Donald Trump and numerous Republican's behaviour in the past few days, since Joe Biden was named as president-elect has shocked many for refusing to graciously conceded power.
Biden was projected as the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday after a long and delayed process, mostly held up by the overwhelming amount of mail-in ballots that some states received.
So far, the White House has refused to admit that Biden is the president-elect and begin the transition of power to Biden and his team. Even Mike Pompeo, Trump's secretary of state appeared on television on Tuesday and said that there will be a 'smooth transition of power to a second Trump administration.' Most of their reluctance to say that Biden was the winner comes down to their baseless claims that there has been voter fraud committed by the Democrats.
They have so far been unable to produce any evidence to back this up and has already had several legal cases dismissed and Biden continues to build a lead in states which are yet to conclude their counting, unlikely to be undone by a recount.
This leaves the president and his aides without much footing or grounds for complaint but they are still pursuing the narrative that they will be in power after January 20, the scheduled day for Biden's inauguration. The Washington Post has also reported that the White House has told federal agencies to start preparing for Trump's February budget.
It's both unprecedented that an outgoing president should be acting like this and refusing to accept that he was the loser but also hardly shocking, as this, after all, is Donald Trump we are talking about and as recent history has shown, he's always hinted that he was unwilling to accept election results if they didn't go in his favour.
Even before Trump was elected as president, he was disputing the results before anyone knew what they were. During his third and final, presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump cast his doubt of the legitimacy of the election, claiming that the process was "rigged", adding "I will keep you in suspense" when asked what his reaction would be if Clinton was declared the winner.
The very next night at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, Trump said to his supporters:
I would like to promise and pledge, to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election. If … I … win!
After a meeting with China's president Xi Jinping at Mar-A-Lago in Florida, Trump expressed his admiration for the Chinese leader who had recently consolidated his power and extended his tenure if office, something that Trump thought was worth 'giving a shot.' CNN quotes his as saying:
He's now president for life. President for life. No, he's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day.
Trump received some criticism for these comments and a week later, fired back by saying:
You know the last time I jokingly said that the papers start saying, 'He's got despotic tendencies.' No, I'm not looking to do it. Unless you want to do it, that's OK.
During his sensational public testimony to the House Oversight Committee, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen said well more than a year before the election, that he feared Trump would not go quietly if he lost in 2020.
I fear that if he loses the election in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power. And this is why I agreed to appear before you today.
During the same week that the Robert Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Trump joked during a charity event that he could remain as president for the next 10 or 14 years. After receiving a trophy from Lt. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, of the veterans charity the Wounded Warrior Project, Trump told the crowd:
Well, this is really beautiful. This will find a permanent place, at least for six years, in the Oval Office. Is that okay? I was going to joke, General, and say at least for 10 or 14 years, but we would cause bedlam if I said that, so we’ll say six.
These boasts from Trump started to occur with more regularity in 2019. On May 5, Trump retweeted the former president of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr, who said that Trump should get an extra two years on his first term due to the Russian probe.
Trump appeared to echo this just a day later when he claimed that the first two years of his presidency had been 'stolen.'
Just a few weeks later, at a rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, Trump joked about serving five terms as president.
Continuing the narrative that he was owed two years as president, Trump tweeted in a fury at the New York Times and the Washington Post on June 16 adding 'that at the end of 6 years, after America has been made GREAT again and I leave the beautiful White House (do you think the people would demand that I stay longer? KEEP AMERICA GREAT).'
Just a few days later, Trump tweeted a mock video of him on the front cover of Time magazine and remaining as president until way beyond the year 2100.
In an interview with The Hill, published on June 25, Trump said that maybe he could stay on as president for 'maybe 18 years.'
Well, we have to go through the six years or whatever it may be when — when you know, would I like to get a ride out of some of your compatriots, say, go through the six, 10, 14, maybe 18 years, whatever it may be.
During a meeting with the president of Fifa, Gianni Infantino, Trump said that he should extend his presidency to the year 2026 when North America is due to host the football World Cup.
Gianni, we're going to have to extend my second term because 2026 — I'm going to have to extend it for a couple of years. I don't think any of you would have a problem with that.
As the polls started to turn against him, Trump began to parrot these type of lines again. During an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, Trump refused to give a direct answer on whether he would be prepared to except the results of the election, regardless of if he won or not.
I have to see. Look, you—I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time, either.
During a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Trump joked that he was going to sign an executive order that would prevent Biden from becoming president.
Just a few days later, Trump declined whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, telling a press conference at the White House:
We’re going to have to see what happens. You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.
All of these examples happened before the election and since the result was announced, Trump has gone defcon one on conspiracies and a refusal to concede power to the Democrats. You only need to look at his Twitter account from the past 24 hours to see him ranting that 'we will win' and about 'massive ballot counting abuse.'
It remains to be seen how long the president and his team will keep pursuing this theory of corruption but as it would appear, Trump has been preparing himself for this for a long, long time.