‘Dejected’ Trump continues to waffle over waging baseless election fight

‘Dejected’ Trump continues to waffle over waging baseless election fight

‘Dejected’ Trump continues to waffle over waging baseless election fight


How much longer President Donald Trump continues waging battle over an election he lost remained in question Thursday as more of his advisers voiced doubt his gambit to contest the results would succeed. One person who spoke to him called him “dejected” over the ordeal.

Trump himself was waffling by the hour and day between a pugilistic desire to keep fighting and a more resigned attitude that his efforts will ultimately fail, people who spoke to him said.
None said they believed a full-blown concession was imminent, or likely to ever materialize. Some people close to the situation pointed to November 20 — the certification deadline in Georgia, where a hand recount has been ordered — as a potential end-date. Others said the unpredictable President could chose to pull the plug sooner.
But surveyed by CNN, nearly everyone close to Trump said they believed it was only a matter of time before he finds some way to acknowledge he will not be president come January 20 — and said he was likely to pin blame on his baseless claims of a rigged election.
A Trump adviser said the President has discussed in recent days whether it was possible for some electors to go rogue and select him as president rather than follow the results in their individual states. It’s unclear how serious Trump was about the idea.
This adviser believes Trump is moving through the emotions of accepting that he won’t be reelected while remaining convinced he was cheated by Democrats in critical states like Pennsylvania.

“We’re near the next phase” of acceptance of the results, the adviser said.
Just in the last day, Trump’s informal campaign adviser, a religious ally, a Republican governor and conservative media personalities have all come out to say the election was won by Biden and that Trump should begin moving on.
Inside the White House, the current period has taken on the feeling of interregnum, as staffers feel obliged to continue their work and even celebrate Trump’s perceived victory while the President largely discontinues his own official tasks.
As Trump was in the White House residence last week, watching his path to a second term slip from grasp, his staffers were holding a premature celebration next door. The White House Office of Presidential Personnel, the unit responsible for administration hiring that has of late become a loyalty enforcer under Trump, threw a victory party in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, sources told CNN, where staffers enjoyed drinks and clinked glasses to a second term.
The ill-timed celebration was another reminder of how the Trump administration is operating as if a second term is in the offing, even as many officials say they are just waiting on the President to publicly accept reality. Budgets are being drawn and staff told to stay put, even though nearly everyone knows the gig will end eventually.
“It could be days. It could be weeks,” one presidential adviser said.
An internal debate continues to rage over the wisdom of continuing with the legal challenges and requests for recounts in several states. One adviser said Trump could be seen as losing twice as his attempts at challenging the results fail one by one.
Since last week, Trump has been advised on numerous occasions that it’s highly unlikely he will prevail in the courts, but he has plowed ahead anyway. Two advisers cautioned Trump could change his mind about the court cases, which may lead to a sudden move to bow out.
But others pointed to the decision in Georgia to conduct a full recount of votes, the results of which won’t be known until late next week, suggesting that is a potential deadline for Trump to finally acknowledge his loss.
A top Senate GOP official said Thursday that Republican leadership has told senators they expect the current situation to drag on “no more than another week,” though even Republican lawmakers close to Trump have acknowledged they have little insight into the President’s strategy.

Dark stretch

'Dejected' Trump continues to waffle over waging baseless election fight
‘Dejected’ Trump continues to waffle over waging baseless election fight

For Trump, the days since the election have been a dark stretch. While aides say he has thrown relatively few angry fits — most people in the building were fully expecting them — he has seemed downcast.
For days, he lamented the decision by Fox News to call Arizona for Biden, even as the move made less-and-less of a difference in the ultimate scheme of things. He has consulted with a wide array of outside advisers on how to proceed, offering little sign he is planning a graceful exit even as he has acknowledged the race is likely over.
His adult sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are encouraging him to continue waging battle, arguing his supporters want to see him keeping up the pressure and that he has little to lose. But others, including their sister Ivanka, have sent a more calibrated message, asking whether it was worth damaging his legacy and potentially his businesses to continue his refusal to concede.
None, however, have vigorously argued to Trump that he should concede.
The President went for three days without leaving the building before making the trip to his golf course in Virginia on Saturday, a tactfully arranged outing that brought him very briefly away from his television at the moment networks called the race for Biden. Instead of watching it play out live, Trump received a phone call from staff alerting him to the news, though he had been expecting it and the official word did not prompt an outsized reaction. Trump continued with his round of golf anyway.
In the days since, Trump has spent ample time in front of the TV watching coverage of Biden’s transition, including his public remarks describing Trump’s reluctance to concede an “embarrassment.” He was thrilled when he saw Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mention a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration” during a news conference on Tuesday, one person who spoke to him said.
But he has been dismayed to see foreign leaders, including those he considered friends such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, move swiftly toward congratulating Biden.
He has spent much of his days on the phone, describing his strong view the election had been stolen from him and his disbelief at losing to Biden. But throughout his conversations this week, Trump has appeared cognizant that his legal efforts aren’t likely to reverse the results of the contest and that he will depart the White House in January.
Trump this week has lingered in the Oval Office for longer than he normally does. While the President typically finishes official business and heads to the residence for dinner around 6:30 p.m. ET, he has stayed in the West Wing past 7 p.m. every night this week.


s running again in four years.
Though Trump has said nothing publicly about a potential second term that would begin in 2025, it’s a possibility that could create an uncomfortable scenario for those who currently surround him and politically support him — given the vice president, secretary of state, former UN ambassador and a slew of others are all said to be weighing their own presidential runs.
Another indication Trump may be considering a third run was his endorsement Wednesday of Ronna McDaniel, the current GOP national party chair who was expected to face a tough reelection.
“I am pleased to announce that I have given my full support and endorsement to Ronna McDaniel to continue heading the Republican National Committee (RNC). With 72 MILLION votes, we received more votes than any sitting President in U.S. history – and we will win!” Trump tweeted.
His public seal of approval for McDaniel caught several people in the White House and Republican Party off guard. Some of Trump’s children had been privately complaining about McDaniel while discussing who might replace her as the chair. McDaniel was said to be discussing a gubernatorial run in Michigan with others, according to three sources.
One person close to the situation said Trump’s endorsement of McDaniel could be a sign he intends to run again in 2024 and wants an ally placed within the party in the time being.

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