Top US executives demand Congress certify Biden victory
An array of prominent US business executives on Monday called for Congress to certify Joe Biden as the new US president, writing in a joint letter that it is time "to move forward."
The letter, signed by more than 170 executives in industries ranging from finance and sports to technology and media, condemned any attempt to thwart the certification process as "counter to the essential tenets of our democracy."
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"This presidential election has been decided and it is time for the country to move forward," read a copy of the letter released by business advocacy group Partnership for New York City.
"Congress should certify the electoral vote on Wednesday, January 6."
Certification is generally a formality - but more than 100 Republican members of the House and about a dozen Senate Republicans have said they plan to raise objections on Wednesday.
At least one House and one Senate member needs to lodge an objection to certification to send it to the floor for debate and a vote.
A vote would be doomed to failure, however, in the Democratic-controlled House and the Republican-majority Senate, where a number of Republican senators have acknowledged Biden's victory and said they will not contest it.
US President Donald Trump continues to falsely claim victory. Trump has urged his supporters to descend on Washington on Wednesday when Congress meets, raising fears of clashes in the nation's capital.
"President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have won the Electoral College and the courts have rejected challenges to the electoral process," the 179 executives said in the letter.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging in the US, "Our duly elected leaders deserve the respect and bipartisan support of all Americans at a moment when we are dealing with the worst health and economic crises in modern history," they said.
Names on the letter included Blackstone chief operating officer Jonathan Gray; Microsoft president Brad Smith; Altice USA chief executive Dexter Goei, and Lyft co-founder John Zimmer.
The chief executives of Goldman Sachs and the American Express Company, along with BlackRock chief executive Laurence Fink and the heads of both the men's and women's National Basketball Associations, Adam Silver and Catherine Engelbert, were also on the long list.
Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla was also among the signatories. A vaccine created by the pharmaceutical giant is being used in the battle against Covid-19, while Trump has been criticized for botching the US response to the deadly pandemic.