A stack of messages from foreign leaders to President-elect Joe Biden are sitting at the State Department but the Trump administration is preventing him from accessing them, according to State Department officials familiar with the messages.
Traditionally, the State Department supports all communications for the President-elect, which is why many countries began sending messages to State over the weekend. But with Biden prohibited from accessing State Department resources by the Trump administration, because President Donald Trump refuses to accept Biden’s victory, dozens of incoming messages have not been received.
Biden’s team is contacting foreign governments on their own and he has held numerous calls with leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Canada’s Justin Trudeau. But they are operating without the logistical and translation support that the State Department operations center provides.
“They would prefer to be using the State Department resources,” said a source familiar with the situation to CNN, who noted that the Biden team is having to deal with the unexpected challenge of facilitating these calls.
Not only is Biden being blocked by the State Department from receiving messages and assistance facilitating and from preparing for calls, on Tuesday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory, saying that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” igniting a furor and roiling diplomats.
Biden is also being blocked from getting the same intelligence briefings as the President, known as the President’s Daily Brief, and should the Trump administration continue to block a typical transition close to Inauguration Day on January 20, there are concerns Biden’s administration will be playing catch-up the day he takes office.