation's concurrent crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, race relations and climate change.

It won't be easy because as he settles into office, Biden also inherits a country that is deeply divided. Democrats and Republicans live in very different worlds and get their news and information from very different places, cordoned off by ideology and worldview.

President Biden.

That's going to take some getting used to after these past four years.

The new president was sworn in Wednesday and made an inaugural address aimed at unity. Biden didn't sugarcoat, however, the hurdles to bringing Americans together, and he leaned into the challenges the U.S. faces, as he sees it.

Here are six takeaways from Biden's inauguration:

1. A starkly different tone was set.

Updated 5:01 p.m. ET

If you haven't heard, Joe Biden would like to unite America.

It was a focus of the Democrat's campaign. It's even the theme of Biden's inauguration — "America United."

He made lots of appeals to unity in his inaugural address.

As President Trump is set to leave the White House after a tumultuous and chaotic four years, having been the first president to ever be impeached twice and having his last year dominated by a worldwide pandemic, most Americans say he will go down as either below average or one of the worst presidents in U.S. history, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey.

Almost 6 in 10 Americans said they blame President Trump for the violent insurrection that took place Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

But they are split on whether Congress should continue to take action against him after he leaves office next week, and half believe social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter — which have banned him from their platforms — should not continue to restrict Trump after Wednesday.

Ten Republicans crossed President Trump on Wednesday and voted to impeach him for "incitement of insurrection."

Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy added his name to a shortlist of Republicans in Congress who unequivocally blamed President Trump for the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

But with seven days to go in the Trump presidency, he said he will not be voting for impeachment and said he might instead be in favor of a fact-finding commission and possibly censure, items with even less teeth than impeaching but not removing a president.

Eight days from the end of his presidency, President Trump expressed no regret for his comments last week ahead of a riot and mob violence at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in the deaths of at least five people and multiple injuries.

"People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," Trump said Tuesday when asked about his role in the siege, despite many at the highest levels of government — Republicans and Democrats — saying otherwise, three of his Cabinet members having resigned and a second impeachment effort now underway.

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

In an apparent attempt to quell a political storm building around him, including calls for his resignation or removal, President Trump finally acknowledged he had lost the presidential election.

Wednesday will go down as one of the darkest days in American history.

It was all egged on by a sitting president, who has been unable to accept losing his bid for reelection and who persuaded millions of his followers to buy into baseless, debunked and disproved conspiracy theories.

The result: A mob violently storming and occupying the U.S. Capitol for hours, while staffers and lawmakers were evacuated or hid in fear. The vice president was also rushed from the floor of the Senate and taken to a secure location after criticisms were tweeted from his boss.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET Tuesday

The political world has trained its focus on Georgia's two U.S. Senate races, which will settle the kind of Senate that President-elect Joe Biden will be dealing with.

The races, taking place Tuesday — the day before Biden is slated to be certified by Congress as the winner of the 2020 presidential election — are expected to be close. Consider that Biden won the rapidly changing but previously traditionally Republican state by fewer than 12,000 votes.

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

President Trump's done it again.

The man who threatened to cause a ruckus in Washington — and has done so over his four years in office — introduced a new round of disarray Tuesday night.

Trump's pre-Christmas chaos includes:

Updated at 9:52 a.m. ET Wednesday

President-elect Joe Biden warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic will get worse before it gets better.

"Our darkest days in the battle against COVID are ahead of us, not behind us," Biden told reporters during a year-end news conference in Wilmington, Del.

He said that Americans, when united, could overcome the crisis, and he called the first vaccines being administered a good thing. But he noted that distribution of the vaccines is one of the biggest operational challenges the country has ever faced.

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate.

Padilla, 47, the son of Mexican immigrants, will be the first Latino from the state to hold the position. California is almost 40% Hispanic, according to the U.S. census.

Updated 10:41 a.m. ET

What a day Monday was.

The Electoral College affirmed what was already known — that Democrat Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Biden officially got the votes of 306 electors, exactly what he was supposed to get based on the popular vote from each state. It was 36 electoral votes more than the 270 needed to become president.

So, it's yet another step showing that Biden is president-elect and that he will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2021.

More Americans voted in 2020 than in any other presidential election in 120 years. About 67% of eligible voters cast ballots this year, but that still means a third did not.

That amounts to about 80 million people who stayed home.

Another official move in America's sometimes-convoluted presidential election process takes place Monday as the electors of the Electoral College cast their votes.

It's one of the final steps in picking a president, but who are these electors and how do they get selected?

It begins and ends with loyalty — loyalty to state and national parties. That in part is how the candidates are all but guaranteed to have the electors' votes match the ballots cast by regular people in general election voting in each state.

Who are they and who picks them?

A solid majority of Americans trust that the results of the 2020 presidential election are accurate, but only about a quarter of Republicans do, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey.

Sixty-one percent say they trust the results, including two-thirds of independents, but just 24% of Republican respondents say they accept the results.

While President Trump continues to baselessly allege widespread election fraud, the political world is starting to move on from his presidency.

More votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election than in any other U.S. election in history, and the turnout rate was the highest in more than a century.

President-elect Joe Biden has now earned 80 million votes, and ballots are still being counted. That is by far the most votes cast for any presidential candidate in U.S. history. President Trump holds the distinction, however, of earning the second-most votes all time. About 74 million Americans voted for him.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Most Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to suggest that President Trump concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. They argue that it's best to let Trump expend his legal options before they apply too much pressure.

That pressure has been building and it could be about to go bust this week, with key states certifying the vote totals and making their results official.

Just before midnight on the East Coast on election night, Fox News called Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden.

It was a bold call. It opened up a wider path for Biden to win the presidency after a night that began with a lot of bad news for the former vice president. Florida had been called for President Trump, and other states went for the president by wider margins than expected.

There was a debate in the runup to this year's presidential election about whether it would be a base election or a persuasion one. In other words, what would matter more for a candidate — turning out one side's core voters, or winning over undecideds and wavering supporters of President Trump?

Based on an NPR analysis of the more than 3,000 counties, it was, in fact, mostly a base election with some key persuasion in Democratic-leaning suburbs that went for Joe Biden by wider margins than they did for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election Saturday morning.

And yet, President Trump has not conceded or accepted it, and the agency responsible for doling out funds and office space during a transition is denying that money to the Biden team, implying that the results of the election are not yet certain and referencing the "precedent" of the contested 2000 presidential election.

Republicans outperformed the polls up and down the ballot in the 2020 election, to the surprise even of many Republican political operatives and survey researchers.

To be clear, Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump; Democrats will still control the House and still have a chance of picking up the Senate.

The tumultuous and chaotic Trump presidency is coming to an end — even if President Trump himself hasn't accepted it yet.

Democrat Joe Biden is now the president-elect, according to calls from The Associated Press, which NPR relies on for race calls, as well as all the other broadcast networks.

Biden is currently at 290 electoral votes, 20 more than needed thanks to Pennsylvania, which was called Saturday. Biden is on track to win 306 electoral votes if his slim lead holds in Georgia.

Well, we still don't know who the president-elect is.

Is there a less-surprising outcome for 2020?

Here are six takeaways from one of the strangest election nights in recent history:

1. This is going to go on a while

This election is now coming down to the former Blue Wall states that President Trump toppled in 2016 — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. We won't know results perhaps for days, because Wisconsin and Pennsylvania couldn't start processing mail-in votes until Election Day, and Michigan could only start Monday.

Almost every election cycle, someone on one side or the other is claiming that this is the most important election in their lifetime.

Well, this one actually probably is — and it appears voters think so, too.

The election is already setting records for turnout, and perhaps no two candidates are more at odds over the future of the country and the direction they want to take it in. This election is fundamentally about what it means to be an American.

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