May 27, 2016
David Eagles, Director, Center for Presidential Transition
Anita McBride, now executive in residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs, served in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and played an important role during four different presidential transitions. In an interview with the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition, McBride shared some of the lessons she learned from her transition experiences.
1. Why is the presidential transition important?
McBride: The transition helps ensure a smooth transfer of power and reaffirms the continuity of our government. Transitions are critical for that. The tone that is set at the beginning of a transition is absolutely essential, and that responsibility falls on the incumbent president. It is then up to the incoming administration to handle the transition with the utmost care.
2. When should the presidential campaigns get their transition operations up and running?
McBride: Thirty years ago when I first experienced a presidential transition, some of the preparations for the outgoing Administration began during the months leading up to the election, however, in-depth conversations did not begin until after the election. In the post-9/11 environment, it is increasingly clear that waiting until after the election is too late, in fact it is irresponsible. There is far too much at stake and far too much that people need to learn about the government that they will be walking into and responsible for leading. Those conversations need to start long before the election.
Read more at Bloomberg Government.