Monday, May 4, 2020

The Presidential Transition Act: President Trump takes first steps to prepare for transition in case he loses

AP Photo, File
President Donald Trump is still all-in on getting reelected, but he’s also set to take the first steps to formally prepare someone else to take over if he loses on Nov. 3.
Trump is standing up a council under the first deployment of the Presidential Transition Act by an incumbent running for another term after Congress moved in 2015 to better ensure continuity of government when one president hands off to another.
Making sure presidential candidates are ready to take charge of the federal government became a priority after the Sept. 11 attacks, but the effort takes on new urgency because of the coronavirus pandemic and associated economic turmoil.
“The relevance of transition planning has intensified since it could be the first election since 1932 where we had more than 20% unemployment, more than twice as high as the unemployment rate in 2008,” said David Marchick, director of the Center for Presidential Transition at the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service. “You add to that a health crisis and the potential for a virtual transition. The degree of complexity has increased significantly.”
Scott Olson/Getty
Under the act, Trump must name members of the transition council and a senior White House employee to chair it no later than six months before Election Day, which is Sunday. Trump is expected to tap Chris Liddell, deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, according to two senior administration officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss internal plans.
Liddell is already leading the administration’s preparations for a second term, itself effectively a mini transition, as history shows vast turnover at that point in a presidency.
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