President-elect Joe Biden on Monday said that his transition team has hit “roadblocks” put up by leadership at the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget.
Earlier this month, Biden transition director Yohannes Abraham flatly denied the Pentagon’s claim that transition meetings had stopped for a mutually agreed-upon “holiday pause.”
Abraham argued that the Pentagon’s claim of a holiday meeting break was evidence of “isolated resistance” from a handful of political appointees in the Trump administration, including at the Department of Defense.
Biden’s remarks on Monday took a stern tone when addressing the difficulties that he said his transition team has encountered. President Trump has continued to refuse to concede, even after General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy said in a grudging letter last month that she had greenlit Biden’s formal transition process weeks after the President-elect’s projected victory.
Following a briefing with nearly two dozen of his national security advisers, Biden said that most government agencies have shown “exemplary” cooperation with his transition team, but that in a few cases the team has had to deal with “obstruction from political leadership.”
“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden said. “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 then reiterated that his team has encountered “roadblocks from political leadership” at the departments of Defense and the OMB, before stressing the dire potential consequences of stonewalling when it comes to national security issues.
“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” Biden said. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility.”
Biden further called out the Trump administration by pointing to his team being briefed on “the steps needed to clean up the humanitarian disaster that the Trump administration has systematically created on our southern border.”
“These are hard issues, and the current administration has made them much harder by working to erode our capacity. It’s going to take time to rebuild that capacity,” Biden said. “We’re going to work purposely, diligently, and responsibly to roll back Trump’s restrictions, starting on day one.”
Watch Biden’s remarks below: