Mr. Biden’s comments came as governors across the country have begun issuing tough new restrictions on businesses, schools, bars and sports venues in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, prompting an increasingly aggressive backlash from Republicans, including some of Mr. Trump’s advisers.
In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to shut down casinos, movie theaters and indoor dining — and to halt in-person learning at high schools and colleges — for three weeks prompted Republican lawmakers to call for her impeachment. She said the remarks by Dr. Atlas were “irresponsible” and left her breathless.
Hours before Mr. Biden’s remarks, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien, went further than any other senior Trump official in a public forum when he said that Mr. Biden appeared to have won the election and pledged a smooth transition from his staff.
“Look, if the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner — and obviously things look that way now — we’ll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council,” Mr. O’Brien said.
Perhaps wary of the ire of a president who refuses to concede the obvious, however, even Mr. O’Brien spoke conditionally, falsely suggesting that the election’s outcome remains uncertain.
“If there is a new administration, they deserve some time to come in and implement their policies,” Mr. O’Brien said during a talk recorded last week and streamed on Monday as part of a conference hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“And if we are in a situation where we are not going into a Trump second term, which I think people where I’m sitting in the White House would like to see, if it’s another outcome, it will be a professional transition — there’s no question about it,” he added.
Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport contributed reporting.