‘I don’t think there is any indication to suggest that if that’s where things headed, he would accept it…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Former President Barack Obama reportedly had a back-up plan during the 2016 presidential election if Donald Trump refused to accept Hillary Clinton’s victory.
During his campaign, Trump openly suggested the election was rigged and said that Clinton “should never have been allowed to run.”
Ben Rhodes, Obama’s senior aide and speechwriter, told New York Magazine‘s Intelligencer that Obama’s team didn’t think Trump’s comments were hypothetical, though.
They didn’t believe he would concede to Hillary if he lost the election.
Their plan, then, called for congressional Republicans, former presidents and former Cabinet officials to publicly validate the election results in case Trump tried to dispute Clinton’s victory.
In July 2017, Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, wrote an op-ed and referred to Obama’s direction to “prepare possible responses” to claims of Russian interference in the election, which Rhodes said the team was already aware of.
“There was recognition that we had a Democratic president who was quite popular but also divisive for a portion of the population,” Jen Psaki, Obama’s communications director, said. “For them, just having him say the election was legitimate was not going to be enough. We didn’t spend a lot of time theorizing about the worst thing that could happen — this isn’t a science-fiction movie. It was more about the country being incredibly divided and Trump’s supporters being angry. Would there be protesting? I don’t want to say violence, because we didn’t talk about that as I recall.”
Psaki said Trump would respond to impeachment in the same way Obama’s team believed he would have responded to a 2016 loss.
“I don’t think there is any indication to suggest that if that’s where things headed, he would accept it,” she said. “He’s laying the groundwork for delegitimizing the process now — questioning our institutions, attacking their leadership. This is all fodder for his supporters to work with in the event that things go down a dark path for him.”