Biden: Successful transition despite Trump’s “embarrassing” defiance

(Update: Releads, recasts)

By Lucia Leal

Washington, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s refusal to publicly admit defeat in the Nov. 3 election was “an embarrassment” but will not hinder him from preparing properly to assume power in January.

In his first press conference since he became president-elect last Saturday, Biden downplayed the impact that Trump’s defiant obstruction of the transition process would have while his team was planning to take legal measures to attempt to open up the transition process, which so far the Trump administration has been attempting to stymie.

“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly. It will not help the president’s legacy,” Biden said of the outgoing president’s obstruction.

The press conference came exactly four years after former President Barack Obama welcomed President-elect Trump at the White House and committed himself to a “smooth” transition process, a tradition in US politics that the current outgoing president has – so far – failed to follow.

Trump’s defiance goes beyond the symbolism of not receiving his successor in the Oval Office. Given that he does not recognize the results of the election, his administration is not cooperating with Biden’s team to guarantee that everything is ready for the handover on Jan. 20.

Specifically, Biden’s team has admitted being concerned that the General Services Administration has not yet certified the former vice president’s election victory, an omission that hinders his team from gaining access to the resources and the government agencies it needs to prepare for the transition.

Biden’s campaign is planning to sue the GSA to unblock the process, according to severel media outlets, but Biden tried to minimize that issue and told reporters that his team has enough resources to develop the incoming administration’s plans to secure that certification.

Biden said, in fact, that his team was going to do exactly what it would do if Trump had already acknowledged his defeat.

“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.

The president-elect’s transition team on Tuesday released a list of some 500 experts in different areas of government who will help them – that is, Biden and whoever he selects for his cabinet – to prepare to assume their duties on Jan. 20.

That group – more than half of whom are women and 40 percent of whom are black, Latino, Asian-Americans, LBGTQ+ community members or people with disabilities – will be able to begin coordinating with federal agencies only if the GSA ultimately certifies Biden’s victory.

The former vice president insisted that Trump’s obstruction ultimately won’t matter in terms of his own activities to prepare for governing, despite the fact that – so far – the president is preventing Biden’s team from receiving access to classified intelligence information.

Biden, who is intimately familiar with the workings of government as per his eight years of experience as vice president, said that although it would be useful to have access to that information, he would not be able to act on any of it anyway until he actually is sworn in as president.

He also said that he expects to name at least a couple of members of his cabinet before Thanksgiving on Nov. 26, adding that Republicans in Congress will end up recognizing his election win.

Biden said that, at present anyway, there is no evidence for any of the claims of election irregularities that Trump or Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have made, the latter having publicly backed the president’s stance on Tuesday.

The Trump reelection campaign has filed lawsuits in several key battleground states to challenge the result of the election, alleging without providing any evidence that fraud was committed in the vote.

Almost all of Trump’s close associates have admitted in private that the lawsuits have no chance of success because they would need to prove fraud in multiple states to have any chance of overturning the national election result, and Trump would need to gain 56 electoral votes in all to get him to the 270 threshold required to win the presidency.

Currently, Biden has 290 electoral votes and Trump has 214, according to election projections with virtually all of the votes counted in all states except for Alaska, with its 3 electoral votes, which is certain to align with Trump. Biden, however, is comfortably ahead in Georgia, while Trump is leading in North Carolina, neither of which has been “called” by media outlets yet.

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