Trump Says He’ll Never Concede Before Congress Upholds Biden Win

President Donald Trump declared that he will never concede he was defeated for re-election and assailed congressional Republicans planning to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Wednesday.

“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened, radical-left Democrats,” Trump told thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington. “We will never give up; we will never concede.”

He said he would later join them at the U.S. Capitol to protest congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory and repeatedly urged Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the event, to somehow stop Congress from ratifying the president’s defeat. But Pence said he has no such authority.

Trump criticized “weak Republicans” who have said they won’t join objections against counting votes from states where the president has baselessly claimed he lost due to fraud.

“You have to get your people to fight,” he said. “And if they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight.”

Trump’s remarks were laced with grievances about his political opponents and excuses for recent Republican election defeats that many other GOP figures have blamed on the president. He criticized several Republicans by name, including Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who said earlier that Trump had “disgraced the office of the presidency.”

“The Liz Cheneys of the world, we’ve got to get rid of them,” Trump said.

He also took a shot at former Attorney General William Barr, who resigned in December after declaring the Justice Department had no evidence of the widespread election fraud Trump has claimed.

“All of a sudden Bill Barr changed, if you hadn’t noticed,” Trump said, adding that he had quit “because he didn’t want to be considered my personal attorney.”

Trump’s remarks followed Senate runoff elections in Georgia that cost Republicans at least one seat and had Democrats preparing to take control of the chamber, as well as the presidency.

In tweets earlier, the president tacitly acknowledged that Republicans will lose control of the Senate, renewing his demand for Congress to reject states’ certifications of Biden’s victory on Wednesday and extend his presidency.

Unfounded Claims on Georgia

Trump made unfounded allegations in his tweets that Georgia officials were counting fraudulent votes. He did not directly concede that Democrats will sweep the state’s Senate runoffs, but said the “fake voter tabulation process” makes it more important that congressional Republicans reject his own defeat and ignore voters.

Trump’s rally, held on the Ellipse south of the White House, was scheduled to coincide with the formal counting of state electors in Congress. He had encouraged his supporters to come to Washington to protest the event, the last formal act in the drawn-out 2020 election before Biden is inaugurated.

Thousands of people filled several square blocks between the stage where Trump spoke and the Washington Monument to the south.

Trump has recently demanded that Pence somehow block Biden’s certification. The Constitution gives the vice president no more than a ministerial role in the proceedings, but Trump insisted in a statement issued by his campaign late Tuesday that Pence could unilaterally send certified results back to states where Trump has alleged fraud.

“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump said at the rally.

But Pence said in a letter to Congress -- made public while Trump spoke -- that he has no power to reverse Trump’s re-election defeat, defying the president’s demands that he unilaterally reject Electoral College votes.

GOP Objections

A total of 13 Republican senators have said they’ll object to Electoral College votes from one or more states, but other GOP senators have said they’ll uphold the results, leaving little doubt Biden will be inaugurated.

Because of the objections, an event that typically takes less than an hour is expected to drag late into the night Wednesday or into Thursday.

In Georgia, the Associated Press declared that Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock had won his race over Senator Kelly Loeffler. Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff was leading his race against Republican David Perdue and declared victory Wednesday morning, but his race had not been called by major media organizations.

If both win, Democrats will take control of the Senate with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, as well as the White House and the House of Representatives.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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