Writing for The Washington Post, former George W. Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card and former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta warned that President Donald Trump's refusal to allow a presidential transition to move forward is potentially "life-threatening."
"The two of us have had the privilege of serving as chief of staff for a U.S. president. One of us served in President Bill Clinton’s White House while the other served under President George W. Bush. We happened to find ourselves on opposing ends of the historic Bush v. Gore dispute in Florida in 2000, one of only four times in U.S. history when the outcome of a presidential election was too close to call," they wrote. "While we disagreed about many issues then and have disagreed since, we do agree on one thing: The 2020 election is not like 2000 and should not be treated as such."
Currently, the General Services Administration director in the Trump administration is declining to release the funds to start the process. And that, wrote Card and Podesta, could put all of America in danger.
"While Bush and key staff were provided full intelligence briefings, the Bush transition did not have access to federal agencies and resources for 37 long days," they wrote. "President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team should not suffer a similar delay. The electoral landscape is simply not the same. The outcome is not the same. And we have since learned the serious costs of a delayed transition. Less than eight months after Bush’s inauguration, two planes flew into the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. One of us had the fateful duty to whisper into Bush’s ear, 'America is under attack.'"
"With the covid-19 pandemic continuing to wreak havoc, the costs of a delay are much higher today than almost any time in U.S. history," they wrote. "Specifically, a delayed transition and the absence of cooperation between the outgoing and incoming administrations could hinder economic recovery, slow the distribution of a vaccine and, God forbid, put American lives at risk. We know from history — including a foiled terrorist attack on the day of President Barack Obama’s inauguration — that our adversaries seek to take advantage of the United States during transitions. We cannot let that happen today."
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