Sen. Pat Toomey has called on President Donald Trump to begin cooperating with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, stating that the “transition process ought to begin.” His remarks, made during a Tuesday interview with Pittsburgh's Action News 4, make Toomey, a Republican senator from the swing state of Pennsylvania, only the 13th Republican member of Congress to acknowledge Biden's projected victory, according to Forbes.
During his Tuesday appearance, Toomey acknowledged that it's "likely Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States," adding that while it's "not 100% certain," it is "quite likely." Due to this, he claimed that "a transition process ought to begin," though he noted that while Biden "has a narrow lead in the remaining states that he needs" to reach 270 electoral college votes, "the process isn't entirely finished, and a legitimate process is one that goes to the end.” He said that if it turns out "President Trump is determined to have won this election after all, then the transition, of course, becomes moot, and it expires and it evaporates."
Toomey's remarks come amid reports that the Trump administration is refusing to authorize a presidential transition. Under the law, the General Services Administration (GSA) must sign a letter of ascertainment. The paperwork, according to The Washington Post, facilitates in the transition of power, as it gives the President-elect’s team access to government resources and secure facilities to handle classified information and discuss background checks. It also "amounts to a formal declaration by the federal government" of the winner of the presidential race.
In a statement, GSA spokeswoman Pamela Pennington confirmed that "an ascertainment has not yet been made," adding that the GSA's "Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law." Trump's former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney indicated that he believes the president will submit to a peaceful transition of power, though so far, the Trump administration has made no indication of doing so. It has instead launched numerous legal efforts to contest the election results, something that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is "within his rights" to do.
Addressing concerns regarding the transition of power, Secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Tuesday did not acknowledge Biden's projected victory. CNBC reports that when asked if he would cooperate with the Biden administration’s transition team, he stated, “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
Despite this, the Biden-Harris team is moving forward with the transition, with Biden confirming that the transition is already "well underway." A Biden transition team spokesperson, meanwhile, said that they "look forward to the GSA Administrator quickly ascertaining" Biden and Kamala Harris "as the President-elect and Vice President-elect."