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Biden calls Trump’s refusal to concede an 'embarrassment'

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But President-elect Joe Biden says it will not deter transition plans

WILMINGTON: President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Mr Donald Trump's refusal to concede the US election was an "embarrassment" that will reflect poorly on his legacy.

"I just think it is an embarrassment, quite frankly," Mr Biden said when asked what he thinks about Mr Trump's refusal to acknowledge defeat in the Nov 3 election.

"How can I say this tactfully," Mr Biden told reporters in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware. "It will not help the President's legacy."

When asked what he would say to Mr Trump, given the chance, Mr Biden replied: "Mr President, look forward to speaking with you."

But he downplayed the impact of Mr Trump's refusal to assist with the transition towards a new administration.

"The fact that they are not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning," Mr Biden said, looking ahead to his inauguration.

"I think at the end of the day, it is all going to come to fruition on Jan 20, and between now and then, my hope and expectation is that the American people do know and do understand that there has been a transition."

Mr Biden secured more than the 270 votes needed in the Electoral College to take the presidency by winning Pennsylvania on Saturday.

Mr Trump's campaign said it would file a lawsuit to stop Michigan from officially certifying Mr Biden as the winner there until the state could verify that votes were cast lawfully, the latest in a flurry of lawsuits in battleground states to try to back up Mr Trump's unsupported claims of widespread fraud.

Legal experts have said Mr Trump's litigation has little chance of changing the outcome, and state officials have said there were no significant irregularities in the election.

Meanwhile, Trump supporters faced a possible setback in Pennsylvania. A witness who had raised accusations of ballot tampering recanted his allegations, according to Democrats in Congress who were briefed on the investigation.

Mr Trump's accusations of fraud did not appear to be gaining traction with the public either. Nearly 80 per cent of Americans, including more than half of Republicans, recognise Mr Biden as the winner, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The poll also found that 72 per cent think the loser must concede defeat, and 60 per cent think there will be a peaceful transition of power. The poll was conducted online and covered 1,363 adults.

In a bizarre move, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced confidence on Tuesday that once every "legal" vote was counted, it would lead to a "second Trump administration".

His comments drew praise from Mr Trump, who said: "That's why Mike was number one in his class at West Point!" referring to the US Military Academy.

But hours after withering criticism over his comments, Mr Pompeo in a Fox News interview appeared to soften his tone.

"I am very confident that we will have a good transition, that we will make sure that whoever is in office on noon on January 20 has all the tools readily available so we don't skip a beat with the capacity to keep Americans safe," Mr Pompeo said. - AFP, REUTERS