In his most pressing appeal yet for President Donald Trump to concede and begin the transition process, President-elect Joe Biden asserted that “people may die” if Trump did not do more to coordinate with his incoming administration on the pandemic.
Biden—speaking to reporters after delivering remarks on the U.S. economy in Wilmington, Delaware Monday—called the effort to distribute a vaccine a “huge undertaking” and said if his incoming administration has to wait to begin the planning process, it will delay the rollout “over a month to a month and a half,” costing lives.
The comments echo Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said he was “concerned” the holdup of the transition process would delay a vaccine rollout during an interview Monday.
Trump has refused to concede and the General Services Administration—which is run by a Trump appointee—has yet to sign off on a letter recognizing Biden as the president-elect that would kickstart the transition process.
Other than raising alarm about the delay of the vaccine rollout, Biden again avoided getting down in the mud with Trump, calling the situation “more embarrassing for the country than debilitating.”
Even as most Republicans remained united behind Trump, Biden said he was hopeful “the pressure will continue to build” for the president to concede.
When asked whether he would take a vaccine if one were ready by the end of the year, Biden said he “wouldn’t hesitate,” before adding he would also see what health officials like Fauci said about the cure to make sure it was safe.
“Does anybody understand why a governor would turn [masks] into a political statement?” Biden asked rhetorically. “It’s about being patriotic. It’s about saving lives.”
Biden again voiced his support for the HEROES Act, a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled House earlier this year that died quickly in the Senate. “Right now, Congress should come together and pass a Covid relief package like the Heroes Act,” Biden said.
“The time has come” for Trump to concede, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) said during a press conference Monday, one of the few Republicans to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to answer questions about whether he acknowledges Biden as president-elect during a press conference Monday.
Biden Turns Up Pressure for Administration Recognition (Wall Street Journal)