Given what we know about Donald Trump, it’s futile to urge him to accept defeat gracefully and put the welfare of the country above the gratification of his bruised ego. Nor would there be much point in calling on an incorrigibly dishonest president to stop serving up conspiracy theories about a rigged election. This, after all, is the man who made baseless allegations about voter fraud in the 2016 election because he couldn’t accept losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
But it’s important to call out other public officials who are enabling the president in his divisive denial of reality. They include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and, surprisingly, the head of the General Services Administration, who has declined so far to authorize full cooperation with Joe Biden’s transition team. Her stance has allowed the rest of the administration to keep the transition on ice.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Tuesday that Trump “may not have been defeated.” In more anodyne comments, McConnell said Trump’s legal challenges were “not unusual” and are “no reason for alarm.” Similarly, McCarthy told Fox News on Sunday that “what we need in the presidential race is to make sure every legal vote is counted, every recount is completed and every legal challenge should be heard.”
But even that statement, which was less strident than McCarthy’s remarks last week, suggested that there was serious doubt about whether Biden had prevailed in a fair election.
It’s not hard to see why some — but not all — prominent Republicans are unwilling to acknowledge the obvious. Trump remains popular among the party’s base, and indulging him in his delusions is a way of staying on the right side of that constituency.
It’s harder to see why Emily W. Murphy, the GSA administrator, is stalling the transition process. In a departure from past practice, Murphy so far has declined to issue an “ascertainment” that Biden is the apparent winner of the election, a step necessary to trigger the release of millions of dollars for the transition and give Biden’s team access to federal offices.
It’s true that the Trump campaign, as is its right, is going to court in a quixotic attempt to establish irregularities that might change the outcome. But, as Max Stier, the president and chief executive of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, points out, such litigation doesn’t preclude starting the transition arrangements.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES