Former Vice President Joe Biden won the presidential election last week. The Electoral College says so. The popular vote says so. But most Republicans, including the president himself, are insistent that there's something about the vote that just can't be trusted. That's just the tip of the Trump administration iceberg, which is waging a full-scale denial that an election even happened.
We'll start with this: President Trump has not yet conceded the election, four days after Biden was declared the projected winner. Customarily, the losing candidate in an election will call the victor to congratulate them on a race well run, but that hasn't happened yet. Which brings us to the other thing that hasn't happened: a worker at the Government Services Administration has to sign a letter releasing funds to the Biden transition team so that they can prepare to take office. Thus far, that letter has not been signed.
Here's what has happened: It appears that most of the higher-ups in the Trump administration are buttressing the president's fantasy of widespread election fraud, justifying his refusal to concede with their own reality-defying statements. On Tuesday afternoon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there would be a "smooth transition to a second Trump administration," which is false, because there won't be a second Trump administration. Pompeo then refused to address the reporter's actual question, which was about whether the State Department was in talks with the Biden transition team.
The Trump team isn't just disregarding the facts — it's actively trying to overturn them. And as it pertains to American security and classified information, withholding information from Biden's team could have dangerous consequences. Pompeo's comments come less than a day after the Trump campaign sued Pennsylvania — the swing state that decided the outcome of this year's presidential election — to stop the certification of election results. Biden won the state by seven percentage points, to the tune of 47,215 votes.
The denial doesn't stop there: The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the White House budget office "instructed federal agencies to continue preparing the administration’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year." Budgets are typically released in February; Biden is expected to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021. There is zero reason why the Trump administration needs to be preparing a budget for the next fiscal year, except perhaps delusion — unless they're planning something serious and dangerous.
One of the tenets of American democracy is a peaceful transition of power between presidential administrations, especially between those of opposing political parties. But this particular transition is playing out exactly how experts feared it would, with Trump refusing to leave office. And it's worth noting that the confluence of comments by senior administration officials, lawsuits, and gripes about non-existent voter fraud are having their intended effect: A Politico/Morning Consult poll released Monday found that 70% of Republicans do not believe that the presidential election was free and fair.