President Reagan asked today for the resignations of Cabinet members and thousands of political appointees to give President-elect George Bush flexibility in shaping his government, spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said.
Fitzwater said Reagan’s request was delivered to the Cabinet and federal agency heads by White House Chief of Staff Kenneth M. Duberstein at a breakfast meeting in the Cabinet room.
The President and Bush planned to meet with the full Cabinet later today to discuss the transition, Fitzwater said.
After the meeting, Bush was beginning a long-awaited rest at the end of a rigorous campaign, saying he will be wielding a telephone as well as a fishing pole during his Florida vacation as he considers the makeup of his Administration.
He said he would name his Cabinet “fairly soon, but certainly not before I come back from Florida” on Monday.
Fitzwater said Reagan wanted the transition to go smoothly and the traditional resignation process to be handled with “dignity and sensitivity.”
Fitzwater quoted Duberstein as quipping that the transition “is not a hostile takeover. But no one has a golden parachute.”
Due by Inauguration Day
He said Duberstein “outlined the resignation procedure” that Reagan and Bush had agreed to: “We would expect all resignations to be handed in by Jan. 20,” Inauguration Day.
He said some appointees may stay on in the new Administration to orient new staffs to their duties. All political appointees are affected and the resignations are effective “at the pleasure of the President,” Fitzwater said.
Energy Secretary John S. Herrington submitted his resignation Wednesday, and Fitzwater said Labor Secretary Ann Dore McLaughlin indicated that she would resign shortly. Fitzwater said that he would submit his resignation and that he expected White House press secretary James S. Brady would do the same.