Joe Biden says that President Donald Trump is not “fit for the job”, but he repeatedly refused to endorse growing Democratic calls that he be impeached for a second time.
The president-elect’s comments followed a meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her chamber’s Democratic caucus to consider another round of impeachment proceedings against President Trump after a mob of his supporters overran the Capitol on Wednesday.
President Trump called them “very special” and told them he loved them.
“I’ve thought for a long, long time that President Trump wasn’t fit for the job. That’s why I ran,” Mr Biden told reporters during a press conference in Delaware.
He added that, if there were six months remaining in Mr Trump’s term, “we should be doing whatever it took” to force the president from office.
But, instead, Mr Biden said he was now focused on taking office, with Inauguration Day less than two weeks’ away.
Ms Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer have called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force President Trump from office.
It is a process for stripping the president of his post and installing the vice president to take over.
President Trump is set to leave on January 20 when Mr Biden is inaugurated.
President Trump could be prevented from running again in 2024 or ever holding the presidency again. He would be the only president to be impeached twice.
The House impeached him in late 2019, but the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in early 2020.
Democrats are discussing acting quickly to impeach President Trump as soon as next week if his Cabinet does not first try to remove him.
Most Democrats, and many Republicans, put the blame squarely on President Trump after hundreds of protesters bearing Trump flags and clothing broke into the Capitol and caused destruction and mass evacuations.
The president had urged his supporters to protest as Congress was counting the electoral votes that confirmed Biden’s win.
Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.
President Trump also tweeted Friday that he planned to skip Mr Biden’s inauguration, becoming the first president in more than 150 years — and just the fourth in US history — to do so.
Mr Biden said he agreed with that decision, adding: “It’s a good thing, him not showing up.”