Updated: Dec 7, 2020
Presbyterian Office of Public Witness, November 16, 2020
After days of high anxiety and ballot counting, on November 7, 2020, former vice-president Joe Biden became the 46th President-elect of the United States of America. He received almost seventy-five million votes, has a sizable lead in the Electoral College, and insurmountable leads in each state he won. However, President Trump refuses to accept the reality that he lost and has yet to secede. His refusal prevents a peaceful transition to the new administration.
According to the PC/USA's 9/11 Commission Report, “the outgoing administration should provide the president-elect, as soon as possible after election day, with a classified, compartmented list that catalogs specific, operational threats to national security; major military or covert operations; and pending decisions on the possible use of force.” This current administration has not done that. The last delay in the transition of power was in 2000. This delay “hampered the new administration in identifying, recruiting, clearing, and obtaining Senate confirmation of key appointees.” The report strongly recommends that we “minimize as much as possible the disruption of national security policy making during the change of administrations.” President Trump’s actions are a threat to our democratic system and a national security risk. Attorney General William Barr loosens internal restrictions on how and when federal prosecutors investigate certain election-fraud cases before the results are certified.
OPW is not picking a side concerning this election. The current state of affairs places the nation’s well-being in jeopardy. A variety of voices have voiced their opposition to the current state of affairs. Karl Rove, former George W. Bush’s Senior Advisor, wrote editorials in the NY Times, the Wall St. Journal, and gave a CNN Interview. His piece in the journal, This Election Result Won’t Be Overturned, stated, “To win, Mr. Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands. There is no evidence of that so far… U.S. politics remains polarized and venomous. Closing out this election will be a hard but necessary step toward restoring some unity and political equilibrium. Once his days in court are over, the president should do his part to unite the country by leading a peaceful transition and letting grievances go.” Republican Tom Ridge wrote an open letter, co-signed by three other homeland security secretaries, “At this period of heightened risk for our nation, we do not have a single day to spare to begin the transition. There’s no reason they can’t multitask. You can proceed with those claims in court, but you have a responsibility as an incumbent president to at least begin the transition for multiple reasons and at the top of the list is national security.” Oklahoma Senator James Lankford threatened to step in on Friday to see that the intelligence briefings occur. Sen Chuck Grassley has also stated that he believes the same.
Even if the current president refuses to concede, certain steps need to be done following the precedent established in every similar situation in the country’s history. The General Services Administration needs to sign the paperwork to release $6.3 million in transition resources. The new administration needs to receive the President’s Daily Brief from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for daily intel briefings on national security issues. The Presbyterian Church (USA) calls for President Trump to concede the election and move forward with a peaceful transition to the Biden Administration. Please pray for the country for a smooth and peaceful transition to the next administration. Pray that the issues that plague millions of Americans may be addressed as their needs are addressed effectively and rapidly. Let us all pray that the nation comes together. Even as we disagree on politics, let us agree to live as one united through our faith in God.