When asked about the State Department's engagement with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo replied that there would be a "smooth transition to a second Trump administration." He declined to acknowledge Mr. Biden's projected victory.
"Is the State Department currently preparing to engage with the Biden transition team, and if not, at what point does it hamper a smooth transition or pose a risk to national security," a reporter asked during a news conference Tuesday at the department.
"There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration," Pompeo responded. "We're ready. The world is watching what's taking place. We're going to count all the votes. When the process is complete, there will be electors selected. There's a process, the Constitution lays it out pretty clearly. The world should have every confidence that the transition necessary to make sure that the State Department is functional today, successful today, and successful with the president who's in office on January 20th, a minute after noon, will also be successful."
Pompeo's remarks came as leaders around the world have been congratulating Mr. Biden in messages on social media and by phone. In the meantime, President Trump continues to refuse to concede as he wages a number ofin battleground states over the election.
Later Tuesday, Pompeo clarified his comments in an interview.
"Our adversaries should know that we're ready, we're continuing to work, we'll work all the way through January. And then on January 20th, we'll have a transition, whether it's to a Trump administration – a second Trump administration as I spoke about today – or to an administration led by former Vice President Biden," Pompeo said. "The American people understand that our transition will be complete and thorough and that if we spend a few more days validating that we have this process right, ensuring that we've protected every American's lawful right to vote, it's the right thing to do and we need not worry that there won't be an adequate time for transition, which was frankly what the question was suggesting."