Biden says transition outreach from Trump administration has been ‘sincere’

Biden
Carolyn Kaster
President-elect Joe Biden speaks Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster)

President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday that communication from the Trump administration to help with his transition has been “sincere” since the General Services Administration ascertained his election win on Monday.

“Immediately, we’ve gotten outreach from the national security shop to just across the board,” Biden told NBC News’ Lester Holt in his first interview as President-elect.

“And they’re already working out my ability to get presidential daily briefs, we’re already working out meeting with the Covid team in the White House and how to not only distribute but get from a vaccine being distributed to a person able to get vaccinated.”

“So I think we’re gonna not be so far behind the curve as we thought we might be in the past,” he added.

Biden’s comments come one day after the GSA informed him that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process. His transition team is now in talking to all federal agencies, a transition official told CNN. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases doctor, said Tuesday he has had preliminary conversations with members of Biden’s team and looks forward to more substantive discussions in the future.

The GSA letter was the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s defeat and marked a considerable turning point against his bid to overturn his loss.

Still, the Biden team had not waited for the formal transition process to begin preparing for the presidency, as Biden announced a flurry of Cabinet picks on Monday.

Looking ahead to his administration Tuesday, Biden vowed his term would not be “a third Obama term.”

“We face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration,” he said. “President Trump has changed the landscape.”

He continued, “It’s become America first. It’s been America alone. We find ourselves in a position where our alliances are being frayed. It’s a totally — that’s why I’ve found people who join the administration and keep points that represent the spectrum of the American people as well the spectrum of the Democratic Party.”

Asked whether he has spoken with Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren about Cabinet positions, Biden said, “We already have significant representation among progressives in our administration, but there’s nothing really off the table.”

He added, however, that “taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House, particularly a person of consequence, is really a difficult decision that will have to be made.”

Biden told NBC that he would consider appointing Republicans who voted for Trump to his Cabinet.

“I want this country to be united. The purpose of our administration is once again uniting. We can’t keep this virulent political dialogue going. It has to end,” Biden said.

Biden said addressing the coronavirus pandemic will be his priority when he takes office, but added that he will also take action on immigration and climate during his first 100 days.

“There’s multiple things that are going to be taking place at the same time,” Biden said. “But the most important thing, I think, is to focus on those folks, who are always, when crisis hits, are the first ones hit, and recovery comes to last.”

CNN’s Sarah Mucha, Kristen Holmes and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.