By MARSHA MERCER
On Wednesday, the United States reported nearly 3,000 people had died in one day from the coronavirus, and President Donald Trump released a speech on video.
It could be his most important speech ever, he said, but it wasn’t about the record loss of life for a single day or that as many Americans died of the coronavirus in one day as perished on 9/11.
Instead, the president railed for 46 minutes about “bad things” in the election, again making baseless claims about fraud, ballot “dumps” and conspiracy theories.
Trump is doing a disservice to the country and to his legacy with his continuing attacks on the electoral process. He will go down in history as a president who was impeached, lost his re-election bid and spread more conflict, distrust and hatred on his way out.
Unfortunately, many of his supporters believe his unsubstantiated claims. History shows repeating a lie often enough makes it seem credible, especially a lie from a trusted figure.
Trump has spun his web of deceit into a successful fund-raising effort that reportedly has reaped $170 million since the election. He claims it is for his lawsuits but could use it for the 2024 comeback presidential campaign he is said to be considering.
He is still being aided and abetted by many Republican members of Congress. And yet, some Trump allies and hand-picked subordinates are finally standing up and refuting his lies.
Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press Tuesday, “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
That prompted Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, to claim there hasn’t been “any semblance” of an investigation into Trump’s complaints.
But Barr Nov. 9 authorized U.S. attorneys around the country to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities even before the vote tallies were certified, despite the lack of any evidence of widespread fraud. The Justice Department’s top elections crime official left the post after Barr sent the memo.
Trump badgers Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, as “hapless,” and urges him to use his “executive powers” to undo the election, even after the state counted, recounted by hand and certified the election for Joe Biden. Kemp rightly says he does not have such powers.
Trump also tried to stop Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, from certifying that state’s electoral votes to Biden.
Ducey had made “Hail to the Chief” the ringtone of Trump’s calls, so he wouldn’t miss one. But when the tone played while Ducey was on live TV at the certification ceremony, Ducey put down his phone and signed anyway.
Trump threatened that Republicans “would remember.”
On Nov. 17, Trump fired by tweet Christopher Krebs, a Republican, Trump appointee and Senate-confirmed director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security.
Krebs had batted down the president’s claims that election systems were hacked or manipulated, saying in a tweet “59 election security experts all agree, `in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have ben unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.’”
One of Trump’s legal henchmen said Krebs should be executed. He later said he was just being sarcastic.
Trump previewed his obstinacy long ago. In 2016 and this year, he insisted he could not lose unless the election was rigged. But because someone can’t stand to lose is not grounds to toss out millions of legal mail-in votes.
Courts around the country have shut down Trump’s legal efforts to overturn the election, citing a lack of credible evidence of fraud.
When U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann in Pennsylvania ruled Trump’s allegations were “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations . . . unsupported by evidence,” team Trump tried to discredit him as an “Obama appointee.”
Yes, but. Brann is a conservative Republican and member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group. The state’s two senators, one Republican and one Democrat, recommended him to Obama for the judgeship.
We rely on free and fair elections to choose our leaders. Trump’s refusal to accept reality exacerbates the gulf between Americans and is dangerous for the future of our democracy.
If Trump wants to run again in 2024, that’s his business. Now he needs to put the country first.
©2020 Marsha Mercer. All rights reserved.