In an interview with CBS News, which is set to air in full on Sunday morning, former President Barack Obama slammed President Donald Trump for refusing to concede the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.
Biden was declared winner of the election last week, after winning several key battlegrounds and blocking all of his opponent’s paths to victory. Nonetheless, Trump and his allies have insisted that the contest was tainted by widespread voting fraud, launching legal challenges in many states.
Speaking with anchor Gayle King, Obama sad it was “disappointing” to see so many Republicans back Trump’s claims and argued that “they obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on because they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days.”
“But there’s damage to this,” Obama continued, noting that all elected officials are supposed to be “servants of the people” and have to understand that power needs to be surrendered peacefully when the voting public decides to replace them.
“We’re not above the law, that’s the essence of our democracy,” Obama said, noting that he congratulated Trump on his victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton four years ago.
“When Donald Trump won, I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning and I then called Donald Trump to congratulate him.”
Obama added that “millions of people” don’t accept the results of the election because the commander in chief is refusing to accept them and because allegations of widespread electoral fraud are “presented as facts” on conservative talk radio and on TV channels such as Fox News.
Obama recalled how, in 2008, then-president George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush accepted the results and graciously helped his team with the transition process. He also pointed out that he assisted Trump’s administration in 2016 and wished the Republican success as a leader.
Obama added that there is “no legal basis” for any of Trump’s claims.
“Well, look, Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States,” he said.
Though Trump has not yet conceded the race, his campaign has backed away from legal challenges. In the state of Arizona, his lawyers dropped their lawsuit, admitting in court that they have no evidence to back up their allegations. In Pennsylvania, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, the firm hired to represent the campaign, left the case.
According to some reports, Trump is refusing to concede because he wants his supporters to remain energized until he announces a 2024 presidential run.