Donald Trump’s Refusal to Concede: How does it compare to the past?

By Mia Gomes

Due to the recent Presidential election, America has become quite familiar with the term “concede”, defined as “to accept as true, valid, or accurate”  by Merriam-Webster Dictionary. While Donald Trump’s refusal to leave the White House and his failed attempt to expose voter fraud isn’t completely unexpected by the American people, very few former presidents have reacted in this way throughout history. This raises one question that few might know the answer to: how many US presidents have refused to concede? 

Rumors of voter fraud against President Trump regarding the election have spread like wildfire in recent months, although no one has successfully uncovered proof of such. Still, the Trump Administration has continued to launch investigations, determined to prove that President-Elect Joe Biden did not win over the electoral college, nor the popular vote. National Geographic states: “Both moves would be historical firsts if Trump refuses to concede even after all legal challenges are resolved.”

Donald Trump has made now-disputed claims about election fraud on Twitter following his refusal to peacefully transfer power to President-elect Joe Biden. Tweets saying, “I WON THE ELECTION IN A LANDSLIDE, but remember, I only think in terms of legal votes, not all of the fake voters and fraud that miraculously floated in from everywhere! What a disgrace!” and “Breaking News: In Pennsylvania there were 205,000 more votes than there were voters. This alone flips the state to President Trump.” have since gone viral. Twitter has placed fact-checking notifications on over 100 of the president’s tweets, emphasizing that there has been no legitimate proof of voter fraud. 

Throughout history, a president refusing to step down has never occurred prior to the current President. On the Founding Fathers and their preparation to handle such a situation, Princeton historian Sean Wilendtz shared: “No, the framers did not envisage a president refusing to step down or discuss what should be done in such a situation…there’s obviously nothing in the Constitution about it.” 

Despite his refusal to leave the White House, Donald Trump’s fate is wildly unlikely to change. On this topic, NPR said, “There is no legal requirement for [concession], and a refusal would not lengthen his lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. or extend his powers beyond noon on Jan. 20.”

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris have rightfully won the 2020 Presidential Election with 306 Electoral Votes and 51% of the popular vote. They will both take office at noon on January 20, 2021.

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