United States (US) President-elect Joe Biden pressed ahead with his transition Wednesday despite Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat, naming a seasoned Democratic operative as chief of staff in his first public White House personnel choice.
Biden tapped longtime aide Ron Klain, who previously served as his first chief of staff while vice president, acknowledging the two had a long road ahead in fighting the coronavirus pandemic as well as healing a deeply divided nation.
“His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum are precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again,” Biden said.
He made the announcement after visiting the Korean War Memorial in Philadelphia earlier in the day for a solemn wreath-laying ceremony to mark Veterans Day in the US. President Trump attended a separate, simultaneous ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, in what should have been a moment of national unity but instead highlighted the Republican’s refusal to acknowledge election defeat.
The president made no public remarks during the sombre wreath-laying ceremony, his first official appearance since the November 3 vote.
Since media called the race four days ago Trump has not addressed the nation other than via Twitter and a written statement released to mark Veterans Day and has not conceded to Biden, as is traditional once a winner is projected in a US vote.
With Covid-19 cases shattering records across the country and states imposing new restrictions in a push to contain the virus before winter arrives, Trump seems to have all but shelved normal presidential duties.