In 2020, the unthinkable is always a possibility. Who would have thought that a fast-moving world would suddenly be halted by a global pandemic? Who would have thought President Donald Trump could lose by such a margin, and who can believe that what will happen if Trump refuses to leave the White House?
Before and after the 2020 election, Trump has given certain warnings that he will not accept the election results if he loses. During the first presidential debate, when asked if he would accept the election results no matter who wins, President Donald Trump gave a clear indicator that he will not.
He declared his victory on the election night and made it clear that if he loses, he will go to the Supreme Court. Even now, when President-elect Joe Biden is moving toward a historic lead, Trump refuses to accept the results which are now urging people to think about what will happen if Trump refuses to leave the White House.
The world has accepted Joe Biden as the President-elect, but the only person who is reluctant to accept this is the to-be former President Donald Trump.
In this article, we will try to explore what will happen if Trump refuses to leave the White House. We will be shedding light on some possible outcomes, having some help from history and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Let’s ask the history
The history of the United States is not short of such scenarios where presidential elections have become controversial by the actions and rhetoric of the candidates. To the other, losing is not an easy job, after all.
The peaceful transition of power has always been a complicated matter, and every time one party or the other has to intervene.
In 1824 and 1876, the House of Representatives decided the president, as no candidate was able to secure the majority of the electoral votes.
In 1800, the Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Act to imprison the Democratic-Republicans to stay in the White House. Still, the Federalists lost the Presidential election, and John Adams peacefully left the White House to Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson.
In 1960, Richard Nixon made several accusations over the election being rigged. But, when he lost, he left the White House without any resistance or delaying tactics.
The most recent example includes that of the 2000 presidential election when George Bush moved the Supreme Court to halt the vote count in Florida. Vice President Al Gore peacefully accepted the results, even though he lost by only a few thousand votes. Therefore, there have been complications in the past, but what we are witnessing this time is the first-time-ever kind of situation.
The talks about Trump refuses to leave the White House should never be encouraged. Never has a president said that he would not leave the White House if he loses. From the very beginning of his presidential campaign, Trump tried to make the 2020 election controversial.
He launched a campaign against the mail-in ballots, and at the same time, refused to provide funding to the United States Postal Services. It seems like he knew that he was going to lose and was preparing the ground to go to the Supreme Court, thereby making the election results controversial.
Can Trump refuse to leave the White House?
As said earlier, it is a year of uncertainty, and anything is possible. The 20th Amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that after the election results have been finalized, the president will leave the office on January 20 for the next president to move in.
The Constitution also states that once the electoral votes are sent to Congress and verified, the results are final. Therefore, there is no constitutional clause that is likely to help President Trump if he refuses to concede.
At the same time, there is no clause to define the rules of business if a president rejects making a concession.
This makes the matter further complicated and increases the uncertainty about what will happen if Trump refuses to leave the White House.
The president-elect has already gathered his legal team to find out the solution if Trump decides to take such an action. Many experts believe that Trump is unlikely to take such a step, as it would destroy his legacy.
Comparison with the 2000 presidential election
The most recent turn of events in the United States presidential election was seen in 2000 when Democratic nominee Vice President Al Gore lost to Republican George Bush after the Supreme Court halted the vote recount in Florida.
Al Gore lost by only a few thousand votes and peacefully stepped down to give way to George Bush. Many judges later admitted that it was a mistake on their part.
Many people in and outside America are trying to compare the 2020 election with that of 2000. There are many important and evident differences between the presidential races of 2020 and 2000.
First, none of the candidates was a sitting president, Gore was the Vice-President, and Bush was the brother of the Florida Governor. Trump, on the other hand, is a sitting president who has personally installed three of the nine Supreme Court Justices.
Moreover, none of these candidates tried to make the election controversial even before the results. Moving on, none of the candidates have also threatened legal actions before the election. Also, there was no global pandemic that will drive millions of voters to vote by mail-in ballots, causing a postal service crisis.
Therefore, the situation we are dealing with this year is the first-ever in the history of the United States.
Can the military be involved if Trump refuses to leave the White House?
The involvement of the military is a question that is being investigated by the country. Many believe that if Trump refuses to leave the White House, the president-elect will call the military and federal agents to arrest Trump and take him out.
Firstly, this should be made clear that the White House is just a symbol and does not mean that if Trump continues to stay in the White House, he is the president.
Secondly, the confusion that arises is who does the military answer to, Trump or Biden? In a normal situation, Trump would accept the election results, Biden would go to the White House on January 20, take his oath, and Trump will leave.
However, let us just imagine if Trump refuses to leave the White House. The House and the Senate will accept the presidency of Joe Biden, declaring him the 46th President of the United States. The oath could be given by anyone; it could be a Supreme Court Judge, even an ordinary American, as Biden just needs to say the words.
After that, Biden is the Commander-in-chief of the military forces, the federal agents, and Secret Service answer to him, and he can take Trump out in a few minutes. So it looks like there is nothing much that President Trump could do about it.
The vote count is still on, but Biden has been declared president-elect in not only America but also viewed as such by the whole world. There have always been complications about the peaceful transition of power in America, but this time the situation is different.
A sitting president is spreading allegations of fraud and mishandling of the 2020 election and declares that he will not leave the White House.
This has spread confusion among Americans, as they believe that Trump will not leave the office, and the country will fall into a death trap of violence and uprising. Only time will tell the truth, yet theoretically, there is little President Trump could do about the situation.
Eli is a Political Data Scientist with over thirty years of experience in Data Engineering, Analytics, and Digital Marketing. Eli uses his expertise to give the latest information and distinctive analysis on US Political News, US Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Racial Justice equipping readers with the inequivalent knowledge.