Joe Biden’s team has been in contact with Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, the president-elect said shortly after the Trump administration agreed to participate in the transition process.
Mr Biden said he has not yet had a chance to meet with the expert himself, but praised Dr Fauci’s efforts to tackle the coronavirus crisis in the US, which has seen more than 12 million cases and nearly 260,000 fatalities.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to Dr Fauci,” he said, adding “he’s been very, very helpful.”
Dr Fauci said he looks forward to further discussions with the incoming president’s team, adding that he hopes to continue his work on the pandemic under Mr Biden.
The president-elect said he would agree to meet with the outgoing president – a traditional part of the presidential transition process – if he were invited to. Mr Trump appears to continue to refuse to concede the election, despite having lost by a margin of more than 70 electoral college votes.
It comes after the General Services Administration (GSA) declared Mr Biden the apparent winner of the 3 November election on Monday, after weeks of Mr Trump falsely claiming to have had the race “stolen” from him.
The head of the GSA, Emily Murphy, wrote to Mr Biden: “Please know that I came to my decision independently, based on the law and available facts. I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any executive branch official including those who work at the White House or GSA with regard to the substance or timing of my decision."
Dr Fauci has repeatedly said he wants to stay out of the political aspects of the crisis and focus on his role as a public health expert. In an interview last week with USA Today, Dr Fauci said: "It's quite obvious that this is a very sensitive period. I don't want to get into that. I have tried to the best of my ability to stay out of the political aspects and just focus on my role as a public health person, a physician, and a scientist."
"To be honest with you," he added, "I believe that the Biden people including Ron Klain [Biden's chief of staff] understand that and don't want to put me in a compromised position."