Changeover starts as Trump’s hopes fade
US President Donald Trump has insisted that he is not giving up his fight to overturn the election results, but across the federal government, preparations are beginning in earnest to support President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.
Following the General Services Administration’s (GSA) acknowledgment of Biden’s victory in the November 3 election, career federal officials have opened the doors of agencies to hundreds of transition aides ready to prepare for Biden’s January 20 inauguration.
Yesterday, Trump signed off on allowing Biden to receive the presidential daily brief, the highly classified briefing prepared by the nation’s intelligence community for the government’s most senior leaders.
Biden said he was also working out a meeting with the White House’s coronavirus task force and vaccine distribution effort.
‘‘I think we’re going to not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past,’’ he said. ‘‘And there’s a lot of immediate discussion – and, I must say, the outreach has been sincere.’’
The Biden transition had been in contact with all federal agencies about transition planning, according to a transition official.
But Trump, who has not formally conceded to Biden – and may never – continued to sow doubt about the vote, despite his own administration’s assessment that it was conducted without widespread fraud, misconduct or interference.
‘‘The GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be,’’ Trump tweeted yesterday, as his legal team continued to mount seemingly futile challenges to the results in battleground states.
An increasing number of Republicans have been publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, after weeks of tolerating Trump’s
baseless claims of fraud.
Republican allies filed two more lawsuits yesterday to try to stop the certification of results. One in Minnesota was swiftly rejected by a state court before the state certified its results for Biden. Soon afterwards, another was filed in Wisconsin, which won’t certify until December 1.
Declaring ‘‘America is back’’, Biden has given his first substantive indication of how he will shift from Trump-era ‘‘America First’’ policies by relying on experts from the Democratic establishment to be some of his most important advisers.
‘‘These public servants will restore America globally, its global leadership and its moral leadership,’’ Biden said yesterday as he introduced his new national security team. ‘‘It’s a team that reflects the fact that America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.’’
The nominees are all Washington veterans with ties to former president Barack Obama’s administration, a sign of Biden’s
effort to resume some form of normality after the tumult of President Donald Trump’s four years in office.
Biden’s cabinet picks include several women and people of colour, some of whom would break barriers if confirmed to their new positions. They include Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, as director of national intelligence, the first woman to hold that post.
Biden said he had been ‘‘struck’’ by how world leaders had repeatedly told him during congratulatory phone calls that they were looking forward to the US ‘‘reasserting its historic role as a global leader’’ under his administration.
Trump, who has debated recently whether to mount another presidential campaign in 2024, appeared to defend his world view yesterday. ‘‘We shouldn’t go away from that – America First,’’ he said at the annual turkey pardon, a lighthearted pre-Thanksgiving White House tradition.
‘‘America is back, ready to lead the world, not retreat from it.’’ US Presidentelect Joe Biden