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Tulsa World editorial: Trump should put nation ahead of pride and allow Biden national security information

Tulsa World editorial: Trump should put nation ahead of pride and allow Biden national security information

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President Donald Trump is free to protest his reelection loss, but he should not put future national security at risk out of pride and resentment.

Breaking with a transition tradition that goes back at least to 1968, President-elect Joe Biden is not receiving presidential daily briefings, which include intelligence agency findings and conclusions, The New York Times reported Monday.

Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat has also prevented Biden’s team from having access to classified information, necessary background for the incoming president to understand threats facing the United States. The Times reports that federal law requires that the Trump administration formally recognize a president-elect before such classified information can be shared with his team.

Trump says the election isn’t over, but that position becomes less tenable with every passing day. The vote-counting has wrapped up. Trump fought hard, but the reasonable chances of a legal path to victory are disappearing. Legal maneuvering and protests aside, it’s time for Trump to put nation ahead of pride and ensure that our national security is as strong as possible.

If he does so and the election results somehow work out in his favor in the end, he will have the satisfaction of having won and behaved honorably in the process. If he does not, he risks the nation’s security and any honorable place in history.

Trump should study what happened after the 2000 election. Vice President Al Gore hotly contested his defeat, litigating the Florida results for weeks. While that process continued, President Bill Clinton, Gore’s friend and supporter, authorized George W. Bush to receive the president’s daily briefings. Gore was already getting the briefs as vice president. Including Bush in the security briefings wasn’t ceding the election prematurely. It was taking care that the nation’s national security was solid.

Biden isn’t new to national security or White House processes, but he still needs to be brought fully into the national security loop if the nation is to have a fully functioning president from Day 1. Even if he is bitter and unreconciled to losing the election, Trump’s duty is to protect that nation and ensure an orderly transition.

Trump has spent four years proving he is unbounded by tradition and what formerly was considered proper. His behavior has already shown him to be a poor loser. But blocking needed national security briefings out of pique is beyond the pale and must stop.


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