Former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power was a scenario that the nation’s Founding Fathers feared.
The retired three-star general, who worked in the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018, discussed Trump’s latest assault on democracy during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” Trump on Wednesday told a reporter “we’re gonna have to see” when asked if he would commit to ensuring a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the November election.
“This is very disappointing. And really, this is something that our Founders feared,” McMaster said.
He cited Federalist Papers writings from James Madison and Alexander Hamilton that emphasized the dangers of identifying more with factions ― meaning political parties ― than with the republic itself, a scenario those writings predicted could lead to violence.
We have to demand that our leaders restore confidence in our democratic principles and institutions and processes. And, of course, it’s the administration who has responsibility to secure the election process. There’s been a lot of work done within that administration to do it after the lessons of the 2016 election. I think the comments are very unfortunate, Wolf. As you mentioned, our elections have been under attack in the past. Let’s not attack them ourselves. Let’s come together as Americans and execute a process we can have confidence in.
McMaster has made a string of media appearances to promote his book, “Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World,” which examines the nation’s foreign policy and national security challenges based on his 34 years of Army service and his time in the White House.
McMaster was replaced with John Bolton (the fourth of Trump’s six national security advisers to date) after 13 months in the White House. Reports indicated he and the president clashed and were often at odds on key national security decisions. Trump publicly attacked him during his tenure for saying that there was “incontrovertible” evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.