The following is a transcript of an interview with Symone Sanders, senior adviser and spokesperson for Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, that aired Sunday, November 22, 2020, on “Face the Nation.”
SYMONE SANDERS: Good morning, MARGARET, how are you?
MARGARET BRENNAN: I- I’m- I’m great. I wanted to ask you about what you expect to happen tomorrow, because that is the deadline in the state of Pennsylvania for many counties to certify results of their election. This would take a key state out of play here in the president’s attempts to overturn the outcome of the election. Do you expect that we could see this week the ascertainment of the president-elect?
SANDERS: Well, MARGARET, we do expect that counties in Pennsylvania will certify their results, just as folks have done in Georgia, just as folks have done in Michigan, across this country. The American people were clear, and Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States of America. And we do hope that GSA Administrator Murphy will legally do her job and ascertain the results of this election. You know, MARGARET, I think it is important that folks at home understand that without ascertainment, there are key things that are not happening. Chief among them- I just listened to your interview with Dr. Fauci. Chief among them is our ability to coordinate with current government officials, and really get inside the federal government and look under the hood of what’s going on. A vaccine is coming very, very soon. A vaccine distribution will fall in the hands of a Biden administration.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SANDERS: And with every- every single moment that there is a delay of ascertainment, every single moment that our folks are not able to get into and work with current government officials, puts the effective distribution of that vaccine in danger.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re an adviser to the vice president-elect. Will she be in charge of the administration’s COVID Task Force as the current vice president is?
SANDERS: Well, MARGARET, I don’t want to get ahead of the president-elect or the vice president-elect on announcements of portfolios, but I can absolutely assure you that she has been a key partner with the president-elect throughout this transition. As you probably have heard already. We will be announcing- the president-elect and the vice president-elect will be announcing some of their first cabinet picks this Tuesday. And they have really dug in on this partnership. So you can bet, obviously, COVID-19 will be a day-one goal and focus of this administration and the vice president-elect will be a key partner in that work.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Will we get an answer to that question Tuesday? You said picks plural.
SANDERS: Picks, yes, there will be cabinet nominations- picks on Tuesday. I don’t- I can’t tell you right now how–
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
SANDERS: –many or who, but I can tell you that the president-elect is starting to put together his cabinet. And the American people will see the first glimpse of that on Tuesday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about COVID. As you said, the Biden administration will have to distribute the bulk of these doses of a vaccine. Vice- the vice- the president-elect, I should say, was critical of the Trump administration’s current plan to use commercial entities, retailers, dozens of pharmacies to distribute the vaccine. He said this week there are a lot of them that aren’t in rural communities and are not located in poor communities, African-American and Latino communities. What alternative is he proposing to distribute the vaccine?
SANDERS: Well, MARGARET, when- the president-elect, frankly, has keyed in on a weakness that we’ve seen within the Trump administration, which is when it comes to distribution, whether we were talking about personal protective equipment or those PPP funds for small businesses in our country, it has not gotten to the folks that need it most. So, it- it should not be lost on folks that, look, it is rural communities, it is urban communities, African-American and Latino communities, Native American communities who are most being hit hardest by this virus. And so in a Biden-Harris administration, that vaccination distribution plan will be one that doesn’t just lean on these outside commercial companies, but really puts together a- a plan from- centered in the federal government on how to reach the folks that need it most.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SANDERS: I go back, though, MARGARET, to my previous note about the lack of GSA ascertainment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SANDERS: You know, I wish I could tell you about the distribution plan that we have set up with current government officials, but I can’t because we don’t have ascertainment. Therefore, those conversations are not happening.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we look forward to the answer to that question. Thank you, Symone Sanders, for joining us today. We’ll be back in a moment with a lot more FACE THE NATION. Stay with us.