President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday he hoped President Donald Trump would attend his inauguration next month, at the very least to demonstrate to Americans that the country had moved beyond the “chaos that he’s created.”
“I think it would be important only in one sense … important that we are able to demonstrate the end of this chaos that he’s created,” Biden said in a sweeping interview about his plans for the White House with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “That there’s a peaceful transfer of power with both parties there, shaking hands and moving on.”
“The protocol of the transfer of power, I think, is important,” Biden added. “But it is totally his decision, and it’s of no personal consequence to me.”
Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sat down with Tapper for their first joint interview since the election last month. Trump lost that contest by more than 7 million votes and counting, but the president has so far refused to concede and instead has spent weeks undermining the results of the race and attempting to overturn the loss. All legal efforts to do so have failed, and the six battleground states he was targeting have since certified their votes declaring Biden the winner.
Trump has so far refused to say if he will attend Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, noting last week that he knew the “answer to that, but I don’t want to say it yet.”
Biden said that despite Trump’s refusal to concede and broad support throughout the Republican Party for the president, “more than several” GOP lawmakers had called to congratulate him privately.
“I say this tactfully … there have been more than several sitting Republican senators who privately called me to congratulate me,” Biden said on CNN. “And I understand the situation they find themselves in. And until the election is clearly decided in the minds, where the Electoral College votes, they get put in a very tough decision.”
The president-elect said that despite ongoing refusals to do so publicly, he planned to work with a bipartisan coalition to advance legislation while in office, pointing to legislation surrounding infrastructure and cancer treatment.
“It’s going to be hard. I’m not suggesting it’s going to be easy,” Biden added. “But I’m confident that on the things that affect the national security and the fundamental economic necessity to keep people employed... to bring the economy back, there’s plenty of room we can work.”
The Democrat also said Thursday he planned to change tack on the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and would ask all Americans to wear masks for at least 100 days to rein in the spread of the virus.