Biden called Trump’s refusal to concede the election that he lost “an embarrassment” that “will not help the President’s legacy.” But he also told reporters Tuesday in Delaware that he believes Republicans will eventually acknowledge his victory.
The Trump administration’s refusal to initiate the transition process “does not change the dynamic at all in what we’re able to do,” Biden said.
“We don’t see anything that’s slowing us down, quite frankly,” Biden said.
The refusal of the General Services Administration, under Trump-appointed administrator Emily W. Murphy, to take the legally necessary step of declaring Biden the President-elect has so far blocked his team from receiving $6.3 million in funds Congress appropriated for transition efforts. It has also prevented Biden’s transition team from accessing federal agencies, and Biden from receiving the president’s daily intelligence briefing.
Biden said the daily briefings “would be useful, but it’s not necessary,” and said his transition team “can get through without the funding.”
“We’re just going to proceed the way we have. We’re going to be doing exactly what we’d be doing if he’d conceded and said we won – which we have. So there’s nothing really changing,” Biden said.
He also shot down the possibility of legal action to force the beginning of the transition process. “I don’t see the need for legal action,” he said.
Biden is moving forward with his transition effort, on Monday naming a 13-person coronavirus task force and on Tuesday naming members of agency review teams. He said he hopes to publicly reveal his choices for “at least a couple” Cabinet positions before Thanksgiving.
Biden said he has not yet spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, but that he expects to do so “in the not too distant future.”
Trump so far has refused to accept the results of the election, instead making a series of false claims about voter fraud on Twitter. He has also mobilized his campaign and the Republican National Committee behind those claims, filing lawsuits and holding press conferences making unfounded allegations without offering any proof.
Trump’s Cabinet secretaries have also lined up behind his denials of reality. Attorney General William Barr on Monday told federal prosecutors that they should examine allegations of voting irregularities before states move to certify results in the coming weeks, a move that triggered the resignation of the director of the elections crimes branch in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory, saying that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
McConnell, meanwhile, defended Trump’s actions, saying Monday that the President “is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”
And in Georgia, two Republican senators who appear headed for a January 5 runoff – Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue – on Monday called on the Republican secretary of state, Georgia’s chief elections official, to resign, complaining without evidence that he had mishandled the election.
Biden chalked their actions up to fear that failing to abide Trump could hurt them politically.
“I think that the whole Republican Party has been put in the position – with a few notable exceptions – of being mildly intimidated by the sitting President,” Biden said.
Biden said he has spoken so far to six world leaders, and said he believes he will be able to “put America back in the place of respect that it had before” Trump’s presidency.
“I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far that they are hopeful that United States democratic institutions are viewed once again as strong and enduring. But I think at the end of the day, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20,” he said.