Franco Ordoñez | New Hampshire Public Radio

Franco Ordoñez

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.

Ordoñez has received several state and national awards for his work, including the Casey Medal, the Gerald Loeb Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists, and is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Georgia.

The White House is continuing to defend itself against criticism from the left and right for reopening Trump-era shelters used to house unaccompanied teenagers crossing the border from Mexico.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration was forced to make the "tough choice" of reopening the facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, due to the number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border, which she explained meant taking responsibility for their care.

President Biden is expected to sign an order on Wednesday to kick off sweeping reviews of products that have run short in recent months, including semiconductors and pharmaceutical ingredients.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

President Biden on Friday sought to turn the page on former President Donald Trump's "America First" ethos, declaring "America is back" and vowing to rebuild trust with European allies by working on challenges like arms control, COVID-19 and climate change.

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The Biden administration is taking first steps to reopen diplomacy with Iran. The European Union says it is willing to host a meeting of all the signatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and the U.S. says it would attend. That is just the start of what could be a complicated job of reviving a deal that the Trump administration deserted. Joining us now to talk about this is NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen.

Hey, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Hi there, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hi. So, first of all, just tell us what happened today.

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President Biden will sign a series of executive actions today. They take aim at his predecessor Donald Trump's harshest immigration policies, like the one that separated children from their families at the border. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez is following this story. Good morning, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

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In his inaugural address, President Biden called for an end to, quote, "this uncivil war."

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation.

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When President Trump left the White House for the final time as president this morning, he stopped by to say a few words to reporters standing on the South Lawn. Those reporters included NPR's Franco Ordoñez, who's on the line. Franco, good morning.

Updated at 10:10 a.m. ET

Unwilling to admit defeat but with his time in office at its end, President Trump left the White House early Wednesday, skipping the Inauguration Day ceremony that generations of outgoing presidents have attended — a symbolic peaceful transfer of power that had been made all but impossible by his actions after losing the election to Joe Biden.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to send a sweeping immigration proposal to Congress after he is sworn into office on Wednesday, a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

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.

President Trump plans to leave the White House and Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day with a departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, a senior administration official said on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement is not yet official.

Trump — who has not congratulated President-elect Joe Biden for winning the election or conceded that his loss was legitimate — is the first president in modern history to skip the swearing-in of his successor.

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Updated at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday

President Trump went to Texas on Tuesday in a last-ditch effort to show off one of his signature election promises — the border wall — as Democratic lawmakers appear ready to move forward with impeaching him for a second time.

He has about a week left in office, but angry lawmakers are calling on him to resign after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday as a joint session of Congress met inside to certify the results of the election.

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One day after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and two months after Election Day, President Trump is acknowledging he lost the presidential race.

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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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Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Denis McDonough to run Veterans Affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

McDonough is a longtime aide of former President Barack Obama and served as his chief of staff from 2013 to 2017.

Veterans of the Justice Department are waiting with anticipation for President-elect Joe Biden to unveil his choice to serve as attorney general, a decision that has weighty consequences for civil rights and public confidence in the troubled department.

A prospective top Justice Department nominee is expected before Christmas, a transition spokesperson said Monday — a trajectory that would make the person last to be named among the "Big Four" Cabinet offices, together with the leaders of the Treasury, State and Defense departments.

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Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Lloyd Austin, the retired U.S. Army four-star general, as his pick for secretary of defense in his incoming administration, two sources familiar with the decision confirmed to NPR.

Austin joins a growing and diverse list of nominees for Biden's cabinet, which the president-elect has said he wants to reflect the diversity of America. If confirmed, Austin would be the first African American to lead the department.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former congressman and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a source familiar with transition discussions who is not authorized to speak on the record.

Even as President Trump fluctuates between false claims he really won the 2020 election and that it was stolen from him, he is also seriously considering launching a bid for 2024, two campaign sources and a third source with close ties to Trump's circle tell NPR.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Sunday named seven women to key communications roles in his incoming White House. His transition team says it's the first time in history that the positions will be filled entirely by women.

President Trump this week acknowledged that the transition for President-elect Joe Biden to take office is going ahead. But on Thursday, he made clear he's in no mood to concede the election, even after the Electoral College formally votes this month.

"It's going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud," Trump said, without evidence, complaining that the U.S. election was "like a Third World country."

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