While Democrats and those on the left have been contemplating f0r quite some time what to do if Donald Trump refuses to concede the election and abandon the presidency once he loses the upcoming popular and subsequent electoral vote, little did we know that even White House staffers have been busy making plans for that petulant eventuality.
Olivia Troye — the former coronavirus task force aide to Vice President Mike Pence who made headlines when she delivered an impassioned endorsement of Joe Biden — disclosed yesterday that she participated in closed-door meetings with fellow Trump administration staffers about the very scenario of Trump refusing to leave office after his likely defeat in a fair and honest election, or at least as close to one as we can manage with the president’s constant attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the balloting.
Troye disclosed the meetings after she grew concerned over Trump’s latest refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power.
“It’s frightening to me, because to be honest, during my tenure at the White House, I’ve had conversations behind closed doors with White House staffers and other government officials, including people in the intelligence community, where we’ve actually discussed what if, what if he loses and refuses to leave, or better yet, what if his plan is four more years of Donald Trump should he win, and would he leave after that?” Troye told CNN.
"The President can call it a hoax, but the truth is we have increasing cases … I don't see the President changing the course of the direction that we're doing in terms of the response to this." – Olivia Troye, a former VP Mike Pence aide who rebuked Trump's Covid-19 response pic.twitter.com/4Xh1teVnmJ
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) September 25, 2020
Trump has repeatedly said that he would really only consider the election free and fair if he wins, which many people see as a prelude to his immediately formally challeging the legitimacy of the voting if Joe Biden wins as the polls now predict.
“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump saiod to reporters at a Wednesday White House briefing.
“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump added in a frightening premonition of post election violence. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”
Such a stunning repudiation of our nation’s democratic norms is unprecedented and has raised fears that Trump will attempt to steal the election through voter suppression tactics, legal challenges, and a Supreme Court packed with his latest illegitimate nominee.
Troye herself found those fears all too plausible.
“The president when he’s joking, if he says that he’s joking, he’s telling you a half truth,” Troye said. “And in there is something fairly frightening and scary.”
Troye has established herself as a leading member of the Republican anti-Trump minority since she left the White House last month. She has appeared in ads created by other GOP defectors from the president’s party and, having witnessed first-hand his failures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, called out the legacy of coronavirus deaths that she places at Trump’s feet.
“If the president had taken this virus seriously, or if he had actually made an effort to tell how serious it was, he would have slowed the virus spread, he would have saved lives,” Troye said in the anti-Trump ad she appeared in recently.
If even those people working in lower-level administration positions are concerned that Trump will not respect the results of the elections and will defy the U.S. Constitution’s outline for the peaceful transfer of power, who can blame the Democrats for raising the alarm?
Of course, in the face of a massive blow-out in favor of Joe Biden, Trump will have difficulty finding enough people who would believe his claims of electoral fraud as the reason for his defeat. That hasn’t stopped him before, but it’s likely our only chance to ensure that his already incipient schemes don’t play out the way that he envisions.
You must vote for Joe Biden, even if he wasn’t the Democratic candidate that you wanted to win the primaries. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise, no matter how much ideological purity that you want to maintain.
\Original reporting by Tal Axelrod at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.