Donald Trump still hasn't accepted his defeat.
More than two months after President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, nine days after a deadly attack by supporters of Donald Trump on the U.S. Capitol that claimed five lives, and two days after Trump became the first White House occupant in history to be impeached twice, Vice President Mike Pence finally called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris Friday to congratulate her on her win.
The New York Times noted that Pence was "filling a leadership role all but abdicated by President Trump" when he called Harris Friday morning.
On Thursday, Pence, seemingly acting as de facto president, tweeted that he would oversee a peaceful inauguration and transition of power: "The American people can be confident that we're going to ensure that we'll have a safe Inauguration in a matter consistent with our history & traditions. We have confidence our Law Enforcement will protect our Capitol and the Great people of this Nation next week."
Trump has still not publicly acknowledged he lost the election on Nov. 3.
The administration's attacks on the election process, culminating in far-right violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, have been ongoing for months.
Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee and head of the General Services Administration, which oversees the transition process, stonewalled Biden's transition for weeks following the election. She did not relent until Nov. 23.
But Pence promoted Trump's false claims of election fraud — the same ones that incited the violent mob of Trump supporters on Jan. 6 — right up to the bitter end. Speaking at an event sponsored by far-right youth organization Turning Point USA on Dec. 22, he told audience members to "stay in the fight in our election."
"As our election contest continues, I'll make you a promise," he continued. "We're going to keep fighting until every legal vote is counted. We're going to keep fighting until every illegal vote is thrown out."
And just days before the attempted coup at the Capitol, Pence reiterated these claims to rally attendees in Georgia ahead of the state's run-off Senate election.
"We've all got our doubts about the last election. I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities," Pence said. "Come this Wednesday, we'll have our day in Congress. We'll hear the evidence."
Two days later, five people were dead in an unprecedented attack on the seat of American democracy, and Pence began preparing for the transition.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.