Donald Trump is breaking tradition at almost every turn, which may be one reason he is the most unpopular incoming president in history. As Vice President Joe Biden recently told The New York Times, when it comes to national security and foreign policy, "We have no freakin' idea what he's gonna do."
We do, however, know what we will do.
Ploughshares Fund will push to the last minute to get everything we can from the outgoing Obama team. Thanks to many of our supporters, over 120,000 people have signed our petition asking President Obama to take nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert. We don't want Donald Trump — or any president — to have the absolute authority to launch within minutes enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world.
I sent the petition personally to the President and the Vice President. They were polite. They were appreciative. But, they didn't act. We knew it was a long shot.
But we wanted to demonstrate the vast popular support for this common-sense step. Our petition was mentioned in The New Yorker, in the UK Independent and in my interviews on MSNBC and CNN. It was translated into Japanese. And importantly, other organizations have drafted similar petitions echoing our concerns.
Directly inspired by our call to action, the global activist group, Avaaz, circulated a similar petition to their millions of supporters around the world. Over 800,000 have signed. Between our two petitions alone, nearly one million people in America and abroad have made clear that they want this Cold War posture to end.
We will continue to push for saner nuclear policies in the Trump Administration. We will put any personal or partisan feelings aside and work on policies that are best for our nation. And we may have better prospects than many think possible: history has shown that Republican presidents make more and deeper nuclear cuts than Democratic ones.
I have already met with a senior member of the incoming administration, and have reason for guarded optimism. If we keep the pressure on his administration, we may be able to get Donald Trump to take these weapons off hair-trigger alert and secure major cuts in our nuclear arsenals with Russia.
I've said many times over the past two months, we are out of the prediction business. No one knows what is really in store for his presidency. But we are nimble, we are resourceful and we are clear that we want to create a more peaceful, just and secure world.
We will keep the momentum up, building on this petition over Donald Trump's first 100 days in office — and over the course of his presidency. Please stay tuned for future actions as we move into the Trump era.
Photo: Michael Colburn directs US Marine Band during 2009 inauguration. By Spc. Daniel J. Herrera, US Army, via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)