"When you're in public life, people remember the last thing you do."
A gracious concession is the only thing left to Trump.
President Trump this morning gave a listless performance during an unannounced press briefing at the White House that lasted less than two minutes. The entire proceeding had an air of unacknowledged defeat. Trump praised this morning’s outstanding stock market rise that put the Dow over 30,000 for the first time. He congratulated the American people and thanked his administration for the good job they did, then walked out without taking any questions from the press. Progress on vaccines for the coronavirus and President-elect Biden’s pick of Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary are fueling the current market run-up.
Trump still seems stunned by the election results and things didn’t get any better today. He has attacked state Republican election officials who refused to block vote counts or to vote against certifying the election for Biden in states where Biden is the clear winner. On Monday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected five more lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign. Today, Nevada and Pennsylvania both certified Biden’s victory. Trump’s legal team is disintegrating before his eyes, with Sidney Powell removed after spouting outlandish conspiracy theories and promising to “release the Kraken.” So far, no Krakens have been seen.
In Georgia, a significant percentage of Trump supporters still think he won the election. If Trump continues to insist the election was rigged, enough of his base may stay home during Georgia’s January runoff election to hand the Senate to the Democrats. With a tie in the Senate and Vice-President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, the only limitation to the damage Democrats can do to the country and the economy may be the few moderate Democrats the Republicans can peel away from some of the more radical legislation. That’s not much to bet the future on.
To his credit, Trump yesterday gave GSA chief Emily Murphy permission to begin the transition to the Biden administration. That’s an important step in ensuring a smooth transfer of power next year and, more importantly, it blunts the impact of Trump’s recalcitrance on his legacy. This is especially true if Trump is serious about running for the presidency again in 2024.
Senator Lamar Alexander said in a statement acknowledging Biden’s victory, “Since it seems apparent that Joe Biden will be the president-elect, my hope is that President Trump will take pride in his considerable accomplishments, put the country first and have a prompt and orderly transition to help the new administration succeed. When you are in public life, people remember the last thing you do.”