Everyone else knows it’s over.
Trump effectively surrendered his three-week protest of the election results Monday by submitting to the government’s official transition to the incoming Biden administration, bowing to a growing wave of public pressure yet still stopping short of conceding to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump authorized the federal government to initiate the Biden transition late Monday, setting in motion a peaceful transfer of power by paving the way for the president-elect and his administration-in-waiting to tap public funds, receive security briefings and gain access to federal agencies.
Though procedural in nature, Trump’s acceptance of the General Services Administration starting the transition amounted to a dramatic capitulation and capped an extraordinary 16-day standoff since Biden was declared the winner on Nov. 7.
By continuing to subvert the vote and delay the transition, Trump risked becoming isolated within his own party as a growing chorus of Republican officials recognized Biden as president-elect following a succession of defeats in courts by the Trump campaign.
On Monday, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified Biden’s win there, while earlier in the day dozens of business leaders and Republican national security experts had urged Trump to accept the result because refusing to begin the transition was endangering the country’s security, economy and pandemic response.
And so Trump yielded, writing Monday night on Twitter that he had agreed to support the Biden transition “in the best interest of our country.”
Yet the president also vowed to continue his push to overturn the results, adding, “Our case STRONGLY continues, we will keep up the good … fight, and I believe we will prevail!”
A number of Republicans are telling Trump to give up and concede, but it’s a waste of time and energy. He’s locked in the bunker, staring at his thumbs, and railing about betrayal and how he’s going to launch a final assault that will stun his enemies as the bombs are falling.
I wouldn’t give too much credit to the Republicans for stating the obvious. They’re out to save their own asses after their thundering silence during Trump’s most odious and anti-American tweets and actions over the last four years, and now that they’re figuring that it’s okay to boo from the cheap seats, they’re suddenly finding what is left of their spines and dignity. They’re now moving on to planning how to make Joe Biden a one-term president, and Trump is becoming irrelevant. Or so they’d like us to think.
The reason Trump is carrying on isn’t just because he’s lost the election and in his fevered mind he’s never lost anything. It’s a combination of being rejected by the country, the realization that he’s fading into history as the worst president since James Buchanan, and the looming awareness that there are at least two District Attorneys lying in wait for him to lose the protection of the presidency before a number of statutes of limitation expire. (There’s a school of thought that he sought the presidency for that reason alone, although I think it’s giving him too much credit for forethought.) And under all of this is the devastating awareness that he couldn’t pull off the last act of his biggest con. To quote Harold Hill, festooned in tar and feathers, he finally got his foot caught in the door.