Many Republican governors still won’t state plainly that Biden won.
Ten days after the presidential race was called for Joseph R. Biden Jr., only about a half-dozen of the nation’s 26 Republican governors have unequivocally acknowledged his victory or said that President Trump should concede.
Some have repeated Mr. Trump’s unfounded allegations about election fraud. But most have been operating in a murky middle ground in which they neither give full credence to Mr. Trump’s claims nor affirm that Mr. Biden is the president-elect.
The stakes go beyond political optics. The coronavirus is surging across the country with a renewed fury, threatening to overwhelm hospitals and driving officials in some states to return to the strict measures used in the spring to curb the pandemic’s initial spread.
In Mr. Biden’s first few months as president, his administration will need to closely coordinate with states to distribute a vaccine and ramp up testing to try to gain control of the rampant spread. Many governors, including at least two Republicans, have raised concerns that the turbulence surrounding the transition could stir confusion and serve as a dangerous distraction from the efforts to combat the pandemic.
“We’re in the middle of a war, and we don’t know who the general is going to be,” said Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican in a state that voted for Mr. Biden and a recent former chair of the National Governors Association. “We don’t know what the game plan is. And we can’t wait until the end of January.”
The time had come, Mr. Hogan added, for Mr. Trump to recognize that Mr. Biden had notched a “pretty overwhelming victory.” He said the delay in doing so starved the country of clarity it urgently needed.
In a recent news conference, Gov. Jim Justice of West Virginia pushed back against the assertion that he and other Republicans were trying to sow uncertainty.
“We want to absolutely know that the votes that were cast were legal votes and we want our election process to be absolutely sound,” Mr. Justice said, adding, “If Joe Biden is truly our elected president, I will support him with all of my soul.”
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