Over the past two days, Biden has spoken with leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK, according to readings from the transition team.The GSA’s lack of verification means the Biden-Harris transition team is denied State Department-facilitated calls with foreign officials as they reach out to express their congratulations, an official said. the transition to CBS News.
“I’m letting them know America is back. We’re going to be back in the game, ”Biden said of the appeals after a speech in Delaware on Tuesday.
This lack of coordination with the State Department regarding congratulatory appeals is unprecedented, said David Marchick, director of the Center for Presidential Transition at the Partnership for Public Service.
There is only one president at a time, and the established protocols for coordination between the incoming and outgoing administrations are aimed at protecting the global interests of the United States. This forces the administration to work with the transition team.
The center wrote of the transition process: “The State Department has traditionally helped coordinate phone calls between an elected president and foreign dignitaries. The best practice would be for the president-elect to avoid commitments that could undermine the current administration. ”
In past transitions, the State Department has facilitated the logistics of the calls and provided translation services, possible talking points, and even taking notes as needed. In the first month of his presidential transition, former President Barack Obama spoke to 44 foreign leaders, according to a tally from the center.
Because Mr Biden, as the recent U.S. vice president, has had previous dealings with these foreign leaders, their assistants appear to continue to maintain long-distance phone calls between the two teams.
Asked Tuesday about the State Department’s role in the transition process, Secretary of State Pompeo did not acknowledge that Biden was supposed to have won the election, and replied: “There will be a smooth transition. towards a second Trump administration ”.
He added that the world should have “full confidence” that the department will retain its key functions and “make the transition” with the president who takes office on January 20. ”
“If they just say ‘hello’, I guess that’s not too difficult,” Pompeo said Tuesday evening, when asked on Fox News about the timeliness of calls from foreign leaders to Biden, “But don’t be fooled. not, we have a president and a secretary of state. One national security team at a time. It is normal that (this) be so. ”
The State Department did not respond to more specific questions from CBS News regarding the State Department’s transition efforts or its communications with Biden’s team.
The lack of verification by the GSA could also prevent access to classified information for new national security officials, access to secure facilities and access to $ 6.3 million in funds allocated by Congress for pay for transition activities, a transition official told CBS News.
While President-elect Biden would like to officially begin his transition, he has expressed no dismay that he is yet to receive the country’s most closely held information, suggesting to reporters on Tuesday: “Look, access to Classified information is useful, but I am not in a position to make decisions on these matters anyway. Like I said, one president at a time and he will be president until January 20. ”
Even though the current hurdle raised by the GSA remains, Biden said his transition team will continue their work.
“First of all, we are already starting the transition. We’re on the right track, “said Biden, when asked about the GSA roadblock on Tuesday,” and the ability of the administration in any way – by not recognizing our victory doesn’t change the dynamics at all. that we are capable of doing. “