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Mullen: 'National security issues do not wait' for presidential transitions
Retired U.S. admiral Michael Mullen said on Sunday that it was best to "give any president as many options and as much space as possible," when speaking on the presidential transition process which had been delayed by the Trump administration.
'Meet the Press' host Chuck Todd noted how accommodating former president George W. Bush's administration was to then President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.
"There was a concern - what would the world think if one president boxed in another president? Now we have one American president boxing in another American president," Todd said.
"One of the things I learned in the job that I had is you don't want to, you'd like to do all you can to not box in the president - to give any president as many options and as much space as possible. So, this is obviously the opposite case right now," Mullen said. "It appears that the current administration is trying to lock in as many options as, as many issues as possible to make it much more difficult for President-elect Biden to govern. And actually, historically, that has just never been the case."
"Specifically, the challenge we have in the economy, and national security issues do not wait. That's going to be a particularly difficult transition in that arena, actually having started three weeks late," he added.
Last week the General Service Administration (GSA) informed Biden's team that the transition process could begin, weeks after the election ended after Biden was projected to be the winner.
Regarding national security concerns such as the recent assassination of a top Iranian nuclear scientist, Mullen said the incident would be a challenge for Biden's new administration as it enters international politics. Biden has signaled that his administration would bring pivot the U.S. back onto the global stage after Trump's "America first" attitude.
Speaking on his appointed cabinet members Biden said, "It's a team that reflects that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it."
Mullen also expressed concerns about lingering Trump administration members as Biden begins his presidency.
"I think I'm actually very concerned about the Trump loyalists who have now gone to work in the Pentagon. I mean, recently, Secretary Esper was fired, and a host of other people left the building. And there are some real Trump loyalists there now in charge and it's pretty difficult to think that over the course of 50 or 60 days you can do something constructive, but you can do something that's really destructive," Mullen said.