Senate

Coons: GOP colleagues privately asking me to congratulate Biden

Greg Nash

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said Tuesday that his Republican colleagues have privately asked him to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on his election win because they can’t do so publicly as President Trump 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 Romney (Utah) and Susan Collins (Maine), have acknowledged Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

“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.”

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. 

“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 Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ben Sasse (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. 

Tags 2020 election 2020 presidential election Ben Sasse Chris Coons Donald Trump General Services Administration GSA Joe Biden Lisa Murkowski Mitt Romney Republican senators Susan Collins Transition of power
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