Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker criticized the stalled transition process Monday, saying President Donald Trump's refusal to cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden is getting in the way of the nation's efforts to effectively fight the coronavirus.
"I think the transition team of the Biden-Harris incoming administration should have access to and be engaged with on a regular basis the White House task force that's been running things for the past several months," the GOP governor said. "The inability to get past the election and into the actual act of cooperating and collaborating is an enormous imposition and potentially a serious negative, with seriously negative consequences on the people of this country."
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Trump has refused to acknowledge that he lost the election despite Biden being projected as the winner by most major news organizations. Amid that refusal, the agency tasked with giving the administration approval to start the transition has not sanctioned that process yet.
"I think it's really important for the president and his team to focus on what's directly in front of everybody in this country, which is 'How are we going to continue to fight and battle this pandemic?'" Baker said. "That's priority number one. Priority number two should be making that transition work, because that's important as well... I think people need to move on."
Baker said he also wants to see the federal government release funds that have been allocated for COVID-19 testing.
"This is a perfect example of why the current sort of stalemate in Washington, both legislatively and administratively, is such a problem for people who are trying to wrestle through this pandemic," he said. "You would think that even in a state like ours, which has as much access to testing per capita as you're going to find anywhere in the country, is struggling to deliver on the demands and expectations of an appropriately concerned public, this would be a great time for the feds to move forward and release many of those funds that they have, so that people would be able to incorporate that into expanding their testing capacity, and I would like to see that, along with a bunch of other things happen."
He also said he doesn't think Congress should wait to approve funding for education and unemployment that both parties have already agreed upon.
"I don't think we should be waiting until January 20th," Baker said. "There's a continuing resolution that has to be passed by Congress between now and the end of the calendar year. They need to reauthorize some of the unemployment funding they put out... I don't see why we have to wait till January 20th for that to happen."
State House News Service contributed to this report.