Alexander’s advice to Trump: ‘Put the country first’ when it comes to transition

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Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, left, speaks about the presidential transition to News Channel 11 reporter Jeff Keeling at Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park Monday.

FLAG POND, Tenn. (WJHL) – President Donald Trump should allow more presidential transition access for an “increasingly likely” Joe Biden team, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said Monday.

The outgoing three-term senator said access to briefings and other normal trappings of the transition process are particularly important given the COVID-19 crisis.

Citing the number of legal decisions in recent days and recounts completed, the outgoing three-term senator told News Channel 11 “the presidential election is rapidly coming to a close.”

Web extra: Senator Alexander discusses presidential transition

The growing number of doors shutting on the president’s efforts at changing the current electoral college map, Alexander said, it’s becoming “increasingly apparent that Joe Biden is likely to be our president-elect.”

“What I would hope President Trump would do if that’s true, which it’s likely to be, is to put the country first, take pride in his own accomplishments, which are very significant, and help the president-elect prepare for a successful administration.”

On a day that saw the results in Michigan officially certified, Alexander — who issued a statement Friday urging Trump to change his approach to allowing for transition prep — said the rapid progress in COVID vaccine development and the need for any rollout to be effective make a cooperative transition paramount.

“President Trump’s administration has had a spectacular success in producing six vaccines – or creating an environment for it – that will begin to come into Tennessee in December and could begin to help tens of thousands of health care workers not be impacted at all by this virus,” Alexander said.

“I don’t think we want to lose one hour or one minute of bringing those vaccines into Tennessee because we didn’t have a transition between this administration and a new administration if there is to be one. So the transition should have already started so that both teams are prepared from day one.”

As Alexander spoke during a career retrospective interview at Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park, national news reports were breaking that the General Services Administration (GSA) had determined Biden was the “apparent winner” of Nov. 3’s election.

While vowing to “keep up the good…fight” in a tweet, Trump said he was recommending GSA boss Emily Murphy “and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and I have told my team to do the same.”

The shift seemed for the moment to satisfy the growing chorus of Republican pleas for Trump to allow transition work to begin. For his part, Alexander seemed to suggest such an approach was in the mainline of American presidential tradition and could aid Trump’s long-term legacy.

“We should always want our presidents to succeed, because if they succeed our country succeeds,” Alexander said. “And I would also say that if you’re in public life people remember the last thing you do.”

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