US President-elect Joe Biden warned of dire consequences if President Donald Trump and his administration continue to refuse to coordinate with his transition team on the coronavirus pandemic and block briefings on national security, policy issues and vaccine plans.
The remarks marked Biden’s toughest statement to date on Trump’s failure to acknowledge his election loss and cooperate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters during a news conference in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden and his aides — and a small but growing group of Republicans — have emphasized the importance of being briefed on White House efforts to control the pandemic and distribute prospective vaccines.
The Trump administration is working on its own distribution plan, while Biden’s chief of staff indicated his transition team will proceed with their own planning separately because of the obstruction.
The outgoing president has refused so far to bend to pressure from Democrats or Republicans as he continues to dispute his loss to Biden, who has surpassed the 270 electoral vote threshold to become president and is leading Trump by more than 5.5 million votes nationally.
Cooperation between the outgoing and incoming administrations, traditionally a key component to the peaceful transfer of power in the United States, takes on heightened significance this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is escalating dramatically heading into the holiday season.
Biden called the vaccine distribution a “huge, huge undertaking,” and said that if his team has to wait until he takes office to dig into the government’s distribution plan, they’ll be “behind, over a month, month and a half.”