Now that they are no longer under orders to be on good behavior, two former aides to President Barack Obama's administration railed against President Donald Trump's team, calling the unconventional transition "frightening" and saying that officials did not accept any help or information from the outgoing team.
"We had prepared for several months a series of policy memos and meetings we wanted to have, briefings we wanted to give the new team," former State Department Chief of Staff Jon Finer, who is now a Harvard University Institute of Politics resident fellow, said at a forum for the school, according to the Washington Examiner. "Everybody wanted to meet with their successor, their new counterpart, and basically none of that happened. It was the decision of the other side that they didn't want that level of interaction, they were going to do things their own way."
Finer said it was "an unusual transition," even though former Secretary of State John Kerry instructed his staff to help the incoming team as much as possible.
"There was some discouragement, I think, among everybody that things that we thought were valuable, that we wanted to pass on, were not going to be passed on," he added.
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What made this transition so different, he explained, is that the vast majority of State Department officials usually retain their positions from one president to the next. In this case, more department members than ever left, with at least four top State officials either resigning or being fired, notes CNN.
Sarah Hurwitz, a resident fellow for the institute and the writer behind some of former First Lady Michelle Obama's most iconic speeches, said that the Obamas urged their team to be "very careful" about their behavior and to deliver a "perfect" transition in the face of an incoming administration that diverges so sharply from the previous two, notes the Examiner.
"I was just recently rereading President George W. Bush's first Inaugural [address] and I was just struck at how I felt like 90 percent of this could have come out of Barack Obama's mouth," Hurwitz added. "I felt like I pretty much agree with almost of all of what he's saying here, it was such a beautiful articulation of core American values. … This president is such a radical departure from any Democratic or Republican president in recent memory, and I think that was shocking, incredibly frightening, and incredibly jarring."