Biden Says Trump Officials Setting Up ‘Roadblocks’ During Transition Period
“We have encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the department of defense and the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in remarks following a meeting with national security and foreign policy advisers in Wilmington, Del.
“Right now, we just aren’t getting all of the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said.
Biden called on the Trump administration to provide more information to avoid misunderstanding that adversaries could use against him during the transfer of power in late January.
“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden continued. “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.”
Biden’s remarks caused pushback from the Trump administration.
A senior administration official described Biden’s remarks as ridiculous while adding that the OMB staff would not waste their time helping his transition team, seeming to confirm that there has been some refusal by political leaders to cooperate.
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller defended the department’s cooperation in a statement issued later on Monday, saying 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.”
“The Department of Defense has conducted 164 interviews with over 400 officials, and provided over 5,000 pages of documents – far more than initially requested by Biden’s transition team,” Miller said. “DoD’s efforts already surpass those of recent administrations with over three weeks to go and we continue to schedule additional meetings for the remainder of the transition and answer any and all requests for information in our purview.”
A spokesperson from the Defense Department said the Pentagon has been “completely transparent” with the Biden transition team, providing information on the program for fiscal years 2022 to 2026, even though OMB has yet to authorize the release of full details for the period of 2022-2026.
Biden said there are a number of national security issues his administration is preparing to tackle when he takes office next month, including the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, and the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border, which he said requires partnerships and international coordination.
He has also vowed to undo Trump’s “America First” isolationist foreign policy and pledged to rebuild international alliances.
Biden will be inaugurated on January 20.
“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 said.
This afternoon, I was briefed by members of my national security and foreign policy agency review teams. Tune in as I deliver remarks on the challenges our administration will inherit. https://t.co/EbPUT6jjXX
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 28, 2020