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Azar says he has met with Biden transition team

Azar says he has met with Biden transition team
© Bonnie Cash

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday that he has met with President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE’s transition team and that he wants to ensure a smooth and professional transition process.

Asked on CNN whether he would meet with Biden’s nominee to lead HHS, California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraNearly 940,000 sign up for ObamaCare coverage in special enrollment HHS, HUD team up to extend COVID-19 vaccine access in vulnerable communities We urgently need a COVID-level response to the US drug crisis MORE (D), Azar said that he would be open to such a meeting and that he would to “anything I need to do to make sure no balls are dropped in terms of protecting the American people.”

“We will ensure a full, cooperative, professional transition. I’ve already met with the Biden transition team. We want to make sure that they get everything that they need and of course, I will be in touch with him as appropriate,” Azar said on CNN’s “New Day.”

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“One has to be respectful of the Senate confirmation process, but I’ll be in touch. I want to ensure that any transition is smooth, as professional as possible because we’re about ensuring the health and wellbeing of the American people and that is what matters to me,” he added.

Azar appears to be the first Trump administration Cabinet official to speak publicly about contact with the Biden transition team amid President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE’s refusal to accept the election results.

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The Biden transition team began making contact with federal agencies and the White House over two weeks ago, after the General Services Administration formally acknowledged Biden as the apparent winner of the election. Trump said at the time that he signed off on the transition moving forward, but he has continued to challenge the results and falsely claim that he won the election.

Biden’s team had sounded alarm about the initial delay in the transition, particularly warning that it could hamper the incoming administration’s ability to address the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s transition team is also expected to meet with members of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine initiative, on Thursday.

Biden unveiled members of his health team on Tuesday, including Becerra, his choice to replace Azar atop HHS. Some Republicans have indicated early opposition to the pick, calling into question whether he will be confirmed.