“We believe that President Trump’s refusal to concede the election and allow for an orderly transition constitutes a serious threat to America’s democratic process and to our national security. We therefore call on Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election,” the group wrote Monday.
The plea for a smooth transition comes as Trump has yet to concede the general election, and the General Services Administration has yet to formally recognize Biden’s victory, therefore blocking funds for a smooth transition of power.
With their letter Monday, former senior national security officials who served in Republican administrations under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush or as Republican Members of Congress, including Tom Ridge, Michael Hayden, Chuck Hagel, Richard Armitage and Ken Wainstein, join the chorus of Republicans coming out against the President.
“President Trump’s continued efforts to cast doubt on the validity of the election and to interfere in state electoral processes undermine our democracy and risk long-term damage to our institutions. Although some Republican leaders have supported President Trump’s right to challenge aspects of the voting in various states, for the good of the country, they should now strongly oppose his dangerous and extra-legal efforts to intimidate state election officials and distort the Electoral College process,” they wrote.
In addition to threatening national security, the group also wrote that Trump’s refusal to concede comes as the US faces a global pandemic and “serious threats from global adversaries, terrorist groups, and other forces.”
The group highlighted that the delay in the transition could hinder the ability for officials on the Coronavirus Task Force, National Security Council, the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security to meet with the incoming Biden administration.
“These concerns are not just hypothetical,” the group wrote Monday, adding that in 2000-2001, “the 9/11 Commission concluded that the shortened transition to the George W. Bush Administration during the election dispute,” had, “‘hampered the new administration in identifying, recruiting, clearing, and obtaining Senate confirmation of key appointees’ who were responsible for addressing the gathering threat of al Qaida terrorists in the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks.”
At the time, the group wrote, the 9/11 commission had “recommended that a high priority be placed on ‘minimizing as much as possible the disruption to national security policymaking during the change of administrations.'”