Connecticut’s two senators called Friday on President Donald Trump to finally concede the election so that an orderly transition can begin on multiple fronts for President-elect Joe Biden.
Ten days since the election and nearly a week since Biden was declared victorious last Saturday, Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal said it is crucial for Biden’s team to receive details about the potential distribution of a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible so that they can plan to help stem the spread of the pandemic after Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
“President Trump may never concede,” Murphy told reporters outside the state Capitol in Hartford. “He may be interested in creating a grudge culture that powers his political movement for years. But the Constitution is the Constitution, and it says that there will be an orderly transition from one administration to the next.”
It is crucial, Murphy said, for Biden’s team to start working on the transition at places like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health as the coronavirus crisis expands and worsens around the country.
“There’s no path to stay in power for Donald Trump,” Murphy said. “He didn’t win. He lost by a big margin. There was no widespread voter fraud. ... But every day that this transition stalls is another day that COVID wins, and it’s another day that our adversaries have opportunity to take advantage of this very, very messy transition.”
Unlike other presidents, Trump has failed to unleash the vast federal government bureaucracy to start meeting and transitioning to the new administration. Trump has been aided by some Republican lawmakers and conservative political commentators who maintain that the election is still undecided. Biden declared victory last Saturday after the major television networks said that he had surpassed the 270 Electoral College votes that are needed to assume the presidency. The latest tallies now have Biden at 306 electoral votes — the exact total that Trump had in 2016 in defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.
But Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee still maintain that he won, and they sent an email to supporters Friday to raise money in the battle.
“Legal votes decide who is President, not the media,” the email said. “The observers were not allowed into the counting rooms. President Trump won the election with 73,000,000 legal votes. Bad things happened which our observers were not allowed to see. Millions of mail-in ballots were sent to people who never asked for them. We need you to fight back, friend.”
Trump spoke publicly Friday for the first time in more than a week when he held a briefing in the White House Rose Garden to discuss progress on the coronavirus vaccine. He appeared to briefly refer to the election results when he mentioned that he did not plan to call for the widespread closure of businesses and schools.
“This administration will not be going to a lockdown,” Trump said. “Hopefully the, the ... whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration will be? I guess time will tell — but I can you this administration will not go a lockdown."
He did not take questions afterward.
Congress could pass legislations, Murphy and Blumenthal said, to force the transition to begin, but any legislation could get blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Blumenthal said Republicans need to start pushing back more against Trump.
“We are at a turning point for my Republican colleagues in the Senate,” he said. “The silence of our colleagues is enabling and encouraging the president of United States to betray our national security. It’s that simple. They are cowering. They’re simply scared of him and a tiny sliver of our nation’s population. It is pathetic and sad, but also deeply dangerous.”
Blumenthal described Trump as “a childish president,” adding, “Being an adult is coping with disappointment.”
Even with more than four decades of experience in the Senate and as vice president, Biden still needs regular briefings for the latest information on developments gathered by the intelligence community.
“What you don’t know in military and foreign affairs can hurt you,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal added, “We are facing one of the darkest times in our nation’s history — a pandemic and an economic crisis that under this president are savaging our nation, and there’s no reason for it. We need a transition that helps preserve trust and faith in our ability to control our own destiny.”
Christopher Keating can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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