More Americans ‘may die’ of COVID if Trump does not cooperate with transition process: Biden
Washington: President-elect Joe Biden has warned that many more Americans “may die” if incumbent President Donald Trump does not cooperate with the transition process and hamper the incoming administration’s ability to tackle the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
According to media projections, Democrat Biden has won the November 3 presidential election. Biden has 306 votes in the electoral college, surpassing the 270 threshold needed to win.
However, Trump, a Republican, has not conceded and instead alleged election fraud without presenting any significant evidence. The Trump campaign has also mounted legal fights in a number of battleground states where he lost.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said in his home state of Delaware on Monday, responding to a question on President Trump refusing to concede the election and the outgoing administration not co-operating in the transition process.
The US government agency that launches transition process – the General Services Administration (GSA), headed by a Trump appointee – has yet to recognise Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris as winners.
The Trump-appointed administrator of the General Services Administration has so far refused to take the legally necessary step to begin the transition process, which would give Biden’s team a budget, intelligence briefings and access to federal agencies.
“A vaccine is important. It’s of little use until you’re vaccinated. So, how do we get the vaccine, how do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking to get it done, prioritise those greatest in need and working our way through, and also cooperate with the World Health Organization and the rest of the world in dealing with this,” he said.
“So they (Trump administration) say they have this ‘Warp Speed’ programme that not only dealt with getting vaccines, but also how to distribute this.
The number of COVID-19 infections in the US has reached new heights in recent days, surpassing 160,000 cases in one day for the first time since the outbreak began. More than 247,000 people have died in the US do the disease.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, has warned that the country faces “a very challenging and ominous situation” as it approaches winter.
Calling nationwide vaccine distribution a “huge undertaking”, Biden said that if his team had to wait until 20 January – his presidential inauguration – until they could begin work on the distribution programme, they would be behind by “over a month, month and a half”.
Biden said coordination is important “now, or as rapidly as we can get that done,” and said that “it would make it a lot easier if the President were to participate.”
“I am hopeful that the President will be mildly more enlightened before we get to January 20,” he said.
“The idea the President is still playing golf and not doing anything about it is beyond my comprehension,” Biden said.
Biden also criticised Trump for failing to work with Congress to negotiate a measure to aid businesses and unemployed Americans as the pandemic rages heading into the winter.
Biden was also asked about his thoughts on Trump’s tweet over the weekend where he first seemed to acknowledge that Biden had won the election. However, soon after Trump said he would not concede, and that he had won.
He called Trump’s refusal to acknowledge he lost the election, despite calls to do so from both sides, “totally irresponsible”.
“I interpret that as Trumping-ism, no change in his modus operandi. And I think the pressure will continue to build,” he said.
The President-elect said that he is having a lot of meetings with world leaders on the telephone and he can get into negotiating with them about things that are going to be done. They are calling with some degree of enthusiasm everyone from a holy father to prime ministers across the globe.
“So we are moving along knowing what the outcome will be and … but I find this more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started,” Biden said.