Donald Trump is still president, and normally that would mean he acknowledges reality and concedes the 2020 election to Joe Biden.
But, as Americans have learned over the past four years, this presidency isn’t normal.
“A senior Republican who talks often to Trump told me the president is ‘angry … volatile … disconsolate,’” reports Mike Allen of Axios.
It appears that Trump and his Republicans allies are prepared to join in a campaign of obstruction, in the vain hope that a legal challenge will overturn Biden’s clear victory.
Axios reported on Sunday night that, as Allen puts it, “most people close to Trump know the race is over, although no one wants to tell him.”
Some ranking Republicans told Politico “they were not surprised that the president would challenge the results, given his nature.”
Unless someone can convince the president that he can’t win, it could mean weeks in court and even campaign-style rallies at which Trump will seek support for what nearly all observers outside the White House see as a lost cause.
The legal challenge would also hinder and delay Biden’s transition to power — in part by denying him government resources that should automatically come to him under the Presidential Transition Act.
Those resources — including offices in the White House and all federal agencies — are controlled by the General Services Administration, whose Trump-appointed administrator, Emily Murphy “has resisted affirming that Biden won the election,” Politico reports.
“By declaring the ‘apparent winner’ of a presidential election, the GSA administrator releases computer systems and money for salaries and administrative support for the mammoth undertaking of setting up a new government — $9.9 million this year,” says the Washington Post.
NBC News says the Trump campaign is “aggressively soliciting donations from supporters” — but that most of the money will be used to pay down election debt, not to support the president’s doomed legal fight.
Adding to the pressure for a smooth transition is the ever-present threat of our time, the Covid-19 coronavirus, which health experts say is climbing toward a new peak of infections around Christmas.
Biden has vowed to attack the pandemic aggressively, but obstruction by Trump and his allies could hinder that effort at the worst possible time.
“America’s national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signaling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” a spokesperson for Biden’s transition team told the Post.
On Monday, Biden announced creation of a coronavirus task force, but as CNN puts it:
“His steps to set the tone of his administration come despite the unprecedented spectacle of a President who has lost the election declining to accept reality.”