Business leaders, lobbyists urge Congress to certify election for BidenJanuary 4, 2021
America’s business leaders are ready to put the presidential election to rest.
More than 100 business executives, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers, released statements on Monday urging Congress to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win. Executives and founders of industries ranging from finance to media to fashion pushed back against President Donald Trump’s quixotic effort to overturn the election and insisted that Congress focus instead on the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This presidential election has been decided and it is time for the country to move forward,” read a brief letter organized by the Partnership for New York City and signed by over 100 business leaders. “President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the Electoral College and the courts have rejected challenges to the electoral process. Congress should certify the electoral vote on Wednesday, January 6. Attempts to thwart or delay this process run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy.”
Signatories to the letter included leaders of Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Warby Parker, JetBlue, Condé Nast, Con Edison, Lyft and dozens of others.
Though election officials across the country have certified Biden as the 2020 victor, Trump and his allies have continued to push conspiracy theories and procedural challenges to claim another term in the White House. Trump shocked officials in both Atlanta and Washington on Saturday when he pushed Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to turn back the election results there. The Washington Post released a recording of that conversation, which has led to talk of a criminal investigation.
Trump’s electoral challenge has also caused a schism within his own party in Congress, with Republican senators consumed by infighting over whether to challenge the Electoral College results. At least 12 senators and 140 House members announced they would challenge Biden’s victory in some form.
In its Monday statement, Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs, rebuked the premise of the challenges, saying there “is no authority for Congress to reject or overturn electoral votes lawfully certified by the states and affirmed by the Electoral College. The peaceful transition of power is a hallmark of our democracy and should proceed unimpeded.“
Congress will meet to count the Electoral College votes on Wednesday.
The disputes are occurring while the country faces its biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. The four statements on Monday urged Congress to stop delaying and to focus instead on protecting Americans and businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Throughout this pandemic, America’s manufacturing workers have heroically stepped up to ensure that our country has the supplies, food, vaccines, medicines and equipment we need,” the National Association of Manufacturers letter said. “Our industry has been fighting to protect our country, and now we ask Congress to join us in healing our nation, instead of fostering more division and vitriol.”
“We urge Congress to fulfill its responsibility in counting the electoral votes, the Trump administration to facilitate an orderly transition for the incoming Biden administration, and all of our elected officials to devote their energies to combatting the pandemic and supporting our economic recovery,” said the statement by U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue.
The chamber’s statement went on to discourage property damage as “thousands of Americans are expected to gather to voice their views,” in an implicit reference to a number of rallies planned in Washington to coincide with Congress’ vote count. Trump himself has encouraged the protests, but city officials fear that it could lead to violent clashes. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser asked the District’s National Guard to help local police in responding to the protesters.
“Small businesses, local communities, and our nation pay a steep price when demonstrations turn violent and destructive, so it is critical that these gatherings be peaceful,” Donohue’s statement said.