Expert: Risk increases the longer Trump refuses to concede


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Four days after President-elect Joe Biden was projected to become the 46th President of the United States, President Donald Trump still hasn’t conceded the election.

As of Wednesday morning, Trump was losing the popular vote by more than 5 million votes and was trailing in Pennsylvania (-47,566), Nevada (-36,726), Georgia (-14,112) and Arizona (-12,813). All are states he needed to win in order to retain the presidency.

With the results not expected to be particularly close, Trump’s unwillingness to accept the results and repeated, but so far unproven, claims of voter fraud are unprecedented in U.S. Presidential Election history.

KXAN’s Tom Miller talked with Global Security Expert Ben West about what this could mean for the days ahead.

Miller: What is the biggest risk associated with the Trump administration not conceding the election?

West: I think the biggest risk is the immediate one, and it’s what we’ve seen at least four times over the past, not even week. We’ve seen four individuals arrested or at least detained and investigated for making threats online to attack either democratic politicians of democratic supporters. We had the arrest of the two individuals in Philadelphia last week, who appeared to be plotting an attack on the ballot counting center there.

Miller: Does this become worse the longer this drags out?

West: If we get to Dec. 8 or Dec. 14, which are kind of pivotal points in the Electoral College process, and there’s still no official concession, still not a transition process underway, then we really start getting into really pushing the limits of what the constitution allows and requires.

Miller: How great is the risk that we could see unrest from both sides, both from Biden supporters and from Trump supporters?

West: We already have calls from Trump supporters to rally in Washington D.C. this weekend on Saturday. There’s a Million MAGA March as well as a Stop the Steal demonstration planned. Proud Boys, which is a group that supports Trump that’s been involved in violence, endorsed the protest, suggesting they’ll be there. That kind of increases the threat of violence. I think if it happens in a place like Washington D.C., you’ll almost certainly see counter-protests, so you’ll have a threat there.

Miller: Do you foresee a situation where the military would need to get involved if the president refused to leave office?

West: I think even if it did get to that point, I think that the Biden campaign has said the U.S. government is fully capable of removing trespassers from the White House. Functionally, I think that would be more of a Secret Service responsibility.

Miller: Is there national security risks associated with not having a smooth transition; I know the Biden campaign has said it’s not worried about that, but what would you say?

West: I don’t think we’re going to see significant impact when it comes to national security, I think this will be resolved, even though it might take a few weeks or maybe a month or two.

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