WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Promising “we’re going to get right to work,” President-elect Joe Biden fought to confront the nation’s competing crises — and fierce Republican resistance — on Tuesday and downplayed concerns that President Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his victory could undermine national security.
Raising unsupported claims of voter fraud, Trump has blocked his Democratic rival from receiving the intelligence briefings traditionally shared with incoming presidents, according to someone with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to disclose private conversations. Trump’s resistance, backed by senior Republicans in Washington and across the country, could also prevent background investigations and security clearances for Biden’s prospective national security team and access to federal agencies to discuss budget and policy issues.
Biden downplayed the impact of the Republican resistance, which he said “does not change the dynamic at all in what we’re able to do.”
Additional intelligence briefings “would be useful,” Biden said, but “We don’t see anything slowing us down, quite frankly.”
Despite growing frustration, Biden delivered an afternoon speech on the Affordable Care Act, just hours after the Supreme Court heard arguments on its merits.
The high court ruled eight years ago to leave intact the essential components of the law known as “Obamacare,” but Trump and his Republican allies are seeking to have it overturned.
If the 6-3 conservative court ultimately agrees with the GOP, millions of Americans could lose their health care coverage. While Tuesday’s arguments indicate the court is unlikely to strike down the entire law, the prospect adds to the pressure on Biden to execute complicated plans to confront a series of crisis he will inherit in just 71 days. The nation’s economy is struggling as the pandemic surges and cultural divisions deepen.
Trump and his allies seemed determined to make Biden’s transition as difficult as possible.
From his Twitter account on Tuesday, Trump again raised unsupported claims of “massive ballot counting abuse” and predicted he would ultimately win the race he has already lost. His allies on Capitol Hill, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have encouraged the president’s baseless accusations. Trump’s tweets were swiftly flagged by the social media network as claims about election fraud that are disputed.
America’s allies began to acknowledge what Trump would not.
French President Emmanuel Macron met with Biden via video conference and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also congratulated Biden on his election.
“I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities – from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Build back better” is a slogan that Biden and the British government have in common.