Defense Secretary Condemns Capitol Riots, Pledges Peaceful Transition of Power to Biden

Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller denounced Wednesday's riot at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

"Yesterday's violence at the Capitol was reprehensible and contrary to the tenets of the United States Constitution. In the midst of this tragedy, I was proud of the professionalism of our Department of Defense personnel," Miller said in a statement that was posted Thursday on Twitter by the Department of Defense. "I strongly condemn these acts of violence against our democracy."

"I, and the people I lead in the Department of Defense, continue to perform our duties in accordance with our oath of office, and will execute the time-honored peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden on January 20," Miller concluded.

His statement comes just a day after supporters of President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building, protesting President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election.

Capitol Building
Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty

Last December, Axios published a report, citing a senior administration official, which stated that Miller had ordered the Pentagon to halt communication with Biden's transition team.

In response to the report from Axios, Miller issued a statement, where he said that "At no time has the Department cancelled or declined any interview," with Biden's transition team.

"After the mutually-agreed upon holiday pause, which begins tomorrow, we will continue with the transition and rescheduled meetings from today," the statement said. "Again, I remain committed to a full and transparent transition – this is what our nation expects and the DoD will deliver AS IT ALWAYS HAS."

Shortly after Miller's statement, Yohannes Abraham, director of Biden's transition, spoke to reporters and contradicted Miller's remarks, saying that, "Let me be clear: there was no mutually agreed upon holiday break."

"Our agency review teams continue making progress on a shortened timeline, and we've benefited from constructive cooperation within many departments and agencies, but we have met isolated resistance in some corners, including from political appointees within the Department of Defense," Abraham said. "We were concerned to learn this week about an abrupt halt in the already limited cooperation there, and as indicated by DOD earlier today, we expect that decision will be reversed."

Abraham added, "In fact, we think it's important that briefings and other engagements continue during this period, as there's no time to spare."

The Defense Department directed Newsweek to Miller's statement after reaching out for comment.