NOVEMBER 10, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election as not very consequential to his efforts to begin transition planning and said it did not reflect well on Trump.
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said. “How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy.”
Biden, the Democratic nominee, racked up the 270 Electoral College votes to clinch presidency on Saturday. Trump has falsely claimed the election was stolen, as his campaign mounts legal challenges in several states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Nevada.
Biden is preparing for his Jan. 20 inauguration, including assembling an advisory panel to guide his efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he would likely make his first Cabinet announcements by Thanksgiving. Biden on Tuesday spoke to leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other European nations who congratulated him on a victory.
“I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus fair that they are hopeful that the United States’ democratic institutions are viewed once again as being strong and endured,” Biden said. “But I think at the end of the day, it’s going to all come to fruition on Jan. 20.”
Message to foreign leaders: ‘America’s back’
Biden, speaking in Wilmington, Del., took questions from reporters for the first time since he was declared the winner of the presidential election Saturday. He had just delivered remarks about the Affordable Care Act, which the Supreme Court held oral arguments on Tuesday and appeared likely to uphold for the third time in eight years.
Biden said Trump’s unwillingness to acknowledge his election victory is “not of much consequence” to his transition team’s ability to plan and that he’s communicated to world leaders that “America’s back.”
“We are already beginning the transition. We’re well underway,” the former vice president said, adding that the administration’s “failure to recognize our win does not change the dynamics of what we’re able to do.”
Asked what his message is for Trump, Biden said: “Mr. President, I look forward to speaking with you.”
Biden says he doesn’t need transition funding
Biden would win with a comfortable 306 electoral votes if a 12,427-vote lead for the former vice president holds in Georgia, which is too close to call and subject to a recount. Even if Biden were to lose Georgia, he would still exceed 270 electoral votes. But that hasn’t stopped the Trump campaign and other Republicans from digging in.
Attorney General Bill Barr announced he’s authorized prosecutors to “pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities” despite a lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud.
“WE WILL WIN,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
The U.S. General Services Administration, an agency instrumental in presidential transitions, has not begun the initial steps in the process, delaying funding and resources that are typically provided to an incoming administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Trump’s false assertions about the election outcome, telling reporters “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration” when asked whether the Trump administration would cooperate with the Biden transition.
Biden dismissed Pompeo’s remarks. “Secretary of State Pompeo,” he said with a laugh.
He also said his team will be fine without the federal transition funding or access to presidential daily briefings known as “PDBs.” He said he “doesn’t see a need for legal action” to force the Trump administration to cooperate.
“We can get through without the funding,” Biden said. “We’re in a position that we feel very good about. There’s nothing that slows up our efforts to put things together. Obviously, the PDB would be useful, but it’s not necessary.
“We’re going to do exactly what we’d be doing if he had conceded and said we have won, which we have,” Biden said.
Biden: Republicans ‘mildly intimidated’ by Trump
Only four Republican senators – Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – have congratulated Biden on winning. Others like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas and Tom Cotton of Arkansas have said the election had not been decided.
“President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options,” McConnell said on the floor Monday. He said the winner of the election isn’t decided until the Electoral College meets Dec. 14.
Biden said he hadn’t had a chance to speak to McConnell but expects to soon.
“I think that the whole Republican Party has been put in a position, with a few notable exceptions, of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president,” Biden said. “But there’s only one president at a time. He’s president. The Electoral College will be making their judgement in December and it will be announced in January.”
Biden, who campaigned on bipartisanship and bringing a divided nation together, said he’s optimistic the two parties will be able to work together once he takes office to tackle issues such as health care.
“Look, I am not a pessimist, as you know,” he said. “And I think there are a enough Republicans who’ve already spoken out. And I think there will be many more – not many more, a larger number – once the election is declared and I’m sworn in to be able to get things done. I think they understand.”
“They will,” Biden said when pressed on how expects to work with Republicans if they don’t recognize him as president-elect. “They will.”
Courtesy/Source: This article originally appeared on USA TODAY