As President Trump, his campaign officials and legal teams continue to push baseless conspiracy theories of a voter fraud and a rigged election, his former National Security Advisor is making a strong public push to begin the transition to a Biden administration immediately.
"When should we begin the transition? The answer is yesterday," John Bolton told KCBS Radio’s Mike DeWald early Thursday.
Earlier this week, Bolton called on GOP leaders to "explain" to their base that Trump lost the election to Joe Biden, and to be clear that the president’s unproven claims of voter fraud are "baseless."
"To transfer the presidency of the United States is a very complex business," Bolton said. "It involves the entire Executive Branch. Many people in Europe and parliamentary democracies that transfer power literally in a matter of hours wonder why it takes us so long. The answer is because of the nature of the system of separated powers that we have."
Bolton, President Trump’s former National Security Advisor, was embroiled in the president’s impeachment proceedings and famously opted not to voluntarily offer his perspective on what happened when Trump attempted to mobilize the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on the Biden family.
Now, he believes the president’s refusal to concede the election is a farce.
"Whatever historians are going to write about him in later years, he’s not adding to his reputation by going out like a sore loser," Bolton said. "It’s not just because it’s bad character, it’s the harm he’s doing to the country."
Utah Senator Mitt Romney, who has clashed with the president throughout his time in the Oval Office and was the lone Republican to vote in favor of impeachment, told former Obama adviser David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast Thursday he’s very concerned about actions Trump will take during the lame duck period.
With heads already rolling in Washington, Bolton agreed with that sentiment.
"The fact that President Trump has fired his Secretary of Defense, fired the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration at the Energy Department, fired the head of the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency at Homeland Security, Washington is filled with rumors he’s going to fire other people as well. This doesn’t make any sense with six or seven weeks left. It causes instability in the agencies whose leaderships are being decapitated."
CBS News reported Thursday that there is a backchannel of communication between President-elect Biden's transition team and President Trump's administration officials, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks. However, Bolton said absolutely nothing is official unless the president gives the green light.
"Trump’s made it pretty clear he doesn’t want a transition to occur until he says so."
Trump, never afraid to voice his opinion on Twitter, did so after Bolton’s appearance ABC’s "This Week" last Sunday. He called the former ambassador "a real dope" and "one of the dumbest people in government that I’ve had the 'pleasure' to work with."
When asked for his response, Bolton didn’t quite take the bait.
"It’s juvenile and it’s unpresidential," he said. "While I’m tempted to react to it and I have a few thoughts on that sort of thing, I just don’t think it adds to the civil discourse to treat it with any sense of dignity. It’s just sad, really."
Bolton also chimed in on the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Overall performance of the U.S. government in response to the COVID pandemic has been very inadequate and I attribute much of that to the president’s inability or unwillingness to devise an overall strategy. He has dipped into it when it suits him and then dipped back out of it again."
He did, however, add that other Western democracies haven’t exactly "covered themselves in glory" in their handling of the pandemic, either. Cases are skyrocketing here in America and abroad as leaders grapple with further restrictions in the face of the latest resurgence of the coronavirus.
The longtime diplomat, consultant and commentator believes recent news of highly effective vaccine trials from Moderna and Pfizer has the potential to shift worldwide opinion on the U.S. response to COVID-19.
"I think the United States has a strategic responsibility here to help out worldwide. I think it will distinguish us from China’s performance."