WASHINGTON >> President-elect Donald Trump denied today that his transition was in disarray, assailing media reports about firings and infighting and insisting in an early-morning Twitter burst that everything was going “so smoothly.”
But legal and procedural delays by Trump’s transition team continued today, all but freezing the traditional handoff of critical information from the current administration more than a week after Trump won the presidential election.
The president-elect criticized a report in The New York Times about his early telephone contacts with foreign leaders. In a post on Twitter, he said he had made and received “calls from many foreign leaders despite what the failing @nytimes said. Russia, U.K., China, Saudi Arabia, Japan.”
The Times reported that Trump had taken calls from the leaders of Egypt, Israel, Russia and Britain, but said they had been conducted haphazardly and without State Department briefings that traditionally guide conversations with foreign leaders.
Of the transition effort, Trump wrote: “It is going so smoothly.”
Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, told reporters this afternoon that the effort to fill staff positions in the new administration was “very calm, it’s very structured.” He said that reports of chaos were being spread by disgruntled former members of the transition or people bitter about the election results.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was put in charge of the transition last Friday, has counseled Trump not to feel pressured to make announcements rashly, according to people familiar with the deliberations inside Trump Tower.
White House aides said Obama administration officials at agencies across the government remained legally barred from delivering the normal guidance and briefings to Trump’s transition team because essential documents had still not been completed.
A wholesale shake-up of Trump’s team — replacing Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and the transition staff he had assembled — has forced Pence to sign a new memorandum of understanding, a legally required document. White House officials said Pence delivered that document to them Tuesday.
But by this morning, Trump’s team still had not delivered a series of required, supporting documents.
In the lobby of the State Department, there is a sign that says “Transition.” It has been quiet.
“We have not been contacted,” said John Kirby, the State Department press secretary.