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Biden Says Trump Refusal To Accept Election Result Isn't Affecting Transition


President-elect Joe Biden says President Trump's refusal to accept the outcome of the election is not affecting his transition plans.


JOE BIDEN: We're going to be going - moving along in a consistent manner, putting together our administration in the White House and reviewing who we're going to pick for the Cabinet positions. And nothing's going to stop that.

KING: White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez has been with Biden, following it all. Good morning, Franco.


KING: So President-elect Biden, as he said there, he's moving ahead.

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, he held a press conference yesterday here in Wilmington to defend the Affordable Care Act. And he also talked about the transition and released a list of agency review teams that he's working on. He also teased, as we just heard, that he plans to name a few people for his Cabinet before Thanksgiving.

And he took some questions from reporters. It was actually the first time we've been able to ask him directly about the election and get his take on the president refusing to concede. He says nothing's going to slow him down, even though the Trump administration is blocking his team from classified reports and important transition funding. But he actually downplayed the idea of taking legal action, and he said the standoff is probably hurting Trump and his legacy more than him.

KING: Many Senate Republicans, in denial of reality, have been backing up the president and his claims. What did Biden say about them and working with them?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, Biden said he hadn't yet spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell but that he expected to do so soon. He was kind of solemn on this point and scolded Republicans about being intimidated by Trump. There are a few Republicans, though, who are breaking with the president. But Biden was asked about how he could work with Republicans who will not even acknowledge him as president-elect. He kind of just smiled and said, well, they will; they will.

KING: Interesting to wonder whether President Trump was watching any of that. Have we heard anything from the president or his campaign?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, Trump himself has been, you know, kind of sticking to Twitter. The campaign announced that it was filing a new federal lawsuit in Michigan, seeking to block the certification of election results until a review could be done. And it's just one of a series of legal challenges the campaign is pursuing. Many of them, as we have reported, have already failed in the courts.

Now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also took some pointed questions about the transition from the press yesterday. He insisted that there would be a smooth transition, but his company said, for a second term of the Trump administration. So they're not giving up yet.

KING: Yeah, and that statement by Pompeo made a lot of people very nervous because it was unclear whether or not he was joking. Despite all of the mess in this country, a lot of foreign leaders accept the results. They have been calling Joe Biden. And what has he been telling them?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, he's telling them that America is back and the United States, as he says, is back in the game. Biden has routinely criticized Trump's America-first approach to foreign policy, arguing that acting unilaterally has hurt the United States. He said yesterday that he talked to six world leaders so far, including Angela Merkel of Germany, Emmanuel Macron of France and Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, who was an ally of Trump. Now, Trump has yet to concede, but these key leaders are telling Biden that they look forward to working with him.

KING: Very telling. NPR's Franco Ordoñez. Thank you, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.