AMERICAN president-elect Joe Biden is pressing ahead with the formulation of his government despite the refusal of incumbent President Donald Trump to concede defeat by appointing long-time aide Ron Klain as he chief of staff.
Last Tuesday, Americans went to the polls with the presidential election proving to be a close race between President Trump and Mr Biden. Votes are still being counted but results have shown a conclusive victory for Mr Biden of the Democratic Party, who secured over 77m votes to President Trump’s 72m votes.
In the electoral college, Mt Biden is on course to secure 306 votes, way more than the 270 votes required to make him president. Despite this overwhelming victory, President Trump has refused to concede defeat and is looking to challenge the elections in court with all sorts of spurious allegations about vote rigging and fraud.
Refusing to be distracted, Mr Biden, 77, who served as vice president under President Barrack Obama, is pressing ahead with the formation of his government. Mr Klain, 59, was Mr Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president and was appointed by President Obama to serve as the White House ebola response coordinator in late 2014, serving into early 2015.
Mr Biden said: “His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again.”
Despite Covid-19 cases shattering records across the US and some states imposing new restrictions in a push to contain the virus before winter arrives, President Trump seems to have all but shelved normal presidential duties. Some Republicans have added their voices to growing calls for the president to concede, with experts warning his refusal to do so was undermining the democratic process and holding up the transition to Mr Biden, who takes office on January 20.
However, some of the most powerful figures in the Republican Party, including secretary of state Mike Pompeo and senate leader Mitch McConnell, have backed President Trump in his bid to undermine Biden’s victory. This is despite the fact that several world leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, British prime minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and President Emmanuel Macron of France have been sending congratulatory messages to Mr Biden.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of Mr Biden’s opponents in the Democratic Party primaries, called Mr Klain a super choice for chief of staff because he understands the magnitude of the health and economic crisis and he has the experience to lead this next administration through it. Mr Klain, himself, said it was the honour of a lifetime to be named to the post.