KEY POINTS

  • Trump administration officials have reached out to Biden's transition team
  • Biden says the administration's move was "sincere" and not "begrudging"
  • The Biden administration will not be a third Obama term

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday said the Trump administration has already established contact with his transition team in an effort he describes as “sincere.”

During an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, Biden said national security officials had immediately contacted his team after General Services Administration head Emily Murphy released a letter of ascertainment Monday night. 

"Immediately, we've gotten outreach from the national security shop to just across the board. 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,” Biden told Holt.

“I must say the outreach has been sincere — it has not been begrudging so far and I don't expect it to be."

Even though members of his team were part of the Obama administration, Biden emphasized how different the circumstances are now.

"This is not a third Obama term because ... we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama/Biden administration. President Trump has changed the landscape. It's become America first, it's been America alone," Biden added. 

In the letter of ascertainment, Murphy and the federal agency formally recognized Biden as the U.S. presidential election winner. The decision now allows the incoming president’s team to access the federal government's tools, including funds for the transition process, office spaces and daily briefings, CBS News reported. 

The authorization also allows the FBI to conduct background checks on potential Cabinet picks and White House staff members should the president-elect request it. 

SOUNDBITEUS President-elect Joe Biden introduces a seasoned national security team he says is prepared to resume US leadership of the world after the departure of President Donald Trump. SOUNDBITEUS President-elect Joe Biden introduces a seasoned national security team he says is prepared to resume US leadership of the world after the departure of President Donald Trump. Photo: DC POOL Murphy’s letter came two weeks after Biden was projected to win the 2020 election. Sources familiar with the conversation said GSA officials had told the White House that they would formally start the transition process if Michigan and Pennsylvania certified their votes, CNN noted. 

In her letter, Murphy said she was not pressured by any official to start the transition despite Trump’s claims that he “recommended that Emily” grant ascertainment. 

“I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision,” Murphy wrote. 

“To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination. I did, however, receive threats online, by phone, and by mail directed at my safety, my family, my staff, and even my pets in an effort to coerce me into making this determination prematurely. Even in the face of thousands of threats, I always remained committed to upholding the law,” she added.