President Donald Trump said he would leave the White House when the electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden. “Certainly I will, and you know that,” he said when asked directly about what he will do. It wasn’t quite a concession of defeat but it was the closest to that for a president who had not explicitly said he was going to leave on Jan. 20. Making it clear that his statement didn’t represent a massive change in tone though, Trump immediately continued to say he would keep doubting the results of the election with baseless claims of voter fraud. “I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20th of January, a lot of things. Massive fraud has been found,” he insisted without providing evidence.
Trump said he would leave the White House after he repeatedly danced around the question of whether he would concede to Biden once the electoral college votes. “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud,” Trump said without evidence. Pressed on the issue, Trump said that if the electoral college votes for Biden “they made a mistake, because this election was a fraud” and repeatedly said that the United States was “like a third world country.” The electoral college is scheduled to meet on Dec. 14 and Congress officially counts the votes on Jan. 6.
Trump spoke to reporters for the first time since Election Day on Thursday after he spoke to troops around the world in a Thanksgiving tradition. The question-and-answer session turned combative at points with the president slamming a reporter as a “lightweight” when he was interrupted. “Don’t talk to me that way. I’m the President of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.” It also showed a president out of step with his party as he said that it wasn’t “right” for Biden to start picking Cabinet members at a time when members of his administration are already working with Biden’s team on the transition.
At a time when coronavirus infections and deaths are on the rise across the country, Trump only dedicated brief comments to the issue and his focus seemed to be on taking credit for the development of vaccines. “Don’t let Joe Biden take credit for the vaccines,” Trump said. “The vaccines were me, and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.”