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Tulsa World editorial: President Trump's refusal to cooperate with transition team harms U.S.

Tulsa World editorial: President Trump's refusal to cooperate with transition team harms U.S.

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Rose Garden

A view of the restored Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020.

The ongoing refusal by the Trump administration to provide basic briefings to President-elect Joe Biden is putting our nation at risk.

This uncertainty about the peaceful transfer of power could entice hostile foreign nations to look for advantages and hinder progress in ending the pandemic.

The court challenges President Donald Trump has made to election results in several states ought not stop the preparation for the president-elect. Trump and his supporters can follow through on those cases and still protect the nation by allowing an orderly, nonpartisan transition plan to proceed.

Sharing secured information with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris does not put the nation’s secrets at risk. Biden had national security clearance as a former vice president. Harris already has national security clearance through her seat on the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and Judiciary Committee.

Even if the election goes Trump’s way, Biden and Harris have the credentials in high-level government operations to understand the sensitive nature of the information.

There is no harm in allowing the transition work to begin.

The risk is to delay the preparation for Biden and Harris to take office. Iran, North Korea and Russia are watching, reading to take advantage of any lapse in the continuity of U.S. intelligence. That puts our troops and country in danger.

Trump has a tendency to send mixed messages in policy through social media, off-the-cuff interviews and in documented reports. Having briefings will sort this out for the Biden administration.

We were hopeful when Sen. James Lankford said he would intervene through his role on the General Services Administration committee if the president persisted in his refusal to allow briefings to the Biden team. He has softened that statement after a conservative backlash.

That’s unfortunate because Lankford was right the first time.

A top priority for Biden and the nation is to attack the COVID-19 pandemic. With two drug manufacturers showing promising vaccines, Dr. Anthony Fauci said a smooth presidential shift is “critical.”

In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Fauci — who has worked in six presidential administrations — likened presidential transition to a relay race.

Runners don’t come to a complete stop before handing off the baton; they are running in the same direction at the same speed when the hand-off occurs.

It’s an apt metaphor.

Trump’s obstruction looks more like a personal temper tantrum than a man concerned about the well-being of his country.

It’s time to put politics aside and do the right thing for the nation.


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