“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden mentioned of the resistance his crew was dealing with. He warned that such delays might permit enemies of the United States to make the most of vulnerabilities, citing a recent massive cybersecurity breach that compromised several U.S. agencies.
“As our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the handoff between administrations. My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden mentioned in remarks from Wilmington, Del. “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 pointed accusation by a president-elect that the incumbent was placing national security in danger by refusing to cooperate underscored the unprecedented and divisive nature of the present transition.
With lower than a month earlier than Inauguration Day, Biden has been laying the groundwork for the way to sort out the gargantuan twin challenges that he’ll face as quickly as he assumes the presidency — ending the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding the financial system. He has steadily crammed vacancies in his Cabinet and in senior positions in his authorities, which is able to take over at midday on Jan. 20.
He has been met with exceptional resistance from Trump, who has refused to concede the election and has continued making an attempt to overturn the outcomes. Trump blocked any transition efforts outright for greater than two weeks earlier than relenting, a minimum of initially. He has declined to say whether or not he’ll attend Biden’s inauguration, and the incoming crew planning the occasion assumes he is not going to.
Trump additionally has appeared more and more bored with the nation’s most important issues, as a substitute pressuring allies to change the outcomes of an election that his personal administration mentioned had been freed from widespread fraud. On Dec. 23, he vetoed a defense authorization bill that included raises for service members, forcing a veto override effort this week. He complained that the measure would permit the renaming of army services honoring Confederate troopers and had not included an unrelated measure punishing social media corporations. He threatened to veto a coronavirus reduction measure, delaying advantages earlier than he finally signed it Sunday.
Meanwhile, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris attended a digital briefing with 15 national security and international coverage advisers, together with a number of would-be Cabinet nominees. In feedback that adopted, Biden mentioned the advisers instructed him that a lot of the companies essential to national security have sustained “enormous damage” throughout the Trump administration.
“Many of them have been hollowed out in personnel, capacity and in morale, in the policy processes that have atrophied or have been sidelined, in the disrepair of our alliances . . . in the general disengagement from the world,” Biden mentioned. “And all of that makes it harder for our government to protect the American people, to defend our vital interests in a world where threats are constantly evolving and our adversaries are constantly adapting.”
Acting protection secretary Christopher Miller disputed Biden’s accusation, saying in a press release Monday evening that greater than 400 protection officers have participated in 164 conferences with the transition crew and supplied greater than 5,000 pages of paperwork. Miller mentioned these efforts “already surpass those of recent administrations,” regardless of a compressed timeframe.
Miller had, nonetheless, abruptly postponed all transition meetings on Dec. 18, saying in a press release then that the Biden crew and Trump administration had mutually agreed on a pause by the vacation season. Biden crew officers have denied that was the case. An official acquainted with the state of affairs who spoke on the situation of anonymity to talk about the matter mentioned no conferences have occurred since then. The Defense Department introduced late Monday that three conferences are scheduled for this week, two associated to the pandemic and one on cybersecurity.
The Office of Management and Budget didn’t instantly reply to Biden’s feedback.
Biden mentioned Monday that the majority authorities companies have proven “exemplary cooperation” with his transition crew, particularly given the challenges of the pandemic and the Trump administration’s effort to stall conversations, however that his staffers have encountered “obstruction from political leadership” once they couldn’t afford to waste any time. He famous that 4 years in the past, he and then-President Barack Obama gave the incoming Trump-Pence administration “access to all that we had.”
In elevating issues about the transition, Biden was cautious to distinguish between political appointees in the companies and the profession professionals who he mentioned had cooperated totally.
“They never stopped doing their job and continued to serve our country, day in and day out, to keep their fellow Americans safe,” Biden mentioned of the profession authorities employees. “These agencies are filled with patriots who’ve earned our respect, and who should never be treated as political footballs.”
As an instance of the potential influence of the obstruction, Biden pointed to the pandemic, which in December killed extra Americans than in any earlier month. More than 330,000 have died since March, with practically 19.3 million sickened.
“We’ve learned so painfully this year the cost of being unprepared,” Biden mentioned.
Biden mentioned that below his administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will play an “enormous part” in the “safe, equitable and efficient distribution of vaccines to as many Americans as possible, as quickly as possible.” Harris and her husband plan to obtain vaccinations in Washington on Tuesday.
“We want to make sure that our administration is poised to make full use of FEMA’s domestic reach and capacity,” Biden mentioned.
In his Monday remarks, Biden additionally took situation with Trump’s dealing with of international affairs, repeatedly saying that the United States wants to strengthen its alliances with like-minded nations, not simply to confront the pandemic but in addition to deal with local weather change and “strategic challenges” from China and Russia.
“Right now there’s an enormous vacuum,” Biden mentioned. “We’re going to have to regain the trust and confidence of a world that has begun to find ways to work around us or work without us.”
Biden mentioned he was additionally briefed Monday on the steps wanted to “clean up the humanitarian disaster that the Trump administration has systematically created on our southern border.”
Biden mentioned that the work will begin on his first day in workplace however might take a while, particularly when it comes to rebuilding the nation’s capability for processing asylum claims. He has beforehand pledged a comprehensive immigration plan on his first day in workplace.
“We’re going to work purposefully, diligently and responsibly to roll back Trump’s restrictions starting on day one,” he mentioned. “But it’s not as simple as throwing a switch to turn everything back on, especially amid a pandemic.”
Biden opened his feedback by addressing the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville, saying federal, state and native regulation enforcement “are working around-the-clock to gain more information on motive or intent.” He praised Nashville police and different first responders, saying that “their bravery and coolheadedness” most likely saved lives. Local and federal authorities have mentioned an area man whose stays have been present in the wreckage was answerable for the explosion, which unfold destruction for blocks.
“This bombing was a reminder of the destructive power that individuals and small groups can muster,” Biden mentioned, “and the need for continuing vigilance across the board.”