Some people have asked an odd question: what happens if Donald Trump loses the presidential election but doesn’t acknowledge defeat or leave the White House? The short answer is that those things are not up to him.
After Joe Biden take his oath of office at noon on January 20, 2021, Trump is a noisy empty barrel—a political cipher doomed to hide from likely prosecutions. Trump can wrap his stubby fingers around the legs of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. Joe Biden will begin his presidency in Blair House, or the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, or the Ramada Inn.
Biden can engage in all his official duties, such as making appointments and issuing executive orders, while the Secret Service checks the bags of departing Trump family members for White House china, silver, and paintings. Police might issue an all-points bulletin for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump last seen in a large U-Haul.
News organizations will refrain from calling this a constitutional crisis. Trump will bellow that all the Biden Administration activity is fake news—and reporters, one after another, will respond, as they should have responded for the past four years, “No, Donald, the news is real. Your tan is fake.” Trump mouthpiece Kayleigh McEnany will be too busy handing her resume to Fox News, and tossing some sharp elbows at Hope Hicks, to do any more lying for Trump from the White House lectern.
Trump will tweet insults and bellow on the phone, but civil servants only will laugh at him. Trump will try to command military personnel, but those military figures (obliged to refuse unconstitutional orders), will reply, “Sorry, sir, you are no longer president.” No doubt Trump will blurt out “losers” and “suckers” at them, then try to find his consigliere. Bill Barr, however, will have crept away from the Justice Department, and likely will be on a beach in a country without an extradition treaty
Guffaw emoji will be used for the first time in a Supreme Court ruling, one dismissing Trump’s ludicrous and desperate filings.
The Washington Post final tally of Trump Presidential Lies will exceed 30,000. Belatedly recognizing the importance of presidential accuracy, major news organizations will implement Operation Truthful Transition. Trump speeches and statements since his election loss will have been accompanied by sound effects—a buzzer for lies, a slide whistle for logical fallacies, a gong for personal attacks and name calling, and a quack for ducked questions.
Amazon will establish a new True Crime Books subcategory, Trump Tell-Alls. The authors of those books and their lawyers will huddle in prosecutor offices, trying to negotiate plea deals. Across the country, Republican officials sheepishly will be unavailable. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will hold a campout on Capitol Plaza, meeting with his diminished GOP legislative contingent to develop a new “Trump Who?” agenda. All will make bail after being arrested for violating their own anti-protest law.
The FBI, executing an arrest warrant, will use of bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to lure Trump through the nearly empty building to the White House kitchen. There they will cuff him and frog march him to an awaiting car. Despite Trump’s protests, an agent will put his hand on Trump’s hair as the disgraced former president is eased into the back seat. The hand will stick, separated only by rigorous application of rubbing alcohol.
Though I may have extrapolated a few details, the key point remains—election acceptance is not Trump’s call.