Pressure builds on Trump to concede as Biden pushes ahead with transition plan

The Guardian – By Richard Luscombe/Joan E Greve – Wed 11 Nov 2020

Pressure was mounting on Donald Trump on Wednesday to concede the US election that he lost to Joe Biden by more than 5 million votes, even as the president continued to pursue claims on social media and in court about ballot tampering and fraud – without evidence.

The president’s refusal to accept defeat is increasingly alarming those senior Republicans prepared to admit it, with one, former US senator and former defence secretary William Cohen, calling Trump’s behavior “more akin to a dictatorship than a democracy”.

As European leaders lined up to congratulate Biden, British prime minister Boris Johnson even referred to Trump as the “previous president” while talking in parliament, although Trump is president for 10 more weeks.

Trump fired his defence secretary Mark Esper by tweet on Monday and followed up with a purge of several senior civilian officials at the Pentagon, raising further concerns over his intentions.

Meanwhile Biden, the Democrats’ winning candidate, who has already secured more than the 270 electoral college votes he needed, pressed ahead with building his transition team and speaking out about urgent issues facing the US, including the coronavirus pandemic.

As more votes from the election were counted and his popular vote advantage over the Republican incumbent continued to grow, Biden laid a wreath at a Korean war memorial in Philadelphia to mark Veterans Day.

And in pelting rain, Trump, who had not had any public engagements since Biden was declared the election winner on Saturday morning, laid a wreath at Arlington national cemetery.

This in the wake of reports in September that Trump had previously referred to military veterans as “losers” and “suckers”. The president did not make any public remarks during the remembrance ceremony.

Biden has attempted to lower the temperature of the furore swirling around the White House since election day, and promised on Tuesday “to get right to work” on the transition while ignoring provocation from the Trump administration, including baseless claims of voter fraud and the thwarting of access to intelligence briefings and federal funding to help finance the transfer of power.

Without money from the federal General Services Administration, headed by Trump appointee Emily Murphy, Biden’s team is hampered from conducting background investigations and obtaining security clearances for prospective staff.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Biden attempted to reinforce his message of calm. “Today, we as a nation pause to honour the service, the valour, and the commitment of all those who have worn the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States,” it said.

“This Veterans Day, I feel the full weight of the honour and the responsibility that has been entrusted to me by the American people as the next president, and I vow to honour our country’s sacred obligation.”

A day earlier, at an event to unveil his plans for healthcare policy once he assumes office, Biden called Trump’s refusal to concede “an embarrassment”.

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Posted by Teri Perticone

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