Will Trump call Biden? Mike Pence congratulates Kamala Harris but POTUS yet to reach out to next administration
For months, the majority of the Republican party has refused to concede the presidential election to Joe Biden, claiming widespread voter fraud that remains unproven, and one of those objecters has been Vice President Mike Pence. That changed on January 15, however, as Pence called up his oncoming successor Kamala Harris on the Biden-Harris 2020 election win. This is the closest the Trump administration has come to conceding the election, something that President Donald Trump has still refused to do.
According to the Associated Press, Mike Pence made the call on January 15, in a move that is the first official reported contact between the outgoing administration and the new one. A source familiar with the conversation claims the call was "good", and saw Pence both congratulating Harris and offering her assistance in regard to the transition. The call is part of a long tradition of outgoing administrations offering congratulations, help and advice to incoming ones - a tradition that Trump has refused to be a part of since Biden was officially declared the winner of the election.
Biden himself made a similar call to Pence in 2016, when the Obama administration made way for the incoming Trump administration. Biden, Pence and their spouses even met for lunch at the Naval Observatory after having met at the White House. "I told Mike, the vice president-elect, that I’m available to him 24/7,” Biden said. “I plan on being available to Mike as senior staff for him as he moves." As Pence and his wife will be travelling in the coming week, he will be unable to have a similar kind of lunch with Harris and her husband.
There has been a public and growing rift between Trump and his vice president, as Pence defied Trump's call to not legitimize the election results. Pence certified the results on Capitol Hill on January 6 - the proceedings of which were interrupted by violent insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol after a Trump rally, and where some of them chanted "Hang Mike Pence." Pence did not completely break with Trump, however, despite the pressure placed on him to invoked the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office. Pence wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, refusing to act.
Pence appears to have stepped up to accomplish the presidential duties that Trump has been ignoring, and conceding the election is only one part of it. During the attack on Capitol Hill, it was Pence who coordinated with the DC National Guard while he was in hiding from the attackers. He was the one to call the family of slain Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries in the attack. On Thursday, Pence gave the White House Phone operators a framed latter of appreciation after receiving a briefing from the FBI about inauguration security. Later in the same day, he greeted the National Guard, who are now providing security for the Capitol building in case of another attack.