As votes continue to be tallied on Friday in key swing states, it increasingly appears that former Vice President Joe Biden is in the lead and edging closer to sealing Trump’s fate as a one-term president. However, the incumbent president has shown no sign that he plans to concede defeat, according to people close to the White House.
As the vote count continued at a glacial through the week, Trump has reportedly not even considered conceding the election or drawing up notes for a concession speech, raising the possibility that he will wage a bitter fight to cling to the White House by any means.
The president’s subordinates, such as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have also reportedly not attempted to convince him to accept the encroaching defeat and have instead backed his claim that the election is being stolen from him through a vast conspiracy involving big tech, local government officials, and the mainstream media.
A refusal to offer a concession speech to his Democratic rival if the former vice president wins the 2020 election would mark a sharp break from a 124-year tradition in U.S. politics that is largely ceremonial and by no means required.
Associated Press and Fox News currently have Biden with 264 electoral college votes (other outlets have him at 253) versus Trump’s 214. If Biden reaches the 270 mark, he will be declared president-elect.
Business Insider has declared Joe Biden the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election with 273 electoral votes, noting that he had over 4 million more popular votes than Trump as of Friday and had already flipped Pennsylvania.
For months, Biden led Trump in polling on the statewide and national levels, but the polls in many key states exaggerated his lead and the possibility of a Democratic “Blue Wave” sweeping across the electorate.
With vote counts ongoing in several states, it increasingly appeared clear that Biden, 77, would eke out a narrow victory in crucial swing states. In the meantime, the Trump campaign and a handful of Republican allies repeatedly made claims that the president had prevailed in the race, citing “legal votes” versus ostensibly illegal votes (by dead people, fraudulent voters, and the like).
President Trump has reportedly recognized in private that the electoral math simply doesn’t favor his chances, according to people close to the Oval Office, but he is still hoping that a protracted legal battle and the continued spreading of conspiracy theories about fraud would give him the space to refuse to accept the results.
“We’re hearing stories that are horror stories,” Trump said on Thursday. “We think there is going to be a lot of litigation because we have so much evidence and so much proof.”
However, AP reports: “Trump has produced no evidence of systemic problems in voting or counting. In fact, the ballot-counting process across the country has been running smoothly for the most part, even with the U.S. in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic.”
A number of Republican officials – including Republican Senators Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey, and the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump – have either failed to endorse the president’s fabricated assertions, or have condemned them. This has left Trump’s sons, his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a number of MAGA activists alone to do the heavy lifting of defending the president’s claims.
This has left Trump perplexed about why he’s not receiving more support from Republicans, and why his claims aren’t being corroborated by widespread allegations of voter irregularities similar to his own.
Biden’s campaign, in the meantime, has taken Trump’s angry tweets and claims of fraud in stride.
“As we said on July 19, the American people will decide this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House,” said campaign spokesman Andrew Bates in a statement.
In the meantime, the Biden campaign says that he is likely to give a speech on Friday evening, but have given no indication about what he plans to say.
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