President-elect Joe Biden suggested Thursday President Donald Trump’s moves to try to get Michigan legislators to try to throw the state’s electoral votes his way was illegal and slammed the president’s actions as ‘hard to fathom.’
Biden measured his words and took long pauses when asked about Trump’s post-election moves – minutes after Trump’s legal team came out to allege a ‘massive’ election fraud amid efforts to get courts to toss out hundreds of thousands of votes in Philadelphia and Detroit.
‘I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won,’ Biden said. He also blasted Trump’s refusal to allow for a formal transition to begin as spelled out in a federal law on the transition period.
He spoke after reports that Trump plans to bring Michigan state Republican leaders to the White House, after a Wayne County canvassing board certified the results but its two Republican members then provided affidavits seeking to rescind their votes.
President-elect Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaks at The Queen theater, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
It pointed to a White House effort to try to get state officials to overrule the popular vote in states that voted for Biden. Biden beat Trump in Michigan by more than 150,000 votes.
The apparent effort to lean on Republican legislators followed reports earlier Thursday that Trump had phoned the two Republican officials who resisted certifying the vote in Wayne County, home to Detroit and one of the nation’s greatest concentration of black voters.
‘I just – It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,’ Biden said. ‘It’s hard to fathom. I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won. He’s not going to win and we’re going to be sworn in January 20th.
‘I just you know, far from me to question his motive but it’s just outrageous what he’s doing,’ he said.
He called Trump the ‘most irresponsible president in American history.’
Biden, who spent decades in the Senate, regularly cites his own rule about questioning rivals’ motivations. He spoke on a day when Trump’s motives are not in much doubt: he wants to peel away states that went for Biden to try to erase his 306 vote win in the electoral college.
‘What the president’s doing now is really it’s going to,’ he said, his voice trailing off. He called it ‘another incident where he will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible presidents in American history.’
Then he called it ‘not even within the norm at all. There’s a question whether it’s even legal.’
‘We won Michigan. It’s going to be certified,’ Biden said.
Biden also got asked about the administration’s refusal to reach a formal assessment that Biden is the winner, which would commence a formal transition with meetings between Biden’s aides and agency staff.
Biden said the administration’s refusal to meet with his team about COVID-19 and planning for distribution of a vaccine would ‘put lives at risk.’
‘It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,’ President-elect Joe Biden said of President Trump
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, on November 19, 2020. Giuliani is alleging a massive fraud and sketched out a conspiracy involving Democratic cities, Venezuela, China, and Biden
He specifically mentioned Trump’s ‘Operation Warp Speed’ designed to get vaccines produced and distributed quickly.
‘There is no excuse not to share the data and let us begin to plan,’ he said.
‘It’s going to take us time if we don’t have access to all of this data. It’s going to put us behind the 8-ball by a matter of a month or more,’ he predicted.
But he indicated he is disinclined to sue, saying the amount of time it would provide for transition might not ‘materially change.’ But he stopped short of legal action – as the Trump team files complaints in state after state challenging the election results.
‘We haven’t ruled it out,’ Biden said.
Biden also spoke about Trump’s refusal to concede, even as the former vice president’s popular vote lead approached 6 million votes, and his electoral vote lead stood at 306 to 223.
‘Let me choose my words,’ he said. He said the nation was witnessing ‘incredible irresponsibility.’
He said an ‘incredibly damaging message is being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.’
‘I don’t know his motive but I just think it’s totally irresponsible,’ Biden said.
He said he wasn’t concerned that it would affect his own legitimacy, although he did cite recent polls showing large percentages of Republicans believe the Trump camp’s claims of electoral fraud.
‘It sends a horrible message about who we are as a country,’ Biden said.
The head of the General Services Agency, Emily Murphy, has refused to reach a formal assessment that Biden won the election – which freezes millions in funding and keeps on ice a process meant to allow for information sharing between the outgoing and incoming administrations.
Her refusal to reach an ‘ascertainment’ also keeps Biden from getting top security meetings meant to keep future presidents informed of myriad global challenges.
Biden gave brief remarks after he met virtually Thursday with a bipartisan team of governors, and complained about being shut out of the transition on a day when President Trump’s lawyers revived their unsupported claims of ‘massive fraud’ in the election.
‘Unfortunately, my administration hasn´t been able to get everything we need,” Biden complained in a video conference with the National Governors Association’s leadership team.
It was a bipartisan group of five Republicans and four Democrats.
Included were Govs. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.), Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Chair, Gary Herbert (R-UT), Larry Hogan (R-MD), Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.), Co-Chair, Kay Ivey (R-AL), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Jared Polis (D-CO), Gretchen Whitmer (D-WI), and John Carney (D-DE)