- BBC World News
The president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden, warned that “more people could die” if Donald Trump continues to impede his next administration.
Speaking in his home state of Delaware on Monday, Biden stated that there needs to be coordination to address the coronavirus outbreak.
And he called “totally irresponsible” President Trump’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the election, despite calls to do so.
The Trump campaign launched a series of legal challenges following the November 3 vote to challenge the vote count.
Advisers to the president-elect have said that Trump’s refusal to participate in a transition means that Biden’s team has been excluded from planning for the vaccine distribution strategy.
On Monday Biden referred to the stalemate in the transition. “Does anyone understand this?” He asked. “It’s about saving lives, really, this is not hyperbole.”
Biden said the logistics of distributing vaccines to hundreds of millions of Americans is a huge challenge.
“It’s a huge, huge, huge company,” he declared.
“The vaccine is important. But it is of no use until you are vaccinated,” Biden said.
He pointed out that if his team has to wait until January 20 – the date of his presidential inauguration – to start working on the distribution program, they will be delayed “more than a month, a month and a half.”
And I add: “more people can die if we don’t coordinate. “
He also noted that he would work with Republicans to defeat the virus and drive economic recovery when he is in power.
When asked if he will encourage state leaders to reinstate stay-at-home orders because of the pandemic, the president-elect sidestepped the question and indicated that he will ask officials to encourage the use of masks.
The president-elect was also asked what he would say to members of the Republican Party who have backed Trump’s refusal to accept defeat.
Biden said he would offer them an open hand.
“My message is: ‘I will work with you. I understand much of your reluctance because of the way the president operates,” Biden said.
But he added that such talks could only take place after Trump and his advisers have left office.
“It’s a shame, but maybe it’s the only way to do it.”
Change of tone
Biden’s remarks show a marked change in tone after both he and his team have downplayed the difficulties they have faced in establishing a new government without the help of the current administration.
The president-elect’s criticism comes after the White House National Security adviser all but admitted that Biden would be inaugurated and recognized the importance of a smooth federal transfer.
President Trump’s team is trying to get courts to revoke votes in key states on the grounds that many ballots were invalid or counted incorrectly.
So far, those efforts have failed and no evidence of fraud has emerged significant.
President-elect Biden, who is a Democrat, has 306 votes in the Electoral College, surpassing the threshold of 270 needed to win.
Despite this, Trump tweeted Monday: “I won the election!”
The government agency initiating the transition process, the General Services Administration (GSA), led by a Trump appointee, has yet to recognize Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, as winners.
This leaves them without access to sensitive government reports that are typically turned over to an incoming administration.
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