DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump has promised a “very professional transition” to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden in an interview broadcast Monday, although Trump continues to lie that he won the election in November.
Speaking to the Global Security Forum, hosted in part by Qatar, Robert O’Brien repeatedly mentioned the transition and referred to recent normalization deals that Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates have struck with Israel as “a great legacy for a president like him.”
While making sure Trump did face lawsuits, O’Brien’s comments signaled some of the toughest statements ever made by a senior administration official acknowledging Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 vote.
“If the Biden-Harris ticket is chosen as the winner – obviously things look like this now – we will have a very professional transition from the National Security Council. “There’s no question about that,” O’Brien said. “They will have a lot of professional people who will come to take these positions.”
He added: “We passed the baton and had peaceful, successful transitions even in the most controversial periods.”
Since losing, Trump has made baseless allegations about the election on Twitter. There is no evidence of widespread voting fraud. Democratic and Republican officials said the poll went well, as did international observers. The Federal Agency for Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security also says, “The Nov. 3 election was the safest in American history.”
O’Brien, Trump’s fourth national security adviser, was previously his special envoy for hostages. Asked about American journalist Austin Tees, who disappeared while covering the Syrian civil war in 2012 and is believed to have been held by Damascus, O’Brien said the United States was using “every lever” to bring him home.
“We use every tool, whether through allies or opponents,” O’Brien said. “We would like to bring him back, and I would like to see him back, and I know the president would like to see him again before he leaves office.”
Syria has not admitted to holding Tice. A senior Lebanese security official said on Saturday that he had visited Syria for two days to talk to officials there about Tice..
O’Brien also said he hoped Qatar Airways would be able to overcome the boycott of Arab countries “over the next 70 days” before the end of Trump’s presidency amid a long-running political dispute. However, there are no public signs of easing tensions between Doha and Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
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