As President Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge the reality that he lost last week’s presidential election, his Republican allies have mostly, so far, backed his refusal to concede, a stark contrast with their Democratic counterparts in 2016, who quickly acknowledged Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, said on Monday that Trump was “100% within his rights” to consider legal challenges to the election results, and he lambasted Democrats as hypocrites.
“Let’s not have any lectures about how the President should immediately, cheerfully accept preliminary election results from the same characters who just spent four years refusing to accept the validity of the last election,” McConnell said.
Trump White House
But the reality is, while Democrats expressed disappointment at the 2016 election results, most of the party’s leadership in Congress, the White House and at the Democratic National Committee congratulated then-President-elect Trump. They also pledged to work with his team to facilitate the transition and to work with his administration where their views aligned, while promising to stand up for their values when he challenged them. Their behavior four years ago mirrors the tradition followed by most administrations before them, and underscores how Trump and his allies have broken with decades of precedent in how transfers of power are conducted.
Emily W. Murphy, Trump’s head of the General Services Administration, has refused to recognize the incoming Biden administration. The GSA’s recognition would kick off the formal transition process, and by refusing to acknowledge Biden’s victory the agency is making clear that it won’t get ahead of the President.
Yet the day after the 2016 election, then-President Barack Obama ordered the White House to ensure a smooth transition, including the GSA.
“The peaceful transfer of power is a bedrock principle of our democracy,” the White House said in a statement at the time. “The President was grateful for the time and care put into the 2008 transition by President Bush’s Administration. That is why he directed his team last year to make a smooth transition between administrations a top priority.”
Clinton delivered a speech the day after her election loss congratulating Trump.
“Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country,” she said. “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it.”
CNN’s KFile reviewed statements from Democratic leaders and Clinton allies in 2016 acknowledging their loss. Here’s what they said:
Sen. Chuck Schumer
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