WILMINGTON, Del. (NewsNation Now) — President-elect Joe Biden on Monday focused on reviving a pandemic-battered U.S. economy as he prepares to take office, as President Donald Trump promised more lawsuits in the hopes to alter his election defeat.
Biden received a briefing and spoke in his home state of Delaware on rebuilding an economy that has suffered millions of job losses as the pandemic has killed more than 246,000 people in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University.
“Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before,” Biden said during remarks in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden spoke about his plans to invest in infrastructure, technology and clean energy jobs, and create American manufacturing jobs by encouraging companies to make their products in the U.S.
Earlier Monday, Biden and Harris held virtual meetings with business and labor leaders — including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, General Motors CEO Mary Barra and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella — and said that despite their differences, they were able to “come together around the same table to advance areas of common ground.” The president-elect also said that unions would have more power under his administration, and he emphasized the contributions that unions have made to the middle class.
Biden, a Democrat, has vowed to spend trillions of dollars to reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing, expand health care coverage and combat climate change, among other priorities.
But before he can pursue any large-scale reforms, Biden will first have to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which is spiking across the nation and threatens to cause further damage just as the U.S. economy was rebounding from the initial surge of cases.
Biden’s scientific advisers will meet this week with pharmaceutical companies developing vaccines to prevent COVID-19, a top aide to the president-elect said, in preparation for the logistical challenges of widespread vaccination after Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
Trump briefly appeared to acknowledge defeat on Sunday only to backtrack, saying on Twitter that he concedes “nothing” and repeating accusations of voter fraud. Twitter flagged his tweets with warning labels.
He later promised on Twitter to file “big cases showing the unconstitutionality of the 2020 Election,” even though he has made no headway with his legal challenges in multiple states so far.
Election officials of both parties have said there is no evidence of major irregularities. Federal election security officials have decried “unfounded claims” and expressed “utmost confidence” in the integrity of the elections, according to a statement last week by the lead U.S. cybersecurity agency.
More than a week after Biden was projected the winner by the Associated Press and major news organizations based on state-by-state vote counts, the Trump administration has still not recognized him as president-elect, preventing his team from gaining access to government office space and funding normally provided to an incoming administration to ensure a smooth transition.
Biden’s top advisers warned that Trump’s refusal to begin a transition could jeopardize the battle against the virus and inhibit vaccine distribution planning.
Biden has promised to make the health crisis a top priority as president. Ron Klain, who will be White House chief of staff when Biden takes office on Jan. 20, said Biden’s scientific advisers would meet with Pfizer Inc and other drugmakers this week.
Pfizer said last week its vaccine candidate had proved more than 90% effective in initial trials, giving hope that widespread vaccination in the coming months could help get the pandemic under control. Other companies also are in advanced stages of developing promising vaccines.
Moderna said Monday that its vaccine appears to be nearly 95% effective, according to preliminary data from the company’s still ongoing study.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.