US presidential elections

Elections 2020: will Donald Trump leave the White House if he loses?

There is concern that the US president may refuse to accept the results of the election but Joe Biden says the military will oust him if necessary.

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Elections 2020: will Donald Trump leave the White House if he loses?
TOM BRENNER REUTERS

US President Donald Trump will go head to head with Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the 3 November presidential elections with various polls currently giving the former vice president to Barack Obama a lead of up to seven points over the current occupier of the White House. Trump is facing widespread criticism over his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as well as spiraling unemployment as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and amid an impasse in the Senate over a fresh stimulus package to boost an ailing economy. Still, he remains bullish about winning the election and securing a second term in the Oval Office. But the question many people are asking is: will he accept the results of the election if they do not go the way he hopes?

Trump has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting, claiming that the results of the election will be fraudulent despite experts on the subject insisting that there is no evidence supporting the president’s theory. Such is Trump’s dislike of mail-in voting that his re-election campaign has made moves to prevent ballot drop boxes being used in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, which the president won by less than a single percentage point in 2016.

Trump: "Only way to lose is if election is rigged"

The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” Trump told a rally in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Monday.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, echoed Trump’s concerns during a briefing on Wednesday: He believes that voter fraud is real, in line with what we see all across the country, particularly with mail-in ballots, which are prone to fraud.

The President has always said he’ll see what happens and make a determination in the aftermath. It’s the same thing he said last November. He wants a free election, a fair election, and he wants confidence in the results of the election, particularly when you have states like Nevada doing mass mail-out voting to their voting rolls. And when they tried this in the primary, it was a massive failure. Ballots were piled up in trash cans. Ballots were pinned to apartment dartboards. And with that being the system, the President wants to take a hard look at this and make sure that these are fair election results and not subject to fraud,” McEnany added when asked if Trump will accept the results of the election.

Trump doesn't rule out contesting election results

The president, however, made no such promises during an interview with Fox News Sunday. “No. 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.” It was a significant change of tack from comments the president made in June. "Certainly if I don’t win, I don’t win. I mean, you know, go on and do other things,” he told the same broadcaster.

If Biden is victorious, Trump’s presidential term will officially come to an end on January 20, 2021, with the former vice president assuming office the following day at noon. However, observers have speculated that the president will use whatever means he can to hold on to power.

“I don’t think he plans to leave the White House,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn told CNN. “He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections. I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold onto office.”

Biden: "I'm convinced they will escort him from the White House"

Biden suggested in an interview on the Daily Show that the military would be called in to remove Trump if it came to it. “I promise you, I'm absolutely convinced, they will escort him from the White House in a dispatch.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who would theoretically be the beneficiary of a protracted legal bid on Trump’s part to contest the results of the elections, told MSNBC recently: “There is a process. It has nothing to do with if the certain occupant of the White House doesn’t feel like moving and has to be fumigated out of there because the presidency is the presidency.