U.S. President-elect Joe Biden took the first steps on Sunday to take over the White House in 73 days, but Donald Trump showed no sign of willingness to admit defeat and continued to sow doubts about the election results.
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris launched a transition website, BuildBackBetter.com, and a Twitter feed, @ Transition46.
While Trump refuses to allow Tuesday elections and most Republican lawmakers institute a studied silence, former President George W. Bush said the “result is clear”.
Bush, 74, the only living ex-Republican president, said he called Biden and Harris as “presidents-elect” to offer his “warm congratulations.”
While Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, Bush said: “The American people can be confident that this election was fundamentally fair, that its integrity is upheld and that its outcome is clear.”
“Although we have political differences, I know Joe Biden is a good man who has won his chance to lead and unite our country,” Bush said in a statement. “We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors and for the sake of our nation and its future.”
The transition website lists four priorities for a government led by Barack Obama’s former vice president: Covid-19, economic recovery, racial justice and climate change.
“The team that is being assembled will tackle these challenges on day one,” said a reference to January 20, 2021 when Biden is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
Biden, who will turn 78 on November 20, is the oldest person ever elected to the White House. Harris, 56, the junior senator from California, is the first woman and the first black person to be elected vice president.
Biden plans to appoint a task force on Monday to fight the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 237,000 people in the United States and that is on the rise across the country.
He has also announced plans to re-join the Paris Climate Agreement and will reportedly enact an executive order on its first day that will lift Trump’s travel ban to predominantly Muslim countries.
Biden has vowed to nominate a cabinet that reflects the diversity of the country, though he may struggle to get Senate approval for more progressive candidates if Republicans retain control of the Senate – a result of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.
– ‘Accept the inevitable’ –
After John F. Kennedy was only the second Catholic to be elected U.S. President, Biden attended church in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Sunday morning and visited the graves of his son Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015, and his first Wife and daughter who died in a car accident in 1972.
74-year-old Trump was playing golf on his course near Washington on Sunday, right where he was on Saturday, when the U.S. television network broke news that Biden had received enough votes for the electoral college to win.
“Since when has the Lamestream media been calling who our next president will be?” Trump complained in a tweet on Sunday.
First Lady Melania Trump also interfered and tweeted: “The American people deserve fair elections. Every legal – not illegal – vote should be counted.”
The Trump campaign has legally challenged the results in several states, but no evidence has emerged of any widespread irregularities that would affect the results.
Symone Sanders, a senior advisor to Biden, spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday and dismissed the legal challenges as “unfounded legal strategies”.
Biden received nearly 74.6 million votes for Trump’s 70.4 million nationwide and has a 279-214 lead on the electoral college that determines the presidency.
Biden also leads in Arizona with 11 votes and Georgia with 16 votes. If he won both, he would finish with 306 votes – the same sum Trump won in 2016 when he upset Hillary Clinton.
Only two Republican Senators, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski, have congratulated Biden and South Carolina Democratic Representative James Clyburn. The Republican Party has a “responsibility” to convince Trump that it is time to give up.
Romney, who condemned Trump on his impeachment trial, said the president would eventually “accept the inevitable”.
The Utah senator added that he “would prefer the world to watch a more graceful dawn, but that is just not in man’s nature.”
– ‘Don’t admit it, Mr President’ –
But Trump ally South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said the president should keep fighting.
“We’ll work with Biden if he wins, but Trump hasn’t lost,” Graham said on the Fox News Show Sunday Morning Futures. “Don’t admit it, Mr. President. Fight hard.”
Another Trump ally, house minority leader Kevin McCarthy, told the same show it was too early to hold the election.
“What we need in the president’s race is to ensure that every legal vote is counted, every recount is completed and every legal challenge should be heard,” said McCarthy.
In a victory speech on Saturday, Biden pledged to unite the bitterly divided nation and turned to Trump supporters, saying, “They are not our enemies, they are Americans.”
“Let’s give each other a chance,” he said. “Let this dark era of demonization in America come to an end here and now.”
While only a handful of Republican lawmakers have congratulated Biden, so have the leaders of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and other European countries along with Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan and South Korea.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)