WASHINGTON: He won’t accept the results, he won’t concede, and he won’t give up trying to reverse the verdict. Despite global acknowledgement and recognition that Joe Biden has won the election, despite adverse rulings in the courts, despite many Republican officials certifying there was no fraud on a scale that could overturn the election results, US President Donald Trump is digging in to the White House, holding up transition to the next administration amid a terrifying increase in Covid-19 cases nationwide with the death toll now crossing 250,000.
Just how long the impasse will last and where it will all lead is unclear, but one thing is becoming apparent: hardliners on both sides are getting increasingly agitated, with vengeful calls of “Lock him up!” erupting amid a growing political chasm over everything from pandemic control measures to certifying election results. Experts are warning that the deadlock could aggravate the pandemic with the incoming administration denied access to information vital to meeting the challenge, including on the development and distribution of vaccines.
While the General Services Administration still has yet to acknowledge Biden’s victory and begin the formal transition as mandated under law, some Trump administration officials and GOP lawmakers are reported to be reaching out informally to the Biden campaign, putting national interest over partisan politics, while keeping an eye and ear out for a President who is quick to punish what he sees as betrayal. With the clock ticking down for formal certification of results by states, the defeated President is urging Republican officials and courts in at least four battleground states to declare him a winner despite losing the popular vote by maintaining that tens of thousands of ballots are invalid because they arrived late or were cast without Republican observers were absent or because signatures did not match – arguments that have been dismissed by several courts.
Election officials in Georgia and Wisconsin have said a recount of votes they have undertaken is not likely to change President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in those states. Trump lawyers are also pressing ahead with more legal challenges in Pennsylvania despite several humiliating setbacks.
Nevertheless, in a new tack, Trump is insisting that “thousands of uncounted votes (were) discovered in Georgia counties,” while urging the state’s partisan Governor Brian Kemp, who Democrats have long alleged has tried to suppress black voters, to undertake a signature match that would flip the state Republican. “Important News Conference today by lawyers on a very clear and viable path to victory. Pieces are very nicely falling into place,” he tweeted.
Important News Conference today by lawyers on a very clear and viable path to victory. Pieces are very nicely falli… https://t.co/wXWZdjUSHz
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1605790745000
Democrats are alleging that the Trump effort to subvert the results center on invalidating votes from cities that are black-majority or have significant black population, including Atlanta in Georgia, Detroit in Michigan, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania. “Voter Fraud in Detroit is rampant, and has been for many years!” the defeated President tweeted on Thursday.
Trump won Michigan by a narrow 10,000 votes in 2016. He did not allege voter fraud then and Hillary Clinton did not challenge the result.
The defeated US President also continued to make light of the resurgent pandemic, preferring to look at the positive side of things. “THE COVID DRUGS NOW AVAILABLE TO MAKE PROPLE BETTER ARE AMAZING, BUT SELDOM TALKED ABOUT BY THE MEDIA! Mortality rate is 85% down!” he said, adding, “VACCINES ARE COMING FAST!!!”
THE COVID DRUGS NOW AVAILABLE TO MAKE PROPLE BETTER ARE AMAZING, BUT SELDOM TALKED ABOUT BY THE MEDIA! Mortality rate is 85% down!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1605789774000
Frontline health workers and medical personnel are expected to get first preference for the vaccines and they won’t be widely available for the general public till March-April at least, according to expert estimates. By then, the gridlock and lack of consensus on measures to control the virus spread are expected to result in tens of thousands more deaths.