President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday called President Donald Trump’s failure to concede the election “an embarrassment,” but said neither that nor the Trump administration’s stonewalling would stop him from getting to work.
Asked for his thoughts on the anxiety some Americans feel over the president’s refusal to publicly admit defeat, Biden said, “I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly.”
“It will not help the president’s legacy,” Biden said, before adding that he didn’t think Trump’s resistance would wind up mattering.
“I think at the end of the day it will all come to fruition on Jan. 20,” Biden said, referring to Inauguration Day. Biden answered questions from reporters after delivering a speech on the importance of improving the Affordable Care Act in Wilmington.
Trump has so far refused to concede despite network projections that he’s lost, and hard numbers that show Biden leads him by more than 10,000 votes in at least three swing states Trump would have to flip — a margin that has not been overcome in any sort of statewide recount previously. Some Republicans have said the president, who has maintained that he won the election, should wait to concede until the votes are certified.
Trump, who won key states in 2016 by a margin smaller than Biden’s, claimed victory hours after the polls closed in 2016 based on media projections.
Asked what he would say to Trump if he was watching, Biden said, “Mr. President, I look forward to speaking with you.”
Biden shrugged off the importance of the General Services Administration head’s refusal to recognize his incoming administration. The GSA is delaying the paperwork needed to trigger the release of millions of dollars in transition funds and allows an incoming administration access to current government officials.
“We are already beginning the transition. We are well underway. The ability for the administration in any way by failure to recognize us — our win — does not change the dynamic at all of what we are able to do,” Biden said.
While the delay could also effect Biden’s ability to review classified information, he said he was unconcerned about that as well. “It would be nice to have it but it’s not critical,” Biden said, noting there’s only “one president at a time” and he wouldn’t be able to act on information until January anyway.
While transition officials have said they might file suit over the delay, Biden said he wasn’t interested in doing so. “I don’t see a need for legal action,” he said.
Asked about Republican lawmakers who are so far refusing to recognize him as the next president, Biden said, “They will.” He said he believed they’ve all been “mildly intimidated” by Trump.
He added that he had not spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the Republicans who’s refused to recognize his victory. “I haven’t had a chance to speak to Mitch,” Biden said. “My expectation is I will do that in the not-so-distant future.”
Asked about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who predicted earlier Tuesday that there “will be a smooth transition to our second Trump administration,” Biden said, “So far there’s no evidence of any of the assertions made by the president or Secretary of State Pompeo,” laughing as he repeated, “Secretary of State Pompeo.”
During his remarks about plans to beef up the ACA immediately after he takes office, Biden called it “our moral obligation to ensure health care is right for all, not a privilege for a few.”
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning in the Republican-led charge to strike down Obamacare, and a majority of the justices appeared likely to spare the health care law.
Biden was introduced by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who also stressed the importance of protecting and expanding Obamacare — and the scope of their election victory.
“Joe Biden won the election decisively, with more votes than have ever been cast in American history. It amounts to 75 million voices, and counting,” she said.