Sunday, 13 Jun 2021

US Election: Has any president ever refused to concede?

IT is customary for any sitting president in the US that is not re-elected to accept defeat and concede power to their opponent. 

President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that the president was “not going to concede” after losing to Joe Biden in the election – breaking a 124-year tradition. 

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What has Trump said about the US Election? 

President Trump has been repudiating the election results after a hotly contested race against Joe Biden. 

The President has branded the votes as “fraudulent” and took legal measures in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania relating to the counting of votes.

The presidential race took several days to get the final result, with Joe Biden surpassing the 270 minimum votes needed in the Electoral College to secure the presidency.

Biden managed to flip Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

President Trump, refusing to accept results, issued out a statement claiming that despite there being a clear winner, it was not yet “over.”

“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump said in a statement Saturday.

Experts believe that if Trump does not concede he can undermine the democratic process in the US. 

William Howell, chair of the political science department at the University of Chicago, told the South Coast Today that it “will be truly harmful” if Trump does not concede.

“Concession speeches are a kind of affirmation about the legitimacy of elections,” he said. 

They’re about losing candidates recognizing the outcome and calling on their followers to do the same, “which is essential for the health of our democracy,” Howell added.

Has any president ever refused to concede before? 

While no president has refused to concede, there have been some that show resistance at first.

In 1916, Republican Charles Evans Hughes took two weeks to congratulate incumbent Democratic president Woodrow Wilson.

The race was so close it had taken two days to count the votes – which had initially been erroneously called in Hughes’ favor.

Similarly, in 2000, former Vice President Al Gore called George W. Bush to concede the day after the election, but then called back to retract it as the final vote in Florida had not yet been determined. 

The votes were so close that the case was taken to the US Supreme Court and the process to find out who won took nearly 36 days.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court halted the recount in Florida, which Bush was ahead in by 537 votes and declared the winner. 

The final electoral decision was 271 Bush and 266 Gore.

Gore accepted the loss and addressed the nation saying: “Just moments ago I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States. And I promised him that I wouldn’t call him back this time.

“Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it,” Gore said of the high court’s 5-4 ruling. ” … And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

What has the GOP said about President-elect Biden?

Some members of the GOP are reluctant to acknowledge the votes in some states Biden took to secure the presidency.

Senator Mitch McConnell has refused to publicly acknowledge Biden’s victory but has not shut down Trump’s baseless claims about election fraud.

South Dakota’s Governor, Kristi Noem lashed out at Democrats on ABC’s This Week claiming that the “computer glitches” allowed for “dead people to vote in Pennsylvania.”

Ted Cruz told Fox News on Sunday morning that it's "premature” for Trump to concede because “we do not know at this point who won the election" despite Biden surpassing the electoral college score.

Contrarily, Senators Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have congratulated Biden on the win. 

Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, responded to the claims that Trump would not concede and said: “The American people [decided] this election. And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”


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