How To Swap Presidents Without an Insurrection

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

How To Swap Presidents Without an Insurrection
© Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images President Joe Biden holds a pen as he prepares to sign a series of orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, after being sworn in at the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021.

This article is part of the The DC Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to get stories like this sent to your inbox every weekday.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Now that we’re a year into Joe Biden’s presidency, much of Official Washington is issuing its report cards. In summary: Biden had better hope the coming years are kinder. That said, it’s easy to forget the totally unprecedented time between 2020’s Election Day and Biden’s high-security Inauguration—and all of the ways that chaos laid bare the fragility of the American system.

A new report from Boston Consulting and the nonpartisan the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition, released today, summarizes just how much such transitions rely on the unofficial but sacrosanct commitment to a peaceful transition and how lawmakers could safeguard against a repeat of the messy 78 days in which then-President Donald Trump and his administration spent much of the time building roadblocks for Biden.

Global Tech News Daily

The post-voting rallies, the denial of Trump’s loss, Biden having to demand for the keys to buildings and offices he needed to get into, Trump refusing to this day to concede or meet with Biden—none of it was anywhere close to normal. And that’s on top of the now-ex-President’s attempt to have Congress set aside the certified votes and give him four more years. Trump spun-up a violent mob and urged them to march on the Capitol and then found himself on trial as only the second President in history to be impeached.

There are no obvious ways to force outgoing Presidents to acknowledge the facts. But there are ways to compel an outgoing team’s cooperation with the incoming one, so that they can get started on Jan. 20. Nothing about a presidential transition is sexy, but the process does lay the foundation for the administration that follows.

Global Tech News Daily

Since 1963, Washington has had an official guidebook for transitions of power. It appears that the cost of John F. Kennedy’s post-election ascension—$300,000, or about $2.6 million in today’s dollars—made an impression. That Presidential Transition Act has, of course, been updated over the years to reflect changes in what incoming teams need, including an incumbent President who can take advantage of planning teams across town to handle anticipated turnover should he be re-elected. These days, Congress sets aside a little less than $10 million; Biden backfilled the balance of $24 million from private donors to cover roughly 10 months of salaries, office space and research for a transition team that reached 1,500 people at its peak.

Some go smoothly, as was the case when George W. Bush made clear that his outgoing raft would treat the incoming team of Barack Obama far better than they met eight years earlier when White House staff stripped the letter W from keyboards after the messy Bush v. Gore case made its way to the Supreme Court. (On Day One of 43’s term, there was no phone book for the Bush West Wing and staffers were wandering around looking for each other. Government oversight aides later put the price of punked keyboards at $5,000.)

The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted a 2004 update to the Presidential Transition Act to allow the candidates to pre-vet aides who would need security clearances to hire staff. The Sept. 11 Commission even specified that the slow pace of confirmations had to change. When the first plane smashed into the World Trade Center eight months into Bush’s presidency, only about 30% of his national security appointees were working.

While John McCain mocked then-rival Barack Obama in 2008 of measuring the drapes before Election Day, the Democrats’ scrupulous preparation helped Obama transition into power in the immediate wake of Wall Street’s meltdown. McCain was nominally working on his own transition but didn’t take it nearly as seriously as Obama, who availed himself of federal workspace in downtown D.C.—away from campaign headquarters in Chicago—to build out what would become his team.

Obama’s 2012 rival, Mitt Romney, also famously took transition planning incredibly seriously. The Romney Readiness Project—shorthanded to R2P—was ready with names for almost every one of the political positions scattered throughout the government. Tevi Troy, a veteran of the Bush Administration and two presidential transitions, has a fascinating behind-the-scenes history of Romney’s never-seen-but-excellent effort here, and it’s worth the read. (Ironically, the executive director of R2P later became Trump’s deputy chief of staff tasked with managing the transition to Biden. His boss—the President—didn’t make it easy on the newcomers. “To walk away when the very most important time was coming up—and then at a time where obviously tensions had gone through the roof—I just didn’t feel like that was my duty,” Chris Liddell told the transition scholars for the report.)

For his part, Trump did not take his own transition planning seriously and basically dumped the transition work led by Gov. Chris Christie into a bonfire. (Only losers have to prepare, one person involved in Trump World observed.) Trump instead treated the weeks of transition as a “shambolic” reality show, forcing contenders for Cabinet posts to show up for a red carpet at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club or in Manhattan for dinners to be embarrassed. (Ask Romney whether the frog legs, lamb chops and chocolate cake were worth the headache of the trip to Jean-Georges in Trump International Hotel in New York to audition for Secretary of State.)

Biden, who had seen firsthand the rush of building a government as the Vice President to Obama, took the preparations far more seriously. At its height, Biden’s transition preparations had 450 people vetting potential hires, including about three dozen tasked exclusively with scouring social-media accounts for red flags. His transition team set the ambitious goal of getting 2,800 of the non-Senate-confirmed positions in place within the first 100 days; they got 1,500, according to the report from the Partnership for Public Public Services.

That’s partly because Trump signaled as early as May that he wasn’t willing to go politely, basically sabotaging the required transition planning process that should have been a signal of the standoff over resources that would come. More than $6 million was held-up while Trump pressured his own administration to ignore the results from November of 2020. (This, of course, pales compared to the resistance in sharing COVID-19 information, secure diplomatic lines to return foreign leaders’ calls and even a complete intelligence briefing for the President-elect documented in the new report.)

In the end, Biden ended up having access to the government resources—phones, background checks, travel budgets and office space required by law—for a little less than two months in total before starting his new job. And, even then, cooperation from the incumbent officials was contingent on whether that person had fealty to Trump and his fanciful claims that he had won re-election.

The new report has a slate of useful suggestions on how to improve the transition process so this doesn’t happen again. For instance, its authors suggest, reducing the number of appointees that require Senate confirmation to fill federal posts and streamlining the process to boost government efficiency could go a long way. A plussed-up FBI budget in election years could help speed up background checks for potential hires. The same is true for the National Archives, Office of Presidential Personnel and Office of Personnel Management who are buried in years easily divisible by four. And, while Congress is at it, expanding security clearances for those working on the transition could spot red flags that are obvious to those in the know. (See: Flynn, Michael.)

As a Congress apparently unable to push much of an agenda across the finish line, technical fixes for the next transition might be the rare spot where D.C. can agree that the nuts and bolts of government actually matter, mainly because both parties stand to gain government money for it. Still, it is lost on no one that there is the very real prospect of Trump returning to Washington in a reverse do-over his botched transition. It has both parties’ leaders watching with maxed-out anxiety.

Make sense of what matters in Washington. Sign up for the daily D.C. Brief newsletter.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

New York Rangers get another comeback win to force Game 7 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

PITTSBURGH — How many times can the New York Rangers dig themselves into a hole and climb back out? At least one more, as of Friday night. The Blueshirts came ... Read more »

Wilson, balanced Aces cruise to 96-73 victory over Dream

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. (AP) — A’ja Wilson scored 15 points, Kelsey Plum had 14 points and 11 assists and the Las Vegas Aces rolled to a 96-73 victory over the ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Why frustration lingers in Okinawa 50 years later

The Associated PressFILE – U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Mike Anglen of Turner, Ore., center, stands atop a cliff as Sgt. Bryan Wallace of Pikin, Ill., waits for his turn before ... Read more »

Astros beat Nationals 6-1 for 11th straight victory

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to ... Read more »

Kreider scores late, Rangers edge Pens 5-3 to force Game 7

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Kreider’s long slap shot bounced over Louis Domingue and into the net with 1:28 left and the New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 on ... Read more »

Astros push winning streak to 11, roll past Nationals 6-1

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep to help the Houston Astros extend their winning ... Read more »

Moustakas, Drury power Reds to 8-2 victory over Pirates

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Mike Moustakas homered twice and Brandon Drury drove in four runs to break out of a slump and lead the resurgent Cincinnati Reds to an 8-2 victory ... Read more »

Peterson's bases-loaded walk lifts Brewers over Marlins 2-1

MIAMI (AP) — Jace Peterson walked against Anthony Bender with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 Friday night. After starters ... Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during manager Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Ogunbowale, Gray help Wings rally past Mystics, 94-86

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored 27 points, Allisha Gray had 21 and the Dallas Wings overcame a 15-point second-quarter deficit to beat the Washington Mystics 94-86 on Friday night. ... Read more »

Resigning North Dakota senator led lawmakers in travel costs

The Associated PressFILE – North Dakota Sen. Ray Holmberg listens during a joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 7, 2009. Holmberg, ... Read more »

Residents in picturesque California county hit with gas prices topping $7 a gallon

A California county known for its spectacular mountains and proximity to Yosemite National Park has been paying the nation’s highest gas prices. Read more »

Boudreau to return as coach of Canucks next season

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau will return as coach of the Vancouver Canucks next season after helping to turn the struggling NHL club around as a midyear replacement. ... Read more »

New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern tests positive for COVID

On Location: May 13, 2022 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19 ... Read more »

Today in History for May 14th

Highlights of this day in history: Colonists go ashore in Virginia to set up Jamestown; Lewis and Clark begin to explore Louisiana Territory; Israel founded; Skylab launched; Movie producer George ... Read more »

Twitter CEO expects Elon Musk acquisition to close, addresses spending cuts

Musk is awaiting details supporting calculations that spam, fake accounts represent less than 5% of Twitter's users Read more »

Padres: No cancer found during Bob Melvin's prostate surgery

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres say no cancer was found when manager Bob Melvin had prostate surgery on Wednesday. Melvin, 60, was recovering at home Friday after ... Read more »

Renovated NYC museum shows indigenous perspectives

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City recently finished a major renovation of its exhibition on the native peoples of the northwest coast of North America. Curators ... Read more »

Police release 911 calls in Gilgo Beach case

A woman who disappeared in a beach community on New York’s Long Island more than a decade ago, sparking an investigation into a possible serial killer, said “there’s somebody after ... Read more »

Academy Awards set 2023 Oscars for March 12

The Associated PressFILE – Oscar statue on the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Next year’s Academy Awards will ... Read more »

Actor Fred Ward, of 'Tremors,' 'The Right Stuff' fame, dies

The Associated PressFILE – Fred Ward, a cast member in “30 Minutes or Less,” poses at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles on Aug. 8, 2011. Ward, a ... Read more »

Judge refuses to drop elections suit against Trump, media

NEW YORK — A Colorado judge on Friday denied motions to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by an election systems worker against former President Donald Trump’s campaign, two of its ... Read more »

Q&A: Becky G unveils every side of herself in latest album

The Associated PressFILE – Becky G appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, 2022. Beck G’s latest album is “Esquemas.” (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) NEW YORK ... Read more »

North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea reports 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19 outbreak. Read more »

North Korea confirms 21 new deaths as it battles COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea says 21 people died and 174,440 people were newly found with fever symptoms on Friday alone as the country scrambles to slow the spread ... Read more »

White Sox place Giolito on COVID list, activate Vaughn

The Chicago White Sox placed ace Lucas Giolito on the COVID-19 injured list and activated outfielder Andrew Vaughn following a rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte on Friday. Giolito began experiencing ... Read more »

Traded back and forth, Ford learns to live out of suitcase

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Ford has learned to travel light — and quickly. Since the start of the season, the 29-year-old first baseman has played for Tacoma, San Francisco ... Read more »

Falcon 9 rocket launches Starlink satellites

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 53 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from California on Friday. (May 13) Read more »

Celtics' Robert Williams remains out for Game 6 vs. Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Boston forward/center Robert Williams missed his third straight game with an injured left knee as the Celtics tried to keep their season alive Friday night in Game ... Read more »

Padres sign Robinson Canó, plan to use him off the bench

ATLANTA (AP) — The San Diego Padres have signed veteran second baseman Robinson Canó to a major league contract and plan to use him as a left-handed bat off the ... Read more »

WNBA star's Russia detention extended by 1 month

The lawyer for WNBA star Brittney Griner says her pre-trial detention in Russia has been extended by one month. Alexander Boykov told The Associated Press the relatively short extension indicated ... Read more »

Louisiana justices toss COVID-related charges against pastor

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fighting long-haul symptoms from COVID-19 Dr. David Putrino from Mount Sinai Health System and COVID long-hauler Joel Fram discuss the long-term effects of the disease.The ... Read more »

Sandy Hook lawsuits against Alex Jones on track to resume

The Associated PressFILE – This Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, photo shows radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at Capitol Hill in Washington. The Sandy Hook families’ lawsuits against ... Read more »

Rockies' Bryant closer to return after cortisone shot

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant took swings in the cage Friday for the first time since he was sidelined with a sore back nearly three weeks ago ... Read more »

Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic to minors after poor start

NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than make his Citi Field debut against the team that traded him, Jarred Kelenic was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma by the Seattle Mariners on Friday ... Read more »

Biden: ASEAN partnership 'critical' in this moment

Looking to strengthen ties, President Joe Biden welcomes leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Washington for the first time. “We’re launching a new era in U.S.-ASEAN relations,” ... Read more »

Phil Mickelson will not defend his title at next week's PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson caught lightning in a bottle last year at Kiawah Island, winning a major championship at 50 years of age. The fairways flooded, and the golf world stood and ... Read more »

Tennessee Titans' Malik Willis on Ryan Tannehill's mentorship comments: 'Everything is cool'

The Tennessee Titans didn’t take issue with Ryan Tannehill’s comments about mentoring third-round rookie Malik Willis. Willis and coach Mike Vrabel were asked about Tannehill’s scrutinized remarks following the first ... Read more »

Lawyers plan suit against Lufthansa over Jewish passengers

Lawyers for 26 passengers said Friday they told Lufthansa that they will sue the German airline for refusing to let members of a large group of Orthodox Jewish passengers board ... Read more »

Wild face offseason after yet another early ouster

While the Minnesota Wild were stacking up franchise records and securing the extra home game for the first round, general manager Bill Guerin carefully acknowledged a “great year” for the ... Read more »