WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden met Wednesday with his transition advisers as he continues to plan for taking control of the American government when he is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
The projected winner of the Nov. 3 election, Biden has named an array of advisers to look at the operations of agencies throughout the government. He said Tuesday he could announce some key appointments before the annual Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 26.
President Donald Trump has not conceded his apparent loss to Biden in last week’s national election and has filed numerous lawsuits contesting the outcome in key battleground states.
With scant evidence so far, Trump has claimed that voting and vote-counting irregularities cost him the election. He is seeking to overturn Biden’s victory and claim a second four-year term in the White House.
So far, however, judges have dismissed all the Trump lawsuits, with more yet to be considered. Election analysts interviewed by VOA and other news organizations say they do not think Biden’s claim to victory will be reversed.
According to unofficial vote counts, Biden has won more than the 270-vote majority in the Electoral College that determines the outcome of U.S. presidential contests. He is ahead in the vote count in two more states, Georgia and Arizona, that could ultimately give him a 306-232 advantage in the Electoral College, where the most populous states have the most votes.
Biden’s possible final Electoral College tally is the same total as in 2016, when Trump came out on top, unexpectedly defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Leaders of U.S. allies in Europe, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have called Biden to congratulate him, ignoring Trump’s contention that he will yet win. Biden spoke late Wednesday with the leaders of Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Biden’s list of transition advisers is long, filled with names of experts familiar with the issues that he will face early in his administration.
He also announced late Wednesday the appointment of Ron Klain as his White House chief of staff. Klain previously served as Biden’s vice presidential chief of staff.
Kathleen Hicks, senior vice president and director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is heading the review of Defense Department operations.
At the State Department, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, is leading the review. Don Graves, an executive at KeyBank, is looking at Treasury Department operations, while Martha Gimbel, the senior manager of economic research at Schmidt Futures, is studying the Council of Economic Advisers.
Biden, who is continuing discussions at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, visited the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia on Wednesday in observance of Veterans Day.
Trump traveled to Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. It was Trump’s first public event since last Thursday, when he leveled a string of unfounded allegations about widespread election fraud.
Trump has continued his barrage of complaints about the election outcome on Twitter, posting the comments of Republicans supporting his claims that he was cheated out of winning.
But a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday showed that nearly 80% of Americans, including half of Republicans, say Biden is the rightful winner.
Meanwhile, Biden told reporters at a Tuesday news conference that Republican leaders, most of whom have not acknowledged his victory, are “mildly intimidated by the sitting president.”
Biden said Trump’s refusal to concede is “an embarrassment, quite frankly. How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president's legacy."
Even though the Electoral College vote is determinative in U.S. presidential elections, Biden is leading Trump by 3.2 percentage points and more than 5 million votes in the national popular vote count as final votes are tabulated.