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Coons: GOP colleagues privately asking me to congratulate Biden

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsNew York, New Jersey, California face long odds in scrapping SALT  Biden to go one-on-one with Manchin US, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks MORE (D-Del.) said Tuesday that his Republican colleagues have privately asked him to congratulate President-elect Joe BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning MORE on his election win because they can’t do so publicly as President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE contests the results.

Coons said on CNN’s “New Day” that it’s "past time for Republican leaders to stand up and say, 'We should accept the results of this election.’ ”

A limited number of Republicans, including Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart Top border officials defend Biden policies MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCDC's about-face on masks appears politically motivated to help a struggling Biden Bipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Romney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' MORE (Maine), have acknowledged Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

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"They call me to say, you know, 'Congratulations, please convey my well wishes to the President-elect, but I can't say that publicly yet,' " Coons told the network, not naming any specific senators. 

"My job here, I think, is to continue to urge them privately to do the right thing,” he added. “And to help the president accept reality and to help their caucus stand up publicly because frankly the transition is going to be chaotic at best if it doesn't get moving very soon. It should be underway already."

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The lack of acknowledgement of Biden’s win is far reaching within the Trump administration. 

General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Trump, is waiting to see that “a winner is clear” before recognizing Biden as the president-elect, a move that delays the transition of power. 

Murphy’s signature would allow Biden’s team to access millions of federal dollars for salaries, consultants and travel, to meet with government officials and to get briefed on intelligence. Biden’s team indicated they are considering legal action in a phone call with reporters on Monday to kick-start the transition.

When asked if the Biden transition team should take legal action, the Delaware senator told CNN he “can’t speak for” the team.

"That is obviously the right thing, both for the GSA administrator to do and I think the right next step for the Biden transition team,” he said. 

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"There is a lot of important, difficult and urgent work to be done on the transition," he said. "There is a robust and large transition team busy with policy plans, with interviewing potential nominees or candidates for positions. ... They do need access to the vital federal resources that make it easier for them to do their work."

So far, Romney, Collins and Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Senate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Senate GOP dismayed by vote to boot Cheney MORE (R-Alaska) and Ben SasseBen SasseRomney: Capitol riot was 'an insurrection against the Constitution' Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals Hillicon Valley: Colonial Pipeline attack underscores US energy's vulnerabilities | Biden leading 'whole-of-government' response to hack | Attorneys general urge Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids MORE (R-Neb.) have congratulated Biden on his victory.

But other GOP senators have been hesitant to publicly accept Biden as the winner, as Trump has cast doubt on the election results, claiming without evidence that there has been widespread voter fraud. He has refused to concede.

Trump’s campaign has filed several lawsuits in different battleground states challenging the ballot count. Some of those cases have already been tossed by state judges.