President-elect Joe Biden said Wednesday the General Services Administration’s delay in allowing the official presidential transition to begin could set back the effort to distribute a coronavirus vaccine by weeks or months.
“We’ve been unable to get access to the kinds of things we need to know about — the depth of the stockpiles, we know there’s not much at all,” Biden said in a virtual meeting with front-line workers, adding that his team doesn’t know the administration’s plan for distributing a vaccine.
“And there’s a whole lot of things that we just don’t have available to us, which unless it’s made available soon, we’re going to be behind by weeks or months,” he said.
The head of the General Services Administration, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, has so far declined to “ascertain” that Biden is the apparent winner of the Nov. 3 presidential vote. Such a move would give Biden’s team access to government data, experts and officials as part of the transition process.
On Wednesday night, leaders of the National Association of Manufacturers urged the “Trump administration to work cooperatively with President-elect Biden and his team.”
“While we understand and respect the court challenges that are a part of our democratic process,” they said in a joint statement, “it’s imperative that our nation has a president and advisers who are fully prepared to lead our nation on Inauguration Day given the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the threats to our economic and national security, and most importantly, to the public health.”
The statement was issued by, among others, Jay Timmons, the association’s president, Trane Technologies CEO Mike Lamach, who’s the chairman of the NMO board, and the board’s vice-chair, Dow Inc. CEO Jim Fitterling.