Political

Trump-Biden transition live updates: Biden, Harris address economic recovery amid pandemic

narvikk/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President-elect Joe Biden is moving forward with transition plans, capping a tumultuous and tension-filled campaign during a historic pandemic against President Donald Trump, who still refuses to concede the election more than one week after Biden was projected as the winner.

Trump has largely hunkered down inside the White House since the election, but Biden is pressing forward and stepping into the presidential spotlight, delivering remarks on economic recovery Monday and continuing to meet with his own transition advisers despite the Trump administration refusing to grant him access to federal resources allocated for the transition of power.

It comes as a growing number of Republican senators are calling on the administration to start giving Biden classified intelligence briefings, a sign that support for Trump’s refusal to concede the election may be waning among his allies on Capitol Hill.

Though Trump has alleged widespread voter fraud, he and his campaign haven’t been able to provide the evidence to substantiate their claims with several of their lawsuits already being thrown out in court.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Nov 16, 4:26 pm

Biden takes questions on transition of power

Following his remarks on economic recovery, Biden took questions largely focused on his transition of power as Trump still refuses to recognize Biden as the president-elect.

Asked what’s the biggest threat to his stalled transition, Biden said the ability to coordinate on a pandemic plan as cases surge across the country.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said. “If we have to wait until Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month, month and a half.”

Questioned by ABC News Chief Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce what he plans to do about the Trump administration’s stone-walling, Biden said he will continue to engage with stakeholders across the spectrum but acknowledged that it would “make it a lot easier” if Trump would cooperate.

When pressed on his message to Republicans who are also refusing to recognize him as president-elect, Biden said he would still work with them but called it a “shame” if his team had to wait until Jan. 20 to access federally appropriated transition resources.

“I will work with you. I understand a lot of your reluctance because of the way the president operates,” Biden said. “If it has to wait until Jan. 20 to actually become operational, that’s a shame, but maybe — maybe that’s the only way to get it done.”

“As I said earlier — and I probably shouldn’t repeat it, but I find this more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started,” Biden said about Trump’s weekend tweets where he first seemed to acknowledge Biden won but then said he wouldn’t concede.

Biden again urged Congress to pass the Heroes Act, the House-passed COVID-19 relief legislation that Senate GOP leadership has not brought up for a vote, saying the federal government has all the money and capacity to deliver more relief now.

“The idea the president is still playing golf and not doing anything about it is beyond my comprehension,” Biden said. “You’d at least think he’d want to go off on a positive note.”

Nov 16, 3:46 pm

Biden, Harris deliver remarks on economic recovery 

Following an economic briefing with labor and business leaders, Biden and Harris delivered remarks on economic recovery amid the pandemic and in the long-term.

Harris was the first to speak and stressed the “necessary work” of getting the pandemic under control, as she and Biden have emphasized the pandemic and economy are intertwined.

“The road ahead, it will not be easy. But the president-elect and I are hitting the ground running because we all know the challenges facing America today are great. The American people deserve no less. And we don’t have a moment to waste,” she said, introducing Biden.

Biden said their earlier conversation with American union leaders and business executives reinforced his belief that representatives from across the aisle are ready to come together to combat the virus to “Build Back Better,” hearkening back to an early campaign slogan.

“I wish you could have heard corporate leaders and major labor leaders singing from the same hymnal here,” Biden said, touting his ability to bring the groups together.

Biden went on to praise the vaccine news from Moderna and Pfizer but warned that developing the vaccine and distributing it to Americans are two different issues.

As the Trump administration still hasn’t recognized Biden as the president-elect, preventing his access to federally allocated transition resources, Biden said every representative at the economic briefing agreed that the sooner Biden has access to the administration’s vaccine distribution plans, the smoother the transition — for the benefit of the American people.

He also called on Congress to pass the Heroes Act, the House-passed COVID-19 relief legislation which Senate GOP leadership has not brought up for a vote, before broadening his remarks on how he would make the economy work better for Americans from all walks of life.

It was the pair’s first joint economic-focused remarks since they were projected to win the election. The remarks came more than an hour after they were scheduled to begin speaking, from The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday afternoon.

Biden opened the floor for questions following the remarks.

Nov 16, 2:49 pm

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan: ‘The time has come’ for Trump to concede

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, an outspoken critic of the president’s who previously revealed he voted for Ronald Reagan in this year’s election, is urging Trump to admit defeat and move forward with a peaceful transition for his successor.

“Like it or not, I mean, the president didn’t win and so now, you know, we have Joe Biden as president for four years,” he said at a forum hosted by the Ronald Reagan Institute. “Tomorrow will be two weeks. … The time has come,” he added in response to when Trump should concede.

The self-described “Reagan Republican” also underscored the urgency of a smooth transition between the two administrations particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, which he compared to a war.

“We’re in the middle of a war, and we don’t know who the generals are going to be. We don’t know what the game plan is,” he said. “We can’t wait till the end of January.”

Amid the president’s claims of fraud and a stolen election, Hogan dismissed those allegations for lack of evidence and asserted that even if there were any issues, like any other election, it will not make up Trump’s deficit against Biden.

“We’re not going to make up for five million votes in all of those states. It was a pretty overwhelming victory,” Hogan continued. “We ought to find out if there’s anything wrong but so far we haven’t heard anything.” 

-ABC News’ Kendall Karson

Nov 16, 1:20 pm
Biden holds briefing with labor and business leaders on economic recovery post-COVID

Biden has entered The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, where he’s meeting virtually with business and labor leaders to discuss economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic and in the long-term, with one of his central campaign slogans to “Build Back Better” illuminated inside the space.

Speaking with several labor leaders who previously endorsed him, and CEOs of major U.S. companies including General Motors, Target and Microsoft, Biden commented that while the current economic situation in the country is “pretty dark,” he expressed optimism that his administration and business leaders have the same goals in mind.

“Thanks for being here,” the president-elect told the group. “To state the obvious, we seem to be turning a pretty dark corner now” — drawing a sharp contrast to Trump repeated assertions of the campaign trail that the U.S. was “rounding the corner.”
 
“We all agree on these common goals,” Biden said. “You can’t just build back, you gotta build it back better than it was.”

While the support of American labor unions would be expected, the presence of other business executives illustrates how more institutions in society are recognizing Biden as the president-elect despite Trump’s refusal to concede.

After their briefing, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will deliver remarks on economic recovery.

Biden has previously hit on how the economy and the pandemic are intertwined and is expected to continue to press that the U.S. must contain the virus in order to get the economy on track.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Nov 16, 11:19 am
Trump targets Ohio GOP Gov. DeWine who acknowledged Biden as president-elect

Trump is targeting Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, on Twitter after the governor acknowledged Biden as the president elect over the weekend and urged Trump to work with the transition.

“Who will be running for Governor of the Great State of Ohio? Will be hotly contested!” Trump said in a tweet Monday morning.

It comes after DeWine said on CNN Sunday, “It’s clear” Biden is the president-elect. “And that transition, for the country’s sake, it’s important for a normal transition to start through,” he said.

Now, in response to not fully backing the president’s false claims that he won the election, Trump appears to be threatening the idea of DeWine, who was elected in 2018, being primaried.

Trump’s tweet came shortly after Fox News aired a clip of the Ohio governor’s CNN interview.

-ABC News’ Will Steakin


Nov 16, 11:09 am
Biden, Trump react to Moderna news as standoff continues over access to vaccine distribution plans

In new tweets Monday morning, Biden reacted to the news that Moderna’s clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccine have proven to be 94.5% effective, calling it “further reason to feel hopeful” while reminding Americans to social distance and wear a mask as the vaccine is “still months away.”

About 10 minutes after Biden’s tweet, Trump also took to Twitter to given himself credit, saying, “For those great ‘historians’, please remember that these great discoveries… all took place on my watch!”

Biden’s newly named chief of staff Ron Klain has warned that a seamless transition needs to take place as COVID-19 vaccines progress and show positive signs. His comments come as the Trump administration still hasn’t recognized Biden as the president-elect, preventing his access to transition materials including those related to the country’s COVID-19 response.

“We now have the possibility — we need to see if it gets approved — of a vaccine starting perhaps in December or January. There are people at HHS making plans to implement that vaccine. Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have on January 20th,” Klain said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.
 
Klain also said Biden would also be meeting with scientific advisors and drug companies about “promising” vaccines this week but stressed that the mechanics of distributing a vaccine require contact with Health and Human Services officials right away.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that sharing information on the vaccine with the Biden team is out of his hands — a departure from his colleague, Adm. Brett Giroir, who told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday he wants to make everything on testing as transparent as possible so whoever is in charge in January has what they need.
 
“GSA has to make a determination that a transition is in effect, that determination hasn’t been made,” Azar said, asked why isn’t it appropriate to begin the process of speaking with Biden’s team now.

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge across the country, and Biden is expected to address the pandemic in his remarks on the economy later Monday, Trump has not attended a coronavirus task force meeting for several months.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle and Anne Flaherty

Nov 16, 9:19 am
Overview: Biden to speak on economy, Trump behind closed doors

Though Trump still refuses to concede the election which took place nearly two weeks ago, he has largely ceded the presidential spotlight since to the man he once mocked for “hiding.”

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are out front Monday, slated to deliver afternoon remarks from Wilmington, Delaware, on their plans for a COVID-19 economic recovery and long-term growth. It will be the pair’s first extended remarks of the economy since they were projected to win the election.

Biden has spoken about the need for additional COVID-19 relief to help struggling Americans and conferred with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a call last week about the stalled efforts to pass a bill on Capitol Hill. But Biden hasn’t yet spoken with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, his team says, whose cooperation would be necessary to pass such a bill during a lame-duck session in Congress.

Trump, meanwhile, has no public events for Monday and only a lunch with Vice President Mike Pence on his schedule. Over the weekend, he appeared to acknowledge for the first time that Biden won in a tweet, but it didn’t take long for Trump to walk back the tweet and push in a series of tweets since that he’s not conceding.

During remarks in the Rose Garden Friday, Trump, in an effort to contrast himself with Biden on COVID-19 lockdowns, nearly acknowledged the reality that he lost before saying “time will tell” which administration will lead in the future.

As his legal team concedes on more fronts, with only two favorable rulings out of at least 18 cases in battleground states, Trump has put Rudy Giuliani in charge of his uphill legal efforts.

It all comes as the Trump administration and the Biden transition team are still in a standoff over whether the GSA should recognize Biden as the president-elect, allowing his team access to federally-allocated resources to help with the transition of power, including vaccine distribution plans.

This week, Biden is also expected to meet with Democrats and Republicans from Washington, D.C. and around the country and with national security experts, according to his campaign.

Nov 16, 9:24 am
Toll of Trump’s defiance comes into view

Trump has come close to conceding defeat a few times in recent days — if only incidentally or inadvertently.

But the focus on Trump’s tweets misses the point. The president’s refusal to acknowledge that he lost the election has now extended into a second full week, and now come warnings of more significant consequences.

The political fallout is almost predictable, but no less severe for that. Protesters’ clashes in Washington over the weekend gave dramatic and even dangerous evidence about what it means when virtually an entire political party and many millions of its followers defy the basic facts of what happened in an election.

As for policy, warnings are coming into view along with new grim realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci wants to be able to coordinate with the incoming Biden administration team, and Biden wants to be able to be in touch with career officials; those contacts can’t take place until the Trump administration allows it.

“I want to be as transparent as possible with everybody — this is not a political issue,” White House coronavirus task force member Adm. Brett Giroir said on ABC’s This Week.

The post-election period, though, has been dominated by political considerations. The question of when Republicans on Capitol Hill will lose patience with far-flung Trump legal efforts is relevant, though still not determinative.

This week will almost certainly bring more legal clarity, if not finality, to the results of the election. The bigger questions, though, will come around governance — with challenges for the incoming administration only growing with any delays.

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