The defiant US reigning President, Donald Trump, who had been consistently refusing to accept defeat, has for the first time on November 15, admitted that his Democratic rival and presidential nominee Joe Biden had “won” the US Presidential election – but then he quickly clarified he was “not conceding.”
Again whatever Trump may mean by saying so, but he tweeted, “Biden won because the election was rigged… I concede nothing.” As a face-saving effort on November 19, Trump’s reelection campaign said it was seeking a partial recount of Wisconsin’s results hoping to reverse the victory of Biden.
However, it looks that Trump has resigned to accept the fact that he lost the US Presidential election, which was held on November 3. And the subsequently results of vote counting that trickled for another three days had shown that Biden has polled more than the mandatory 270 electoral-college votes leaving Trump trailing. But since then Trump has been claiming that the polls have been rigged and that he would not concede defeat. Thereafter uncertainty had prevailed over the possibility of smooth transition of power, until November 15 when Trump had come out with his conflicting response. This reluctant response of Trump has come out only after bloody violent clashes rocked Washington DC, when Trump’s MAGA supporters, who took out a rally in support of Trump’s claim of voting fraud, clashed with Antifa activists, who believed that it was Trump, who was trying to subvert people’s mandate.
The videos posted on the social media had shown some demonstrators and counter-demonstrators trading shoves, punches and slaps. Anti-Trump protesters clashed with law enforcement personnel in downtown DC as they tried to make their way to hotel where Trump supports were staying. Reports said that Trump briefly drove by the protestors through Pennsylvania Avenue on his way to his golf course in a Virginia suburb and waved at his supporters. He blamed that news channels were not showing the massive gathering of his supporters. He claimed that Antifa supporters had waited until the end of the march to attack attendees as he praised his supporters saying that they had aggressively fought back.
On November 13, Biden, who has already been recognized as the President-elect, further consolidated his Presidential poll victory by capturing Arizona, giving his Democratic Party 290 electoral college votes. For the second time in more than seven decades, a Democrat had carried Arizona in a Presidential election. Arizona is considered to be as a Republican stronghold. Harry Truman was the first to win the state in 1948 and Bill Clinton narrowly won the same in 1996. Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, had brought Biden a total of 290 electoral votes, 20 more than the 270 required by him to occupy the White House.
Having observed a clear electoral mandate in favor of Biden and Harris, China which was silent till then, had congratulated Biden and his Vice Presidential running mate Kamala Harris for their victory. Pope Francis also offered his “blessings and congratulations to Biden and Harris. Biden, a Roman Catholic, in reply, expressed his hope to work with the Pope on issues such as climate change, poverty alleviation and immigration issue. Biden is the second Catholic to be elected as the President of the US after John F. Kennedy.
Even earlier, Biden had said that he had been congratulated by several world leaders, including India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directly calling him not following the usual protocol route of seeking assistance from the US State Department.
Biden said that Trump, refusing to concede defeat, even after losing court cases and not finding any clues to voting fraud and malpractices, was an embarrassment. Conditioned by his own alleged observations, Trump, who sensed some sort of preparations were going on for a coup attempt among Pentagon bigwigs, had initiated a shakeup by firing his Defense Secretary Mark Esper and three other top officials replacing them with his close aides. Only about a week ago Esper was one of the signatories of the Indo-US Defense pacts signed at the third 2+2 Dialogue held in New Delhi.
After appointing Christopher Miller as a new Acting Defense Secretary, Trump also appointed an Indian-American Kash Patel, who was a former National Security Council aide, as his Chief of Staff. Trump also named Anthony Tata, a Senate-rejected former General as the Undersecretary of Policy, following the resignation of James Anderson, a former Marine Intelligence Officer. Also, in a latest action, Trump has fired his own administrative official, Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs, blaming “glitches” in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden.
But with Biden winning with such a comfortable majority (290) electoral college votes, Trump hoping to continue to remain in the White House is nothing short of a wishful thinking and hope against hope. Therefore, Biden, being on a strong ground, has already begun initiating the transition process by selecting his transition staff consisting of some 500 members, including two dozens of Indian-Americans.
The latest media reports quote that former US President Barack Obama, who has been credited for vigorously campaigning in favor of the Biden-Harris combine, says that it is appropriate for Trump to concede defeat to Biden, as there is no reason to hope for the reversal of the outcome of the November 3 Presidential poll results. As if to confirm the popular verdict of American people, Trump’s NSA Robert O’Brien also promises “a very professional transition” to the Biden administration. Addressing the Global Security Forum, O’Brien says, “… If the Biden-Harris ticket is determined to be the winner – obviously things look that way. We’ll have a very professional transition from the National Security Council.”
Even from the time of pre-poll campaigning, Trump at various meetings and forums has been saying that whatever the results may be, based on his strong information and gut feeling, that the polls would not be fair, hence he would not vacate the White House. But now the claims of Trump have been amply proven baseless and the Biden-Harris combine has been proven to be unquestionably the winning team.
Thus, Trump has no other choice but to vacate the White House honorably, paving the way for a smooth transition that enables Biden and Harris to take their oaths of office on January 20, 2021. And that will be the ultimate reality. In view of such reality, Trump, during the period of transition, must refrain from taking any aggressive actions, including one against Iran, which he has been harboring for the past four years. It is a sane decision that he has refrained from taking such an action for now.
– Contributed by Mr. J.V. Laskshmana Rao, a former National News Coordinator of Express News Service, New Delhi, and former Chief Editor of US-based India Tribune. He frequently travels between India and the US.
Picture Credits: gallup.com
Note: The article has been updated on November 19, 2020 to report Trump’s request for recount in Wisconsin.