How Rocky Presidential Transitions Put America at Risk, TIME Magazine

When the House of Representatives went without a Speaker for three weeks in October 2023, Democrats condemned the void at a time when fighting had erupted in the Middle East, but so did many frustrated Republicans: “I look at the world and all of the threats that are out there and what kind of message are we sending to adversaries when we can’t govern?” said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who is also chairman on the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

That rocky leadership transition may be over, but it demonstrates the potential danger to American national security when political power is in flux. More recently, another leadership void was created when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was in hospital without the White House being aware, and despite significant military activity around the world.

Read the full article

The Five-year Presidency, National Affairs

I don’t remember turning off a light — not when I closed my office door in the West Wing for the last time, nor as I walked through the White House to the Oval Office a few minutes before Joe Biden’s inauguration as the country’s 46th president. Yet America’s transition from one president to another resembles nothing so much as the flip of a switch: At noon on January 20th, it’s instantaneous.

I walked into the Oval Office, where I had attended so many meetings over the past four years. President Donald Trump had left a few hours earlier to take his final trip on Air Force One, but I skipped the send-off at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. As the operational head of the Transition Coordinating Council, a body created by Congress to facilitate the switch from one administration to the next, I believed it was my duty to stay on site until 11:59 a.m. — the final minute of the Trump presidency.

Read the full article