“It’s almost like passing a baton in a race — you don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody,” Fauci, who has been marginalized by the outgoing President, told Jake Tapper. “You want to just essentially keep going. And that is what transition is.”
“Joe Biden’s going to become president of the United States in the midst of an ongoing crisis. That has to be a seamless transition,” Klain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” adding that while the new administration planned to contact top pharmaceutical firms making the vaccine like Pfizer, it was particularly key to get in touch with Department of Health and Human Services officials responsible for rolling it out in the coming months.
“Our experts need to talk to those people as soon as possible so nothing drops in this change of power we’re going to have on January 20th,” Klain said.
Whitmer said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Sunday evening that she would not be “bullied into not following reputable scientists and medical professionals.”
‘We need to be prepared’
Board member Dr. Celine Gounder told CNN on Saturday that the situation was like a terrorist attack or war and there needed to be a smooth handoff. “We need to be prepared, and in the absence of that critical data, there may be blind spots we’re not able to anticipate and that leaves us quite vulnerable.”
Another board member, infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, bemoaned Trump’s abdication of the crisis and said leadership would only arrive in January, as he pushed for the immediate opening of contacts between the transition and the White House.
“It’s our hope that in the very near future, we can start to collaborate with them,” he said, warning on CNN on Saturday of a rapid rise in cases over the next month.
An independent expert, Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine, cited research saying that 2,500 Americans could die from Covid-19 every day by January and described the situation as a “humanitarian catastrophe” that Trump was making worse.
“I can’t think of a more important time in modern American history,” Hotez told CNN’s Ana Cabrera. “We need a smooth transition. The fact that, this is the time it won’t occur, will only mean greater loss of life, so this is incredibly heartbreaking,” he said.
Biden to deliver economic message
As Biden prepares for power despite the obstruction of the President, he and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will speak about the economy in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. The President-elect has repeatedly stressed that there will be no long-term rescue for the economy without bringing the virus under control, and he has used his public appearances since the election to plead with Americans to adopt measures like mask wearing that can save lives until Covid-19 vaccines become widely available next year.
Trump played golf twice over the weekend and on Saturday drove past a crowd of supporters protesting the election results in Washington, DC, in between his Twitter rampages.
“If my daughters — in any kind of competition — pouted and then accused the other side of cheating when they lost, when there was no evidence of it, we’d scold them. I think that there has been this sense over the last several years that literally anything goes and is justified in order to get power.”
Biden is trying to get the man he defeated to take action now to try to mitigate the desperate situation he is likely to inherit in January. In a statement on Friday, he called on Trump to concentrate on the emergency at hand and to take urgent action.
“This crisis demands a robust and immediate federal response, which has been woefully lacking. I am the president-elect, but I will not be president until next year,” Biden said, underscoring the limitations of his position. “The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now.”