Obama will first present a long-awaited plan to Congress about how to close the facility, and seek its approval, McDonough said in an interview.
If Congress fails to act, the White House will determine what steps to take, he said.
McDonough’s reply, according to TIME, came after he was pressed about how Obama was going to accomplish that goal, especially given some Congressional lawmakers’ aversion to letting the detainees go.
“He feels an obligation to the next president. He will fix this so that they don’t have to be confronted with the same set of challenges,” McDonough said.
Obama pledged during the 2008 presidential election campaign that he would close the military prison, which housed foreign terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
That pledge, still unfilled, has been a feature of his annual State of the Union addresses to the nation ever since.
Obama has said the facility has been used as a recruiting tool in propaganda from groups like al Qaeda, and also is far too costly to maintain. There are 104 detainees left at the prison.
Where possible, his administration has transferred detainees to other countries. But there is a small number of detainees who the administration says it would like to detain in a U.S. facility for national security reasons.
McDonough said the president will present Congress with a detailed plan to close the prison, but did not completely rule out Obama using his executive authority to close the prison if his Congressional plan fails.
“The president just said he’s going to present a plan to Congress and work with Congress and then we’ll make some final determination,” McDonough said Sunday.
Summarised from: Reuters/TIME