U.S. President-elect Joe Biden seems to be at his watch as he arrives arrives to announce former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as his nominee for secretary of transportation throughout a information convention at Biden’s transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 16, 2020.
Kevin Lemarque | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Tensions between President-elect Joe Biden’s transition group and political appointees on the Pentagon erupted on Friday over performing Protection Secretary Christopher Miller’s abrupt determination Thursday to cancel transition group conferences with Pentagon officers for the remainder of the yr.
In an announcement Friday, Miller claimed that the Biden transition and the Division of Protection can be taking a “mutually agreed upon vacation pause,” and restart conferences and briefings within the new yr.
However a spokesman for the Biden transition group mentioned that no such mutual settlement had ever existed.
“Let me be clear: there was no mutually agreed upon vacation break,” transition spokesman Yohannes Abraham advised reporters on Friday afternoon. “In truth, we expect it is necessary that briefings and different engagements proceed throughout this era, as there is not any time to spare.”
The abrupt suspension of conferences caught Protection Division officers abruptly, in accordance to Axios, which first reported the information of Miller’s determination.
A spokesman for the Division of Protection didn’t reply to a request for remark from CNBC on the conflicting accounts from Miller and Biden transition officers.
However Abraham left little doubt about how pissed off the Biden group is with high Pentagon officers, who they see as having refused up to now to completely cooperate with the transition. “There have been many businesses and departments which have facilitated the trade of data and conferences over the previous few weeks,” mentioned Abraham. “However there have been pockets of recalcitrance, and DoD is certainly one of them.”
Miller, nevertheless, insisted that at no time had the Pentagon “canceled or declined any interview” with Biden transition officers. He mentioned the division “will proceed to offer all required help to the Company Overview Staff to maintain our nation and her residents secure.”
The Biden group mentioned they hoped the Protection Division would reverse its determination. “When it comes to when conferences will resume, conferences and requests for info, that are substantively interchangeable, it is our hope and expectation that that can occur instantly,” mentioned Abraham.
Miller was scheduled to satisfy with President Donald Trump on Friday afternoon, the one publicly introduced occasion on Trump’s schedule for the day.
Miller was named performing secretary of Protection on Nov. 9, after Trump abruptly fired Protection Secretary Mark Esper.