US President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA
US President Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA

New York — Business leaders, including many in New York’s finance world, are urging President Donald Trump to acknowledge Joe Biden as the winner of the US election and start a transition process.

A total of 164 executives signed an open letter, released on Monday, demanding that the Trump administration affirm that Biden has won the election and issue the paperwork required for his team to begin a transition. Doing so would make money and resources available to the incoming administration.

“Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation’s stature on the global stage is diminished,” according to the letter. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk.”

Among the 164  are Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon; BlackRock  CEO Larry Fink; Jon Gray, president of private equity firm Blackstone; and George H Walker, CEO of money manager Neuberger Berman. Peter Grauer, chair of Bloomberg, also signed the letter, which was reported earlier by the New York Times.

Business leaders are growing more concerned that a delayed transition could slow efforts to manage the coronavirus pandemic and roll out new vaccines, which are critical for New York City’s return to financial health. Midtown offices are still largely empty, and local businesses are suffering as employers keep their workers home indefinitely.

One of Trump’s highest-profile supporters on Wall Street, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, said on Monday that the election’s outcome was “very certain” and it was time for the president to move on from legal challenges to the vote. He isn’t listed among signers of the letter.

Before drafting of the letter, New York attorney-general Letitia James was asked to reach out to the city’s business leaders to discuss what might be done, according to the Times.

A group of Democratic state attorneys-general thought New York executives would “have influence in convincing Republicans around the country that this should be over, that the transition should be acknowledged, and that it was a frightening proposition that this would remain unresolved”, Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for New York City, told the newspaper.

Bloomberg

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