President Donald Trump issued a pre-dawn statement Thursday vowing an “orderly transition” presumably to stem a wave of resignations from within the West Wing and the broader administration, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.
The resignations began Wednesday with the first lady’s chief of staff, the White House social secretary, a deputy press secretary and Trump’s deputy national security adviser all exiting before the night’s end.
Other officials had been considering resigning. And a growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet members told CNN on Wednesday that they were considering having Trump removed from office by impeachment or through the invocation of the 25th Amendment.
But at least one person who was believed Wednesday to be considering resigning is now planning to remain in the administration. National security adviser Robert O’Brien has told aides he now intends to remain in his post until Trump leaves office, though his plans could still change depending on how Trump approaches the day. He made his decision before Trump released the statement.
O’Brien was persuaded to stay by other senior staffers, who expressed concern about the national security implications of a vacant post in the final days of the administration.
The statement from the President, released through 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 he disagreed with the outcome of the election.
Trump agreed to the statement after being advised of the dismay and disgust among many of his aides, though the person familiar said it was not the sole reason for its release. It also came after reports that early discussions were underway about invoking the 25th Amendment and restarting impeachment proceedings.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20,” Trump said in a statement after Congress certified his loss. “I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again.”
It was meant as a signal from Trump that the next 13 days will proceed without incident. But it came months after Joe Biden won the election and hours after Trump urged his supporters to protest at the Capitol that left four people dead. Even among his team and close allies it is viewed as coming far too late and offering far too little condemnation for what happened at the Capitol building.
Trump, who has repeatedly refused to concede the election, on Wednesday egged on his supporters who would later breach the US Capitol in an attempt to stop lawmakers from counting the electoral votes cast in the 2020 presidential election
- President Trump: Shutterstock