This is an opinion piece.
We always knew President Trump had an embarrassing, immature tendency to act like a petulant, spoiled child when he didn’t get his way.
But his refusal to concede that he lost the 2020 presidential election to President-elect Joe Biden, despite what the official election totals showed, will go down in U.S. political history as shameful.
“It’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said this week. “How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy.”
That’s putting it mildly. Trump’s childish behavior in refusing to accept the results of the election has put an indelible stain on America’s 230-plus years of election history.
Throughout our political history, there has always been a relatively smooth transition from one administration to the next. But this time, from the moment the election was called in Biden’s favor, and our European allies were bombarding him with congratulatory calls, the White House occupants made clear that they were not about to concede the election.
Trump and senior administration officials were making no moves to smooth the transition and hand over the reins of power to Biden’s team upon his inauguration.
In private meetings, senior Biden advisers were urging the Delaware Democrat and former vice president to take his legal case into the courts, but he seemed to resist that solution, at least for now.
For the time being, it seems, Biden does not want to play political hardball with Trump.
“I understand the sense of loss. I get that. But I think the majority of the people who voted for the president ... I think they understand we have to come together,” Biden told reporters Tuesday.
But on Monday night, his advisers said they were continuing to evaluate their legal options to force a solution.
Still, Biden appears reluctant to take that route. “I don’t see the need for legal action, quite frankly,” he said.
Biden’s reluctance to head down that path is to a large extent due to his belief that the election result must first be confirmed by the General Services Administration. But as of now, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a Trump political appointee, has declined to sign the paperwork.
But there is another partisan game afoot.
As Biden weighs Cabinet picks, how many Democrats will he appoint to staff his administration, and how will those nominations play out in the Senate led by GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell?
Biden thinks McConnell will be fair in handling his Cabinet appointments. But that remains to be seen.
Meantime, Trump refuses to concede, but Biden isn’t worried about that. “We’re already beginning the transition. We’re well underway,” he said this week. “The fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge we’ve won is not of much consequence.”
Donald Lambro has been covering Washington politics for more than 50 years as a reporter, editor and commentator.