The remarks marked Biden’s toughest to date on Trump’s failure to acknowledge his election loss and cooperate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power, apnews.com reported.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden told reporters during a news conference on Monday in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden and his aides — and a small but growing group of Republicans — have emphasized the importance of being briefed on White House efforts to control the pandemic and distribute prospective vaccines. The Trump administration is working on its own distribution plan, while Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, indicated his transition team will proceed with their own planning separately because of the obstruction.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it’s “absolutely crucial that the apparent president-elect and his team have full access to the planning that has gone on” for vaccine distribution.
“It is no easy matter” to distribute a vaccine, Collins said, so “it’s absolutely imperative for public health, that all of the planning that’s gone on for which the current administration deserves credit, be shared with the new administration.”
Collins’ remarks were echoed on Monday by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Last week, a larger group of Republicans in Congress called on the Trump administration to allow Biden to begin receiving national security briefings.
Trump has refused so far to bend to pressure from Democrats or Republicans as he continues to dispute his loss to Biden, who has surpassed the 270 electoral vote threshold to become president and is leading Trump by more than 5.5 million votes nationally.
Cooperation between the outgoing and incoming administrations, traditionally a key component to the peaceful transfer of power in the US, takes on heightened significance this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which is escalating dramatically heading into the holiday season.
Biden called the vaccine distribution a “huge, huge undertaking,” and said that if his team has to wait until he takes office to dig into the government’s distribution plan, they’ll be “behind, over a month, month and a half”.
Before taking questions, Biden outlined his plans to alleviate inequality and boost the US economy but said that any structural reforms depended first on reining in the pandemic and delivering more immediate relief.
“Once we shut down the virus and deliver economic relief to workers and businesses, then we can start to build back better than before,” he said.
Biden has vowed to spend trillions of dollars to reinvigorate US manufacturing, expand health care coverage and combat climate change, among other priorities. But his chief priority remains controlling the pandemic, which is surging to record levels and forcing state and local leaders to implement new rounds of restrictions on local businesses.
The president-elect has so far tried to sidestep difficult questions about whether he might support a short-term national lockdown to arrest the surge of coronavirus cases. Since defeating Trump, Biden has devoted most of his public remarks to encouraging Americans to wear masks and embrace social distancing measures.
A hearing on the Trump campaign’s federal lawsuit seeking to prevent Pennsylvania officials from certifying the vote results remained on track for Tuesday after a judge quickly denied the campaign’s new lawyer’s request for a delay.
US Middle District Judge Matthew Brann told lawyers for Donald J. Trump for President Inc. and the counties and state election official it has sued that they must show up and “be prepared for argument and questioning” at the Williamsport federal courthouse.
The Trump campaign wants to prevent certification of results that give Biden the state’s 20 electoral votes, suing over election procedures that were not uniform across the state.
Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar has asked to have the lawsuit thrown out, calling its allegations in court filings “at best, garden-variety irregularities”.
Brann scheduled the hearing to discuss the campaign’s request for a temporary restraining order as well as the defendants’ request to have the case dismissed.