Donald Trump has falsely declared victory and vowed to go to the Supreme Court to stop vote the 2020 election – confirming some Americans’ worst fears that he would undermine the democratic process.
So what happens if the president loses and refuses to leave the White House?
On Friday Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Joe Biden’s campaign, said: “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
This isn’t the first time the question has become one of national importance: Each time the president has suggested he will only accept the results of an election if they were in his favour, media outlets have explored the constitutional limits he would face in disputing his dismissal from the Oval Office.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has prepared his own army of attorneys and constitutional law experts to counter the president’s legal challenges on everything from expanded mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic to alleged instances of voter fraud, which Mr Trump has claimed without evidence.
Mr Biden has insisted federal officials “will escort [Mr Trump] from the White House with great dispatch” if he loses the election.
What’s perhaps most concerning about the president’s apparent threats not to concede in the election is how the country lacks precedent for dealing with such a scenario.
The peaceful transition of power is a bedrock of American society, and in past examples of contentious elections, resolutions had been made long before any refusal to concede.
On previous occasions in the history of the United States, when the presidency was in any way contested, cooler heads have prevailed in the interest of the peaceful transfer of power.
Richard Nixon conceded to John F Kennedy in 1960 amid several accusations of vote rigging for the Democrat, for instance. Vice president Al Gore accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling that George Bush had won the 2000 presidential election even though there were significant questions about the integrity of the results in Florida.
Paul Quirk, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, previously told The Independent it would put law enforcement in an awkward position.
“At some point, the question would become: whose orders do law enforcement obey? Because it would ultimately become a matter of the use of force in one direction or another.”
SOURCE: THE INDEPENDENT