Trump 'Determined' to Make Biden Transition 'As Turbulent As Possible,' Former NSC McMaster Says

One of President Donald Trump's former national security advisors has said the commander-in-chief is making the transition to President-Elect Joe Biden's incoming administration as difficult as possible, undermining American democracy in the process.

In an interview with the BBC published Wednesday, General Herbert Raymond McMaster also said that regardless of Trump's spoiler tactics, Biden will be inaugurated as America's next president.

McMaster was fired from his role in March 2018, having long clashed with the president's instincts to end long-running American wars and bring troops home; often against the wishes of establishment military officials like McMaster and former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

They and others have been branded members of the "deep state" that Trump and his allies say worked to frustrate his anti-establishment populist platform.

Trump is still disputing Biden's victory, resorting to long-shot litigation and conspiracy theories to undermine the result. Reports suggest that the president has privately accepted his defeat, but is continuing the fight as a type of performance theatre.

"The President can file lawsuits and so forth, but the executive branch of government will have no say in the transition," McMaster told the BBC. "It will be a smooth transition."

"It is, though regrettable that the president—I don't think—is going to be gracious about the transition," he added. "He's very combative and competitive, and so I think he's going to let these lawsuits run their course."

"I think that this period should be one of smooth transition," McMaster added. "And it seems as if the President is determined to make it as turbulent as possible."

The military establishment is reeling after Trump's sudden dismissal of the Pentagon's top civilian leadership, including Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

Reports have suggested the decapitation may be linked to Esper's resistance to Trump attempts to deploy the military on U.S. soil to quell racial justice protests, or his rumored plan to push ahead with a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan by Christmas regardless of the deteriorating security situation there.

"I don't think it's dangerous, it's regrettable," McMaster said of Trump's firings. "And it's not particularly gracious of the president during this transition period."

Still, McMaster said Trump's isolationist instincts are dangerous and representative of a broader bipartisan current in American politics. "The biggest problem in the Trump administration foreign policy was this...predisposition toward a withdraw toward retrenchment, pulling back as he did."

"I think that the biggest failure of the Trump administration foreign policy is this approach toward Afghanistan and prioritizing withdrawal to the extent that we actually partnered with the Taliban against the elected Afghan government," McMaster said.

He was referring to the American peace deal with the militant group, which remains at war with the U.S.-backed government in Kabul amid ongoing peace negotiations. "I think that's a real travesty," McMaster said.

"I think what we're already seeing is the beginning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan. And and we may be back on the path toward the Taliban and jihadist terrorists again controlling territory, controlling a narcotics trade, and then vastly expanding their threat to all civilized people."

"There is a strong movement... toward a new isolationist sentiment in America," McMaster continued. "Donald Trump didn't invent it, he in large measure tapped into that dissatisfaction with U.S. foreign policy and the unanticipated length and cost of the wars in the Middle East and South Asia."

"I think this is a dynamic that's going to carry across multiple administrations," McMaster told the BBC. "And although we talk about Donald Trump a lot because you know, it's hard not to, I think this is a phenomenon, this movement toward retrenching or disengaging that cuts across both political parties."

Donald Trump, transition, Joe Biden, HR McMaster
Supporters of President Donald Trump protest outside the Clark County Election Department on November 7, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/Getty