Biden: Trump refusal to concede ‘an embarrassment’

3 weeks ago
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Joe Biden has said President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede defeat in last week’s White House election is “an embarrassment”.

But the US president-elect – who has been making contact with foreign leaders – insisted nothing would stop the transfer of power.

Mr Trump meanwhile tweeted he would ultimately win the race that he has been projected to lose.

As happens every four years US media projected the winner of the election.

None of the state-by-state results have yet been certified, several vote counts are continuing, and the outcome will only be set in stone once the US Electoral College meets on 14 December.

What did Biden say?

The president-elect was asked by a reporter on Tuesday what he thought of President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat.

“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Mr Biden, a Democrat, said in Wilmington, Delaware.

“The only thing that, how can I say this tactfully, I think it will not help the president’s legacy.”

“At the end of the day, you know, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20,” he added, referring to inauguration day.

Mr Biden has been fielding phone calls with foreign leaders as he prepares to assume office.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among those he spoke to on Tuesday.

Referring to those calls, Mr Biden said: “I’m letting them know that America is back. We’re going to be back in the game.”

He and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are forging ahead with the transition. But a little-known government agency led by a Trump appointee is stalling the handover.

The General Services Administration co-ordinates funding and access to federal departments for incoming administrations. However, it has so far declined to formally recognise Mr Biden as president-elect.

Nevertheless, the president-elect said: “We don’t see anything slowing us down, quite frankly.”

What did Trump and his allies say?

On Tuesday, Mr Trump took to Twitter to fire off several tweets in capital letters about “massive ballot counting abuse,” asserting: “We will win!”

His tweets were labelled by the social media network as disputed.

The president has been making unsubstantiated claims that Mr Biden was only able to win the election through electoral corruption, but no evidence has emerged so far to support the allegation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist, told a news conference at the Department of State on Tuesday that once every “legal” vote was counted a “second Trump administration” would begin.

Mr Trump’s fellow Republicans have largely refrained from acknowledging Mr Biden’s projected victory.

Asked on Tuesday why he had not congratulated the Democrat, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said: “Nothing to congratulate him about.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has said Mr Trump has every right to launch legal challenges to the result in several battleground states such as Pennsylvania.

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Why most Republicans are tight-lipped

Analysis box by Anthony Zurcher, North America reporter

Few Republicans want to attract the ire of the president by publicly accepting that Joe Biden has won. The ones who have spoken out already – Senators Susan Collins, Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney among them – broke with Trump a long time ago.

For the rest, the president still has enormous power in the party’s base, and he can – and has – wielded it against those he believes are insufficiently loyal.

And so, from Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on down, the name of the game is patience. Accept that the president has a right to make his claims, give him time to vent his frustration, but figure that there will be no evidence of sufficient enough magnitude to change the results of the election.

Celebrate Republican down-ballot wins, without acknowledging the absurdity of alleged election-fixing that is massive enough to unseat a president but not to deliver a fully Democratic Congress.

Through their actions, if not their words, the president’s fellow Republicans are acknowledging that come January, there will be a new president. Mr Trump, too, shall pass.

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