Joe Biden can’t officially take over as president of the United States until Jan. 20. Given the damage being done as the current administration both resists a smooth transition and makes damaging last-minute decisions, he should announce some cleanup plans right away.

The Trump administration has been setting the agencies and policies of the federal government on fire with erratic, often vindictive removals and head-scratching foreign policy for some time. The pace seems to have picked up.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who opposed using the military against protestors, was summarily fired by tweet. Resignations by several key senior officials followed immediately. Those who oversee the Pentagon have expressed significant concern.

Senior members of the nonpartisan board that advises the Defense Department on business matters were fired without warning or explanation by email. Conspiracy theorist Scott O’Grady, who suggested establishing martial law in response to what he calls a Biden coup, was nominated to oversee national security affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That term will expire Jan. 20.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is using his last weeks in office to push a terrorist designation onto the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Huffington Post reports that a bipartisan group of humanitarian and national security analysist believes the move would result in continued war and a humanitarian disaster.

The decades-old Safe Skies Treaty, which protects the West from nefarious Russian air activities, was suddenly and summarily broken and its specialized aircraft sold off.

Though these and other moves have received media coverage, public attention is endlessly diverted by phantasmagorical election results denials. The spectacle has allowed Donald Trump to raise more than $200 million that can land, legally, in his own pockets.

Since his victory, President-elect Biden has named several cabinet nominees and some appointees to national defense and intelligence positions. He has outlined his first priorities. He should do more.

Biden should immediately announce that on Jan. 20, he will issue an executive order reversing all actions taken by President Trump or his cabinet in the three months before the inauguration.

With the endless tweets, conspiracy theories and baseless charges, it is nearly impossible to know exactly what fires need attention first. Best to throw water on the whole mess, then take the time to figure out if some of this administration’s decisions were actually good enough to reinstate.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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