Vice President Mike Pence on Friday offered yet another signal that the Trump administration has no plans to concede any ground to Joe Biden’s claims to the presidency amid President Trump’s continued refusal to acknowledge his clear loss in his reelection bid.
During a speech to the Council for National Policy, a conservative think tank, Pence was met with chants of “Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!” according to a transcript of the speech put out by the White House.
“That’s the plan,” Pence responded, later stating in his remarks, “I promise you: We will keep fighting until every legal vote is counted, until every illegal vote is thrown out, and we will never stop fighting to make America great again.”
Pence asserted “we await the results of our election,” despite all major news outlets calling it for Biden a week ago after a win in Pennsylvania – which will not have a recount – put him over 270 electoral votes.
Pence’s comments echo Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said during a briefing Tuesday, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox Business Friday that “we are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term.”
Trump has refused to concede the election, instead funneling his hopes into long-shot lawsuits – that, even when they succeed, don’t have the impact to undo Biden’s sizable margins in key states – and unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Trump’s lack of a concession has led his General Services Administration to refuse to ascertain Biden’s victory and formally recognize him as president-elect, thereby withholding funding, office space and access to administration officials typically afforded to transition teams. Biden has also not received intelligence briefings.
“You lose a lot if the transition is delayed because the new people are not allowed to get their head in the game,” Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly said Friday, asserting it “hurts our national security” not to do so. Other former Trump administration officials have joined in the criticism, with former National Security Adviser John Bolton calling Biden president-elect and urging Congressional Republicans to do the same, and former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats arguing “national security demands” a “smooth and efficient transition.”
“The fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge that we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning and what we’re able to do between now and January 20,” Biden said Tuesday, asserting the transition is “well underway” and that “nothing’s going to stop that.”
79%. That’s the share of Americans in a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday who said Biden won the election, compared to just 3% who said Trump won and 13% who said the election has not been decided.
What To Watch For
So far just five Republican senators and ten GOP House members have acknowledged Biden’s win, along with prominent former Republicans officials like former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dan Quayle. Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) have both said their Republican colleagues privately acknowledge Biden’s victory, with Coons predicting more will come forward publicly as Trump’s hopes of reelection continue to slip away.