Joe Biden has formally presented his cabinet team as Donald Trump said he would allow the transition to start but insisted he would soon launch a “big lawsuit” detailing ballot fraud.
The president-elect has finally been recognised as the “apparent winner” of the US election, formally starting the transition of power.
The Democrat has also been officially certified the winner in Pennsylvania, following a barrage of unsuccessful legal challenges, and Nevada.
As Mr Biden introduced his White House team, some of whom have already been named, the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 30,000 points for the first time.
AAP reports the climb of 400 points, to break the 30,000 barrier, came on the back of vaccine breakthroughs, the formal commencement of the transition to Mr Biden and his appointing Janet Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, as treasury secretary.
Mr Trump seized the moment to hold an unexpected press conference lasting about one minute in which he attempted to claim responsibility for the Dow Jones’ spike.
“That’s a sacred number – 30,000. Nobody thought they’d ever see it,” he said, adding that it was the 48th time records had been broken during his administration.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 24, 2020
At Mr Biden’s short event in Delaware, the incoming president presented:
- Antony Blinken for secretary of state
- John Kerry as climate envoy (a new cabinet post)
- Linda Thomas-Greenfield as ambassador to the United Nations
- Avril Haines, director of national intelligence (first female in this role)
- Alejandro Mayorkas, incoming secretary of homeland security
- Jake Sullivan, national security adviser
“It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it,” Mr Biden said.
Climate chief John Kerry said the world must come together “using every tool we have” to take action on the climate crisis, adding that “Paris alone is not enough”.
Vice-president election Kamala Harris said the incoming team met Mr Biden’s desire for a cabinet that reflected America and they were all committed to “democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
On Monday (local time) General Services Administrator (GSA) Emily Murphy gave the green light for Mr Biden to coordinate with federal agencies ahead of his January 20 inauguration.
Ms Murphy, explaining her decision, cited “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.”
She acted after Michigan on Monday certified Mr Biden’s victory in the battleground state, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.
Pennsylvania has since certified Mr Biden’s win the key state which catapulted him to the presidential win with its 20 Electoral College votes.
Mr Biden’s chief adviser Bob Bauer issued a statement following Pennsylvania’s certification.
“Trump did everything he could to disenfranchise voters and stop the results from being certified in Pennsylvania, including filing over 15 lawsuits – most recently producing one of the more embarrassing courtroom performances of all time [our bolding], with the judge in the case ruling that their arguments were ‘without merit’ and unsupported by evidence.’
“Trump did not succeed in Pennsylvania and he will not succeed anywhere else…and Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.”
Although Mr Trump still refuses to concede, he tweeted that he was directing his team to cooperate on the transition.
Mr Trump has continued to complain about “the most corrupt election in American political history” and declared he would “never concede” to “fake ballots”.
“Remember, the GSA has been terrific, and Emily Murphy has done a great job, but the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be,” Mr Trump tweeted.
He also shared a Breitbart poll which showed 79 per cent of Trump voters believed the election was “stolen”
“They are 100% correct, but we are fighting hard,” the president said.
“Our big lawsuit, which spells out in great detail all of the ballot fraud and more, will soon be filled. RIGGED ELECTION!”
Poll: 79 Percent of Trump Voters Believe ‘Election Was Stolen‘ https://t.co/PmMBmt05AI via @BreitbartNews They are 100% correct, but we are fighting hard. Our big lawsuit, which spells out in great detail all of the ballot fraud and more, will soon be filled. RIGGED ELECTION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2020
Max Stier, president and CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, criticised the delay but said Mr Biden’s team would be able to overcome it.
“Unfortunately, every day lost to the delayed ascertainment was a missed opportunity for the outgoing administration to help President-elect Joe Biden prepare to meet our country’s greatest challenges,” he said.
“The good news is that the president-elect and his team are the most prepared and best equipped of any incoming administration in recent memory.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the GSA action “is probably the closest thing to a concession that President Trump could issue.
Noting that the nation “faces multiple crises that demand an orderly transition ” Schumer urged Democrats and Republicans to unite for a smooth and peaceful transition that will benefit America.