Despite tweeting Sunday that President-elect Joe Biden “won” the election, before trying to walk that back, President Trump is not conceding the race. By the end of last week, Republican senators — including close Trump allies — were publicly arguing that the administration should at least approve top-level security briefings for Biden, arguing it wouldn’t end Trump’s long-shot lawsuits to overturn the election results in key states. The Biden transition team is also exploring ways to get information on COVID-19 vaccine plans.
The head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, has yet to “ascertain” Biden’s likely victory, a typically perfunctory step that will give Biden’s transition team access to federal personnel, office space, millions of dollars, and vetting services for potential Cabinet picks and other staff. The Associated Press and other news organizations projected Biden the clear winner more than a week ago.
“I expect Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “It is very important that Joe Biden have access to the intelligence briefings to make sure that he is prepared,” he added, and it’s also essential “there is a smooth transition, particularly when it comes to the vaccine distribution, the coronavirus, that everybody understands what we’re doing there and what the plan is for the future.”
Ron Klain, Biden’s designated chief of staff, hit the same theme, telling Meet the Press the Biden team needs to talk to the Health and Services Department’s vaccine planners “as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have on Jan. 20.” Biden’s team will start talking with the companies developing COVID-19 vaccines this week, but it’s more important to get access to HHS officials, including top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Pentagon logistics experts about the outgoing administration’s vaccine distribution plans, Klain said. “It’s great to have a vaccine, but vaccines don’t save lives: vaccinations save lives. And that means you’ve got to get that vaccine into people’s arms all over this country.” Fauci told CNN Sunday “of course it would be better if we could start working with” Biden’s team.
Trump himself did not comment directly on the issue, but he did retweet a post about veterans from Murphy, saying, “Great job Emily!”
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