Donald Trump has finally come close to conceding the election, agreeing to a “smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power”.
In an address posted to Twitter, he acknowledged that a new administration will be inaugurated on January 20 – something most of us have known for months.
In a marked shift from his usual tone, Trump called for “healing and reconciliation” in the wake of an “intense” presidential election and acknowledged the Covid-19 pandemic as deadly and damaging.
He also condemned the violent riots in the Capitol, saying:
“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem. [...] The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”
But Trump stopped short at congratulating Biden on his win or even mentioning him by name, leading many to question whether it can even really be labelled a concession. He also reiterated his belief in reforming election laws and defended the legal challenges he mounted, as well as offering a word of encouragement to his loyal supporters. He said:
“I know you are disappointed, but I also want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning.”
Unsurprisingly, this latest address did not convince the Democrats – and many Republicans – that Trump shouldn’t immediately be removed from office.
Since the Capitol riots, some think the 25th Amendment should be triggered, meaning Mike Pence would take over the presidency until Biden’s inauguration, while others have called for his impeachment.
It’s not difficult to see why they feel this latest speech is too little and has come too late.
Because here’s what it’s taken to get there…
63 days (more than two months) since the Associated Press called the election for Biden.
25 days since the electoral college officially voted to make Biden president.
9-0 defeat by the Supreme Court, who unanimously rejected Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.
6 contested states and 3 recounts, which had 0 effect on the election results.
115 tweets claiming the election was rigged, stolen or fraudulent.
5 deaths as a result of the bloody riots that infiltrated the Capitol.
Countless vows never to concede. Just two days ago, Trump said “we will never give up, we will never concede. You never concede when there is theft involved”.
This was in spite of a previous effort to concede in late November, when he authorised the beginnings of the legal transition of power between himself and Biden.
Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric means that some of his supporters are likely to continue to believe the election was stolen, no matter what he says now.
And as for agreeing to a peaceful transition of power, something he refused to commit to even before the election took place, it’s far too late to promise that when lives have already been lost.