Lame duck Trump defies tradition

Trump’s refusal to concede breaks with a tradition in U.S. power transition

By Chloe Salveson, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of The White House via
President Trump and his campaign team have filed extensive lawsuits in swing states, especially targeting the crucial now-blue electoral vote of Pennsylvania. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already stated his support.

“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” President Donald Trump remarked in a statement published November 7 in response to the press deeming Vice President Joe Biden the President Elect. Trump will most definitely not act according to the expectations of a lame duck.  

Because each state determines its own timeline for election result certification before the Electoral College casts its electoral votes and Congress counts the electoral votes, the results of the 2020 election will not be finalized until January. During this time, Trump and his administration have made it clear they will not easily concede.  

On Monday, an 85-page lawsuit was filed by the Trump campaign against Kathy Boockvay, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, among numerous boards of elections in Pennsylvania in efforts to stop Pennsylvania’s secretary of state from certifying election results. The lawsuit reads that the goal is to ensure “the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election” and “protect our democracy with complete transparency.” 

Ongoing voting inaccuracy accusations and legal challenges have led to the mention of recounts projected to be completed near the end of November. The lawsuits towards Pennsylvania are intended to trigger a recount. In Michigan, petitions for recount are possible but uncertain. The Trump campaign has already called for a recount in Wisconsin. The secretary of state in Georgia announced an audit, recount and recanvas of the ballots yesterday.  

Disputed accusations towards the mismanagement of the election process are based on voter fraud. While voter fraud is rare, there is the slight possibility of its occurrence. However, in usual cases such as filling out a dead family member’s ballot, it does not change the outcome of the election. Trump campaign officials have posed allegations that over 21,000 dead residents can be found on voter rolls in PA. Even if these votes were to be cast aside, Biden would still have the lead.  

While many believe the efforts to expose perceived voter fraud may come across as a Hail Mary, others note the legitimacy of Trump’s statements. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) and other influential Republicans have supported Trump in his contest of the election results. 

McConnell delivered an address on the Senate floor demonstrating that Trump is “100 percent within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.” One senior Republican official told the Washington Post of the conspiratorial claims, “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time?” 

Attorney General William P. Barr, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, instructed the Justice Department and federal prosecutors to examine voting irregularity allegations last Monday as well. In response to the directive, Richard Pilger announced his resignation the same day. It is implied Pilger cannot continue his duties in good conscience.  

Biden, in regards to the legal action against possible voter fraud, stated, “I think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly.” Despite the allegations of irregularities and the possibility of Trump’s reelection, Biden continues to plan to unify the country, combat the rising COVID-19 cases and relieve the economic and racial strife.  

When questioned about the engagement with Biden’s transition team on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”  

Trump and other Republicans have filed more than 12 lawsuits, most aimed towards Pennsylvania and its crucial electoral votes. There is an upcoming news conference this Monday discussing additional litigation as both Republican and Democrat top officials in battleground states report that there is no obvious widespread voting irregularities, fraud or illegal activity.  

The effect of Trump’s controversial actions towards staying in power are unclear. The Trump administration has made no effort to transition out of office thus far.