In the name of full disclosure, I supported former Vice President, now President-elect, Joe Biden in the recent presidential election.
I did so not because he will not make any mistakes, not because he will not say the wrong thing, not because he will get his election platform passed by Congress. Every president has made mistakes or said the wrong thing. And no president gets a blank check from Congress to do whatever they want.
I voted for Biden because I believe he is more capable; understands government much more; has a deeper appreciation of foreign affairs; is simply committed to doing the right thing for all the people, not just his base; and cares more, not about himself, but about the average person.
There has been so much written and said about President Trump’s personality, his brashness, his egocentric attitude or that he is only in this office for himself. Many Republicans admit this but voted for him anyway because of “what he has done.”
In the three weeks since the election, Mr. Trump had the opportunity to basically wipe the negative side of the slate clean. He could have admitted that he lost the election, gave just a general concession speech and gotten on with being president the final two months of his term. Did he do this? Not even close.
Instead, Mr. Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuit after lawsuit in all the swing states he lost, claiming voter fraud in one way or the other, all without evidence. He has lost all those suits at this point. There is virtually no chance of turning over any one of the states he lost and zero chance of turning the totals in his favor in enough multiple states to give him the election. It is over.
Further, he and the person he appointed as the administrator of the General Services Administration have refused to provide office space and funds for the Biden transition team to do its work so that we can have an orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next. This has never been done before.
The president has also refused to permit anyone on his staff to work with the Biden transition team on the matter of the coronavirus pandemic in terms of what the administration is doing daily or what it has planned. Without this information, there is no continuity of action and, very simply, more people will die than they would otherwise.
And perhaps worst of all, Mr. Trump has refused to permit President-elect Biden to receive the daily intelligence briefings that are due him and that are necessary for him to govern on Jan. 20, 2021. He is withholding vital military and foreign and domestic intelligence that is necessary for any president to know, making us vulnerable to both international and domestic threats to our national security.
This has never been done before. Even in 2000, both then-Gov. George Bush and Vice President Al Gore received these briefings while the courts determined who won. Keep in mind, the difference there was less than 580 votes in Florida, not nearly 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania or over 14,000 votes in Georgia.
Mr. Trump had the opportunity to clean up his act and his reputation by simply doing the right thing. He could have chosen to go out on a high note. But even in the bright light of everyone else knowing he lost, he refuses to admit it. He continues to cast doubt on the election process, again, without any evidence, just like he has discredited most other institutions and norms.
We have also seen what amounts to nothing more than retributional firings by the president since the election, most notably the secretary of defense and other top Pentagon officials and most recently, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Homeland Security Department. Why? Because they disagreed with the president.
In the latter case, the director issued a statement that the election was conducted without outside influence and in a fair manner without fraud. He then went on to debunk conspiracy theories about the election. The president said he was “highly inaccurate,” again with no supporting evidence. This was a termination without cause.
The time has come for this president to not just admit defeat, but, at least in these final days, start to care about America and not his bruised ego. He needs to do what every other president has done to have a smooth and peaceful transition to the next administration.
The Congress and even we, as citizens, have a role to play in this process, as well. We will have a new president in January. We can continue to fight with each other or we can try to move forward, as one, for the betterment of this country.
That is not to say that everyone must agree with President-elect Biden or his policies. However, it is vital that we work together for the common good of the nation and its people.
The onus is now on those who continue to argue about election results. Those who do are now part of the problem, and not part of the solution.
Jim Hart, of Pinehurst, spent 38 years in Washington, D.C., as a lobbyist and chief of staff to four U.S. congressmen.