Ayesha Rascoe | New Hampshire Public Radio

Ayesha Rascoe

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.

Prior to joining NPR, Rascoe covered the White House for Reuters, chronicling Obama's final year in office and the beginning days of the Trump administration. Rascoe began her reporting career at Reuters, covering energy and environmental policy news, such as the 2010 BP oil spill and the U.S. response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. She also spent a year covering energy legal issues and court cases.

She graduated from Howard University in 2007 with a B.A. in journalism.

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The pandemic worsened economic equality. So what does the Biden administration plan to do about it? NPR's Ayesha Rascoe talked with Janelle Jones, the chief economist at the Labor Department and the first Black woman to hold that job.

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Updated at 8:38 p.m. ET

President Biden said on Wednesday that states like Texas and Mississippi are making a big mistake by ending mandates to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a time when the nation is making a push to boost vaccinations.

"The last thing — the last thing — we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask. Forget it. It still matters," Biden told reporters as he met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Oval Office.

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The federal government plans to release new guidance next week about how to safely reopen schools in the midst of the pandemic — guidelines that could add new grist to a debate over whether schools should wait until teachers are vaccinated before requiring their return to the classroom.

As the United States has struggled to get the spread of the coronavirus under control, many schools have turned to virtual learning. President Biden has pledged to get most students back to in-person learning by the end of April, but there are questions about how to do so safely.

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President Biden has said racial justice is one of his top priorities. And today, he signed four executive actions. He says they are some of his first steps to addressing systemic racism.

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Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Biden signed a series of orders and directives on his second day in office to take charge of stopping the spread of the coronavirussteps that he and his advisers say will start to boost testing, vaccinations, supplies and treatments.

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He took one last look back at the White House, one last ride in the Marine One chopper, looking over the vista of the National Mall, one last moment of pomp with a 21-gun salute and one last speech to his supporters.

Updated at 2:30 a.m. ET

President Trump pardoned Steve Bannon, his former chief strategist who was indicted over allegedly defrauding hundreds of thousands of people in an online campaign to raise funds for a southern border wall — one of dozens of acts of clemency in the final hours of his administration.

The lengthy list of 73 pardons and 70 commutations landed after midnight. Trump left the White House for the last time Wednesday morning, skipping the inaugural ceremonies of his successor, President-elect Joe Biden.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that President Biden has signed 15 executive actions, part of a flurry of steps he plans to take in the coming days to address his top policy priorities — and to roll back some of former President Donald Trump's initiatives.

White House officials had originally told reporters there would be 17 actions signed, focused on addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the economy, racial justice and climate change.

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President-elect Biden laid out his plan tonight to deal with the pandemic, what he called a crisis of deep human suffering. It is his top priority when he takes office next week. The plan has a huge price tag - $1.9 trillion.

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President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday added three experts to his National Security Council to advise him on homeland security and cybersecurity — two sprawling issues he will grapple with given the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol, and the recent widespread hack into government networks and private companies.

President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien had trimmed the homeland security position from the NSC. But Biden will add it back, putting Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall in the top job, and Russ Travers as her deputy.

Former President Barack Obama had six Cabinet members confirmed by the Senate before his Inauguration Day in 2009. President Trump had two. But when President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, it's unclear whether he'll have any Cabinet members in place.

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Updated at 1:58 p.m. ET

The nation — and world — continued to reel, looking for answers after an angry and violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, as television networks showed footage of the rampage on a loop and some called for severe action to be taken against President Trump.

Meanwhile, at the White House, the president prepared to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation's highest civilian honor – to three professional golfers: Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and the late Babe Zaharias.

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President Trump pardoned some more people last night - among them, his friends, his loyalists and his daughter's in-law. NPR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe is following this one. Good morning, Ayesha.

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Well, President Trump now says he has problems with the COVID relief bill Congress passed earlier this week. Here's Trump last night.

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President Trump is still not conceding that he lost the election, but he's getting closer.

Trump on Monday tweeted that he had directed the General Services Administration to begin the process of transferring the government to President-elect Joe Biden.

Until Monday, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy had declined to take the formal step to allow the Biden team to begin working with federal agencies to prepare for governing. But Trump and Murphy faced increasing pressure to kickstart the transition process.

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In the hours before President Trump began to realize that he may not get to "Make America Great Again, Again," the former reality television star who stunned the world in 2016 with his improbable leap to the White House allowed for a moment of candor.

"You know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it's not," Trump told reporters on Election Day, his voice hoarse from an unforgiving three-week marathon of rallies.

Now, the world is seeing just how difficult it is for a man who built his brand on winning to lose.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States, and Kamala Harris has been elected the nation's 49th vice president. The Associated Press called the presidential race just before noon today.

The Trump administration abruptly dumped the leaders of three agencies that oversee the nuclear weapons stockpile, electricity and natural gas regulation, and overseas aid during the past two days, drawing a rebuke from a prominent Republican senator for one of the decisions.

The sudden departures included:

  • Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the first woman to oversee the agency in charge of the nuclear stockpile. She was required to resign on Friday.

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