The struggle comes as USTR Robert Lighthizer has refused to publicly acknowledge Biden’s win while he seeks to wrap up a number of policy initiatives, like an inquiry into Vietnam’s currency practices that could bring new tariffs before he leaves office Jan 20.
In an interview with the BBC last week, Lighthizer evaded a question about accepting Biden’s victory, instead claiming ignorance about the state of Trump’s legal appeals to overturn the election.
“One thing I don’t know a lot about is all the litigation and all the stuff that’s surrounding the election. That’s just not something I’m an expert on,” he said in the rare media appearance. “I have my own feelings that it was amazing that President Trump got 74 million votes and I’m very proud of that.”
The agency did not respond to a request for comment on the transition, the election, or whether Lighthizer has congratulated Biden’s pick to be the next USTR, staff attorney at House Ways and Means Katherine Tai.
DoD transition also stalled: The delay at USTR comes after Trump’s officials at the Department of Defense clashed over meetings late last week with the Biden transition. In that case, the DoD team claimed the sides had agreed to halt meetings for the holidays, while Biden’s team said there was no such deal.