Real estate execs, business leaders urge Trump to begin transition

Delaying President-elect Biden’s transition will harm country, execs argue

From left: President Donald Trump, Blackstone's Jonathan Gray and Tishman Speyer's Rob Speyer (Getty)
From left: President Donald Trump, Blackstone's Jonathan Gray and Tishman Speyer's Rob Speyer (Getty)

More than 100 business leaders have signed a letter demanding that President Donald Trump’s administration cease its challenges to the presidential election and let President-elect Joe Biden’s transition begin.

Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer, Blackstone president Jon Gray and KKR co-CEO Henry R. Kravis are among the real estate and business leaders who plan to sign the letter, according to the New York Times.

In light of the Trump administration’s continued challenges to the election results, Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, has declined to issue a letter affirming that Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the election. Without the letter, Biden and his team can’t access resources and money set aside for an incoming administration to prepare for the transition.

“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,” a draft of the letter reviewed by the Times stated. “Withholding resources and vital information from an incoming administration puts the public and economic health and security of America at risk.”

Blackstone chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman, who has been a staunch Trump defender, didn’t sign the letter, but he said in a statement to the Times that “the outcome is very certain today and the country should move on.”

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The business executives’ move came following a meeting of Democratic state attorneys general on Thursday evening. After the meeting, New York AG Letitia James approached business leaders in the city about possible efforts to move the transition forward.

During the conversation, Speyer reportedly said that some wealthy donors had been considering withholding support from Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue of Georgia, both of whom are facing run-off elections against Democratic challengers, until the presidential transition is underway.

In a statement, James said, “This isn’t about partisan politics, but about protecting our democracy.”

“Without the rule of law and an orderly transfer of power, everything from commerce to health care delivery to national security is in peril, and our business leaders can see that as clearly as the rest of us,” she added.

[NYT] — Akiko Matsuda