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Biden's talking to Republican officials, top aide Klain says

The incoming White House chief of staff was interviewed on MSNBC's "The Last Word."
Image: Ron Klain speaks during a hearing in Washington
Ron Klain, at a hearing in Washington on March 10.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Ron Klain, the incoming White House chief of staff, said Thursday that President-elect Joe Biden has spoken to Republicans since he won the presidential race.

"He's spoken to some Republican senators, some Republican governors. I'm not going to go into the names," Klain said in an interview on MSNBC's "The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell."

Asked if GOP senators have called Biden or if the president-elect called them, Klain said it’s been a mix of both.

Klain, a longtime adviser to Biden who was announced as the next chief of staff on Wednesday, said that the president-elect has not yet spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and suggested part of the reason is that McConnell has thrown his support behind President Donald Trump's efforts to contest the election results.

"Look, I think Senator McConnell still seems to be insisting somehow that President Trump won the election. He didn't. There will be a time and a place for Joe Biden and Senator McConnell to talk," Klain said. "They obviously need no introduction to one another. They have worked together, they have fought each other, worked together and fought each other over the decades. They will have a working relationship when the time comes."

Biden is focused on putting together his team for the new administration and preparing a plan to take on the worsening coronavirus pandemic, Klain said.

He added that Biden will spend "more and more time" engaging with Capitol Hill as the transition unfolds. Klain said the president-elect spoke to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday.

This comes as many Republicans have backed Trump's decision not to concede the presidential election, though some are already budging and recognizing the reality that the results will not be overturned.