May 23, 2024

Biden transition officials on Trump agency’s refusal to recognize his victory

General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy
General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy Susan Walsh/AP

Biden-Harris transition officials Jen Psaki and Yohannes Abraham once again lamented in a briefing with reporters today the General Services Administration’s refusal to ascertain the election, warning of its national security and public health implications for Americans. 

“This isn’t a game of who gets to talk to whom. Our inability to start the informal agency review process has the potential to have real impacts across the country,” Abraham said. “There’s no replacing the real-time information that can only come from the post-ascertainment environment that we should be in right now.” 

Remember: The current GSA administrator, Emily Murphy, still has yet to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory — as President Trump refuses to concede — and sign a letter to release funds to the Biden transition team through a process called ascertainment.

Asked if they believe a Wall Street background is harmful or an asset to working in the White House, Psaki said, “I think it’s pretty safe to say that he’s not a fan of Wall Street policies or an advocate for a lot of the policies that some people would be in favor of or be pushing for from that end. His record speaks for itself and his advocacy and work speak for themselves.” 

The team stressed that Kamala Harris has been an “integral part” of all personnel conversations that have happened during the transition and will continue to play that role. 

On any possible upcoming Cabinet announcements, Psaki reacted to progressive groups’ criticism that has already come out on rumored lists, saying, “I would encourage people to wait until we’ve made even one announcement about a cabinet member and certainly more than just a dozen White House names, before they pass judgment.”  

Psaki and Abraham both stressed that when Biden takes the White House in January, they will continue to follow the science to keep the safety of their team a priority, noting from their work-from-home Zoom calls that they are not working from a transition office at the moment and intend to be models for the country on how to approach work life during a pandemic.

They did not share details about whether or not or how many people might be physically working from the White House.