President-elect Joe Biden charged Monday that Trump-appointed officials at several federal agencies are still obstructing his transition team and keeping his advisers in the dark about “key” national security issues.
Speaking after a briefing with his national security team, Biden said the “obstruction” by government officials loyal to President Trump is putting the nation at risk because his incoming administration is not getting a clear picture of global threat assessments or access to other critical resources.
Biden specifically pointed fingers at “political leadership” at the Department of Defense and the White House Office of Management and Budget, though he suggested other agencies are giving his transition team a hard time as well.
“Right now, we’re just not getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” Biden said at his transition team headquarters in Wilmington, Del. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
Spokespeople for the Pentagon and the White House did not immediately return requests for comment. A Biden spokesman declined to say what information in particular the Trump administration is allegedly withholding.
Trump recently installed Christopher Miller, a political loyalist, as defense secretary after firing his predecessor Mark Esper.
Earlier this month, Miller abruptly canceled a number of transition briefings. Biden’s team balked at the cancellations as an attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, but Miller claimed Pentagon officials were only winding down their schedules a bit ahead of the holidays.
Trump deliberately blocked Biden’s transition for weeks by refusing to let the General Services Administration ascertain the Democrat as president-elect.
After massive political pressure, Trump finally allowed the GSA to give Biden the transition green light on Nov. 23, but the president-elect’s Monday comments suggest the obstruction has continued nonetheless.
Biden said the transition blockade is particularly troubling because of the state of several federal agencies under Trump.
“The truth is, many of the agencies that are critical to our security have incurred enormous damage,” Biden said. “Many have been hollowed out in personnel, capacity and in morale. In the process, they have been atrophied and sidelined.”
Word of the alleged continued transition sabotage comes as Trump’s still pressing his desperate and baseless case that Biden’s election was facilitated by voter fraud.
Having lost dozens of court cases seeking to overturn the election, Trump has shifted focus to Jan. 6, when both chambers of Congress will lock in Biden’s 306-to-232 Electoral College victory. Despite Trump’s aggressive attempt to subvert American democracy, it’s a virtual certainty that Congress will certify the election results during the joint session — the final constitutional step before Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.