Trump's Former National Security Advisor Slams President for Refusal to Peaceful Transfer of Power
Another former member of President Donald Trump's administration is speaking out against him.
After refusing to promise a peaceful transition of power if he loses the Nov. 3 election to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump's former national security advisor, retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, told CNN that turmoil over a president refusing to leave the White House is "something that our founders feared."
"This is very disappointing and really this is something that our founders feared," McMaster, 58, told host Wolf Blitzer during an interview on CNN's The Situation Room.
McMaster referenced what two founding fathers, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, said in the Federalist Papers, warning about the "dangers of factions" and asserting that if people identify more with their political parties rather than the country as a whole, it could lead to turmoil.
"We have to demand that our leaders restore confidence in our democratic principles and institutions and processes," the former security advisor said. "And, of course, it’s the administration who has responsibility to secure the election process."
On Wednesday, when asked by reporters whether he'd take part in a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election, Trump said, "We're going to have to see what happens."
During his CNN interview, McMaster said the military should play "absolutely no role" in the election and that Trump's response to the questions about the transition of power was "very unfortunate."
"Our elections have been under attack in the past. Let’s not attack them ourselves," McMaster said. "Let’s come together as Americans and execute a process we can have confidence in."
McMaster's comments on Thursday echo a growing number of current and former Trump administration officials who have publicly disagreed with the president's leadership and criticized his repeatedly divisive statements about the upcoming election.
Trump's first defense secretary, Gen. Jim Mattis, denounced the president in June after his administration ordered U.S. military police to use rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse a crowd of peaceful protesters outside the White House, comparing his divisive leadership to the Nazi military's "divide and conquer" tactics.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who replaced McMaster, wrote in his memoir that Trump sought to buddy-up with autocratic leaders like North Korea's Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another top U.S. military general, Gen. John E. Hyten, allegedly described Trump as "an idiot" businessman with no "basic understanding of national security" at a 2017 dinner, according to a Washington Post report in July.
After Trump refused to commit to a peaceful power of transition following the general election, there was a rising concern both publicly and privately within the government about the president's ability to accept an election defeat peacefully.
The New York Times reported on Friday that Pentagon officials have privately vowed to step down from their posts if a potential situation arises in which Trump tries to pull the U.S. military into the mix to quell protests over the election's results.
Trump said in June that he wished to squash protests over the police killing of George Floyd by calling on the Insurrection Act of 1807. The centuries-old act allows the president to bypass local officials and send national troops to states to manage violent situations on U.S. soil.
That same month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper disagreed with Trump's wish to invoke the act.
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