November 12, 2020
Could Trump possibly be planning to go down fighting? ABC’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz has questioned whether outgoing President Donald Trump is “planning a military operation” amid a flurry of Pentagon resignations, The Hill reports.
“No one has seen anything like this. There is concern about what this means,” Raddatz told ABC’s David Muir on World News Tonight, asking, “Is the president planning a military operation or the use of federal troops, which [former Defense Secretary Mark] Esper opposed?”
The resignations came Tuesday, November 10, from the Pentagon’s top policy official James Anderson, the agency’s top intelligence official Joseph Kernan; and Jen Stewart, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper before Trump fired him Monday.
Raddatz echoed sentiments expressed by President-elect Joe Biden, who has said Trump’s refusal to concede “will not help the president’s legacy.”
According to The Hill, she pointed towards other GOP members voicing support for Esper’s role as defense secretary despite Trump’s removal of him on Monday.
“Even Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) praised Esper today, and Republican John Cornyn (Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership, said of Trump’s decision to fire Esper, ‘I don’t think it helps him and I don’t think it helps the country.'”
Esper’s firing by Trump also comes as the president has indicated to allies that FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel stand as the next officials in line for removal. However, he has yet to take action.
Experts in national security are concerned any further disruptions of administrative roles in the Department of Defense, FBI. and CIA could create a problematic and disjointed transfer of power when Biden is slated to take the Oval Office on January 20.
Max Stier, director of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that oversees the Center for Presidential Transition, told CNN the importance of a swift and stable transition of power from presidents post-inauguration, citing the George W. Bush and Al Gore White House race of 2000.
“You look back to 9/11 and the 9/11 Commission. It was very clear, looking back, that some of the delays that then-President George W. Bush experienced during the transition resulted in his delaying getting his national security team in place. And that hurt us,” Stier said, citing the 9/11 Commission report.
“What’s at stake, really, is our security, our safety. And with the world we’re in today, with economic challenges that are incredibly severe, we have a lot that we should be worried about,” said Stier.
Research contact: @thehill