(USA Features) President Joe Biden is blaming the current border crisis on his predecessor, saying in an interview Friday that the Trump administration did not provide his transition team with crucial information.
Biden told TODAY show co-anchor Craig Melvin that he inherited “one God-awful mess at the border” from former President Donald Trump due to “the failure to have a real transition — cooperation from the last administration, like every other administration has done.”
The president said that following the November election he sent his transition officials to meet with the heads of key government agencies.
“The two departments that didn’t give us access to virtually anything were the immigration and the Defense Department,” said Biden.
He went on to say he didn’t know that Trump fired many people from those agencies until he was inaugurated, saying they were “understaffed considerably.”
Biden refused to call the situation at the border a crisis, however, and added that right now officials were focused on reunited migrant children with their families.
“We don’t know yet where those kids are,” he said. “We’re trying like hell to figure out what happened. What happened to that child when he got separated? Where’d they go? Where are they?”
Biden administration officials have made similar statements in the past, leading Trump-era immigration officials to push back, blaming the current crush of migrants on reversing Trump’s border enforcement policies.
In fact, Trump immigration officials have said they warned Biden’s transition team to expect a new migrant surge if the incoming president followed through on Biden’s pledges to reverse those policies during the campaign.
Then-acting Customs and Border Enforcement chief Mark Morgan told the Washington Times in March that Biden transition officials seemed receptive to the warning, so he was surprised by Biden’s very early executive actions to end Trump’s policies.
And he called claims by Biden officials blaming the Trump administration for refusing requests to build capacity to hold excess migrants “blatantly false.”
“We were anticipating that there would be a need based on the modeling. But here’s the thing. No one in this administration told anybody — they did not tell HHS, they did not tell CBP — they were going to remove [Migrant Protection Protocols], they were going to remove the ACAs. That came without warning. They just did that,” Morgan said.