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A seemingly amused President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Trump's refusal to concede does not "change the dynamic" of his transition plans, but called it "an embarrassment" that "will not help the president’s legacy.”

Driving the news: Biden was asked by several reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, how he would work with Republicans in Congress who haven't acknowledged his victory and whether Trump's refusal makes it difficult to lead the country in a unified way through the transition period.

What they're saying: "I think it will not help the president's legacy. I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far, that they are hopeful that the democratic institutions of the United States are viewed strong and endure," Biden said after making remarks on the future of the Affordable Care Act.

  • "I think at the end of the day, it's all going to come to fruition on Jan. 20. And between now and then, my hope and expectation is the American people do know and do understand that there has been a transition," he added.

The backdrop: Earlier Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to say that Biden has won the election.

  • "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration," Pompeo told reporters, before stressing that the legal process must play out.
  • On Monday, Biden's transition team warned that it could take "legal action" if the General Services Administration doesn't make an official determination that Biden has won the 2020 presidential election.

"I don’t see a need for legal action, quite frankly," Biden said when asked by a reporter if he would consider that. "So far there's no evidence of any of these assertions made by the president or Secretary of State Pompeo."

  • "We're just going to proceed the way we have. We're going to do exactly what we'd be doing if he had conceded and said we'd won, which we have. So there's nothing really changing," Biden said.

The bottom line: "We are already beginning the transition," Biden stressed. "We're well underway. And the ability for the administration in any way, by failure to recognize our win, does not change the dynamic at all and what we're able to do."

Go deeper

Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Kevin Cramer: Transition should start "tomorrow morning"

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said on "Meet the Press" on Sunday that it is past time to "cooperate with the transition" to President-elect Joe Biden, adding that he believes President Trump still has the right to continue fighting in court over election results.

Driving the news: Trump has refused to allow the transition process to begin as he has sought to discredit the election results in swing states across the country — baselessly alleging mass voter fraud.

GOP Sen. Rob Portman says Biden transition funds should be released

Photo: Graeme Jennings/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) wrote in an op-ed for the Cincinnati Enquirer that while he supports legal checks on the 2020 presidential election, the General Services Administration should provide the funds and infrastructure for a Biden transition to begin.

Why it matters: Portman was a co-chair of Trump's re-election campaign in Ohio and rarely steps out of line with party leadership. He wrote in the op-ed that "there is no evidence as of now of any widespread fraud or irregularities that would change the result in any state."

Updated Nov 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey: Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options

Sen. Pat Toomey during a Senate hearing in May. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election win, saying in a statement, "President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania."

Why it matters: Toomey made the announcement hours after a Republican judge in his home state dismissed a Trump campaign lawsuit that sought to block the certification of Pennsylvania's election results.