US Election 2020

US Election 2020: can Donald Trump refuse to leave White House?

With a number of recounts lined up, and various lawsuits in the offing, the sitting President hasn't given up yet. But if he is unsuccessful, can he just stay?

US Election 2020: can Donald Trump refuse to leave White House?
MANDEL NGAN AFP

In a normal world, when we get to the point where the outcome of a presidential election is clearly pointing to a new leader, the attention then focuses on the transition period as the power is transferred. It has been shown for a while now that we are not living in a normal world.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden's victory was not followed by his opponent conceding the race publicly and therefore agreeing to handover the presidency of the United States. In fact, far from expecting a concession speech from Trump, most are expecting to never hear one. He does, after all, have quite a few concerns to deal with once his immunity is ended.

While the election has been called for Biden, Donald Trump is intent on frustrating the election process with a series of lawsuits and by demanding recounts wherever possible, in short - he is clearly not going to leave quietly. In fact, some have begun to speculate that even is a final count shows that he has lost, he may not leave. In this bizarre circumstance, what would happen?

What would happen if Donald Trump refused to leave the White House?

There is really no precedent for a defeated President barricading himself in the Oval Office so no one can say for sure, but once the legal disputes have been settled and if he is shown to have lost then he really has no legal right to remain there. It is extremely unlikely that it could ever come to this, but Joe Biden’s campaign spokesman Andrew Bates has jokingly suggested that Trump could be removed from the premises.

“As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election”, said Bates. "And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House”.

Is Donald Trump prepared for the fact he lost this election?

In a word, no. As well as his public defiance he has also refused to countenance losing during conversations with his inner circle. His sons, Eric and Donald Jr, have both be forceful advocates for him and Vice President Mike Pence has been soliciting funds for his upcoming legal battles.

CNN has reported that some in the White House have actually become frustrated with those who pander to the President rather than encouraging him to face the reality. One insider blamed staffers, such as Mark Meadows, who “have not attempted to come to terms with the president about the reality of what is happening” and have instead fed into his claims of fraud.

They revealed that despite having now lost the Electoral College the President has not prepared a concession speech and “in conversations with allies in recent days has said he has no intention of conceding the election.”

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