President Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November's presidential election is a "gift to our adversaries," Trump's former national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday.

The big picture: McMaster, a retired three-star general, said that the American people must understand that the military will have "no role" in a presidential transition and that it's "irresponsible" to even talk about it as a possibility.

What he's saying: "What I think is it’s a gift to our adversaries who want to shake our confidence in who we are, shake our confidence in our democratic principles and institutions and processes,” McMaster told NBC’s “Meet the Press" about Trump's comments.

  • “If the Russians can just use our words against us, that’s the best way to pull us apart from one another.”
  • McMaster said that he "absolutely" agrees with Susan Rice, a national security adviser under President Obama, who recently opined in the NY Times that the political division in the U.S. should be treated as a national security threat.

The bottom line: "I think it’s so important for us to come together for civil discussions about the greatest challenges we face," McMaster said.

  • "Maybe that’s a way for us to come back together as Americans because as we’re at each other’s throats with this vitriolic partisan discourse, our adversaries haven’t stopped, the world hasn’t gone away."
  • "And that’s what I hope will help galvanize us to come back together and to reverse this polarization that is so damaging to our security and our psyche as well."

Go deeper

Updated Oct 23, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the upcoming election

Axios hosted a conversation on voter turnout and how national security will play a key role in November's election, featuring Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), CEO of Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. World: Australian city Melbourne to exit one of world's longest lockdowns — In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe
  4. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure
  5. Nonprofit: Rockefeller Foundation commits $1 billion for COVID-19 recovery
Updated 27 mins ago - World

In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

A skeleton is placed at a restaurant table in Rome to protest Italy's restrictions that'll see gyms, movie theaters and pools close and bars and restaurants required to shut by 6 p.m. until at least Nov. 24. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Restrictions are returning across much of Europe as the continent faces a second coronavirus wave.

The big picture: Spain and France each surpassed 1 million cases last week, and both countries have implemented further restrictions on citizens. Italian officials announced strict new measures, effective Monday, to combat another cases spike. From Denmark to Romania, take a look at what steps countries have been taking, in photos.