Messages for president-elect Joe Biden from foreign leaders are stacking up as Donald Trump continues to block him from leader privileges in the wake of his US election loss.
State Department officials told CNN a number of messages have piled up at the State Department, but Trump still has the power to prohibit Biden from accessing them.
Biden’s team has been forced to communicate with foreign governments who have tried to contact him through their own means, without logistical and translation support the State Department could otherwise provide.
Foreign leaders began attempting to contact Biden through the State Department after his election win on the weekend, with the government body previously supporting those communications for the president-elect.
"They would prefer to be using the State Department resources," the source told CNN about Biden’s challenge of facilitating the calls without government support.
Biden has already been in touch with a number of leaders who have reached out following his win, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is too on the growing list of foreign leaders congratulating Biden on his win, with Mr Morrison calling the president-elect from Canberra on Thursday morning.
“There are no greater friends and no greater allies than Australia and the US,” Mr Morrison said after the phone conversation.
“I look forward to strengthening even further our deep and enduring alliance, and to working with [Joe Biden] closely as we face the world's many challenges together.”
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Mr Morrison lauded the former vice president to Barack Obama for his deep understanding of international affairs and security issues facing the Australian and US alliance.
“This is a relationship that he understands very deeply, based on his broad experience over a long period of time, in the United States, and his engagement of course as vice president and his many other roles,” he said.
Asking what his message was following his latest exchange with international leaders, Biden said: "I'm letting them know that America is back. We're going to be back in the game. It's not America alone."
Predictions of a ‘second Trump administration’
In comments at odds with congratulatory phone calls from foreign leaders, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted a “second Trump administration”.
The Biden transition team has been unable to move into federal government office space or tap funds to hire staff because a Trump appointee who heads the federal office charged with recognising election results has not yet done so.
"The whole Republican Party has been put in a position with a few notable exceptions of being mildly intimidated by the sitting president," said Biden, who chuckled when asked about Pompeo’s remarks.
Trump has not only failed to invite Biden for a chat in the Oval Office, he is blocking the Democrat from access to facilities, funding and expertise that usually come in a ready-made package to help the incoming leader.
Biden, who won with a record number of votes but acknowledges that nearly half the electorate nevertheless backed Trump, is avoiding a fight.
He said Tuesday (local time) that he did not favour taking legal action to force Trump into complying and said with a smile: "Mr President, I look forward to speaking with you".
Donald Trump denies access to security information
President Trump has not authorised Biden to be able to access the ultra-secret daily brief of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence.
National security and intelligence experts hope Trump changes his mind, citing the need for an incoming president to be fully prepared to confront any national security issues on day one.
“Our adversaries aren’t waiting for the transition to take place,” former Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who was chairman of the House intelligence committee, said.
“Joe Biden should receive the President’s Daily Brief starting today. He needs to know what the latest threats are and begin to plan accordingly. This isn’t about politics; this is about national security.”
Biden is familiar with the briefing, having read it during his eight years as vice president.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told CNN on Thursday (local time) Biden should be authorised to access the intelligence briefings.
“Yeah, I think he should,” Senator Graham, a close ally of President Trump, said.
Trump is still refusing to concede and while Senator Graham has not expressed his views to the White House, he responded, “I hope so”, when he was asked whether he expected Biden to receive the briefings soon.
with Reuters and AFP
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