The U.S. State Department is preventing Biden from accessing messages to him from foreign leaders, CNN’s Kylie Atwood reported Wednesday.
“A stack of messages from foreign leaders to President-elect Joe Biden are sitting at the State Department but the Trump administration is preventing him from accessing them, according to State Department officials familiar with the messages,” CNN reported. “Traditionally, the State Department supports all communications for the President-elect, which is why many countries began sending messages to State over the weekend. But with Biden prohibited from accessing State Department resources by the Trump administration, because President Donald Trump refuses to accept Biden’s victory, dozens of incoming messages have not been received.”
Biden’s team is currently contacting foreign leaders and government officials on their own, but “would prefer to be using the State Department resources,” said a source familiar with the situation, who noted that the Biden team is having to deal with the unexpected challenge of facilitating these calls.
“It was helpful to have State ops place the calls and to provide translation services, and we were grateful for the cooperation from the Bush administration for making that happen,” said Denis McDonough, who served in the Obama administration and worked with Obama during the transition.
That extended hand isn’t happening this time around from President Donald J. Trump and his agencies toward President-elect Joe Biden.
The calls happening now are congratulatory ones, standard to what usually occurs after a new president is selected.
“These calls in the past have been handled on open lines. They are congratulatory calls,” McDonough said.
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Church Bells and Light Shows Across the Country Will Ring in Biden-Harris Administration
New details were released Thursday by the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) on behalf of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. In addition to the incoming president leading a memorial to honor American lives lost to COVID-19, light shows across the country will also take place.
The church-bell ringings and light shows across the country will take place on Jan. 19 at 5:30 p.m. ET. A D.C. ceremony, led by Biden, will feature lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool — the first time lighting around the Reflecting Pool has memorialized American lives lost.
“PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET [15 minutes after sunset] in a national moment of unity and remembrance,” the committee said. “The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey.”
The PIC statement continued, “However, in the midst of a pandemic — when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors — it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in the nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to end the pandemic and rebuild our nation.”
“President-elect Biden’s unwavering commitment to the safety of the American people is our North Star as we plan an inauguration that protects public health while honoring inaugural traditions and engaging Americans across the country. We are excited to share more information soon about the new and innovative ways all Americans can watch and participate in a historic inauguration that will unify our country,” said PIC Executive Director Maju Varghese.
“The pandemic is continuing to have a significant public health impact across the nation. Americans everywhere must do their part to slow the spread of the virus: wear masks, stay home, and limit gatherings. We are asking Americans to participate in inaugural events from home to protect themselves, their families, friends, and communities,” said PIC Chief Medical Advisor Dr. David Kessler.
The PIC will continue to announce further details about events and how Americans can participate as it becomes available in the coming weeks.
President-Elect Biden: Trump’s Mishandling of the Transition is ‘Nothing Short’ of ‘Irresponsibility’
President-elect Joe Biden made it clear Monday that his incoming administration will be operating from a disadvantage on day one if the Trump administration didn’t start cooperating immediately.
“From some agencies, our team received exemplary cooperation … from others, most notable, the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department,” Biden said in remarks delivered after a briefing with his national security and foreign policy advisers.
“Right now, as our nation is in a period of transition, we need to make sure that nothing is lost in the hand-off between administrations,” Biden said. “My team needs a clear picture of our force posture around the world and our operations to deter our enemies.”
He then added, “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.”
Biden then called out the current administration for their “irresponsibility” in protecting the nation.
“Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas,” he said. “It’s nothing short, in my view, of irresponsibility. Rebuilding the full set of our instruments of foreign policy and national security is a key challenge that the Vice President-elect Harris and I will face upon taking office, starting with our diplomacy.”
Watch the video below.
President-elect Biden delivers remarks following his briefing with national security and foreign policy agency review team members. Tune in: https://t.co/GhYVOPiHw8
— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) December 28, 2020
Buttigieg on Ambassador James Hormel: ‘He Helped Pave the Way’
Former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg served as the 32nd mayor of South Bend, Indiana, from 2012 to 2020 before running as a presidential candidate against his potential new boss, Biden.
If approved, Buttigieg would become the nation’s first out Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary.
“This weekend I had the privilege of talking with Ambassador James Hormel, who broke a barrier as the first openly LGBTQ nominee sent to the Senate,” Buttigieg tweeted on Sunday. “Ultimately he was denied even a vote and served through a recess appointment—but helped pave the way for so many, including me.”
This weekend I had the privilege of talking with Ambassador James Hormel, who broke a barrier as the first openly LGBTQ nominee sent to the Senate. Ultimately he was denied even a vote and served through a recess appointment—but helped pave the way for so many, including me. pic.twitter.com/8UYh3O3Mta
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) December 20, 2020
Two hours earlier, Buttigieg tweeted, “Black and brown neighborhoods have been disproportionately divided by highway projects or left isolated by the lack of adequate transit and transportation resources. In the Biden-Harris administration, we will make righting these wrongs an imperative.”
Black and brown neighborhoods have been disproportionately divided by highway projects or left isolated by the lack of adequate transit and transportation resources.
In the Biden-Harris administration, we will make righting these wrongs an imperative.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) December 20, 2020
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