This was first posted on Facebook on 10th November 2020, with support from my Ko-Fi network.
Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, and Mike Pence, soon-to-be-ex Vice President, have both declared that as far as they are concerned, the election is not over and they could yet be having a seamless transition to Trump’s second term in office.
Okay. This is freaky. But consider these facts.
Donald Trump lost, and not narrowly. He lost the popular vote: he is heading for a loss in the electoral college 232 to 306. To “win”, he would have to secure a legal victory in multiple states, and so far, court after court is dismissing Trump campaign claims of electoral fraud with “show your evidence? – oh you don’t have any? – goodbye”.
This means that on 14th December, the electoral college will vote to have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris become, officially, the President Elect and the Vice President Elect. They have to. As recently as July, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that “faithless elector” laws which allow states to penalise electors who don’t vote as their state voted, are constitutional. (It is possible that three out of the nine would change their minds on that if they rhought it meant handing Trump the Presidency, but I think at most three; Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Comey Barrett.)
Biden’s slate of electors has already been appointed for each state (as has Trump’s) and trying to get not just one state to send a competing slate of electors but the multiple states that Trump would need to “win”, is, I think, frankly impossible.
Trump knows this. Mike Pompeo knows this. Mike Pence knows this. So why are they saying otherwise?
First, by refusing to accept that Biden has won, they can hold up the launch of Biden’s official transition team – the funding they get, the office space they can use, the authority and clearances they are entitled to. Biden-Harris’s team may not get any of that until 14th December. So, they’ll be starting late, and Trump may hope this will make them look less than competent in January.
Second, the most obvious – so long as Trump and his henchmen keep claiming he’s won, they can keep fundraising for the “legal fight”. At least half of that “legal fight” goes, as explained in the small print, to pay off Trump’s campaign debts. And if Trump just happens not to spend the other half on his “legal fight”, if there just happens to be lots of the money left over, who’s going to get that money?
Trump likes money. Trump knows he has lost the Presidency, which he has always regarded as an opportunity to make more money – charging his Secret Service team first-class ticket prices to travel with him on his private jet and full-price rooms to stay at Mar-A-Lago, raking off millions from his inauguration ceremony, funnelling USAF planes to to tiny airport in Scotland where the military crew have to stay at one of Trump’s hotels – the list is literally endless.
This fundraising opportunity for his “legal fund” is possibly Trump’s very last opportunity to use the Presidency to make money for himself, and of course he doesn’t want it to stop.
But it doesn’t mean any more than that, and we should all be clear about that. Trump wants money. Don’t give his fundraising tweets any publicity – and every tweet claiming he’s won is just that, and no more than that.