The Pentagon will reportedly aggressively pursue President Obama’s foreign policy in the waning months of his presidency, even if they contrast with President-elect Trump’s stated goals.
“We have one commander-in-chief at a time. We leave it to the next administration to speak to their policy choices,” Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook told reporters. Cook doubled down saying the Pentagon would continue “carrying out the policies of the current commander in chief.”
The Pentagon’s line is starkly similar to remarks from the U.S. Department of State. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. would continue enforcing Obama’s stated policies on the Iranian nuclear deal, against the Islamic State, and climate change despite sharp rebukes from Trump. Toner testily told reporters “we’re not going to get into a policy debate that was part of the campaign.”
The Obama administration and Pentagon will also continue trying to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Trump has pledged to keep the prison open. Cook dismissed Trump’s desires saying that closing the base “remains certainly a priority for this secretary.”
Reporters also asked both the Pentagon and State Department whether there would be mass resignations when Trump assumed the presidency. “It’s a valid question,” Toner admitted, saying he “wouldn’t predict any mass exodus,” but that “anything’s possible.” Cook said he was not aware of any resignations at the Pentagon.
A Nov. 1 poll of civil servants in the U.S. government found that nearly 35 percent of government workers would either quit under a Trump presidency or consider it. Only 65% of non-political government workers pledged to stay on in a Trump administration.
“The secretary is confident that good ideas survive,” Cook closed.
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