As the world jubilates over the announcement of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 US election, the refusal of his challenger and the incumbent President, Donald Trump, to concede defeat, is casting shadows on the credibility of the election more than 24 hours after the results were announced.
Biden surpassed the 270 votes from the Electoral College, which he needed to win by 7 and popular votes of 75, 215, 431 or 51.5 per cent, with Trump trailing behind with 213 votes from the Electoral College or 70, 812, 515 or 48.5 per cent popular votes,
While Trump has yet to give any public sign, he’s prepared to relinquish power, sources tell CNN on Saturday that Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has approached him about conceding the election.
Trump has not denied the outcome of the election, privately at least, sources tell CNN. But he’s continuing to push his attorneys to pursue legal challenges that would delay formal certification of the results. Chief of staff Mark Meadows, who is working from home after testing positive for corona virus, discussed next steps with the legal team Saturday.
Trump again on Saturday baselessly impugned mail-in ballots, which overwhelmingly tipped the election in Biden’s favor, and repeated the falsehoods on Twitter that he “WON THE ELECTION.” He claimed “bad things happened” in the election that his poll observers were not allowed to see, even though there is no evidence that GOP poll watchers were systematically shut out of the process anywhere in the country.
“71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon. (While the popular vote tally was continuing to rise for both men as ballots were counted Saturday, Biden had won 74.5 million votes and Trump had won 70.4 million votes).
Trump’s campaign team is expected to continue its effort to dispute the election results with a next round of lawsuits Monday, but so far they have been unable to point to any credible instance of voter fraud that would alter the outcome of the race.
It is not clear how isolated instances of irregularities, even if found, would add up to a case with sufficient legal questions to make it all the way to the Supreme Court or would challenge the integrity of an election that Biden looks set to eventually win with sufficient electoral votes, which would make challenges in individual states unlikely to alter the national result.
The legal front looks increasingly like a rallying point for partisans keen to prevent Biden’s presidency from being seen as legitimate by Trump supporters and as a face-saving way for the President himself to explain his defeat.
Renowned Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg said that there was no sign that the President had any case that could change the result of the election. He told CNN’s Erin Burnett that there was so far “no evidence of the systemic fraud or irregularities to cast any of the results in any of the states into doubt.”
The White House signalled that the public was unlikely to see the President soon after he returned from playing golf Saturday afternoon, but he was well within earshot of the crowds clamouring for his exit in Washington, DC.
One joyful gathering was directly across from the White House in Black Lives Matter Plaza, near where the Trump administration enraged activists in June by clearing peaceful protesters with pepper balls, flashbangs and rubber bullets during a demonstration against police brutality shortly before Trump walked across the street for a photo op while holding a
Bible in front of historic St. John’s Church.
While Trump may not accept that he has lost, many world leaders did on Saturday as they sent congratulatory messages to Biden and Harris.
In a sign of how quickly global realities shift after a US election, even some leaders who had courted Trump, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, rushed to congratulate the President-elect.
In perhaps the most notable message, India’s nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had appeared at huge campaign-style rallies with Trump in India and the United States, tweeted a picture of Biden leaning in to whisper in his ear during a previous meeting.
Modi sent a separate tweet congratulating Harris and noting her Indian heritage, saying her success was a great source of pride for Indian Americans and her “chittis” — a Tamil term of endearment that has been used by the vice president-elect.