Tuesday 19 January 2021
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Trump finally agrees to Biden transition, does not concede still

The sudden break in Trump's dogged attempt to deny Biden's win came after Michigan became the latest state to certify its results

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Politics India Trump finally agrees to Biden transition, does not concede still

President Donald Trump has come his closest yet to admitting his election defeat. On 23 November, after the government agency meant to ease Joe Biden’s transition into the White House said it was finally lifting its unprecedented block on assistance, Trump acknowledged it was time for the General Services Administration to “do what needs to be done”.

In the same tweet, he insisted that he was still refusing to concede, saying: “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good fight, and I believe we will prevail!”

But for the Republican to sign off on the GSA’s decision to work with the Biden transition team signaled that even he sees the writing on the wall after three weeks of evidence-free claims that the 3 November election was stolen from him.

This means that Biden’s team will now have access to funds, office space and the ability to meet with federal officials.

Biden’s office, which hours earlier announced a highly experienced group to be nominated for top US foreign policy and security posts, said the GSA would now allow “support necessary to carry out a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.”

“In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies,” Biden’s transition director Yohannes Abraham said in a statement.

Biden’s team will now have access to funds, office space and the ability to meet with federal officials

The sudden break in Trump’s dogged attempt to deny Biden’s win came after Michigan became the latest state to certify its results and more powerful Trump supporters came out demanding that the impasse end.

Earlier, Biden announced a foreign policy and national security team crammed with veterans from the Barack Obama years, teeing up an end to the upheaval under Trump and a return to traditional US diplomacy.

Top of the list was former State Department number two Antony Blinken, tapped for secretary of state.

Biden named the first female head of intelligence, the first Latino chief of Homeland Security, the first woman as treasury secretary, and a heavyweight pointman on climate issues — Obama-era top diplomat John Kerry.

The list of Biden’s team ahead of a formal announcement 24 November demonstrated a push to bring back the US role of the leader in multilateral alliances, in contrast to Trump’s “America first” regime.

“They will rally the world to take on our challenges like no other — challenges that no one nation can face alone,” Biden tweeted. “It’s time to restore American leadership.”

Blinken, a longtime advisor to Biden, will spearhead a fast-paced dismantling of Trump’s go-it-alone policies, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization and resurrecting the Obama-crafted Iran nuclear deal.

Biden named the first woman, Avril Haines, as director of national intelligence, and Cuban-born Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department of Homeland Security, the agency whose policing of tough immigration restrictions under Trump was a frequent source of controversy.

Signaling the Democratic president-elect‘s campaign promise to raise the profile of global warming threats, he named Kerry as a new special envoy on climate issues.

And in a further message of US reengagement with the international community, Biden named career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador.

Jake Sullivan, who advised Biden when he was vice president under Obama, was named national security advisor.

Biden has picked Janet Yellen to manage the world’s biggest economy as treasury secretary. She will make history as the first woman in the job if confirmed. The Obama administration had confirmed the 74-year-old as Federal Reserve chairwoman in 2014. Four years later, Trump replaced her.

The picks underline an emphasis on professionals whom Biden already knows well, in contrast to the Trump White House where officials were often picked without having traditional background for the job or proved incompatible and departed in acrimony.

The president, meanwhile, has largely halted at least his public work duties, while heading out to a golf course he owns in Virginia half a dozen times since the election.

Trump has not taken questions from reporters since the election — a previously unimaginable silence from a president who for most of his time in office sparred near daily with the press.

The incumbent’s options for overturning the election, however, are dwindling rapidly in the face of repeated court defeats.

With Biden having won a comfortable victory, Trump’s last card is to disrupt the normally routine process of state-by-state certification of results, followed by the formal 14 December vote by the Electoral College. However, that too is bearing little fruit.

More cracks appeared in the facade of Republican unity on 23 November when Senator Rob Portman said it was “time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward.”

There was a push from Trump’s highest profile Wall Street backer, Stephen Schwarzman, head of the Blackstone private equity group, who told Axios “the country should move on.”

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