President-elect Joe Biden faces an uphill struggle to live up to his pledge to unify the United States, Donald Trump's former chief of staff said on Saturday.
Mick Mulvaney told LBC that the "centrist" former vice president "might have been ideally suited to play a unifying role" in the past but he's now "well past his prime." He explained that internal divisions with the Democratic Party will also make it hard for Biden to keep him promise.
Speaking to radio presenter Matt Frei, Mulvaney said that Biden does not have a "grip over his party," which could hamper his ability to make decisions and push through bipartisan agreements.
"His party, while they are united in their hatred for Donald Trump, clearly have their own internal divisions and it might be dangerous for a Democrat right now, for example, to extend an olive branch to a pro-Trump member of Congress," he said.
He added that while the presidency carries a great deal of institutional power, Biden may find it difficult to maintain personal authority over the various divisions within the Democratic Party.
"Not very many people voted for Joe Biden – 150 million people in this country voted and they either voted for Donald Trump or against Donald Trump," he said.
"Joe Biden just happened to be the other name on the ticket."
Frei asked Mulvaney if he would advise Trump to attend Joe Biden's inauguration on the 20 January, despite the current president openly insisting he won't.
The former chief of staff said that Trump's presence would only "make things worse" but clarified that he would ask him to do "many of the other trappings" that are custom when transferring power to a new administration, such as leaving a letter on the Oval Office desk or inviting Mr Biden to stay in Blair House before inauguration day.
Mulvaney added that the "the president has missed the opportunities to do the other sorts of symbolic things that we do in a transfer of power" but said that "physically being present at the inauguration – if there is one – might actually make things worse."
This follows a declaration by President Trump that there will be a peaceful transition of power between his and Joe Biden's administrations, after launching a series of legal challenges claiming that the November 2020 election was rigged.
Biden prepares to hold office as the United States is deeply divided. He secured the Democratic nomination last year after contesting a close primary against Bernie Sanders.
Sanders is a totemic figure for the rising left-wing in the Democratic Party, which has positioned itself as the champion of policies like providing a universal medicare service for US citizens and raising taxes on large corporations to fund a "Green New Deal."
Despite emerging victorious in the primary over the left, the incoming president, who has historically rejected some of these more radical proposals, will likely have to contest pressure from this faction of his party.