US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday dismissed incumbent Donald Trump’s hitherto refusal to concede defeat in this year’s White House race, calling it embarrassing to the outgoing leader.
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly. How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy,” Biden told reporters at a news conference. “I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far that they are hopeful that the United States’ democratic institutions are viewed as strong and enduring.”
Trump has repeatedly sought to cast doubt on the race being called in Biden’s favor by every major news outlet, including those close to him, like Fox News, and has blocked federal agencies from cooperating with the president-elect’s team on the handover of power.
He has alleged widespread voter fraud, but neither he nor his campaign have offered anything to substantiate the claim.
The messaging has resounded among Republicans who now doubt whether the polls were free and fair. Some 70% now do so, double the pre-election percentage, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Monday.
Compounding the doubt among the GOP, few serving Republicans have recognized Biden’s victory.
Biden said Republicans have been “mildly intimidated” by Trump into not recognizing the former vice president’s victory publicly
Trump earlier Tuesday said “results” from his legal challenges to the outcome of voting in key battleground states will begin to emerge “next week.” He said on Twitter that he is “making great progress,” but did not comment further.
Trump’s stonewalling comes 16 years after a bipartisan congressionally-formed panel tasked with investigating the shortcomings that allowed the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks to take place determined the shortened transition period to the George W. Bush administration in 2000 “hampered the new administration in identifying, recruiting, clearing and obtaining confirmation of key appointees.”
The transition that year was delayed by election disputes.
“The new administration — like all others before it — did not have its team on the job until at least six months after it took office,” the authors wrote. “Since a catastrophic attack could happen with little or no notice, we should minimize as much as possible the disruption of national security policymaking during the change of administrations by accelerating the process for national security appointments.”
The White House has further instructed federal agencies to continue preparations for Trump’s 2022 fiscal year budget, which normally would not be distributed until two weeks after Inauguration Day, according to the Washington Post newspaper.
Biden said he believes Trump will ultimately hand over the reins of power and that he will assume office on Inauguration Day.
“At the end of the day, it’s all going to come to fruition on Jan. 20, and between now and then, my hope and expectation is that the American people do understand that there has been a transition, even among Republicans who are people who voted for the president,” he said. “I understand the sense of loss, I get that.”
Trump’s team, meanwhile, has vowed recounts in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, but the process rarely leads to a change in a declared victor.
The nonpartisan elections group FairVote found that statewide recounts only changed election results by about 430 votes. Biden leads far beyond that in each of the states in which The Associated Press declared him the victor.
In Georgia, where his lead is narrowest, Biden is ahead by 13,000 votes. In Pennsylvania and Michigan, Trump is trailing by more than 45,000 and nearly 149,000 votes, respectively.
States must resolve election disputes by Dec. 8, about one week before Electoral College delegates cast ballots Dec. 14.
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