President Donald Trump gave his stamp of approval for beginning the transition for President-elect Joe Biden only after advisers convinced him he needed to do so to “protect his brand,” according to NBC News.
The advisers argued that the combination of snowballing calls from Republicans in Congress to begin the transition, disastrous public appearances by attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and mounting legal setbacks were creating a public relations problem — and that Trump needed to shift course to “protect his brand,” as one ally put it.
During the meeting Monday, the president was upset with public statements by Republican allies, including Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, calling for him to recognize a Biden transition, a person familiar with the discussions said.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows made the point to Trump that he should authorize a transition now, before there’s a full flood of Republicans calling on him to do so, in order to maintain the appearance of being a boss who was resistant to pressure, according to the person familiar with the discussions.
According to the Trump ally who spoke with NBC News, the argument advisers made was, “rather than continue to take the massive PR hit from all of this, suck it up, don’t formally concede, but allow the transition to proceed.”
The General Services Administration officially signed off on the transition on Monday, the news outlet noted, finally giving Biden and his team access to funds and federal agencies.
Image credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour / Public Domain