January 17, 2021

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Biden: White House transition efforts ‘sincere’ but no word from Trump

  • President-elect Joe Biden praised the smoothness of his delayed presidential transition on Tuesday, saying efforts from the White House to hand over to him were “sincere.”
  • The transition was authorized Monday after an unprecedented two-week standoff while President Donald Trump groundlessly disputed the outcome of the election.
  • Speaking with NBC News, Biden said that he had been authorized to receive the Presidential Daily Briefing and that agencies had been forthcoming with information.
  • Biden said that his and Trump’s chiefs of staff had spoken but that he had not heard directly from Trump.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden gave an interview Tuesday in which he described efforts from the White House to help him prepare for power as “sincere,” after his long-delayed transition was allowed to proceed.

But he said he still had no contact from President Donald Trump, who continues to wrongly claim he won the US election.

In his first one-on-one interview after Election Day, Biden told NBC News’ Lester Holt that the progress in his transition had “not been begrudging so far.”

Trump has refused to acknowledge defeat, but after increasing public pressure he announced Monday that he was “recommending” the General Services Administration to go ahead offering Biden transition resources.

(The GSA’s administrator, Emily Murphy, said her decision, revealed in a letter earlier Monday, was independent of political influence.)

It ended a two-week standoff in which Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were forced to develop an unofficial transition without full access to the federal government and its vast resources.

donald trump golf

President Donald Trump returning from the golf course on November 7, the day networks widely called the election for Joe Biden.

Getty


Asked whether there had been “back channel” communications with Trump during that time, Biden said he had not heard anything.

“I believe that his chief of staff and my chief of staff have spoken, but no, I have not heard anything from President Trump,” Biden said.

Nonetheless, information from the White House had started to flow, Biden said.

He described outreach from national security officials and the coronavirus task force and said he expected to receive the Presidential Daily Brief — which includes top-level national security information — “maybe as early as tomorrow.”

Biden said he was “feeling good” about making up for lost time in his delayed transition.

“I think we’re going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past,” he said.

“And there’s a lot of meaty discussion, and I must say, the outreach has been sincere. It’s not been begrudging so far. And I don’t expect it to be.”

“It’s a slow start, but it’s starting.”

Biden announced several of his picks for top cabinet positions on Tuesday, including Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Alejandro Mayorkas for secretary of homeland security, and Avril Haines for director of national intelligence.

Asked whether his nominations signaled a return to the era of President Barack Obama — with whom Biden served as vice president — he said: “This is not a third Obama term, because we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration.”

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