Richmond chides Trump administration on transition, officially announces new role in Biden WH

Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondPelosi to seat Iowa Republican as Democratic challenger contests election results Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow dies of COVID-19 Biden Interior nominee discusses environmental injustice with tribal leaders MORE (D-La.) said Tuesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE should facilitate a “full-fledged transition” between his administration and the incoming one of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE.

Specifically, Richmond said that Biden’s incoming administration, of which the 47-year-old congressman will be a part, should be briefed on Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s program that has the sole purpose of creating and distributing a viable coronavirus vaccine to the country amid the ongoing pandemic.

“President Trump should stop playing games with the lives of American people,” Richmond said at a press conference to announce his pending departure from Congress. “We should be getting briefed on that so that we can offer our input and we can be ready on Day One. ... the fact that we're not having an orderly transition ... could cost lives.”


The news that Richmond — one of the national co-chairs of the Biden campaign — would be joining the former vice president’s new administration broke early Monday evening. Richmond will be a senior adviser and assistant to Biden while also overseeing public engagement for the White House.

Richmond’s new role is similar to the position that Valerie JarrettValerie June JarrettBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Richmond says new pandemic relief bill should be passed before Christmas Progressive group Justice Democrats criticizes Biden appointments MORE held in the Obama administration. Jarrett was known to be a close confidant of former President Obama while also heading the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs — known under the Trump administration as the Office of Public Liaison — during his presidency.

The New Orleans native described the decision to leave Congress as “one of the hardest” of his life but explained that ultimately it came down to how he could best serve and help the country.

Biden, Richmond said, “was clear in his ask, but also clear in what we could do together and what this country needed at this moment in time.”

"There's no formula on Earth that I would have left my seat in Congress, after attaining seniority, after becoming the assistant to the whip in leadership, after chairing the Congressional Black Caucus ... if I did not think that this new role would serve Louisiana better than my past role," he said at a press conference Tuesday.

The Louisiana congressman has been in the House since 2011 representing the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses the majority of New Orleans as well as Baton Rouge.

Richmond is the only the Black member of Louisiana’s House delegation and the only Democrat. He said during the press conference that he would resign his seat sometime before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. The congressman easily won reelection earlier this month; a special election will be held to elect someone to serve his new term, which will start in 2021.