Trump says he’ll leave if Electoral College seats Biden

Trump says he’ll leave if Electoral College seats Biden

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that he will leave the White House if the Electoral College formalizes President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory — even as he insisted such a decision would be a “mistake” — as he spent his Thanksgiving renewing baseless claims that “massive fraud” and crooked officials in battleground states caused his election defeat.

“Certainly I will. But you know that,” Trump said Thursday when asked whether he would vacate the building, allowing a peaceful transition of power in January. But Trump — taking questions for the first time since Election Day — insisted that “a lot of things” would happen between now and then that might alter the results.

“This has a long way to go,” Trump said, even though he lost.

The fact that a sitting American president even had to address whether or not he would leave office after losing reelection underscores the extent to which Trump has smashed one convention after another over the last three weeks. While there is no evidence of the kind of widespread fraud Trump has been alleging, he and his legal team have nonetheless been working to cast doubt on the integrity of the election and trying to overturn voters’ will in an unprecedented breach of Democratic norms.

Trump spoke to reporters in the White House’s ornate Diplomatic Reception Room after holding a teleconference with U.S. military leaders stationed across the globe. He thanked them for their service and jokingly warned them not to eat too much turkey, then turned to the election after ending the call. He repeated grievances and angrily denounced officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two key swing states that helped give Biden the win.

Trump claimed, despite the results, that this may not be his last Thanksgiving at the White House. And he insisted there had been “massive fraud,” even though state officials and international observers have said no evidence of that exists and Trump’s campaign has repeatedly failed in court.

Trump’s administration has already given the green light for a formal transition to get underway. But Trump took issue with Biden moving forward.

“I think it’s not right that he’s trying to pick a Cabinet,” Trump said, even though officials from both teams are already working together to get Biden’s team up to speed.

And as he refused to concede, Trump announced that he will be travelling to Georgia to rally supporters ahead of two Senate runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. Trump said the rally for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler would likely be held Saturday. The White House later clarified he had meant Dec. 5.

One of the reasons Republicans have stood by Trump and his baseless claims of fraud has been to keep his loyal base energized ahead of those runoffs on Jan. 5. But Trump, in his remarks, openly questioned whether that election would be fair in a move that could dampen Republican turnout.

“I think you’re dealing with a very fraudulent system. I’m very worried about that,” he said. “People are very disappointed that we were robbed.”

As for the Electoral College, Trump made clear that he will likely never formally concede, even if he said he would leave the White House.

“It’s gonna be a very hard thing to concede. Because we know there was massive fraud,” he said, noting that, “time isn’t on our side.”

“If they do,” vote against him, Trump added, “they’ve made a mistake.”

Asked whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, Trump said he knew the answer but didn’t want to share it yet.

But there were some signs that Trump was coming to terms with his loss.

At one point he urged reporters not to et Biden take credit for pending coronavirus vaccines. “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before,” he said.

As for whether or not he plans to formally declare his candidacy to run again in 2024 — as he has discussed with aides— Trump he didn’t “want to talk about 2024 yet.”

All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and any challenge to the results must be resolved by Dec. 8. State have already begun that process, including Michigan, where Trump and his allies tried and failed to delay the process, and Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Vote certification at the local and state level is typically a ministerial task that gets little notice, but that changed this year with Trump’s refusal to concede and his unprecedented attempts to overturn the results of the election through a fusillade of legal challenges and attempts to manipulate the certification process in battleground states he lost.

Biden won by wide margins in both the Electoral College and popular vote, where he received nearly 80 million votes, a record.

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Donald Trump

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Not all long-term care workers have received their vaccines including a Red Deer facility

There continues to be confusion in long-term care and supportive living facilities… Continue reading

Cattle graze winter pasture in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies near Longview, Alta. on Jan. 8, 2004. Concern over the provincial government’s decision to drop a coal policy that has protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies for decades is growing among area communities. At least six cities, towns and municipal districts in southwest Alberta have now expressed concern about the decision and the fact it was made with no consultation. The latest is Longview, where mayor Kathie Wight is drafting a letter to the government opposing the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
More southern Alberta communities voice concern over province’s plans to expand coal

Concern over the Alberta government’s decision to drop a coal policy that… Continue reading

Some residents say there is no longer an effective Nordegg fire department to respond to emergencies in the West Country. (Contributed photo).
Some Nordegg residents worry about lack of emergency response in the West Country

The possibility of wildfires or accidents is ‘scary’ says former fire leader

(Advocate file photo).
Six idling vehicles stolen in last 48 hours: Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP said Wednesday six idling vehicles in the city were… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2021, file photo, Diners Susan and Hank Gill eat inside at Nunzio's Restaurant in Loves Park, Ill. Several states are loosening their coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and other businesses because of improved infection and hospitalization numbers but are moving cautiously, in part because of the more contagious variant taking hold in the U.S. (Scott P. Yates/Rockford Register Star via AP, File)
States lift restrictions gradually amid fears of new variant

States lift restrictions gradually amid fears of new variant

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. Right-wing extremism has previously mostly played out in isolated pockets of America or in smaller cities. In contrast, the deadly attack by rioters on the U.S. Capitol targeted the very heart of government. It brought together members of disparate groups, creating the opportunity for extremists to establish links with each other. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
US terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence

US terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence

People march towards Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland's office in Toronto, during a rally led by current and former international students calling for changes to immigration rules during COVID-19, on Sept. 12, 2020. A new work permit program for international students in Canada is taking applications starting today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
New work permit program for international graduates in Canada taking applications

New work permit program for international graduates in Canada taking applications

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. An investigation into a scourge of NetWalker ransomware attacks has led to the arrest of a Canadian man, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday. According to an indictment, police in Florida charged Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins of Gatineau, Que., with illegally obtaining more than $27.6 million. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
Canadian man charged in U.S. with NetWalker ransomware attacks

Canadian man charged in U.S. with NetWalker ransomware attacks

Hassan Diab holds a news conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Friday, February 7, 2020. nbsp;A lawyer for Diab says a French appeal court's order that the Ottawa sociology professor stand trial for a decades-old synagogue bombing is the latest misstep in a long odyssey of injustice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Order to stand trial in Paris bombing flies in face of evidence, Diab’s lawyer says

Order to stand trial in Paris bombing flies in face of evidence, Diab’s lawyer says

Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Every leader must work to rid health-care system of anti-Indigenous racism: Miller

Every leader must work to rid health-care system of anti-Indigenous racism: Miller

Members of the RCMP on June 13, 2020 control the scene where a man was shot near Miramichi, N.B. The chief of a New Brunswick First Nation that was home to a man killed by the RCMP last year says it was infuriating to learn Tuesday that no criminal charges would be laid in the case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ron Ward
Report into police shooting of Rodney Levi called ‘infuriating’ by First Nation chief

Report into police shooting of Rodney Levi called ‘infuriating’ by First Nation chief

Canadian writer Elan Mastai developing his novel ‘All Our Wrong Todays’ for Peacock

Canadian writer Elan Mastai developing his novel ‘All Our Wrong Todays’ for Peacock

Most Read