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Biden says it's an 'embarassment' that Trump hasn't conceded yet

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, has claimed that there will be a “smooth transition” to a second Trump administration.

Image: Carolyn Kaster/PA Images

US PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden has said that Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the US election was an “embarrassment” that will reflect poorly on his legacy.

“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said when asked what he thinks about Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat in the election.

“How can I say this tactfully,” Biden told reporters in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware. “I think it will not help the president’s legacy.”

When asked what he would say to Trump, given the chance, Biden replied: “Mr President, look forward to speaking with you.”

But the Democratic president-elect downplayed the impact of Trump’s refusal to assist with the transition toward a new US administration.

“The fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning,” Biden said, looking ahead to his inauguration.

“I think at the end of the day, it’s all going to come to fruition on January 20th, 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.”

World leaders including almost all US allies have congratulated Biden, who has achieved unassailable leads in key states as well as a commanding edge in the nationwide popular vote. Today, he has spoken to leaders including Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

But Trump has refused to concede the 3 November election and has alleged massive fraud, calling for recounts and legal action.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has promised the world a “smooth transition” after US elections but refused to recognise President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, saying Donald Trump will remain in power.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said in an at times testy news conference when asked about contacts with the Biden team.

“The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today… with the president who is in office on January 20 a minute after noon will be successful,” he said, referring to the date of the presidential inauguration.

Asked if the United States can still issue statements calling for free elections around the world, Pompeo said the question was “ridiculous.”

“This department cares deeply to make sure that elections around the world are safe and secure and free and fair, and my officers risk their lives to ensure that that happens,” he said.

Earlier today, both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had phone calls with the president-elect.

Martin said he congratulated Biden “on the historic nature of his election” and that of Vice President Elect Kamala Harris.

“We agreed to work closely together,” said the Taoiseach.

Government sources here have described the call as “very personal”. The two leaders discussed many issues, such as Brexit and the border with Northern Ireland.

Biden is understood to have told the Taoiseach that he is determined to sign back up to the Paris Accord.

Downing Street, meanwhile, said that Johnson discussed trade with Biden, as he seeks to negotiate a post-Brexit deal with Washington.

And they were said to have discussed Nato, which Trump routinely railed against during his single term as president, which continues into January.

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A No 10 spokesman said the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic was another topic of discussion, with both men using the “build back better” slogan, and that Johnson invited Biden to the United Nations climate crisis summit being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November next year.

With reporting from Sean Murray, Christina Finn

© AFP 2020

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