President Trump’s grim statement promising an “orderly transition” was designed in part to prevent a wave of resignations from the West Wing and the administration at large, according to a person familiar with the matter.
At least one person, who was considering resigning on Wednesday, is now considering staying in administration. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told his aides he now intends to stay in office until Trump leaves office, though his plans may still change depending on the way Trump approaches the day. He made his decision before Trump released the statement.
O’Brien was persuaded to stay by other senior officials who expressed concern over the national security implications of a vacant post in the administration’s final days.
The president’s statement, posted via his Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino’s Twitter account at 3:50 a.m. ET, said “there will be an orderly transition on January 20” even though it is not. disagree with the outcome of the election.
Trump accepted the statement after being told of the dismay and disgust of many of his aides, although the familiar person said that was not the only reason for his release. It also came after reports that preliminary discussions were underway to bring up the 25th Amendment and restart the impeachment process.
This was a signal from Trump that the next 13 days will go by without incident. But it came months after Joe Biden won the election and hours after Trump urged his supporters to protest on Capitol Hill. Even among his team and close allies, he is seen to have arrived far too late and offering far too few condemnations for what happened at the Capitol building.