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18 May


Power is draining away from Trump, and the world is starting to ignore him

President Donald Trump is refusing to accept his loss to Joe Biden

Photo: Reuters

/NOVOSTIVL/ President Donald Trump, facing the prospect of leaving the White House in defeat in just 70 days, is harnessing the power of the federal government to resist the results of an election that he lost, something that no sitting president has done in American history.

In the latest sign of defiance, the president’s senior Cabinet secretary indicated on Tuesday that he did not expect Trump to hand over power to President-elect Joe Biden after legal challenges to the vote. "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Trump’s attorney general has at the same time authorized investigations into supposed vote fraud; his general services administrator has refused to give Biden’s team access to transition offices and resources guaranteed under law; and the White House is preparing a budget for next year as if Trump will be around to present it.

The president has also embarked on a shake-up of his administration, firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper as well as the heads of three other agencies while installing loyalists in key positions at the National Security Agency and the Pentagon. Allies expect more to come, including the possible dismissals of the directors of the FBI and the CIA.

Trump has refused to concede defeat, and the Republican Party is backing his groundless allegations of mass voter fraud. But it is becoming clearer that the rest of the world is moving on.

Here are some striking examples:

Trump is losing Fox News. On Monday, the network cut away from the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, as she repeated baseless voter-fraud allegations in a press briefing.

World leaders have lined up to offer their congratulations to Biden. They include people with whom Trump clashed, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but also those Trump praised, such as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump's GOP allies are fighting a losing battle in refusing to accept the election results.

Though Trump has blocked the formal transition process, Biden has continued to assert himself. The president-elect has announced key appointments and on Tuesday said Trump's lack of cooperation wouldn't slow him down.

Even some of Trump's aides have privately said his efforts to contest the election are hopeless. That said, many leading Republicans have supported Trump's baseless fraud claims and refused to acknowledge Biden's win.

At the same time, social-media platforms are becoming fiercer in blocking Trump's message. During the election, Twitter and Facebook stepped up fact-checking of his posts and have restricted the posts' reach.