News & Current Affairs

By Caitlin Holloway


You’re fired Donald, Biden came up trumps

Last week, we wrote about the allegations of election fraud being claimed by Donald Trump and whether fraud was a genuine concern in the United States election (you can find that blog here:

Since then, President-elect Joe Biden has claimed victory, triggering a plethora of legal proceedings filed by the Trump administration and resulting in heightened concerns about whether Trump will accept the result of the election.

So, what does this all mean? and what happens if Trump refuses to leave the White House? Well, the short answer to both of those questions is: not much.

Proceedings have been commenced by the Trump administration in six key states, where President-elect Biden won by a small margin. The proceedings generally allege widespread voter fraud and seek to re-count or invalidate ballots cast for President-elect Biden. So far, the proceedings have been criticised by several state Courts, the Democrats and, in some cases, even Trump’s own supporters.

In Stoddard et al v City Election Commission[1], Judge Timothy Kenny denied a request to delay the certification of election results in Michigan (a major state the Republicans won in 2016), stating that “while there are assertions made by the [trump administration]… there is no evidence in support of those assertions.”

Similarly, in Georgia, Superior Judge James Bass summarily dismissed proceedings filed by the Trump administration, finding that there was no evidence that certain ballots were invalid or that the relevant local board of elections failed to comply with the law. [2] Trump has also been unsuccessful in challenging ballots in Nevada and Arizona and, although some proceedings (such as those in Pennsylvania) remain unresolved, it is almost certain that the election result will not change. In order for the election result to change, Trump would have to substantially change the number of total votes for President-elect Biden in Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania, which is highly unlikely, if not impossible.

Even after all those proceedings are resolved, it may be the case that Trump never concedes the election and the reality is that there is no requirement for him to do so.

In accordance with the Constitution of the United States of America (the Constitution), Donald Trump’s presidential term will end automatically at noon on 20 January 2020. Donald Trump cannot subvert or amend the Constitution (although I wouldn’t put it past him to give it a crack).

As soon as the clock strikes noon on 20 January 2020, power will automatically vest in President-elect Biden and he can take up office in the White House, regardless of whether Donald Trump accepts that result. In a statement, Joe Biden’s team noted that “the United States government is capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.” If it comes down to it, Biden could order the United States military to forcibly remove Trump from the White House.

We won’t know how any of this will unfold until 20 January 2020, but if Donald Trump continues on his trajectory of falsely claiming that the Democrats have “stolen” the election, the end of Trump’s presidential term may go down with, at best, large-scale protests and at worst, violence.

[1] No. 20-014604-CZ, 6 November 2020.

[2] In Re: Enforcement of Election Laws and Securing Ballots Case or Received After 7:00pm on November 3, 2020 No. SPCV2000982-J3, 5 November 2020.