WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump made his first official post-election appearance Wednesday for what should have been a moment of national unity on Veterans Day, now marred by his refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory.
On a rainy, gray day in Washington, the president visited Arlington National Cemetery for a gloomy wreath-laying shortly before 11:30 am, four days after US media predicted his Democratic rival would take the White House.
He has since addressed the nation no differently than via Twitter and released a statement on the occasion of Veterans Day, and has not given in to Biden, as is traditional once a winner is projected in a US vote.
With COVID-19 cases shattering records across the country and imposing new restrictions on states in an attempt to contain the virus before winter arrives, Trump appears to have suspended normal presidential duties, save for his brief appearance in Arlington, where he made no public comments.
Instead, he has remained incarcerated in the presidential mansion, pushing for an alternate reality he is about to win and filing lawsuits for alleged voter fraud, backed up only by the weakest evidence so far.
Early Wednesday he was tweeting fresh evidence-free claims of election wins and ballot tampering, despite the consensus from international observers, world leaders, local election officials and US media that the November 3 vote was free and fair, and that there have no credible allegations of fraud.
Claiming that a poll in Wisconsin on Election Day had resulted in “possibly illegal suppression” he said he was “now preparing to win the state,” which was called for Biden one week ago.
“Many such ‘deplorable’ instances!” he added on Twitter.
Some Republicans added their voices to growing calls for the president to give in, with experts warning that his refusal is undermining the democratic process and delaying the transition to Biden, who will take office in January.
Among them was Republican Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, who announced the “incredible things” that Trump accomplished during his tenure.
“But that time is now over. Tip your hat, bite your lip, and congratulate @JoeBiden,” he tweeted.