Biden Accuses Trump Appointees of Blocking National Security Info for Transition: 'Irresponsible’
"We just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” President-elect Joe Biden said
On Monday, Biden, 78, accused Trump’s political appointees at the Pentagon of not passing along key national security information that his incoming administration believes is necessary for transition preparations.
“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” Biden said during a speech from Wilmington, Delaware. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
The president-elect’s admonishment comes as Trump, 74, still refuses to concede his 2020 election loss to Biden and has launched dozens of failed legal efforts to try and overturn the results.
Initially, Biden’s transition team faced delays last month when a Trump-appointed official at the General Service Administration refrained from signing a letter kickstarting the transition process.
But after weeks of holding out amid mounting criticism, GSA administrator Emily Murphy eventually approved the process in late November.
Trump’s critics have slammed his outgoing administration’s poor cooperation with Biden’s team since the election, especially amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its economic fallout.
“As our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the handoff between administrations,” Biden reiterated Monday. “My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies.”
Biden added: “We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch-up that our adversaries may try to exploit.”
The White House did not respond to Biden's remarks on Tuesday when PEOPLE asked about the transition delays.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller shot back at Biden with his own statement, saying the Department of Defense has provided the appropriate information, even “far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team.”
“Our DOD political and career officials have been working with the utmost professionalism to support transition activities in a compressed time schedule and they will continue to do so in a transparent and collegial manner that upholds the finest traditions of the Department,” Miller said.
Biden has spent the last month announcing his incoming administrative staff, as well as revealing his plans for his first 100-days in office, aimed at thwarting the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The pandemic, Biden said Monday, is an example of why the federal government needs to be prepared to handle crises.
At least 335,141 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 and 19.3 million have contracted the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday morning, according to a New York Times tracker.
“We’ve learned so painfully this year the cost of being unprepared,” Biden said.