Douglas Andrews / Nov. 30, 2020

Trump Says He'll Leave If...

The president acknowledged the authority of the Electoral College while vowing to continue his legal fight against voter fraud.

Anyone who thinks President Donald Trump has accepted the inevitability of a Joe Biden inauguration on January 20 doesn’t know Donald Trump.

On Thanksgiving, after a teleconference with our troops during which he extended his “profound thanks” to representatives from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard, the commander-in-chief was asked by a reporter if he would leave the White House after an unsuccessful Electoral College vote. He replied, “Certainly I will. … You know that I will.”

But…

“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” he said later. Which is understandable. After all, a concession would require some sort of acknowledgement on his part that an utterly uninspiring 78-year-old Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States.

That a guy who rarely took questions from reporters, rarely ventured out of his basement during the months leading up to the election, and rarely drew more than a few dozen friends and family members to his occasional campaign events somehow got 11 million more Americans to vote for him than did energetic young Barack Obama during his one-of-a-kind 2008 campaign.

That a guy who, as The Federalist’s J.B. Shurk points out, lost 18 of 19 bellwether counties all around the country still managed to somehow win the White House despite the fact that each of those bellwether counties has a near-perfect presidential voting record since 1980.

That a guy whose party actually lost congressional seats — and not just a few, but a whole bunch, in addition to losing 27 of 27 “toss-up” races highlighted by the Cook Political Report — somehow defied history and found enough votes within Democrat-controlled big cities in Democrat-controlled states to win the presidency.

That a guy on the wrong end of a yawning enthusiasm gap, a guy whose incumbent opponent doubled the number of primary votes ever received by a sitting president and won 94% of his party’s primary vote during a time of pandemic and peace and economic prosperity, still found a pathway to victory when all historical trends pointed toward defeat.

President Trump made clear again Thursday that he still considers the apparent election of Joe Biden to be a “massive fraud.” As he also noted with regard to the series of legal challenges currently ongoing in multiple states, “A lot of things [are] happening between now and Jan. 20.”

The president’s remarks, then, had something in them for everyone: For nervous Democrats, a tacit acknowledgement that he’ll leave the White House if the Electoral College goes to his opponent; and for disbelieving Trump supporters, a clear willingness to keep fighting and to lay out a strong case that fraud — and not the American people — elected Biden.

A week ago, President Trump directed the federal government’s General Services Administration to begin working with the Biden team on the peaceful and traditional transition of presidential power. That’s as it should be. But that directive doesn’t preclude the President and his legal team from aggressively pursuing his legal options on behalf of the 73 million Americans who voted for him.

“No one wants to see the kind of fraud this election has come to represent,” Trump said. “I know one thing: Joe Biden didn’t get 80 million votes.”

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