“The delay in transitioning is an increasing national security and health crisis. It costs the current administration nothing to start to brief Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris, the new chief-of-staff, and ALL identified cabinet members and senior staff,” Kelly wrote in a rare public rebuke of his former boss.
Kelly added that “the downside to not doing so could be catastrophic to our people regardless of who they voted for.”
“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,” Kelly wrote. “Mr. Trump should order the transition process begin immediately. It is the right and moral thing to do.”
Republican lawmakers have begun backing the idea of Biden’s transition team receiving the same intelligence briefings that Trump receives, especially after Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, a Republican, backed the idea earlier this week.
In making his argument, Lankford noted that after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the bipartisan committee that investigated them found that the compressed time frame for the transition after the contested 2000 election may have contributed to the lack of preparedness for the attack.
In its report after the attacks, the commission said that the dispute over the election and the “36-day legal fight” that followed “cut in half the normal transition period.” The loss of time, the commission said, “hampered the new administration in identifying, recruiting, clearing, and obtaining Senate confirmation of key appointees,” diminishing US preparedness before the terrorist attacks.
Trump spoke in public on Friday for the first time since a brief speech making baseless claims about the election last week and did not acknowledge that he had lost the presidential race. CNN on Friday projected Biden will win Georgia and Trump will win North Carolina, the last two states that had yet to be called, bringing the final total of electoral votes to 306-232 in favor of Biden.
“The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life,” the retired Marine general has told friends, CNN learned.
Kelly said he would have cautioned Trump against the idea of using law enforcement to clear Lafayette Square of protesters ahead of the President’s now infamous photo in front of a nearby church.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly and Maegan Vazquez contributed to this report.