Report & Publication
November 08, 2020


 November 8, 2020 

The Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition is the nation’s premier nonpartisan source of information and resources designed to help presidential candidates and their teams lay the groundwork for a new administration or for a president’s second term. The Center has been active in transition activities on a bipartisan basis for four cycles. 

We congratulate Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris on their successful and historic campaign for the White House. In our role we have observed the seriousness with which they have taken the transition planning process. They embraced transition planning early, recruited a seasoned and disciplined team and resourced their transition effort commensurate with the challenges that President-elect Biden will face on January 20. While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin. 

As candidate Biden becomes President-elect Biden, he and his transition team will quickly shift from campaigning to governing. To build an effective government ready to address the urgent needs of our great country, the new president will have to recruit 4,000 political appointees, including 1,250 who require Senate confirmation; prepare a $4.7 trillion budget; implement a strong policy agenda; and assume leadership of a workforce of 2 million civilian employees and 2 million active duty and reserve troops. 

We want to also applaud the two other key stakeholders necessary for a successful transition – the White House staff and the career officials throughout the federal government with responsibility for transition planning under the Presidential Transition Act. The White House staff took implementation of the Presidential Transition Act seriously, met every statutory milestone and worked closely with the career officials responsible for transition planning. The career federal officials with responsibility for transition planning, led by the GSA, did exactly what one would expect from highly qualified, experienced career officials – they planned and prepared methodically for either eventuality – a Trump re-election or a Biden win. 

Now the real challenge begins. We urge the Trump administration to immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act. This was a hard-fought campaign, but history is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors. “Your success now is our country’s success,” George H.W. Bush wrote in 1993 to the incoming president who involuntarily retired him, “I am rooting hard for you.” 

Josh Bolten, White House Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, George W. Bush Administration (Republican) 

Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, George W. Bush Administration, Governor of Utah (Republican) 

Thomas F. (Mack) McLarty, White House Chief of Staff, Clinton Administration (Democrat) 

Penny S. Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce, Obama Administration (Democrat)