Donald Trump has said he will leave the White House when the Electoral College votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden as soon as the outgoing president concedes defeat.
Biden won the presidential election with 306 college electoral votes – far more than the 270 required – compared to 232. Biden also outperforms Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote count.
Trump has defied traditions thus far by refusing to admit defeat, instead making a series of baseless allegations about alleged ballot fraud and launching legal attempts to challenge the results in several states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.
But desperate efforts by Trump and his aides to turn the results in key states, either through lawsuits or by lobbying state lawmakers, have failed.
Speaking to reporters over the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said that if Biden – who will be sworn in on January 20 – is recognized as the election winner by the Electoral College, he will leave the White House.
Trump’s remarks, made to reporters at the White House after talking to soldiers during the traditional Thanksgiving speech to US service personnel, seem to bring him one step closer to admitting defeat.
Asked if he would leave the White House if the college vote went against him, Trump said, “Of course I will. You know that. If they did, they’d made a mistake.”
However, Trump said it would be “very difficult to concede” and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, which is slated for January 20.
The Electoral College is scheduled to meet on December 14 when the candidate electors of each state cast their ballots for the winner of the state’s presidential ballot. The vote is officially counted by Congress on January 6.
Biden and Trump stayed close to home to celebrate Thanksgiving as the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the country.
Biden spent the vacation with his family in Delaware, providing a presidential-style address in a message posted on Twitter. He said Americans are making “a common sacrifice for the entire country” and a “statement of common purpose” by staying home with their immediate families.
Trump often loves to celebrate the holidays at Florida’s Mar-a-Largo resort. But on Thursday he stayed in the Washington area, spending part of the morning at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia where he played a round of golf.
The United States is rapidly approaching 13 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, and by Thursday, more than 263,000 people in the country had lost their lives due to the Coronavirus.