(AP) — Vowing “to get right to work,” President-elect Joe Biden shrugged off President Donald Trump’s fierce refusal to accept the election outcome as “inconsequential,” even as Democrats elsewhere warned that the Republican president’s actions were dangerous.
Raising unsupported claims of voter fraud, Trump has blocked the incoming president from receiving intelligence briefings and withheld federal funding intended to help facilitate the transfer of power. Trump’s resistance, backed by senior Republicans in Washington and across the country, could also prevent background investigations and security clearances for prospective staff and access to federal agencies to discuss transition planning.
As some Democrats and former Republican officials warned of serious consequences, Biden sought to lower the national temperature Tuesday as he addressed reporters from a makeshift transition headquarters near his home in downtown Wilmington.
Biden described Trump’s position as little more than an “embarrassing” mark on the outgoing president’s legacy, while predicting that Republicans on Capitol Hill would eventually accept the reality of Biden’s victory. The Republican resistance, Biden said, “does not change the dynamic at all in what we’re able to do.”
Additional intelligence briefings “would be useful,” Biden added, but “we don’t see anything slowing us down.”
The measured comments come as Biden prepares to confront duelling national crises that actively threaten the health, safety and economic security of millions of Americans irrespective of the political debate. Coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths are surging, the economy faces the prospect of long-term damage and the nation’s political and cultural divides may be worsening.
Biden is betting that his low-key approach and bipartisan outreach — a sharp reversal from the current president’s style — will help him govern effectively on Day One. But just a little over two months before Biden will be inaugurated, Trump and his allies seemed determined to make his transition as difficult as possible.