Donald Trump continues to embarrass himself and America. He lost the 2020 presidential election by more than 6 million popular votes, yet in his narcissistic alternative reality he refuses to acknowledge Joe Biden’s win, even as his administration agrees to assist with the transition.
If all goes as expected, Joe Biden will receive 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump’s 232 votes in the Electoral College. Trump lost the election. Instead of conceding, Trump declared the election was rigged and rife with fraud.
Trump said he was cheated, so he initiated more than 30 frivolous lawsuits with a slim hope of overturning the election. Although most of the spurious lawsuits were summarily thrown out of court, Trump continues with his false claims of voter irregularities.
On Nov. 17, Trump fired Christopher Krebs, director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, an expert hired by Trump to protect the election from cyberattacks. Krebs was justifiably proud of his accomplishment and had earlier announced that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.”
Since Krebs’ statement contradicted Trump’s claims of voter fraud, Krebs was fired via tweet. Trump also fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and several other Pentagon leaders whom Trump thought were not adequately loyal to him or had corrected his false narratives.
Trump knows that he lost the election, but he agitates his voter base to fuel hostility, promote civil disobedience in “blue” states, and undermine American democracy. At noon on Jan. 20, Trump will no longer be the president; but in the meantime, he is a loose cannon with the ability to cause great harm.
On Nov. 17, Trump announced troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, tacitly informing adversaries in the Middle East when to expect the troop reductions. The news media reported that Trump wanted to bomb Iran but was dissuaded from so doing by his advisors, causing more distrust in an unstable part of the world.
For weeks after the election, Trump forbade White House staff from communicating with the Biden team or facilitating the transition to the new administration. He refused to allow General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy to sign off on the process acknowledging Biden as the apparent winner of the election, then, on Nov. 23, finally relented.
Murphy was bound by the 1963 Presidential Transition Act to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power, but for weeks she ignored the law and refused to initiate a letter of ascertainment, delaying the formal transition process and preventing Biden’s team from receiving granular information, interacting with White House officials, and obtaining funding for office space and staffing.
Biden and others have accused Trump of giving up on managing the coronavirus, and the president at first blocked the White House COVID-19 Task Force from coordinating efforts with Biden’s coronavirus team. When Biden was asked the biggest problem with Trump blocking him from obtaining transition information, he replied the main issue was the coronavirus.
Joe Biden is a smart and experienced leader, so Trump’s obstructionist behavior may not have been catastrophic, although we may not know the full damage until later. But there isn’t any doubt that it would have been helpful for Biden to have earlier access to up-to-date detailed information on national security, foreign affairs, military deployments, climate initiatives, plans regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and the troubled economy.
Donald Trump is looking after his own interests, at the expense of America. Trump swore an oath as president of the United States to uphold and defend the Constitution. Instead, he peddled disinformation and enriched himself and his enablers to the detriment of democracy and the rule of law.
It is unprecedented that a president of the United States would go to such lengths to hinder his successor and the United States. Trump’s behavior comes as no surprise. In fact, it is predictable.
Donald Trump is burning the building on his way out to punish Americans for making him a loser. It will be a great day for America when Trump’s malevolent presence is absent from the White House and President Joe Biden assumes leadership.
Joe Biden is a man with intelligence, personal integrity, empathy and willingness to listen to experts to inform presidential decisions and policies.
Joanne Maypole of Westminster is a retired college history professor and administrator.
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