Roy Blunt, the inauguration chair, claims he didn't know that a president-elect needs to do background checks and receive full classified briefings.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) falsely told reporters on Tuesday that President-elect Joe Biden does not really need to start his transition because he is already getting security briefings and has a lot of experience.
According to pool reports, Blunt — who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies — was asked about the Trump administration's refusal to let Biden prepare for the transfer of power.
"He's been doing this for almost 50 years," Blunt said of Biden. "They can do everything they need to be doing from the point of view of a transition without the [General Services Administration] making a determination quicker than the administration thinks they should." Blunt too has been involved in politics for nearly five decades.
Pressed about the fact that Biden is not even getting presidential daily briefings, the Missouri Republican demonstrated his ignorance of the situation.
"I thought as a candidate, he got classified briefings, are you sure he's not getting it?" he replied.
A Blunt spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
But Trump's handpicked head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, has refused to sign the required letter acknowledging Biden as the next president, even days after every major media outlet called the result.
The results of the election are clear and not especially close, as Biden won a sizeable lead in both the popular vote and Electoral College count. But Trump has declared himself the victor and refused to concede.
The New York Times reported on Monday that, due to the outgoing administration's intransigence, Biden is not receiving intelligence briefings — information afforded to every incoming administration since at least 1968, even during the 2000 recount. Biden's team has also not received access to classified intelligence for hiring decisions and planning, the outlet reported.
Blunt's comment about Biden's lengthy tenure in Washington also indicates a lack of understanding of what the presidential transition process is.
Until Murphy signs the needed letter of "ascertainment," Biden and his team will have no access to millions of dollars in transition money, no ability to do security clearances on prospective hires, no ability to communicate or coordinate with the government agencies they will soon oversee, and no ability to coordinate calls with foreign leaders through the State Department.
A bipartisan group of transition experts wrote Sunday to urge that the transition process be allowed to "immediately" commence.
"To build an effective government ready to address the urgent needs of our great country, the new president will have to recruit 4,000 political appointees," they noted, "including 1,250 who require Senate confirmation; prepare a $4.7 trillion budget; implement a strong policy agenda; and assume leadership of a workforce of 2 million civilian employees and 2 million active duty and reserve troops."
Reuters reported on Monday that Biden's transition team is considering legal action if the Trump administration continues to delay.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.