Biden chief of staff says inauguration ‘not going to be the same’

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Ron Klain, President-elect Joe Biden’s chief of staff, said Sunday that the inauguration ceremony will be altered to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as cases continue to spike across the country.

“It’s going to definitely have to be changed,” Klain told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.” “We’ve started some consultations with House and Senate leadership on that. Obviously this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration we have had in the past.”

While Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were attacked by President Donald Trump for maintaining social distancing and wearing masks on the campaign trail, Klain said, their inauguration ceremony will likely see similar precautions being taken. Methods used at the virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention may also come into play, he added.

“We ran a very effective and I think engaging Democratic Convention this year in August, in a way that was safe for the people to participate and watch it in a way that communicated with the American people,” he noted. “I think we’ll have some mix of those techniques, some mix of, you know, scaled-down versions of the existing traditions.”

“They’re going to try to have an inauguration that honors the importance and the symbolic meaning of the moments but also does not result in the spread of disease,” Klain said. “That’s our goal.”

The president-elect’s chief of staff also spoke on the difficulties of the transition, without acknowledgment of the election results by the General Service Administration’s Emily Murphy and Trump’s willingness to concede.

The team has been able to move ahead with White House and Cabinet picks and build policy plans, but several things are still at a standstill as a result, he said.

“The president-elect and vice president-elect are not getting the kind of intelligence briefings they’re entitled to,” he said. “Our transition isn’t getting access to agency officials to help develop our plans, and there’s a lot of focus on that vaccine rollout plan that’s going to be critical in the early days of a Biden presidency … There are definite impacts. Those impacts escalate every day.”

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