On Jan. 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president of the United States. He had won a close election, despite losing the popular vote. The Electoral College is a winner-take-all situation, so edging out Hillary Clinton in the large “battleground states” made the difference. Here is a statement Donald Trump made during his inaugural address that invites scrutiny: “Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.”
After this kind statement, bringing to mind George and Laura Bush greeting Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House for the ride to the Capitol in 2009, President Trump then slighted the Obama administration, announcing that he would give America back to the people.
Who knew that the people had lost America? I thought the Obama administration had saved the American economy after the disastrous crash of 2008.
In 2020, the reverse happened with a close presidential election. Trump got 72 million votes — impressive, indeed — but Joe Biden got a few million more and took the Electoral College by 36 votes over the winning number of 270.
President Trump declared the election “rigged.” Christopher Krebs, a cybersecurity official appointed by President Trump, rejected the claims of rigging as “unfounded,” asserting that “the Nov. 3 election was the most secure in American history.” Trump fired Krebs.
It is extremely difficult to rig a national election, certainly not without getting caught. It would be a massive conspiracy impossible to hide, and if the election was rigged, why didn’t the Democrats sweep the Senate and gain, not lose, seats in the House?
President Trump still denies the election results, refusing to concede and help with the transition of power, a tradition in America that is vital in these dangerous times.
Does President Trump have a problem with math? Refusing to accept defeat doesn’t change the outcome. If he cared for the United States, would he encourage his followers to pursue violence in the streets? What happened to the “peaceful transfer of power”? Does he really want to cast doubt on the right to vote that Americans hold as precious?
President Trump wants power for his personal use and not to serve the people, the very thing that the Founding Fathers feared. We have seen dangerous men in office, before.
Though Alexander Hamilton despised Thomas Jefferson’s principles, after a tie, he persuaded the House of Representatives to choose Jefferson as president over Burr because Jefferson at least had principles and would protect the Constitution. We know how the Hamilton-Burr conflict ended. Jefferson dropped Aaron Burr from the second presidential ticket, and Burr was tried for treason when he attempted to annex part of the Louisiana territory for a county of his own. Burr was acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Jan. 20, 2021, is approaching, and President Trump better make a decision before it’s made for him. As Major Garrett said on CBS, “When Joe Biden is sworn in as President, Trump will become a trespasser if he is still in the White House.” Surely, Trump doesn’t want to be escorted out by the Secret Service.
Can we move on? Can we hope that with a future vaccine, and a new administration promising a fresh direction, the winter of our discontent will end and music will ring through the White House, again?
Michael Corrigan graduated from San Francisco State with an Master of Arts degree in English and creative writing. He was active in theater and attended the American Film Institute. He retired from Idaho State University as an instructor of English and speech communications. He has written several books, including “Confessions of a Shanty Irishman,” “Mulligan” and “These Precious Hours.” NPR broadcast his play for two readers: “Letters from Rebecca.”