Trump May Never Formally Concede—But He is Starting to Fade Away | Opinion

We are nearing three weeks since the election and President Trump has yet to accept the reality that he has lost. While it's true he ran better than many pollsters predicted, it's also the case that this election wasn't particularly close, certainly not as measured against historically close contests of 1960, 1968, 1976 and of course 2000 that featured the Florida recount.

Trump won an historic 72 million votes. However, Biden won 78 million and virtually every vote was turned out by Trump—for and against him. Biden won 51 percent of the popular vote, a larger percentage than any Democrat since 1964, save Barack Obama's victory in 2008. Biden reestablished the "Blue Wall" by recapturing Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, all by larger margins than Trump's wins in his "historic"—just ask him—victory four years ago. Biden also won the fast growing and increasingly diverse states of Georgia and Arizona, giving him 306 electoral votes, the exact number Trump won in 2016.

Trump's gumshoe lawyers continue to file—and lose—lawsuits of little merit. Given the historically large election turnout amidst an ongoing pandemic, this election was remarkably well run and free of fraud. It is disheartening that the same people who attack athletes for dishonoring America by kneeling during the national anthem are all too quick to tarnish the crown jewel of America, namely free and fair democratic elections, by alleging widespread fraud where none exists.

But what is likely to happen is that slowly, silently, power will begin to slip away from the Commander in Chief. His press conferences and tweets and the inaction of his hapless apparatchik who refused to release transition funds until last night will not change that. The process will speed up considerably once states begin to "certify" the results of the election and Trump's lawsuits continue to fail.

You already see the change. The Biden transition is announcing key appointments to his White House staff. He'll soon be making cabinet nominations, inducing speculation regarding potential candidates. Biden's public remarks will contain evidence of policy changes he intends to make and establish a general tone of how he will govern. Trump may continue to fire his own people, but the discussion of future policy directions will lie with Biden's transition team and the president elect.

Foreign leaders have already reached out directly to Biden to offer congratulations and willingness to work with the new president. Even Trump allies like Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, Boris Johnson in Britain and President Erdogan in Turkey, have joined the chorus of congratulations. The naming of a new National Security Advisor and Secretary of State designate will supercharge the changing focus of foreign countries from the White House and State Department to the incoming administration.

Biden has also hit the ground running on what is sure to be his top priority—dealing with the surge of Covid 19 cases around the country. While Trump does little, Biden has appointed a task force to spearhead his administration's efforts to handle a crisis that will peak at the beginning of his term and represent his first challenge as president. He has already met with a bipartisan group of governors who will have an outsized role in distributing a vaccine that may be just around the corner. Biden's focus is clearly on how he, not the current president, plans to deal with a pandemic that risks killing tens of thousands more Americans.

Congress still has to approve a budget for Fiscal Year 2021 that began October 1. Historically the outgoing chief executive has deferred to the new president, but Trump is unlikely to follow that precedent. While he retains the power to negotiate with Congress on the outlines of a short or long term measure for this fiscal year, the public discussion will soon focus on Biden's budget priorities for the out years.

Biden's team is already working on its own budget plan. The plan could include some revisions for Fiscal 2021 but also set his parameters for 2022 and beyond. His team will soon begin working with key congressional leaders, hopefully of both parties, on strategy, goals and priorities, something that is desperately needed to solve America's long term fiscal imbalances. The Trump team will be spectators to all of this.

And of course, the country will look forward to a State of the Union address given by Biden. Along with his Inaugural Address, those two speeches will become the focal point of public discussion as 2020 turns into the New Year.

The president and his family will occupy the White House until January 19, 2021. In the wee hours of January 20, President Trump and his family will remove the last of their belongings and say a final goodbye to the White House permanent staff. Some presidents have left a note of congratulations and good luck for their successor. By tradition, the President elect and his spouse will arrive for morning coffee with the president before they leave to ride jointly to the Inaugural festivities at the Capitol. After the swearing in, the ex-president will fly off to his post presidential home. The new president takes up residence in the White House.
Most of this will happen again. The important point is that there will again be a peaceful transition of power just as there has been for each presidential election of the 240 years of our Republic.

Frank Donatelli served as assistant for political affairs to President Ronald Reagan and as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee during the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​