Countdown to sanity: only eight weeks left in the Trump presidency! But three weeks after the election that Biden clearly won – now with 306 electoral votes and nearly 80 million total votes – President Trump still refuses to publicly concede his loss. He has yet to give the go ahead for federal agencies to begin cooperating in the transfer of power, providing national security briefings, sharing plans for the massive vaccine distribution, or approving the GAO to fund the transition. While the President-elect is receiving secret service protection, he can’t even get highly secured communication facilities to use in his temporary office before moving into the White House. Is anyone surprised? Trump told us what would happen months before the election when he said he would not commit to honor the results or a peaceful transfer of power. On Sunday the President tweeted “I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go.” Twitter marked the tweets with warning labels. This is the state of our democracy under Trump.
Instead, the President’s lawyers continue to file case-after-case in states that were close, demand recounts, try to invalidate ballots, and make baseless claims that embarrass themselves, the presidency, and country. Nearly all of the court challenges have been thrown out, most without merit. With disputes about election day vote counting over, Trump’s attention to soil democracy has now turned to manipulating the certification process. After that we can expect it will likely be the electoral college when rogue Republican state legislatures could seat their own slate of delegates who would then cast their votes for Trump and thus undo the Biden popular vote win of their state.
Trump’s sidekick attorney Rudy Giuliani continued on his unhinged tirade week, even after his embarrassing performance last week, to claim that “we cannot allow these crooks…to steal an election from the American people.” Yes, he is right, but just needs to look into the mirror when he says that. Another Trump lawyer claims that electronic voting software, similar to that used by the Venezuelan government in its alleged corrupt elections, was hacked to commit massive rigging against Trump.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger shared more details about the pressure he received last week from fellow Republicans, including South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Congressman Doug Jones, along with personal death threats, to reverse Biden’s win of the state during the recount. He honored the constitution and his state by certifying the manual recount which gave the state to Biden.
Next, the Republican Party and the President sank to a new low when pressure was put on Wayne County election officials in Michigan to not certify the votes of Detroit in an obvious attempt to disenfranchise mostly black voters. In a remarkable intrusion into the election process, the President even called Republican members of the bipartisan canvassers of the county to encourage them to rescind their vote from the evening before that certified their county’s election results. When that failed to reverse the certification, the next day the President invited Michigan state legislators to the White House in what his press secretary said was a routine visit. Not. It was obvious he was trying to coax, bribe, intimidate and threaten the state legislators into corrupting the state’s slate of electors for the Dec. 14 Electoral College.
These are the most brazen attacks ever to undo the vote of the people and subvert our democracy. And it comes from a sitting President and his Republican co-conspirators who for the most part remain silent and abet the trashing of the democracy. These conspiracies to overturn the election only fuel right-wing media and Republican voters into believing that there is “no way in hell” Trump lost. Some 70% of Trump voters think the election was tainted and only 30% are willing to accept that Biden won fairly. Republican denial also likely encourages others who are forming patriot groups of armed militias to “stand by” for violent action. The Republican party’s appeasement of Trump, just like many European leaders and Germans did for Hitler during his hijacking of democracy in the 1930s, is how fragile democracies are lost. Coincidentally, 75 years ago this week the Nuremberg War Crimes proceedings were held bringing Nazis to justice. I can only imagine proud Germans wondering how did their country start down such a horrific path the decade before.
Heads continue to role in the administration in Trump’s post election purge. This week it was Christopher Krebs, the country’s top election security official. Krebs had said last week that the election was the most secure and safe ever, all while his boss was claiming it was the most fraudulent and corrupt ever. In a sane administration, Krebs would have been celebrated and promoted. By all measurements, the country was indeed well protected by Krebs and his agency as there were few reports of problems or cyberattacks. Of course the Russians did not have to attack our democratic elections from outside this time, as they already had their man in place on the inside.
Despite the obstruction of Trump, President-elect Biden is gaining speed with setting up the next administration. He is building his new team and cabinet with methodical, confident leadership using his four decades of experience and connections. This is in stark contract from four years of constant chaos and turnover in Trump’s White House as profiled in these Bearing Witness to Trump chronicles.
In other news, the week after Trump dismissed top Pentagon commanders administration officials said that the President will order out thousands of more soldiers to withdraw out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Trump’s previous DoD chief Esper who was also just fired had been opposed to this action, as are many in Congress on both sides of the aisle.
As the administration prepares to leave office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit Iran with new sanctions for who knows what reasons. Maybe he wants a new war to leave Biden with, even while the President ends other ones.
A federal judge has ordered the administration to stop expelling children who cross the border alone. Nearly 9,000 are reported to have been ousted to date by border agents under Trump’s no-tolerance directives.
Trump’s industry-friendly administration is working quickly to get in one more round of rollback of environmental rules. This week the White House is rushing through the auctioning off of oil and gas exploration rights in 1.6 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This is in addition to opening up for auction nearly 400,000 acres of federal lands in the lower 48 states.
To read news of the pandemic from this 46th month of the Trump presidency, and his failure to protect the country from harm, visit https://bearingwitnessheartland.com/category/pandemic/.
The above news items have been taken from a number of local, regional, national and international news media including print, broadcast, and digital sources, but no social media. Additional editorial opinions and comments about these news items are those of this author.