Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) took aim at President Trump on Wednesday for stonewalling President-elect Joe Biden’s transition as the country passed the grim milestone of 250,000 COVID-19 fatalities.
General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee who has the sole authority to green light Biden’s formal transition, has yet to sign an “ascertainment,” which would allow Biden’s transition team to contact federal agencies or access the millions of dollars set aside for it.
Although Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board has contacted states and the medical community prior to the President-elect’s inauguration in January, the transition team cannot access data from the Trump administration regarding COVID-19, vaccine distribution plans as well as intelligence briefings until it gets the green light from the GSA chief.
During an interview on CNN Wednesday evening, Kasich blasted Trump for having gone AWOL amid surging COVID-19 cases nationwide, which the former Ohio governor characterized as “a cult of personality.”
“And whenever you have a cult of personality, sometimes the damage is not able to be calculated,” Kasich said.
After rebuking Trump for his repeated downplaying of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kasich then blasted the sitting president who refuses to concede for delaying Biden’s formal transition process.
“But now the inability or the unwillingness of his orders to share this information with Biden so they can think about distribution, they can think about stockpiles, they can think about all the things that must surround the distribution of a vaccine — thank God it’s just around the corner is what we understand — but this cult of personality has taken over people in his own administration and unfortunately it’s taken over a lot of members of the Republican party,” Kasich said.
Kasich — who appeared during the Democratic National Convention in August in support of Biden’s presidential bid — added that he doesn’t know what Trump administration officials and Republicans who are loyal to the sitting president are “afraid of.”
“It’s sort of like if you get a little baby alligator in your house and you just don’t pay attention to it, it gets bigger and bigger and the next thing you know you’re out of the house and the alligator’s running it,” Kasich said. “That’s what it seems like as to what’s going on now because the Republicans have been afraid of him, continue to be afraid of him for a variety of reasons.”
Kasich suggested that some Republicans may be “selfish” because they’re worried about the Georgia Senate runoff election in January, which will determine the balance of the Senate.
The former Ohio governor quickly pivoted back to torching Trump for standing in the way of Biden’s formal transition process by calling the sitting president’s stonewalling “disgraceful” and that his “blood is boiling” from it.
“If I was there, I’d be shouting for the rooftops. And I don’t know why we’re not hearing it,” Kasich said. “This is — you know, every one of these people are going to have to look in the mirror someday, and maybe their kids are going to say, ‘what did you do in the middle of this when you had that man running the country?'”
Earlier Wednesday, Biden warned that without the Trump administration’s assistance in providing COVID-19 data to his team soon, the President-elect’s incoming administration will be “behind by weeks or months” on its distribution of vaccines.
Watch Kasich’s remarks below:
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) blasts Trump for stonewalling Biden's transition pic.twitter.com/vcaYIXyZRG
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 18, 2020