WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s National Security Council is getting ready for “a very professional transition,” as a result of it looks like Joe Biden has won the election, national security adviser Robert O’Brien mentioned in feedback that aired Monday.
His remarks stood in stark distinction to these of the president, who tweeted falsely simply earlier than midnight Sunday, “I WON THE ELECTION,” as he continued to make baseless claims of widespread fraud. Twitter put a warning label on the tweet, noting that “official sources have called this election differently.”
The president’s high security official, generally known as a Trump loyalist, supplied a distinct view.
“Look, if the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner — and obviously things look that way now — we’ll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council,” O’Brien mentioned in remarks made final week that streamed on the internet Monday morning as a part of a worldwide security discussion board sponsored by the Soufan Center.
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O’Brien went on to say that the Biden group is “going to have very professional folks who are coming in to take these positions, many of whom have been here before and spent a lot of time in the White House in prior administrations. And the great thing in the United States of America, we’ve passed the baton and had peaceful successful transitions even in the most contentious periods.”
He added, “I’m old enough to remember Bush v. Gore, and the transition there didn’t start until mid-December, and yet it got done. And if we’re in a situation where we’re not going into a Trump second term, which I think people where I’m sitting in the White House would like to see, if it’s another outcome, it will be a professional transition, there’s no question about it.”
O’Brien additionally sprinkled his remarks with references to the president departing Washington. For instance, he known as a peace deal Trump helped dealer between Israel and a few Gulf Arab international locations “a great legacy for the president to have as he leaves office.”
The moderator, Steve Clemons, editor at massive of the Hill newspaper, didn’t ask O’Brien to deal with Trump’s continued false claims that the election was rife with fraud, which seem to have impressed tens of millions of Americans to consider in what quantities to an enormous conspiracy to rig the vote.
But O’Brien did say he believed Trump administration efforts helped shield the 2020 election from overseas interference.
“Look, we worked very hard on this,” he mentioned, including that he personally warned his Russian counterpart that election day meddling “would be a red line.”
O’Brien additionally touted the actions of U.S. Cyber Command, whose commander, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has mentioned he took offensive motion to thwart Iranian and Russian cyber exercise.
“So it was a combination of sending out very clear signals to our foreign counterparts — not just Russia, but other countries, China, Iran, others, but also making sure that we had hardened our infrastructure to the extent we could to avoid that kind of problem,” O’Brien mentioned.
Although Trump appeared to acknowledge in a tweet Sunday morning that Biden won, he shortly clarified that he meant solely to say the media was falsely reporting that outcome.
Trump continued to wage rhetorical warfare on actuality whilst Republicans more and more started to acknowledge that Biden would be the subsequent president. On Sunday, Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas, mentioned he “expects Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States.”
Hutchinson echoed calls by a number of Republican senators that Biden be given entry to intelligence briefings and transition help.
“It is very important that Joe Biden have access to the intelligence briefings to make sure that he is prepared,” he mentioned. “During times of transition, our enemies have an opportunity to take advantage of us, and we want to make sure that there is a smooth transition, particularly when it comes to the vaccine distribution [so that] everybody understands what we’re doing there and what the plan is for the future.”
O’Brien spent many of the interview noting what he considers Trump’s overseas coverage accomplishments, together with ousting the Islamic State militant group from its so-called caliphate in Syria, forging a peace settlement with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and getting more durable on unfair Chinese commerce practices.
A senior administration official confirmed to NBC News that, as first reported Sunday by Axios, Trump plans a sequence of govt actions in his last days designed to crack down on Chinese human rights and commerce abuses.
O’Brien reiterated his view that the overseas coverage institution had been unsuitable on China for years.
“We’ve turned a blind eye to Chinese economic activity, the manipulation of the renminbi, the dumping, the unfair trade practices,” he mentioned. “We’ve turned a blind eye to intellectual property theft. We’ve turned a blind eye to all these things or turned the other cheek, so to speak, because we thought the conventional wisdom is as China became richer, as China became more powerful, they become more like us.”
“And it was really a Western conceit … a very arrogant approach to China that they would become wealthy and middle class and then immediately they’d become liberal democrats and responsible stakeholders in the world. That obviously hasn’t happened.”
O’Brien additionally famous the Trump administration’s success in bringing to justice the so-called Beatles, former British topics who joined ISIS and are accused of torturing and killing Americans and others in Syria.
Two of them, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, have been not too long ago dropped at the U.S. to face federal terrorism fees after Attorney General William Barr agreed to waive the loss of life penalty to clear the way in which for the usage of proof obtained by the United Kingdom.
O’Brien additionally touted the Arab-Israeli peace offers, which didn’t get the eye they may have as a result of they got here in the course of a pandemic and the presidential election.
“President Trump achieved a truly historic peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Sudan and Israel,” O’Brien mentioned. “We call them the Abraham Accords in English or the Abraham Accords in Hebrew or the Ibraham Accords in Arabic. They represent the most significant step forward for peace in the Middle East in over 25 years.”
Unmentioned in O’Brien’s recitation of Trump accomplishments was North Korea, which has continued bettering its nuclear weapons capabilities regardless of two high-profile summits between Trump and its reclusive dictator, Kim Jong Un.
O’Brien additionally supplied what for a lot of will probably be a stunning evaluation of his boss as a pupil of national security info. Many former senior Trump administration officers, together with O’Brien’s predecessor, John Bolton, have portrayed Trump as unable to course of intelligence and national security information and tired of making an attempt.
O’Brien sees Trump in a different way.
“The president is a voracious consumer of intelligence and the information that we provide him,” he mentioned. “And so, he looks at charts, he looks at maps … I think he’s got a very innate sense of geography. And so, he’ll spend a lot of time poring over maps and charts and that sort of thing.”
O’Brien mentioned his method as national security adviser was to not steer Trump, however to empower him.
“He had been president of the United States for three years when I joined him as national security adviser,” he mentioned. “I said, ‘You’ve got a well-developed sense of what you want to do. I view my job as making sure you get all the best options you have that are available for you to implement the policy that you want.’ My effectiveness, I think, comes from the fact that he can rely on me to give him good advice, to give him the best options, and then to implement his policies.”