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Trump Is In No Mood To Concede, But Says Will Leave White House

President Trump took questions for the first time since he lost the election to Joe Biden after he spoke to troops serving overseas on Thanksgiving.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
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AFP via Getty Images
President Trump took questions for the first time since he lost the election to Joe Biden after he spoke to troops serving overseas on Thanksgiving.

President Trump this week acknowledged that the transition for President-elect Joe Biden to take office is going ahead. But on Thursday, he made clear he's in no mood to concede the election, even after the Electoral College formally votes this month.

"It's going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know there was massive fraud," Trump said, without evidence, complaining that the U.S. election was "like a Third World country."

Trump has kept a low profile since losing the election to Biden on Nov 3, appearing on camera only a handful of times, and steering clear of reporters' questions.

But on Thanksgiving, after talking to troops serving overseas, Trump held forth, venturing into the weeds of the allegations that the election was rigged — baseless claims of widespread fraud that courts have repeatedly rejected.

"There's no way that Biden got 80 million votes," he said, repeatedly.

When a reporter pushed back against his claims, Trump got angry. "Don't talk to me that way," he said. "You're just a lightweight ... I'm the president of the United States. Don't ever talk to the president that way."

Trump said he would leave the White House on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. "Certainly I will — and you know that," he said. "But I think that there will be a lot of things happening between now and the 20th of January, a lot of things."

One of those things: Trump will campaign for the two Republican senators in the Georgia runoff races on Jan. 5. The White House said he will headline a rally on Dec. 5, and Trump said he may return to the state before the election, if needed. The results of the races will determine whether Republicans retain control of the Senate.

But he refused to say whether he would attend Biden's inauguration ceremonies, as is tradition. And as far as his political future beyond Jan. 20 — Trump also declined to answer.

"Well, I don't want to talk about 2024 yet," he said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

President Trump took questions in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving after speaking to troops stationed abroad.
Erin Schaff / Getty Images
/
Getty Images
President Trump took questions in the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thanksgiving after speaking to troops stationed abroad.

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.
Roberta Rampton is NPR's White House editor. She joined the Washington Desk in October 2019 after spending more than six years as a White House correspondent for Reuters. Rampton traveled around America and to more than 20 countries covering President Trump, President Obama and their vice presidents, reporting on a broad range of political, economic and foreign policy topics. Earlier in her career, Rampton covered energy and agriculture policy.

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