President Trump’s dark-of-night statement vowing an “orderly transition” was designed in part to prevent a wave of resignations from the West Wing and broader administration, according to a person familiar with the matter.
At least one person, who was believed to be considering resigning on Wednesday, is now planning to remain in the administration. National security adviser Robert O’Brien has told aides he now intends to remain in his post until Trump leaves office, though his plans could still change depending on how Trump approaches the day. He made his decision before Trump released the statement.
O’Brien was persuaded to stay by other senior staffers who expressed concern about the national security implications of a vacant post in the final days of the administration.
The statement from the President, released through his deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino’s twitter account at 3:50 a.m. ET, said “there will be an orderly transition on January 20th” even though he disagreed with the outcome of the election.
Trump agreed to the statement after being advised of the dismay and disgust among many of his aides, though the person familiar said it was not the sole reason for its release. It also came after reports that early discussions were underway about evoking the 25th Amendment and restarting impeachment proceedings.
It was meant as a signal from Trump that the next 13 days will proceed without incident. But it came months after Joe Biden won the election and hours after Trump urged his supporters to protest at the Capitol. Even among his team and close allies it is viewed as coming far too late and offering far too little condemnation for what happened at the Capitol building.