BIDEN TRANSITION TEAM RAPS TRUMP’S PENTAGON APPOINTEES
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team expressed frustration with the level of cooperation they’re getting from political appointees at the Department of Defense, saying there has been “an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there,” Kevin Freking and Lolita C. Baldor reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Biden’s transition team has been meeting with officials at various agencies to get detailed reviews of the programs and challenges the new administration will inherit, a process that was delayed when the General Services Administration declined to issue an official ascertainment that Biden had won the election. The delay occurred as President Donald Trump, whose appointee ran the GSA, refused to concede.
Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the transition, told reporters that Biden agency review teams at DOD learned of meetings “being pulled down” and immediately reported it. Abraham called for meetings and requests for information to resume immediately. “A failure to work together can have consequences well beyond January,” Abraham said.
The Pentagon offered a different assessment. It issued a statement saying there was a “mutually-agreed upon holiday pause,” which begins Saturday. Defense officials said that some meetings had been postponed so that department personnel could concentrate on the issues associated with the possibility of a partial government shutdown Friday evening if Congress was unable to agree on COVID-19 relief legislation. Congress passed a two-day stopgap spending bill Friday night, averting a shutdown. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.