United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, John Barsa speaks in Brasilia, Brazil January 28, 2020.
Adriano Machado | Reuters
President Donald Trump’s acting head of the U.S. Agency for International Development told political appointees that the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden hasn’t started yet.
John Barsa, the acting deputy administrator of USAID, privately told members of his team on Monday that, despite Biden’s victory, the transition of power has not started and will not begin until the General Services Administration signs off.
“The only official announcement about an election result that matters is from the head of GSA. So until the head of GSA makes a determination as to who won an election, nothing changes,” Barsa said, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by CNBC. “There is no transition in place.”
A spokesman for USAID did not respond to a request for comment.
Emily Murphy, the administrator for the GSA, must sign a letter affirming the election results in order for Biden’s transition to receive the legally mandated millions of dollars in federal funding. She has yet to sign the letter while Trump attempts to contend election results in key states.
The developments also come after Barsa announced the departure of Trump appointee Bonnie Glick from USAID.
USAID is the federal government’s agency that oversees foreign aid and has a budget of over $19 billion. Many foreign leaders, including the prime ministers of Canada and the United Kingdom, have congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Barsa’s comments are the latest example of Trump administration officials appearing to brush off the results of the election.
At the meeting, USAID leaders were plowing ahead with Trump administration developments, almost as if Trump had won.
On the call, they announced a new USAID White House liaison. Catharine O’Neill, a former Trump official in the U.S. State Department, will be the new White House liaison for the agency, Barsa said.
O’Neill said she was on the campaign before rejoining the administration. She reportedly is the daughter of George O’Neill Jr., a Rockefeller heir and conservative writer. O’Neill is replacing William Maloney, who, as CNBC reported, was being criticized from within the agency for the way he handled his role.