President Trump Not Willing to Concede to President-elect Biden

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Joe Biden: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (source: Joe Biden); User:TDKR Chicago 101 (clipping)Donald Trump: Shealah Craighead (source: White House)Сombination: krassotkin, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

This is a photo of Biden and Trump. Biden is the President-elect of the United States, since he won the electoral vote. On President Trump not willing to concede, Biden said that it is embarrassing that Trump is doing this and that it will hurt Trump’s legacy as President.

Caitlynn Kelley, Editor

On November 7, 2020, three days after the 2020 Presidential election, the Associated Press declared that Joe Biden won the election. While many Americans and people around the world celebrated, President Trump wasn’t so pleased. After it was released that Biden had won the election, President Trump at first tweeted that he won the election by a lot and that Biden won due to voter fraud. He also called the election “rigged” and claimed that there were illegal votes casted, which are all false allegations. Later on in November, President Trump admitted on Twitter that Biden won, but also tweeted that he wouldn’t concede anything. Due to President Trump not conceding, the Biden Administration has been blocked from intelligence briefings, information about vaccine distribution, which could hamper the Biden Administration’s response to the coronavirus, and so on. Although it is not legally necessary, conceding power to the President elect is what is expected of Presidents and Trump is the first US President in modern history to not want to concede power. A smooth transition of power helps President elects start them build up their administrations, get acquainted with foreign leaders, and especially during a national emergency, like a pandemic, to get briefings about it and know about distribution of a cure. 

Twitter has stated that all official White House twitter accounts (FLOTUS, POTUS, and White House, VP, etc) will be transferred over to the Biden Administration on January 20, 2021, whether or not Trump has conceded. The lawsuit that the Trump Administration with Michigan was dropped. Biden won by 160,000 votes. Trump may be applying pressure on legislatures to reverse their election results. Trump did invite legislators from Detroit, Michigan to the White House. These legislators didn’t agree to validate the election results in Detroit. 

Regarding how Trump at first tweeted that he won the 2020 Presidential Election, senior Tyler Woods simply states, “It is false. Trump didn’t win.”

Regarding who won the 2020 Presidential election, senior Kalaheo Pornelos believes that Trump won overall, “I believe that Biden won the popular vote and that Trump won the electoral vote.” (Biden won the electoral college and the popular vote according to CBS News).

Senior Ethan Bunn feels that Trump’s tweets reflect his own personality and morals, “I feel that Trump’s tweets are very representative of his character, especially the tweets surrounding November 3rd and the election as a whole. In my opinion, Trump is a flat out narcissist who couldn’t handle the idea that he had lost, in any capacity. His tweets are a reflection of that.”

On Trump calling the election rigged, Woods says, “It is ironic. In the 2016 Presidential election, he denied that there was any outside interference. Now that he has lost, he says that it is rigged.”

Pornelos believes that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent, “I believe this election contained the most voter fraud we’ve ever experienced in our nation’s history. I think that it’s hypocritical when Democrats said the 2016 election was completely rigged and when it came to Biden winning they looked the other way and said that zero fraud was happening.”

Bunn believes that Trump already had planned to declare that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged. “I would think that he is delusional, that his own ego won’t allow him to believe that he lost fairly, but his actions leading up to the election lead me to believe that his claims of fraud were pre-planned. Trump has been pushing for his voters to vote in person, while at the same time, slowly trying to erode the US Postal Service. I believe that the appointing of Louis DeJoy as postmaster general was a part of his plan to rig the election in his own favor, as DeJoy introduced an overhaul of the mailing system that had negative consequences, particularly when it came to mail-ballots coming in on time to be counted. I think Trump’s claims of fraud were a way to cause doubt in the election and to shift that doubt onto Biden in order for Trump to be able to challenge the outcome of the election. “

On November 17, 2020, President Trump fired Christoper Krebs, the top election security official and the director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Krebs was known for going against Trump’s claims that there was election fraud, stating that this election was one the safest in the nation’s history. Trump has spread misinformation on his Twitter account on mail-in ballots in California and other states. He has falsely claimed that mail-in ballots can create fraud in the election. Data from the conservative Heritage foundation show that there have been 1,200 allegations of voter fraud since 2000. From the 1,200 allegations, there were 204 allegations and 143 convictions dealing with mail-in ballots. That is a small amount from the 250 million mail-in ballots that were casted from 2000 to the present. There was a study made in Florida in 2018 about how mail-in ballots were counted. Voters that need assistance in signing their ballots and young voters were most likely not to have their ballots counted. This shows that rules for disqualifying mail-in ballots may not be the same or that signatures of voters change over time, which may lead to disqualification. 

On Kreb’s firing, Woods states, “It is something that Trump has done over the years in his administration. Fauci has worked in different administrations for both parties and a noble figure when it comes to the coronavirus. He is also a notable figure due to his knowledge of medicine. Krebs is similar to Fauci in his field. Trump doesn’t like people that disagree with him. He is indiscriminate that he fires those that disagree with him.”

Concerning Krebs firing, Pornelos believes that it made sense that he was fired. “I can understand why he was fired. You don’t work on Trump’s team and then go against him. That’s just foolish, same would go for if he was working with Biden’s team and said that the election was definitely rigged; you can’t just say that.”

Bunn details that the firing of Krebs further improves that the allegations of election fraud are false. “I think Kreb’s firing just goes further to show that these claims of election fraud are baseless and completely made up. Many politicians and members of the government have certain biases or ties to one party or the other, but seeing Krebs gain bipartisan support shows that he wasn’t covering up anything for the Democratic party. He was simply doing his job, and when that exposed that Trump’s claims were baseless, Trump just went ahead and fired him. Again, it just goes to show that this whole conspiracy theory about voter fraud and election rigging is nothing more than a temper tantrum thrown by the President of the United States because he lost a fair election. “

President Trump refusing to concede is disturbing to those that study democracies. Dartmouth political scientist Nyhan states that the US is less of a democracy after Trump’s Administration, due to not transitioning his powers to Biden. Also, New York Times journalist Max Fisher stated that the US will have to deal with how Trump chooses not to concede his loss, transition his powers, and so on in the future. 

Woods agrees with Nyhans’s words, “It is absolutely true. Mr. Trump doesn’t have any educational background in politics or government. It makes sense that his actions aren’t in line with a democracy.”

Pornelos believes that Trump has a right to keep on with his campaign of figuring out whether he won. “I believe heavily in democracy, but in a situation like this President Trump has every right to push forward and not give up his campaign due to all of the voter fraud present. However, I don’t believe he should stretch it out for longer than it should.”

I believe heavily in democracy, but in a situation like this President Trump has every right to push forward and not give up his campaign due to all of the voter fraud present. However, I don’t believe he should stretch it out for longer than it should.”

Regarding Nyhan’s words, Bunn also agrees, “I definitely agree with them. Trump not conceding power is very reminiscent of Vladimir Putin’s actions regarding Russian elections.” Vladimir Putin was elected as Prime Minister in 2008 after being President of Russia during 2000 until 2008. He served his two terms consecutively. He won re-election as president on 2012 when there was a change to the legislation that allows Presidents to be incumbents for 6 years.

Bunn continued, “He simply just doesn’t leave the presidency. The president is supposed to be elected for the people, by the people. When the people elect Joe Biden and Trump refuses to leave power, then I think that goes against our very idea of democracy. Of course, Trump still has a few more weeks before he has to go through with the transition of power from himself to Biden, so it is hard to say if things have really come to that. But I do think that even Trump’s actions now in denying the election results sets a sort of precedent that that is something that’s ok. That a president losing the election, and then challenging that election with baseless claims in order to change the outcome of the election is somehow allowed. It begs the question, how far will we let someone in power go before we say that’s enough? I guess we’ll see in January.”

Due to Trump not conceding, he is withholding classified intelligence briefings from the Biden Administration. These briefings include information about terrorism, the coronavirus, and so on. The Biden Administration states that the transition is still going on, despite the Trump Administration not willing to see Biden as the President elect. There are numerous background checks that are held on the employees that work at the White House, which take a while. Also, the employees of the past administration talk to the new administration and recommend what they should do. Secretary of Defense William Cohen from the Clinton Administration called the Secretary of Defense of the Bush Administration during Clinton’s concession. He said that it is normal for past government officials to give advice to the next government officials for them to be able to protect the United States as best as they can. A Biden transition official, Yohannes Abraham stated that without access to classified reports, that it puts the country’s national security at risk. Former Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said that the US’s enemies look for times of weakness, and when they find one, they strike immediately.

Concerning how the Biden Administration doesn’t have access to security briefings and how this impacts the United States, Woods elaborates, “This endangers the U.S. Trump doesn’t care about the US or the people. He likes to have power and his not conceding shows that he wants to hold onto the Presidency as much as possible.”

Regarding how the intelligence briefings aren’t going to the Biden Administration, Pornelos says, “I’d prefer Trump hold onto that information, it could be costly in the wrong hands.”

On how President Trump is not giving Biden access to security briefings, Bunn states, “I think, at this point, Trump has realized that the election isn’t going to be redone. He knows that come January, he will no longer be in office with the way things are currently going. So honestly, I think he is just doing this out of spite. I think he is hoping to sort of sabotage Biden’s presidency in any way he can to sort of ‘prove’ to the American people that he was the better president. Either way, it is completely undemocratic and insane that he is allowed to do this.”

The Trump Administration has had lawsuits trying to override Biden’s wins in different states, such as Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. These are states Biden only won by slim margin or where the state still needs to call out a winner. Georgia called out Biden as the winner on November 20, but the Trump called for Georgia to recount it’s votes a third time. Biden won in Nevada, despite Trump’s campaign attorney trying to invalidate is win. Despite Republican Legislators meeting with President Trump at the White House, they see nothing that could change Biden’s win in Michigan. On November 22, a judge ruled out Trump’s lawsuit. Pennsylvania will be able to validate their election results as soon as next week. In Pennsylvania, Biden is leading Trump by 80,000 votes.  able to validate the election results Judges in those states have already dismissed the cases that the Trump Administration has brought forward. Many of the lawsuits were ousted due to lack of merit. The ruling in Georgia shows that Biden won the election through the recounting of votes. The lawsuit was filed after a poll watcher in Chatham County, Georgia, stated that there were ballots received after 7:00 PM. A judge dismissed the lawsuit based on the testimony of county officials that the ballots were received on time.

Woods says that the lawsuits against Biden’s win in those states is unpresidential, ”In 2016, when Hillary Clinton was going to lose, she conceded….It is something that is expected of presidential candidates and incumbents.The Trump Administration going to lengths to invalidate the Presidential election shows that he doesn’t understand that that he has lost and doesn’t want to think that he has lost. “

Pornelos believes that the courts are trying to quiet Trump and that he will persist. “I believe that these courts even denying the chance to let Trump appeal his case goes to show that they all want to silence him, because Trump’s a man who will fight ‘till the death and won’t give up. They know he can provide them some evidence, so they choose to deny it.”

Bunn believes that it is “asinine” that something like this is happening.

Also during the concession process, the incoming president needs to build diplomatic relations with other leaders. Since the Trump Administration didn’t concede to Biden, he has been making diplomatic phone calls with world leaders, without the assistance of a Department of State translator. Although he has had a lot of experience with building relations with foreign nations, he still needs to be briefed on what they expect from him. Also, he has been making phone calls from his house that can be eavesdropped on by adversary countries because the White House Communications Agency isn’t allowed to run wires to his house to protect his phone. The Trump Administration also hasn’t informed him about vaccine distribution, including the project that he is going to distribute them with, Warp Speed. 

Pornelos says that he doesn’t see the COVID-19 Pandemic as a big deal and is worried about Biden making phone calls on unsecured phone lines, “I agree with the Trump team blocking off Biden’s vaccine, as one I would never trust a vaccine like that, and two, I don’t look at the coronavirus as a big deal. For the second part, I don’t think Biden’s stable enough to be around foreign leaders. I think it’s terrible that if true, Biden is making phone calls on unsecured phone lines. That is something everybody should be terrified of.”

On how Biden’s phone can be taped Woods states, “That is reckless. If they [Biden’s home calls] are more informal or unofficial it doesn’t present as much as an issue. However, it is something that shouldn’t happen.”

Regarding how Trump is withholding vaccine distribution information, Bunn says, “Again, I think that Trump is trying to somehow sabotage Biden and make him seem bad or unprepared during his presidency. The coronavirus is a huge point of interest when it comes to Trump’s presidency. If I’m not mistaken, America is leading the world in the number of cases/deaths from the virus. I think that Trump is just trying to shift the blame over onto Biden somehow. Or he could literally just be doing it out of spite. I really wouldn’t put it past Donald Trump to withhold vital information and resources on the pandemic just to be petty.”

There have been conspiracy theories around the 2020 Presidential election, many of them trying to pass misinformation to invalidate Biden’s win. One states that 20,000 dead people from Pennsylvania voted for Biden (this conspiracy theory was debunked). Another claims that the Dominion Voting Systems deleted Trump votes. Trump retweeted the Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy theory. Dominion Voting Systems said that the allegations that they deleted votes for Trump is false. 

Regarding the 2020 Presidential election conspiracy theories, Woods says, “The simple fact that these [conspiracy theories] exist doesn’t prove much of an issue, because people don’t have to believe them. However, Trump supported a conspiracy theory, invalidating that [Biden] is going to be president. His support for conspiracy theories show that he isn’t mentally fit to be president. Anything that he disagrees with is untrue and anything that he agrees with is fact, despite what people might say.”

Pornelos believes that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged in Biden’s favor, “I may not give into every conspiracy theory, but I know for sure there is voter fraud present. I think Trump has a lot to work on when it comes down to credibility and maturity, but I do understand where he’s coming from as this election was definitely rigged in Biden’s favor.”

I think that, even if every single one of the conspiracy theories gets thrown out and debunked, they still did the job that they needed to do… I do not think that the conspiracy theories were meant to switch the outcome of the election necessarily, but to sow doubt and fear into Trump supporters.”

— Ethan Bunn

The conspiracy theories supported by those on social media come to home for Bunn, “I think that, even if every single one of the conspiracy theories gets thrown out and debunked, they still did the job that they needed to do. Trump’s supporters, not all of them of course but a good majority, are the type to hear one of these theories and immediately take it as fact. I’ve seen it for myself. My family comes from Georgia, a state with a very high percentage of Trump supporters, and facebook has been going crazy these last couple of weeks. People will truly believe anything they’re told without one pause to stop and question if it is factual or not. I do not think that the conspiracy theories were meant to switch the outcome of the election necessarily, but to sow doubt and fear into Trump supporters. The whole anti-mask movement that is so intrinsically linked to Trump supporters is all about the government telling you what to do and policing your actions. These conspiracy theories only serve to further push that idea that the government is making moves behind the people’s backs and doing things on their own terms. I’m not surprised at all that Trump showed public support for one of these theories, in fact I’d be more surprised if he didn’t.”