WILMINGTON, Del. – President-elect Joe Biden is promising that his team is “going to get right to work” and is downplaying concerns that President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his victory could undermine national security.
Trump has blocked his Democratic rival from receiving the intelligence briefings traditionally shared with incoming presidents, according to someone with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to disclose private conversations.
Asked about the Republican resistance on Tuesday, Biden said it “does not change the dynamic at all in what we’re able to do.” He said additional intelligence briefings “would be useful,” but he doesn’t see anything slowing them down.
“It would be nice to have it, but it’s not critical,” said Biden. “We’re just going to proceed the way we have. We’re going to do exactly what we’d be doing if he would have conceded and said we’ve won, which we have. And so, there’s nothing really changing.”
Watch Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris speak below:
Biden said he and his team are moving along in a “consistent manor,” putting together their administration and reviewing who they’d like to pick for cabinet positions.
“Nothing’s going to stop that,” said Biden. “So, I’m confident that the fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge that we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning and what we’re about to do between now and Jan. 20.”
Biden also responded to comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said Monday that he supports Trump’s legal actions, despite there being little evidence of widespread voter fraud. Biden said he hasn’t gotten a chance to speak to McConnell yet, but he expects to relatively soon.
“I think that the whole Republican Party has been put in a position, with a few notable exceptions, of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president,” said Biden. “But there’s only one president at a time. He’s president. We’re going to have the Electoral College, they’ll be making their judgment in December and it’ll be announced in early January, but in the meantime, I hope to get a chance to speak to Mitch.”
When asked about the Trump administration blocking funding for the White House transition, Biden said he thinks his team can get things done without the money.
“We can get through without the funding,” said Biden. “We don’t see anything that’s slowing us down, quite frankly.”
So far, Biden said he’s been able to speak with six world leaders since he was projected to win the presidency on Saturday.
“I’m letting them know that America is back. We’re going to be back in the game. It’s not America alone,” he said. “I’m confident that we’ll be able to put America back in a place of respect that it had before.”
Biden said he believes Trump’s post-election behavior won’t help his legacy.
“I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far, that they are hopeful that the United States’ democratic institutions are viewed as being strong and enduring,” said Biden. “I think at the end of the day, it’s all going to come to fruition on Jan. 20. And between now and then, my hope and expectation is that the American people do know and do understand that there has been a transition, even among Republicans.”
When asked during his briefing what he would say to Trump if he were watching, Biden said “Mr. President, I look forward to speaking with you.”