Biden accuses Trump appointees of obstructing transition on national security issues

“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility,” Biden said of the resistance his teams were facing. He warned that such delays could allow enemies of the United States to take advantage of vulnerabilities, citing a massive cybersecurity breach that compromised several U.S. agencies earlier this month.

“My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies,” Biden said. “We need full visibility into the budget planning underway at the Defense Department and other agencies in order to avoid any window of confusion or catch-up that our adversaries may try to exploit.”

With less than a month before Inauguration Day, Biden has been laying the groundwork for how to tackle the gargantuan twin challenges that he will face as soon as he assumes the presidency — ending the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding the economy — all against remarkable resistance from Trump, who has refused to concede and continued attempting to overturn the election results.

On Monday, Biden said that most government agencies have shown “exemplary” cooperation with his transition team, but that his staff has encountered “obstruction from political leadership” when they could not afford to waste any time

“We’ve learned so painfully this year the cost of being unprepared,” Biden said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 330,000 people in the United States since March. He also knocked Trump for creating an “enormous vacuum” in leadership when it came to his response to the pandemic.

Biden was careful to distinguish between political appointees in the agencies and the career professionals who he said had cooperated fully.

“They never stopped doing their job and continued to serve our country, day in and day out, to keep their fellow Americans safe,” Biden said of the career government workers. “These agencies are filled with patriots who’ve earned our respect, and who should never be treated as political footballs.”

Biden opened his remarks by addressing the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville, saying federal, state and local law enforcement “are working around-the-clock to gain more information on motive or intent.” He emphasized “the need for continuing vigilance across the board” and thanked Nashville police for responding to the scene and risking their lives.