'I hope Joe Biden will commit to ignoring Hillary's advice and conceding the election if he loses, just as President Trump will,' one Trump ally said in September.
Republicans who have been slow to acknowledge Joe Biden as the president-elect of the United States were among those outraged weeks ago at the idea that he might not concede if he lost. And Donald Trump, who has refused to acknowledge his defeat in the 2020 election, was one of them.
As of Monday, his campaign is still claiming Trump is "still in the fight," even though every major news outlet called the race for his opponent two days earlier.
Many of these intransigent Republicans expressed outrage after Hillary Clinton said during an interview in August that Biden should not do as she did in 2016 and immediately concede defeat in a close election against Trump.
"Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually, I do believe he will win if we don't give an inch and if we are as focused and relentless as the other side is," she said during an appearance on Showtime's "The Circus.".
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) blasted Clinton's comments as "eerie" in a Fox News interview. "How bold she is, with just laying out their plan like that," he said in a video clip that was quickly amplified by Trump's campaign. "And we all know that's their plan: create as much chaos around elections as possible."
Weeks later, after Trump indicated that he might not accept an election defeat, Republicans insisted he would and used Clinton's comments to allege a double standard.
"There will be a very peaceful transition," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Sept. 24. "The concern I have though, too, I hope you ask the same question of Hillary Clinton, who simply said out there, 'Never concede the race.'" McCarthy falsely claimed on Thursday that Trump had "won this election."
"I would have the same concern when Hillary Clinton advised Biden not to concede the election," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) at the time. "We have a Constitution, and the Constitution says when the presidency ends. You ask me just from the standpoint of what the president said: It isn't very good advice from Hillary Clinton to advise Biden about that."
"There will be a peaceful transition of power — I am confident of that," agreed Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). "And I hope Joe Biden will commit to ignoring Hillary's advice and conceding the election if he loses, just as President Trump will."
"Well, there will be peaceful transfer of power if he loses. If he wins there'll be no transfer of power at all. You know the advice apparently given to Senator Biden, Vice President Biden by Secretary of State Clinton — you should never concede," said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). "What does that mean? What does any of this talk mean? There's an Election Day process. There is a legal process if there are concerns about that. And if there is a transition, it will be timely and peaceful."
"I think the president will accept the result. We got to make sure it's fair," said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). "Hillary Clinton said Joe Biden should not accept the result of the election under any circumstances. You ought to ask the same question of every Democrat if they think there's a fair election, if they'll support the outcome of it."
Trump made a similar argument in an interview with Fox New Radio's Brian Kilmeade on Sept. 24: "Remember crooked Hillary Clinton, a week ago, she said to Joe Biden, Don't concede under any circumstances, do not concede under any — never concede, OK? Now, nobody does a story about that, right? But she said that last week. And the words were 'Don't concede under any circumstances.' Well, it's OK for her to say that, but if I say, well, I want the ballots to be fair — they make a big deal out of it. It's not right, it's just the same old double standard."
Trump's current calls for recounts and refusal to concede are the exact opposite of the statements he was during the campaign.
As he kicked off his unsuccessful 2020 reelection campaign in Orlando, Florida, Trump framed the race as a referendum on whether to accept the public's will.
"This election is a verdict on whether we want to live in a country where the people who lose an election refuse to concede and spend the next two years trying to shred our Constitution and rip your country apart," he told his booing supporters.
Smirking that he had not given a "great answer" when Clinton asked during a debate in 2016 whether he would support her if she won the election that year, Trump told the crowd at the rally, "That might have been my hardest question during the debates. Isn't it amazing that it worked the other way around, right? Is isn't it amazing?"
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.