US President Donald Trump returns to the White House after news media declared Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 US presidential election.(REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump returns to the White House after news media declared Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 US presidential election.(REUTERS)

What happens if President Trump refuses to leave office?

Trump said that his campaign would begin court fights on Monday “to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated”.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Mallika Soni
UPDATED ON NOV 08, 2020 04:01 PM IST

While Joe Biden is projected to win the US presidential election and has already crossed the majority mark, incumbent Donald Trump has refused to acknowledge the numbers. Both Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris have given their victory speeches and leaders from across the world have congratulated them on their win but President Trump refused to acknowledge all of that in a statement released by his campaign soon after the news of Democratic victory broke.

“The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” Trump said. He added that his campaign would begin court fights on Monday “to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated”.

Chanting “This isn’t over!” and “Stop the steal?”, supporters of Trump have also protested at state capitals across the country, refusing to accept defeat and thereby echoing his allegations of voter fraud.

Can Trump really hold back president-elect Joe Biden?

With Trump threatening legal action, the Biden camp has also readied its lawyers. Legal action can delay the process of appointment, thus creating a chaotic situation. But this does not mean that Trump can hold back Joe Biden’s presidency. Joe Biden had even noted recently that the “United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Has this happened before?

Some past leaders have denied the vote results but cooler heads have eventually prevailed, leading them to accept the situation gracefully.

What does the US constitution say about this?

The US constitution does not say anything about how to remove a president who has refused to hand over power but if Trump maintains his stance, he is likely to face pressure from his party and the Congress. Therefore, Trump is likely to concede eventually, however, there is no guarantee of this.

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