New Zealander Chris Liddell is weighing up resigning as Donald Trump’s deputy chief of staff in the wake of today’s political insurrection which saw militant crowds storm the Capitol.
“Like everyone else, I am horrified at the events of today and unconditionally condemn them,” Liddell told the Herald from Washington DC.
Liddell would not comment on the record about his deliberations.
But it is reliably understood that he and a number of senior staff, including National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, are considering resigning en masse tomorrow viewing their positions as increasingly untenable in the wake of the Trump-fuelled storming of the Capitol.
The key White House officials are also weighing up just how critical the next 14 days are to the US to ensure a smooth transition to Joe Biden’s presidency and whether they should instead hang on until his inauguration on January 20 to ensure there is no further destabilisation.
Liddell is vice-chairman of the group organising the presidential transition. He had prior experience as the executive director of the Romney Presidential Transition Planning team.
“At a working level we have made real progress on the transition since November and I am doing everything possible to continue that,” Liddell earlier told the Herald.
Liddell has been as praised as a “stabilising force in a sea of chaos” within the White House on transition issues for the last nine months.
“He has kept order, increased systems and done heroic work in an impossible environment,” said David Marchick, the director of the Centre for Presidential Transition, who has been working particularly closely alongside the Biden transition team.
“Chris Liddell has been extremely helpful to the Biden team,” said Marchick.”He had two jobs. Job number one was to prepare a second term if Trump was re-elected.
Job number two was to help manage a handover if Trump lost and he has been very very helpful to the Biden team.”
The Herald has sought comment from the Biden transition team.
In September, Politico reported that Liddell had met the congressionally mandated deadlines to file two different transition reports in May and August. “He is working closely with a career government official who is serving as the federal transition co-ordinator — typically the type of worker Trump would label as part of the “Deep State”, said Politico.
The transition has not been without controversy, with the Defence Department and Office of Management and Budget putting up bureaucratic roadblocks.
Liddell was nominated by the Trump last year as the US candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Thisrole is expected to be determined in the next couple of months.
Three White House staffers have now resigned and others are reportedly considering doing the same following a day of violence in Washington DC in which Trump supporters breached the US Capitol Building to rail against the results of the presidential election.
White House social secretary Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta has resigned her role, effective immediately, and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews has also reportedly resigned in response to the siege.
Stephanie Grisham, the former White House communications director and press secretary and current chief of staff for first lady Melania Trump, resigned in response to the day’s events, CNN reports.
The mob of Trump-supporting protesters made its way into the US Capitol earlier today, forcing police to evacuate lawmakers and delaying the constitutional process to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election. Violent clashes between protesters and police took place throughout the day before riot police dispersed the crowds with tear gas.
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