Chamber of Commerce CEO Donohue urges Trump to begin Biden transition

Thomas Donohue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, speaks during a State of American Business address in Washington, D.C.Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesThe CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the powerful business lobbying group that long has backed Republican presidents, says that President Donald Trump “should not delay the transition” to President-elect Joe Biden “a moment longer.”Chamber of Commerce chief Tom Donohue pointedly called Biden the “president-elect” in a statement to media outlet Axios.com that urged Trump, a Republican, to allow federal officials to begin the transition process to the former Democratic vice president.”President-elect Biden and the team around him have a wealth of executive branch experience that should allow them to hit the ground running,” Donohue told the news site.Donohue also said that “while the Trump administration can continue litigating to confirm election outcomes, for the sake of Americans’ safety and well-being, it should not delay the transition a moment longer.”A Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman referred CNBC to Donohue’s remarks to Axios when asked for comment from him.Donohue’s group spends more money on lobbying than any other entity in the United States, a whopping $59.3 million so far this year, according to the political spending tracking site OpenSecrets.org. While the group’s political action committee increased its donations to Democratic candidates this year, its donations to Republican candidates were three times as much as those to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.Donohue’s statement comes as Trump has refused to concede the presidential election to Biden, and as the president falsely claims to have won the election and alleges — without evidence — widespread voting fraud that benefitted his opponent to a decisive degree.It also comes as Emily Murphy, the administrator of the federal General Services Administration, has failed to sign a so-called letter of ascertainment that would recognize Biden as the next president, and release funds for a transition to begin.On Thursday, the leaders of another major business group, the National Association of Manufacturers, in a statement called on Murphy to sign that letter.”While we understand and respect the court challenges that are a part of our democratic process, it’s imperative that our nation has a President and advisors who are fully prepared to lead our nation on Inauguration Day given the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the threats to our economic and national security, and most importantly, to the public health,” the manufacturing group said.”It is highly appropriate that the Trump administration allow key individuals from the Biden team to access critical government personnel and information now.”The group also said, “we call on the Trump administration to work cooperatively with President-elect Biden and his team.””There is no time to waste nor room for error. Manufacturers have been leading throughout these crises, and we know what is at stake: American lives and livelihoods.”U.S. President Donald Trump delivers an update on the so-called Operation Warp Speed program, the joint Defense Department and HHS initiative that has struck deals with several drugmakers in an effort to help speed up the search for effective treatments for the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in an address from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, November 13, 2020.Carlos Barria | ReutersTrump and his allies also are waging a multi-state fight that has deployed lawsuits and requests for recounts in an effort to reverse Biden’s projected victory.NBC News and other media outlets have projected that when the election is certified Biden will have won 306 Electoral College votes, 36 more than he needs to clinch a White House win.Legal experts give Trump little if any chance of reversing the projected vote results in enough states to undo Biden’s victory.So far, the Trump campaign has failed to win any significant lawsuit as part of that effort, and a group allied with the president earlier this week abruptly dismissed suits challenging ballots in four battleground states just days after filing them.

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