Friday, 27 Nov 2020

US election: Will Donald Trump physically refuse to leave White House now Joe Biden has won?

With the election result still hanging in the balance, a US media report claims President Donald Trump has signalled the Secret Service may have to drag him from the White House “kicking and screaming”.

The idea that the President might actually refuse to physically leave was inherent in Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates’ remark saying he wasn’t worried about Trump vacating.

“The American people will decide this election. And the US government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House,” Bates said.

As Biden supporters flooded Twitter with memes and posts hashtagged #TrumpMeltdown and #You’reFired, Vanity Fair claimed Trump was showing signs he had gone “full delusional”.

It tweeted that Trump had “signalled to allies” that he’ll never concede and “plans to barricade himself in the Oval office and refuse to come out if Biden wins”.

“Trump apparently thinks he can just go on being president even if the American people have fired him,” Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin wrote in her column, The Levin Report.

“The decision… has obviously been strengthened by staffers, such as [White House chief of Staff] Mark Meadows, who, CNN reported, have not attempted to come to terms with the President about the reality of what is happening.”

Vanity Fair claimed Trump “has apparently admitted to some people” he knows the voting numbers spell defeat for him.

But he has “maintained that a prolonged court battle and corrosive rhetoric about election fraud would sow enough doubt to allow him to refuse to accept the results”.

Senior White House correspondents reported insiders were now saying that with Trump refusing to concede, discussions were being held about how to convince him to leave.

“I had one person close to the White House tell me, ‘No one is willing to tell King Lear the truth,'” said Hallie Jackson, MSNBC’s White House correspondent.

CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins said sources were telling her that “the President has said he has no plans to concede this election to Joe Biden”.

“That creates this conversation about who is going to be the person that’s going to reckon with the President and tell him that his time in office could be coming to an end.

“That’s a conversation that I’m told the President’s allies are still having, they’re not sure who that person is going to be.

“They’ve talked about Jared Kushner, someone like an Ivanka Trump, but they haven’t figured out who it is to bring the President to terms with reality.”

Vanity Fair said it wasn’t clear if the couple would be willing to undertake this “difficult intervention”.

“It is a possibility the President did not consider [losing] in a serious way during the election… believing that looking past election day was bad luck.

“Now people around Trump are working to identify who might be able to communicate to him the stark reality.”

One idea being floated to convince Trump to accept defeat is “framing potential conversations… around the idea of preserving his brand for life after being president”.

This would require explaining to Trump that dragging out a concession and digging in at Pennsylvania Avenue would ruin his businesses and damage his political future.

Opinion pieces already written have said that, even in defeat, Trump is still the most powerful Republican on earth.

Given that it was a close election and not a Biden landslide, he could still have an important role in the party.

But petulant denial, falsehoods about fraud and just being a bad loser might erode that influence.

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