WASHINGTON: Outgoing US Vice President Mike Pence has called his soon-to-be successor Kamala Harris to congratulate her and offer his full co-operation in the transition of power, according to multiple media reports said.
However, there has been no communication between outgoing President Donald Trump and president-elect Joe Biden, which is unprecedented in recent memory.
“Vice President Mike Pence telephoned Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Thursday to congratulate her and offer his belated assistance — filling a leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump, who is planning to fly out of the capital shortly before Joseph R Biden Jr is sworn in next week,” The New York Times reported.
Friday’s call was the first time Pence, 61, and Harris, 56, had an one-to-one conversation since their vice presidential debate in October last year. It was also the first direct contact between the two leaders since the November 3 presidential election.
The traditional in-person meeting between the outgoing president and the president-elect has not happened. Same is the case with the outgoing vice president and his successor.
In a rare departure from the tradition, Trump has announced that he will not attend Biden’s inauguration on January 6. Trump would depart the White House for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida just before the inauguration.
Though Trump has still refused to actually concede his 2020 election loss to Biden, he promised that a “peaceful transition” of power would take place.
He was impeached on Wednesday for inciting the Capitol Hill riot that stemmed from his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. The deadly insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 by Trump’s supporters, who unsuccessfully tried to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s win, resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.
Pence would be attending the inauguration, confirmed in-coming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“But beyond his plans to attend, which the president-elect certainly welcomes, I’m not aware of additional events he’s attending,” Psaki told reporters during a conference call.
“No additional conversations or no conversations beyond the one with Vice President-elect Harris that I’m aware of,” she said in response to another question.
According to The New York Times, Pence and his wife Karen may have Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff over to the vice-presidential residence before the inauguration on Wednesday.
“But those plans remain uncertain, in part because the security threats posed to the nation’s capital have made scheduling fluid,” the daily said.