Donald Trump will keep protesting, despite Electoral College vote for Joe Biden
WASHINGTON – The Electoral College has spoken, but don't expect Donald Trump to stop complaining about the election.
Far from conceding, Trump and aides served notice Monday the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden will not silence their protests, no matter that they have no chance of reversing his loss to the president-elect.
"WOW," Trump tweeted at one point during the Electoral College vote, echoing a false claim that a report "shows massive fraud" in the election.
Some of Trump's congressional allies – with his backing – now say they plan to object to Biden's electoral votes in key states when the U.S. House and Senate vote to certify the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.
But they lack the necessary support to void any votes, and a rising number of GOP lawmakers began describing Biden as "president-elect" after he clinched an Electoral College majority on Monday.
To be sure, Trump has given every indication he plans to exit the White House and make way for the Biden presidency when Inauguration Day rolls around on Jan. 20.
Trump has also told aides he will never concede the election to Biden, and may make his 2020 election protest the cornerstone of another presidential run in 2024.
Trump spent Monday behind closed doors, holding meetings and tweeting. In the mid-afternoon, he signed an executive order on "increasing economic and geographic mobility," but reporters were not allowed to witness.
Throughout the day, aides echoed Trump's defiance.
"We will NEVER surrender," said a Trump campaign fundraising text sent late Monday.
Before members of the Electoral College gathered in state capitals across the country, Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller went on Fox News to claim that supporters in some states were selecting their own "alternative slate of electors."
Miller pledged to "send those results to Congress" – but there are no legal provisions for lawmakers to recognize any "alternative slate" of electors.
Since Election Day, Trump and his team have devised legal and political strategies to subvert Biden victories in the pivotal states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
None of them worked.
Trump's team still has legal actions pending in a few states, but judges and election officials have consistently rejected their claims of voter fraud. As members of the Electoral College met Monday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected Trump's lawsuit in that state. The U.S. Supreme Court last week rejected a national complaint filed by Trump supporters.
Trump's political strategy involved efforts to pressure Republican officials in the Biden states to submit slates of pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College, regardless of the verdict of the voters. The legislatures refused, in part because they lacked the legal authority to take such steps.
As the Electoral College voted to seal Trump's fate, some supporters urged him to concede at long last.
"President Trump’s legal challenges have run their course, and he and the rest of the Republican Party can help the country and themselves by acknowledging the result and moving on," said the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.
Other analysts taunted Trump. "What time is @realDonaldTrump concession speech tonight? Don't want to miss it," tweeted Joe Lockhart, former press secretary to President Bill Clinton.
In a post just after midnight on Monday, Trump issued another threat to Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, demanding he authorize a "signature verification" recount and call a legislative session to authorize a pro-Trump slate of electors.
As part of the threat, Trump implied he might withhold support from two Republican senators in Georgia who face runoff elections next month, contests that will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate: "Could be a bad day for two GREAT Senators on January 5th," Trump tweeted.
Throughout the day, Trump tweeted more about his election complaints that the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Trump and a dwindling band of allies now have their eyes set on Jan. 6 - the day Congress officially counts the Electoral College votes.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said he and other Trump allies will challenge Biden electors from the key swing states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin. But both the full House and the full Senate would have to agree to toss electors, and several Republican lawmakers have said they will not support such a plan.
Trump's protests from the bully pulpit of the presidency will probably last another 37 days, right up to Biden's swearing-in.
On Thanksgiving night, after a holiday teleconference with military personnel, Trump refused to say whether he would concede if the Electoral College voted for Biden.
A reporter also asked about what might happen on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20: "So, if the Electoral College does elect President-Elect Joe Biden, are you not going to leave this building?"
Trump responded: "Certainly, I will. Certainly, I will. And you know that. But I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20th of January. A lot of things."