Rep. Bryan Steil continues to avoid saying directly that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States.
Steil was asked whether he would acknowledge Biden as president elect on WCLO radio’s “Your Talk Show” on Tuesday.
It was the second time in eight days that show host Tim Bremel asked Steil whether he would accept President Donald Trump’s defeat in the Nov. 3 election.
Steil began his response by noting that Trump has challenged election results in several states.
“He has the total right to do that, to go through the legal channels to process that,” the 1st District Republican said, adding that unless there is “a major change” in the courts, the Electoral College will act in the various states in the next week or two on the question.
“At the same time, what we’ve seen is the president has moved forward with the transition, so the administration has released the funding for Joe Biden to begin that transition,” Steil said.
The Trump administration delayed allowing the transition to begin until Nov. 23, and the president so far has refused to concede the Nov. 3 election.
“I think what you’re going to see is that continued transition planning moving forward, and at the same time those court cases moving forward, and I think we’ll have a final resolution here in the coming days,” Steil said.
Bremel tried again: “To a lot of us—and I must say myself included at this point—it seems a little petty, and I don’t know why we couldn’t just say, ‘Yes, it’s going to be Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House, and we understand that.’”
Referring to Trump’s claims of voter fraud, Bremel continued: “Looking into these instances can still occur, buy why do we have to continue to undermine what appeared to be a very smooth, democratic process?”
“I think what’s petty to one might be significant to another, and I think that’s where our court system is properly structured to be able to navigate this and manage this,” Steil responded.
“I think it’s completely appropriate for the president to be able to utilize his legal right to challenge anything that he finds suspicious or untoward. I think those court cases are moving along in a timeline that does not jeopardize—in any way, shape or form—our democracy.”
Steil joins a majority of his Capitol Hill colleagues who have so far declined to acknowledge that Biden won the election.
Bremel asked Steil about upcoming votes on spending bills, including the latest pandemic-relief proposals.
Steil said a pandemic-relief bill should target those most affected, so that people who lost their jobs can pay their bills, the country can “avoid recession or depression,” and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is paid for.
Those questions will be part of legislative negotiations this week and next, Steil said.
Steil said some in Washington want a “perfect” relief package, rather than settling for measures that both sides can agree on while postponing “thorny issues” to next year.
One of those issues is about another round of $1,200 direct payments like those approved last spring for people making up to $75,000, according to news reports.