German News Website's Front Page Features Donald Trump as 'The Squatter'

A popular German-language news website offered biting commentary on the contentious U.S. presidential election, featuring President Donald Trump as "the squatter"—a jab at his reluctance to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he is to lose the White House to Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

On Friday morning, Der Spiegel's front page featured a camouflage-clad Trump sitting inside an Oval Office that looked as though someone had prepared it for war. The president, rifle in hand, bears an angry, frowning expression while the portrait of a smiling Biden hangs behind him, shattered with a single, smoking bullet hole shot through. The caption read simply "Der hausbesetzer," which translates in English to "the squatter."

"Even if [Trump] loses this election, he will be able to continue playing an outsized role in American politics – as the leader of a furious opposition that doesn't recognize his successor," the article stated. "A squatter who settles into the people's consciousness. It can't even be ruled out that he will run again in 2024 at the age of 78.

"And maybe he'll just stay."

Trump 11/5
US President Donald Trump speaks in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC on November 5, 2020. Democrat Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump in the race for the 270 electoral votes that will put one of them over the top. Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty

As Biden edges closer to securing the 270 electoral votes needed to green light his path to the White House, there hasn't been any confirmation from the sitting president that he will concede if he ultimately loses.

Trump has repeatedly refused to say whether he'd accept the results, working to instead sow doubt among the validity of an election which will be determined by a massive influx of mail-in votes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"You don't know until you see," Trump told host Chris Wallace in a Fox News interview on July 19. "It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do."

One month later, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany echoed the president's comments, telling reporters during an August 19 briefing that Trump would "see what happens" in the November election before accepting the result. "The president has always said he'll see what happens, and make a determination in the aftermath," McEnany said.

As of Friday afternoon, Biden has 264 electoral votes, compared to Trump's 214, according to The Associated Press. Outstanding states include Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Overnight, reports of newly tabulated votes coming from remaining counties in Georgia and Pennsylvania indicated that both states had flipped to Biden by narrow margins. Nevada is also leaning Democratic, giving Biden the upper hand until results are final.

The current situation points to a Biden win, and White House officials have been reluctant to deliver the news to Trump, according to Hallie Jackson, chief White House correspondent at NBC News. If Biden is officially declared winner, though, questions remain as to whether Trump will offer his concession.

Der Spiegel's piece on Friday satirized this uncertainty, depicting Trump as a "squatter," or someone who lives inside a home they do not own, typically against the will of its rightful owner.

The play-on-words speaks to both Trump's reluctance to say he'll leave the White House, but also the promise that he will continue "playing an outsized role in American politics," as the Der Spiegel article points out. Trump has received just under 48 percent of the popular vote, or more than 69.77 million votes—more than the 62.98 million he managed to win in the 2016 election.

As American voter turnout in the 2020 election is expected to be the highest for the first time in over a century, Trump's numbers show that he continues to maintain an extremely loyal support base. Speaking from the White House on Thursday night, Trump claimed to "easily win" the 2020 election if "legal votes" are counted, continuing with his message of claiming widespread voter fraud.

"His message was clear: I'm not going anywhere," read the Der Spiegel article. "And essentially, he's not wrong. He isn't going to simply disappear—indeed, there is little in the election results to indicate that he should."