WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — A presidential transition process typically begins months before Inauguration Day, however this year that process is delayed due to the Trump administration’s legal challenges to election results.
“You want to make sure the incoming leadership is fully read into the threats that are going on around the world,” said Chris Lu, Director of the 2008 Obama transition team.
Lu says delaying a proper presidential transition has real world consequences.
“What’s happening right now from theTrump administration goes beyond abnormal. It really is troubling from a national security perspective. It is a violation of norms,” said Lu.
The General Services Administration (GSA), an agency that helps facilitate the basic functions of the federal government, typically provides incoming administrations with office space and financial resources to begin work. So far, the agency administrator has not certified Joe Biden as the incoming president.
The GSA sent Presidents-elect Trump and Obama letters certifying their transitions just hours after their projected wins. Both of those races, however, did not see major legal challenges.
Democrat Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia called the hesitancy from GSA “completely senseless.”
“I am leading an effort of senators… to reach out to GSA and say for God sakes just put the country first over being afraid of your boss,” said Kaine.
He added, the GSA could recognize Joe Biden as the winner of the election while the Trump campaign continues to pursue lawsuits.
Democrat Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia says if the transition begins after the Electoral College certifies Biden’s win, that should allow enough time for a smooth transition.
“There’s going to be a little bit of time here…I think it’s the 14th of December, by the 14th we should know,” said Manchin.
He says many of the Trump campaign’s lawsuits delaying the transition are frivolous.
“They won congressional seats, they won senate seats they weren’t supposed to. You just can’t, because it’s all on one ballot, you just can’t pick and choose and say that was fraud and this is not,” said Manchin.
“Why don’t we have the counting done before we worry about the transition team,” said Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa of California.
LaMalfa says it’s within the Trump campaign’s rights to make sure every ballot is counted. Once a winner is clear and official, he says the transition can continue.
“There will be ample time to put something together…post certification, post litigation time,” said LaMalfa.
Mike Leavitt, Utah’s former governor and 2012 transition director for Mitt Romney, says a delay isn’t ideal but it is manageable.
“It does not mean that the incoming administration can’t be planning and doing whatever they can to be ready,” said Leavitt.
He says the Trump administration can work with the Biden team, even as election lawsuits continue.
“Look, we can do both of these things at the same time. This doesn’t have to be a big political collision,” said Leavitt.
In a statement, a GSA Spokesperson said:
“The GSA Administrator does not pick the winner in the Presidential election… the GSA Administrator ascertains the apparent successful candidate once a winner is clear based on the process laid out in the Constitution.”