Mercurial President Donald Trump has sowed confusion in the post-election transition taking back within hours an admission of defeat by Democrat Joe Biden and now claiming, "We will win."Trump, who conducts his politics through tweets, appeared to grudgingly concede the election to Biden early Sunday morning with a passive-aggressive tweet that amounted to a concession: "He won because the Election was Rigged."But within hours he made a U-turn, tweeting, "RIGGED ELECTION. WE WILL WIN!"Trump, who has filed cases - some unsuccessfully - regarding the election and plans more, tweeted, "He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!"There has been no official declaration of results with votes still being counted. However, the mainstream US media last week declared Biden the winner based on their projections of the November 3 election's outcome.On Friday the media gave 306 electoral college votes to Biden, more than the 270 required to win, and 232 to Trump.The media verdict has been widely accepted even by some Republicans and by many international leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has congratulated Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.On Friday, Biden declared, "I am the president-elect," while giving a warning about the resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.Since neither Trump has officially conceded the election to Biden nor have officials, who have a December 14 deadline, declared Biden the winner, Biden's team is not able to access to government facilities or important information on matters like the Covid-19 pandemic and national security.
Trump taking back his low-key admission of defeat could complicate the transition as Biden will have to hit the ground running on January 20 when he is sworn-in as president.Former Surgeon General Vivek Murty, who is the co-chair of Biden's Covid-19 advisory panel, told a Fox News TV interviewer that it was important to have dialogues with Trump officials on the vaccine sistribution because "you want to get them started as soon as possible."Anthony Fauci, who is the Trump administration's face of the war on Covid-19 as the top scientist on the pandemic, said in an interview to CNN, "It would be better if we can start working with them."The first inkling that Trump may acknowledge Biden as the president-elect came on Friday at a White House briefing on the progress of his Covid-19 vaccination programme, Operation Warp Speed.While discussing the possibility of a coronavirus-induced lockdown he said, "Whatever happens in the future, who knows, which administration will be, I guess time will tell."Doubling down on his legal challenges to the election, where he has said that there was widespread fraud, he said, "I look forward to Mayor Giuliani spearheading the legal effort to defend OUR RIGHT to FREE and FAIR ELECTIONS!"After his campaign suffered a series of legal setbacks in Pennsylvania and Michigan, Trump appointed former Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer and former New York mayor, to oversee the cases on alleged election irregularities.
Continuing with his allegations of voter fraud, Trump added in his tweet about Biden winning, "NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn't even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more!"Dominion is a company that provides software for conducting elections and Trump supporters have asserted that it switched thousands of Trump's votes to Biden.In Michigan, where inaccuracies in reporting the votes were reported, officials said that they were due to human error and were not because of the software.Officials in Georgia said that Dominion software problems delayed the reporting of vote counts but did not affect the numbers.In another tweet Trump said, "All of the mechanical 'glitches' that took place on Election Night were really THEM getting caught trying to steal votes. They succeeded plenty, however, without getting caught. Mail-in elections are a sick joke!"Trump has opposed the wide-spread use of postal ballots with some states like California and New Jersey distributing them to all on the voter rolls.Thousands of his supporters marched in Washington on Saturday in rallies they called, "Million MAGA March" - an acronym for Trump's "Make American Great Again" slogan - and "Stop the Steal" - a reference to the allegations of fraud.Trump drove by the rally but did not stop or speak to them.Unlike some of the protests by Biden supporters in recent times against police brutality and racism, the Trump backers did not loot stores or deface Mahatma Gandhi's statue.But later in the evening, anti-Trump demonstrators clashed with Trump supporters and about 20 people were arrested.(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)