A small group of current Trump officials and political appointees who departed the administration in recent months, have quietly started to reach out to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, CNN reported late Wednesday.
“Nothing that would get us in trouble,” one Trump official told CNN of the conversations on Wednesday. “Just an offer to be of help. They know what we mean, and what we can-and-can’t do or say.”
The outreach shows the willingness of a select few affiliated with the White House to begin to move in the direction of a transition as the nation reels from a worsening COVID-19 crisis that has now killed at least 250,000 people in the United States as President Donald Trump remains bunkered in the White House — failing to schedule any public appearances on a dozen days in just over two weeks.
The news of trickling communication between Trump officials and Biden’s incoming team comes as the General Services Administration continues to refuse to acknowledge the reality of Biden’s win even as the President-elect lines up selections for top roles in his government.
As Trump remains largely in hiding, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are planning to meet virtually with several governors Thursday with an aim to beef up coordination between the federal and state responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that his department would not work with Biden’s transition team until the GSA formally calls Biden the President-elect.
“We’ve made it very clear that when GSA makes a determination, we will ensure complete, cooperative professional transitions and planning,” Azar said in a widely criticized move to stall that could needlessly cause more coronavirus-related deaths.
Sources told CNN that the conversations between the fledgling group of officials willing to push aside efforts within the administration to slow the transition of power and the Biden team are not as detailed as formal briefings.
In some cases the beginnings of those communications was the result of pre-existing relationships in specific fields, one Biden aide told the publication.
“It requires more than former officials choosing to step forward and be helpful to ensure a smooth transition of power,” Kate Bedingfield, deputy Biden campaign manager and transition adviser to the President-elect, told CNN. “GSA should follow the law and ascertain the results of the election so that Americans get a smooth and effective hand off between administrations.”