President Trump is facing increasing pressure from corporate America to finally concede to President-elect Joe Biden after the sitting president’s ill-fated attempts to legally challenge the legitimacy of the election process have fizzled.
Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, a close confidant of Trump throughout his presidential term, told Axios in a statement on Monday that Biden won the presidential election and it’s time to move on.
“I’m a fan of good process,” Schwarzman, who initially defended Trump’s right to legal action, said, according to Axios. “In my comments three days after the election, I was trying to be a voice of reason and express why it’s in the national interest to have all Americans believe the election is being resolved correctly. But the outcome is very certain today, and the country should move on.”
Schwarzman told Axios that he was supportive of Trump and “the strong economic path he built,” before outright acknowledging that Biden will return to the White House in January.
“Like many in the business community, I am ready to help President-elect Biden and his team as they confront the significant challenges of rebuilding our post-COVID economy,” Schwarzman said, according to Axios.
Schwarzman is not the only corporate exec to finally step forward to declare that Trump’s presidency is coming to a close.
More than 100 chief executives are expected to ask the Trump administration on Monday to immediately acknowledge that Biden is President-elect and demand that Biden’s formal transition begin, according to the New York Times.
The Times reported on Monday that business leaders will send a letter to General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy urging her to sign a letter of ascertainment affirming Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris’ election victory.
Murphy, who has the sole authority to green-light Biden’s formal transition process, has not budged amid Trump’s refusal to concede. Biden’s transition has already hit major snags without Murphy’s signing of an ascertainment, which includes the President-elect’s team being restricted from contacting federal agencies and having access to funds that an incoming administration is entitled to.
“Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation’s stature on the global stage is diminished,” the executives wrote in a draft of the letter, which was obtained by the Times. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk.”
According to the Times, business leaders who plan to sign the letter include George H. Walker, the chief executive of the money manager Neuberger Berman and a second cousin to President George W. Bush, and Jon Gray, president of the private-equity firm Blackstone. (Schwarzman did not sign the letter, despite his statement for Trump to “move on.”)
The Times also reported that some executives weighed withholding campaign donations from both Republican Georgia Senate candidates, Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), in an effort to demand that the senators push for a presidential transition. Both Loeffler and Perdue campaigned with Vice President Mike Pence last week as they head into a runoff election in January that will determine the balance of the Senate.