President-elect Joe Biden on Monday vented frustration with President Trump for obstructing the transition process, saying that “more people may die” from the coronavirus because the incoming administration has not been included in the plans to distribute a vaccine.
Speaking from near his home in Delaware, Biden warned that the nation faces a “dark winter” from a resurgence in coronavirus cases. He called on Congress to take up a House-passed stimulus bill to provide economic relief to those who are struggling amid the slowdown.
And Biden ripped the Trump administration, which has so far declined to acknowledge Biden’s victory and has taken steps to keep the president-elect locked out of the customary transition process.
Biden said Trump’s transition delays would lead directly to more coronavirus deaths, as the incoming and outgoing administrations have no plans to coordinate their vaccine distribution efforts.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said.
“If we have to wait to Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month and a half,” he added. “So it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now or as rapidly as we can get it done.”
Trump has refused to concede election defeat to Biden, who is projected to win the Electoral College by a comfortable margin.
The president has been making unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen from him through fraud. His campaign has mounted legal challenges to try to change the results in several states.
And the General Services Administration has declined to ascertain that Biden won the election, keeping the president-elect from accessing government intelligence briefings or funding that would make it easier for him to hit the ground running once he’s sworn in.
Democrats and Republicans are warning that Trump’s transition delays are putting the nation’s national security and health at risk amid the coronavirus resurgence.
Biden has so far sought to avoid clashing with Trump on the matter, instead going around normal channels by getting his own intelligence briefings as he waits the president out.
“The pressure will continue to build,” Biden said.
“We’re moving along knowing what the outcome will be. I find this more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started.”
Biden was briefed on Monday about rebuilding the economy during the coronavirus by a group of business and labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Target CEO Brian Cornell and others.
Biden’s team is leaning into the idea that the economy and virus are intertwined and that a real economic recovery depends first on containing the virus.