President-elect Joe Biden stated Monday that in the four years that President Trump has been in office, important departments like defense and State have incurred “enormous damage” and have been “hollowed out in personnel, capacity and in morale.”
The President-elect was commenting on the agency review process that has taken place in the weeks since the election, Mr. Biden said that in some instances, his teams working to assess the state of the federal government have received “exemplary cooperation” from career staff.
But from others, “most notably the Department of Defense, we encountered obstruction from the political leadership,” he said.
“The truth is, many of the agencies that are critical to our security have incurred enormous damage,” the president-elect said.
The president-elect’s comments followed a briefing from members of his national security and foreign policy agency review teams “on their findings and key challenges that the Biden-Harris administration will inherit,” his transition team said before his remarks.
“We have encountered roadblocks from the political leadership at the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget,” Mr. Biden said. “Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas. It’s nothing short in my view of irresponsibility.”
“Right now, there is an enormous vacuum,” Mr. Biden said. “We’re going to have to regain the trust and confidence of a world that has begun to find ways to work around us or work without us.”
Briefings between the transition team and the Department of Defense have paused for the holidays and will resume in early January, according to the officials at the Pentagon, who said the holiday pause was mutually agreed upon—something that was denied by the Biden transition team.