On Tuesday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said there would be a smooth transition to the next administration in the White House – but insisted it would be the “second Trump administration”.
Asked by reporters whether the state department was preparing to engage with Biden’s transition team, Pompeo said: “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
The secretary of state initially smirked while answering and kept the rest of his remarks vague.
At a press conference later, Biden said that nothing would stop the transfer of power in the US government. Biden smiled and laughed when asked about Pompeo’s comment.
“We’re ready,” Pompeo continued. “The world is watching what is taking place here. We are going to count all the votes. When the process is complete, there will be electors selected.”
He said: “There’s a process – the constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the state department is functional today, successful today and successful with the president who is in office on January 20, a minute after noon, will also be successful.”
The secretary of state’s comments come amid repeated and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud by Trump and a refusal by the current president to recognise the Democrat’s win.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “WATCH FOR MASSIVE BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE AND, JUST LIKE THE EARLY VACCINE, REMEMBER I TOLD YOU SO!”
The message was flagged by Twitter, which warned users: “This claim about election fraud is disputed”.
In another tweet, Trump wrote: “WE WILL WIN”.
Biden secured the more than 270 votes in the Electoral College he needs to take the presidency by winning Pennsylvania on Saturday after four tense days of counting, which was delayed by a surge in mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has made baseless claims that fraud was marring the results. Attorney-general William Barr and Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell have signalled they back Trump’s right to launch a legal challenge to the result in several battleground states such as Pennsylvania.
Biden said in a speech in Delaware that his team was pushing ahead with forming a new administration to take over on US Inauguration Day on January 20, 2021, no matter what.
“We’re going to be going, moving along, in a consistent manner, putting together our administration, the White House, and reviewing who we’re going to pick for the Cabinet positions, and nothing’s going to stop that,” he said.
Biden said it was an “embarrassment” that Trump has not conceded the election.
“I think the whole Republican Party has been put in a position with a few notable exceptions of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president, but there’s only one president at a time,” he said.
In a tweet, the UK PM said he had congratulated the president-elect and looked forward to working with the new US administration on “shared priorities”, which include climate change, as the UK continues preparations to host the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.