It’s basically inevitable that Joe Biden will pass the 270 electoral votes mark and be declared president. But, we just have one teeny-tiny problem to worry about: What will President Donald Trump do now that he is, in his own words, a “loser”?
Trump has made it chillingly clear, particularly in his lying rant slash “very low-energy attempt at a coup”, that he has no plans to call Biden and concede or make a conciliatory speech once the results are more official. He has also reportedly told people close to him he won’t concede. There are no surprises here — this is who Trump is; he doesn’t know how to be a graceful loser and has no regard for the democratic process. But while calling your opponent to concede is a long-accepted norm of American politics, it’s hardly a constitutional requirement. Despite the indisputable damage this does to our democracy and the fact that it unlocks new levels of Trump’s shamelessness, we don’t actually need it.
An even scarier prospect than Trump not conceding, but eventually leaving, would be if Trump just decided to hunker down in the White House past Inauguration Day, the day the Constitution dictates one presidential term ends and another begins. Thankfully, at that point, Biden would have “the power to direct the Secret Service to physically remove Trump from the White House like any other trespasser,” Barbara McQuade, who was the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017, told Vox. (We can’t say that wouldn’t be incredibly satisfying to watch, although we really don’t think it will come to that.)
Even more terrifying than that, though, would be if the legal challenges Trump has already put up cause a delay in Congress certifying the results in early January, in which case we would be in really murky territory. For now, though, it seems like Trump is “increasingly isolated” in his quest to convince everyone this is a stolen election with massive voter fraud, although some aides are still playing along and pacifying him, according to CNN.
Recent reporting does paint a picture of an increasingly desperate and sad figure in the White House. Sources close to the White House told CNN some senior officials are starting to “quietly back away from Trump, in acts of self-preservation.” When asked what Trump might do next, one adviser said, “God. Who knows.” There’s also an ongoing conversation about who’s going to be the lucky one to finally hold an intervention with Trump and patiently explain that when you lose the election, it means you’re not president anymore — possibly even arguing that it’s better for his business and brand if he doesn’t draw this out. Some are saying that honour might go to Ivanka Trump or Jared Kushner, although it’s unclear whether either of them actually wants to deliver the news.
Whatever is happening with our soon-to-be lame-duck president, the Biden campaign says they are extremely confident in the former Vice President’s imminent — very soon! We wish time would hurry up! — victory, and will do everything possible to ensure a peaceful transfer of power. And if Trump refuses to GTFO, well, then...
“The American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House," campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement.