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Trump’s Denial and Delay in Conceding Could Hurt New Administration’s Pandemic Response

Freeway signs warn of the dangers of travel this Thanksgiving. | Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

‘More people may die’ without a smooth transition, Biden says

By Terry Miller

From the beginning of the pandemic crisis early this year, the now lame duck president has downplayed the perils associated with COVID-19 by saying it would simply “go away” with the warmer weather. Well, as we all know, nothing could be farther from the truth.

It seems that President Donald Trump’s denial of the importance of so many critical issues, such as wearing masks, has deeply affected so many lives. Now with his refusal to accept the election results — which clearly show President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential race by a stunning 5 million votes, so far, and a clear electoral vote advantage — Trump may be compromising the incoming administration’s response to the virus.

Biden put the potential wallop of the Trump administration’s refusal to work with his transition team in unambiguous terms on Monday, saying “more people may die” if they are unable to coordinate on management of the pandemic and distribution of a vaccine.

During the press conference outlining his plan to revitalize the economy, Biden warned that the next few months are going to be difficult for the U.S., amid a surge of coronavirus cases across the country.

“We’re going into a very dark winter. Things are going to get much tougher before they get easier. That requires sparing no effort to fight COVID,” he told reporters in Wilmington, Del.

Biden added: “I know we can do this.”

Amid fizzling legal challenges contesting the election results, the Trump administration has not authorized funds needed to initiate the transition, shared briefings on intelligence, troop withdrawals or international affairs with Biden or coordinated with Biden’s coronavirus team. There are no background checks being done or security clearances being conducted for potential replacements in the new administration, according to Politico.

The delay in releasing the funds rests with Trump-appointee Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration (GSA), who has failed to acknowledge Biden as the winner of the election. “Trump administration officials also say they will not give Biden the classified presidential daily briefing on intelligence matters until the GSA makes the ascertainment official,” reports the Associated Press.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has served six presidents, said on Sunday that the Trump administration needs to help the incoming Biden and Harris team. Referring to the importance of a smooth transition by likening it to a relay race, he said, “You don’t want to stop and then give it [the baton] to somebody. You want to just essentially keep going. And that is what transition is.”

The Biden team is trying to work around these roadblocks — hiring staffers and advisers, contacting former federal employees and state and local officials, naming a COVID-19 task force, and receiving a national security briefing with diplomatic, intelligence, and defense experts.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 11.4 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the U.S. The death toll has reached at least 250,140.

President Trump vehemently opposes any such notion of his conceding the obvious. “I concede nothing! We have a long way to go,” he said, referring to the baseless election fraud allegations his team continues to pursue.

President-elect Biden works, meanwhile, without access to the briefings and resources GSA can offer.

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