President-elect Joe Biden called President Trump’s refusal to concede the election an “embarrassment” on Tuesday and warned that failing to do so would reflect poorly on his legacy in office.
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said, when asked to comment on Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat in last week’s presidential election.
“The only thing that — how can I say this tactfully — I think it will not help the president’s legacy,” Biden, seemingly choosing his words carefully,
Republicans, with a few exceptions, have also generally declined to congratulate Biden on his victory and have suggested the election is not over, something Biden blamed Tuesday on GOP lawmakers being intimidated by the president.
“I think that the whole Republican Party has been put in a position, with a few notable exceptions, of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president,” Biden said.
But he said that the transition process would move forward regardless of Trump’s refusal to concede, noting that he was “confident that the fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning and what we’re able to do between now and Jan. 20,” when he will be sworn into office.
Several federal agencies, however, have indicated that they will not begin working with Biden’s team on the presidential transition until the General Services Administration (GSA) has certified Biden as the president-elect.
Biden also acknowledged on Tuesday that he has not yet spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who like many Republicans has not yet publicly recognized Biden as the winner of the presidential race and has supported Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results.
Biden said he hoped to speak with McConnell “in the not too distant future.”
Despite those roadblocks, Biden’s schedule on Tuesday resembled that of any other president-elect, as he fielded a series of phone calls with foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Biden alluded to those phone calls in his remarks to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the foreign leaders he has spoken to “are hopeful that the United States democratic institutions are viewed once again as being strong and enduring.”
He said that eventually, the broader American public would also accept the results of the election.
“I think at the end of the day, you know, it’s all going to come to fruition on Jan. 20. And between now and then, the hope and expectation is that the American people do know and do understand there has been a transition.”