International Policy Digest

Emerging Voices /20 Nov 2020
11.20.20

Biden Focuses on the Pandemic, While Trump Stirs

According to key advisers involved with the Biden-Harris transition, President-elect Joe Biden plans to hit the ground running on Inauguration Day when he is sworn in as the 46th president. One of Joe Biden’s advisers, Rick Bright, said to CNN that “we will be ready on day one” in handling the coronavirus pandemic and announcing new measures.

Biden has been laser-focused on a smooth transition. Simultaneously, outgoing President Donald Trump continues his tirade on social media claiming that the election was rigged and that he, instead, won the election.

President Trump notoriously spent his days following his 2016 victory by bashing the Clinton family and saying that he intends to prosecute his former opponent. On the other hand, Biden created a small circle of respected scientific and medical professionals, days after it was announced that he won, to develop guidelines and plans in handling the pandemic for when he is in office in two months time.

On Monday, Biden said that “more people may die” from COVID-19 if Trump and his team do not begin sharing information and data with his team. Biden added, “If we have to wait until January 20 to start the planning, it puts us behind, over a month and a half.”

Ron Klain, Biden’s newly named White House chief of staff, told CNBC that Biden’s coronavirus task force couldn’t consult with officials within the current administration until the General Services Administration (GSA) approves the result of the presidential election.

This information comes as some GOP officials, like Republican Senators James Lankford and Mitt Romney, have suggested that Joe Biden is the president-elect. This disagreement within the Republican Party is continuing with Senator Rick Scott of Florida, and some key officials in the Trump administration claiming, however inaccurately, that it is still too early to decide the victor of the election.

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien hinted earlier this week that his department would cooperate with Biden’s team shortly. He said on a live stream, “If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner — and, obviously, things look that way now — we’ll have a very professional transition with the National Security Council, no doubt about it.”

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnamy has repeatedly stressed similar sentiments. President Trump and his legal team have lost dozens of post-election court cases in key battleground states in trying to overturn the results of the election.

The Biden campaign has not commented regarding these recent lawsuits but continues to stress that they did win the election. It is still unclear if Biden and Harris will be invited to the White House by Trump and Mike Pence before Inauguration Day, and it appears that their transition is at a standstill until the GSA approves the validity of the election.