John Kelly, President Trump’s former chief of staff, raised concerns Friday about the White House delaying the transition process following his projected defeat to Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden.
Mr. Kelly, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general who also briefly served as Mr. Trump’s secretary of homeland security, criticized the administration for preventing Mr. Biden from preparing for office.
In an interview and subsequent public statement, the former Trump administration official said the president does not have to concede to Mr. Biden but should let the transition unfold in any event.
“You lose a lot if the transition is delayed because the new people are not allowed to get their head in the game,” Mr. Kelly told Politico, the website reported Friday afternoon.
Mr. Kelly added that “it’s crazy” not to start the transition process and that every day wasted “handicaps” the incoming administration, Politico reported.
“I know that he’ll never accept defeat and, in fact, he doesn’t have to accept defeat here. He just has to do what’s best for the country and in the country’s interest,” he added, the report said.
Mr. Biden has been the presumptive president-elect since last Saturday when multiple news outlets projected he defeated Mr. Trump based on the preliminary results of their White House race.
The president has not conceded, however, citing claims of election fraud and baseless conspiracy theories while his reelection campaign pursued related litigation in several states.
Incoming administrations usually receive access to the same intelligence provided to the outgoing president, but the Biden team has been blocked by the White House from being briefed.
A number of Republicans are recently called on Mr. Trump to allow the transition process to proceed, although few have publicly acknowledged Mr. Biden’s apparent win nearly a week later.
“The delay in transitioning is an increasing national security and health crisis,” Mr. Kelly said in a statement reported by CNN later Friday, adding failure to change course could be “catastrophic.”
“The current administration does not have to concede, but it should do the right thing just in case the Constitutional system declares they lost. It is not about the GOP or the Democrat Party. It is not about the president or about Mr. Biden. It is about America and what is best for our people,” Mr. Kelly said, according to CNN.
“Mr. Trump should order the transition process begin immediately. It is the right and moral thing to do,” he added.
Mr. Biden is expected to take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2020, pending the final certification of the results from last week’s race and the subsequent vote of the Electoral College in December.