Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) suggested that President Donald Trump may cause damage during his lame duck period that is “potentially more severe” than the delayed transition that has captured much of the national spotlight thus far.
“The consequences of what’s happening during this lame duck period, I think, are potentially more severe than the consequences associated with a late transition process,” Romney told CNN’s David Axelrod in a podcast interview released Thursday.
In other words, it’s not just about Trump’s true-to-character refusal to formally support President-elect Joe Biden’s transition into the White House — he’s quietly taken other steps that have perhaps received less attention because he’s largely avoided addressing the nation in formal public events amid his election loss.
Romney listed the outgoing administration’s plans to pull more troops out of the Middle East as just one of the latest examples of that damage that’s underway during Trump’s dwindling days an office.
“We have some 40 coalition members that also have troops there. For us to pull our troops out obviously puts our remaining troops in some danger, as well as their troops,” Romney said, adding that the decision endangers troops remaining in the region. “They wonder, ‘how do we deal in a coalition with the United States leading it if there is a decision taken on a precipitous basis with which we may or may not have been familiar that puts our troops in jeopardy?'”
The comments come as Trump continues to make every effort to delay the transfer of power, by suggesting an election whose results became clear weeks ago is not over as its victor begins to fill positions for his incoming team.
The sluggish transition poses obvious threats to national security and further undermines the nation’s pandemic response as coronavirus cases surge unabated around the country. Meanwhile, Trump has unleashed a steady stream of attacks on the underpinnings of democracy in tweets — including the recent firings of two top officials in his administration over the past week.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a top DHS official involved in securing the election, Chris Krebs, were both fired in tweets in an apparent effort to boot those whom the President has seen as disloyal in the pursuit of his personal interests.
“To fire him in this end of term is really a dangerous thing,” Romney said of Krebs’ dismissal.
Further speculation of the potential firing of CIA Director Gina Haspel has also raised concerns, as Trump seeks to weed out the voices in his administration who refuse to play along in his game of make-believe that the election was stolen from him.