President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will depart the White House if the Electoral College certifies Democrat Joe Biden as the winner in the 2020 presidential election.
He added, though, if the Electoral College votes for Biden, it will be a "mistake".
When asked whether he will vacate the presidential residence on Inauguration Day, 20 January 2021, if Biden is certified as the winner, Trump told reporters, "Certainly I will. And you know that", noting, however, that "it's going to be a very hard thing to concede".
The president also criticised the US electoral system, saying it resembles that of a developing country. "We are like a Third World country", he said.
Trump is now set to travel to Georgia, presumably on Saturday, to campaign for Republican US Senate candidates. The state is holding Senate runoff elections on 5 January 2020. The runoff in Georgia will be crucial in deciding which party exactly will control the US Senate.
Trump Stresses Election "Rigged", While Power Transfer Underway
As of today, major media outlets project Biden as the president-elect. However, President Trump has challenged these projections, saying that the election was "rigged" by Democrats to favour their candidate. His campaign has filed numerous lawsuits in the states where they suppose mass election fraud and irregularities could have taken place.
"This was election that we won easily, we won it by a lot", Trump said. "The whole world is watching us, the whole world is watching the United States of America and can't let them get away with it".
In a phone call to the public hearings in Pennsylvania, Trump said he has all evidence required to reclaim election victory and just needs a neutral judge to listen properly to his arguments. A Pennsylvania state court ruled the same day that "further action" on certification of the 2020 election results must be put on hold. However, politicians argue that the action is ineffective, since Pennsylvania officials have already certified Biden as their winner.
Apart from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia have so far certified their election results in favour of Biden. The certification in other states is yet to be announced.
While vowing to continue to fight for legitimate results, the Trump administration greenlighted the process of power transfer to Joe Biden, after the General Services Administration (GSA) notified the former vice president that the political transition could officially start. Biden has said that Trump administration's outreach on the transition process has been "sincere" after the White House gave him access to the US president's daily intelligence briefings.
Meanwhile, Biden has already announced his picks for the key posts in the presumed administration, most of whom are former Obama-era officials Biden had worked side by side with during his tenure as the US vice president. He has also outlined his political focus during his first days in office, which would primarily concern the response to COVID-19 and national security interests.
While the official winner in the election has not been certified yet, media and experts have speculated that in case of his defeat, Trump is highly likely to run for the office again in 2024. A survey conducted by Politico revealed that Trump would win the Republican presidential nomination if he announces his re-election bid in four years.
The Electoral College is set to meet on 14 December to vote for the next president of the United States.