Top USAID Official Tells Agency Leadership: 'There Is No Transition In Place'

John Barsa
John Barsa
November 9, 2020

The acting deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, John Barsa, told colleagues on Monday that there will be "no transition" until the General Services Administration certifies the election results.

"You should be aware, the only official announcement about an election result that matters is from the head of GSA, so until the head of GSA makes a determination as to who won an election, nothing changes. There is no transition in place," Barsa told his colleagues, according to a recording of the call obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The General Services Administration is tasked with determining when an election winner has been "ascertained" and enabling a transition effort thereafter.

The White House intervened on Friday to save Barsa's job and keep him atop the agency. Because he had been serving as acting administrator, Barsa was slated to step down: Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, acting officials must step aside after 210 days. So the director of presidential personnel, John McEntee, fired deputy administrator Bonnie Glick, who was slated to take over the agency. Barsa is now serving as acting deputy administrator.

A spokeswoman for the agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the same call, White House liaison Catharine O'Neill reiterated the White House's view that "the election is still happening."

"The Electoral College has not voted yet, so we are still here, business as usual, working for the president, and making sure that everything that we’re doing is to serve the president of the United States," she said.

McEntee is also warning political officials that anybody caught looking for a new job will be fired, according to CNN's Jake Tapper. McEntee himself, who previously served as body man to President Donald Trump, was escorted out of the White House in 2018 over an unspecified "security issue" and brought back earlier this year.

Barsa had a more muted warning for his colleagues: "D.C. is a really small town, sooner or later everyone gets outed for who they are," he told colleagues. "So until you are no longer in your role, please continue to carry out your duties with the same pride and enthusiasm you have always had for your jobs, don’t let anything distract you from the mission you have before you and the task the president has trusted you to execute. It’s a small town. Comport yourself in a manner that you’ll be proud of years from now."

Listen to the recording below: