As Trump continues failing fight to remain in power, Black leaders speak out

Marc Morial of the National Urban League, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Black Chambers Inc. CEO Ron Busby, Sr. spoke exclusively with theGrio about their frustrations and concerns

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Donald Trump and his efforts to maintain a stranglehold on the presidency has dominated the news cycle while upholding the transition of power to President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. With the General Services Administration (GSA) not clearing the path for the incoming Biden administration, presumably because of Trump’s refusal to concede, a number of Black leaders recently expressed their frustrations and concerns regarding this unprecedented moment.

Marc Morial of the National Urban League spoke with theGrio, offering a searing rebuke of Trump’s actions. In short, Morial believes that Trump’s insistence to fight against the will of the people not only erodes the pillars of democracy, but severely hinders Biden and Harris as they are left without the usual tools provided to elected officials during transitions of power.

Read More: Trump election challenges sound alarm among voters of color

“First, this is a significant win for President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris,” Morial began. “It’s significant because defeating an incumbent president is rare, it hasn’t been done since 1992 [Bill Clinton defeated then-President George H.W. Bush]. And it happened before then when [Ronald] Reagan beat [Jimmy] Carter.”

Morial continued saying, “John Anderson and Ross Perot received higher percentages of the vote than expected. But Joe Biden made strides because he assembled a wide coalition. He won states in the Big East, in the ACC, he won states in the SEC, and he won states in the Big 10. In other words, he took states, most notably Georgia, where Black voters showed up in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh. The turnout was so much more significant this time versus 2016 for Black voters.”

George Floyd's Brother Testifies Before House On Policing And Law Enforcement Accountability
Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, speaks before the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on police brutality and racial profiling on June 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

To shore up Morial’s point, while President Jimmy Carter’s loss to President Ronald Reagan, and President George H.W. Bush’s loss to President Bill Clinton may have been aided by a number of third-party votes, Biden and Trump didn’t have an outside threat to their showdown at the polls. However, Trump’s popularity among his base aside, Morial believes that the former business mogul’s apparent loss was due to ignoring the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, a failure to address racial tension, and essentially not advancing any significant policies during his White House tenure.

When asked about Trump’s behavior in the wake of Election Day, Morial did not tone down his opinion of the president.

“He’s a sore loser, it’s sour grapes, and he’s scared to death,” Morial said, adding, “I think he’s a man who lost his courage, he can’t face the American people, he’s holding out some false hope that he can maneuver some manner of victory. I think we’re seeing the last acts of a desperate man.”

Speaking directly to the GSA’s refusal to sign the release papers that would give Biden and his staff the tools and funding they need ahead of the inauguration, Morial was once again candid in his assessment and what legacy Trump will leave behind.

“All of Trump’s actions, it doesn’t matter, he will be out of the office on Jan. 20 whether voluntarily or involuntarily,” Morial explains. “However, the philosophy of Trumpism will remain, which is a cruel and evil mix of paranoia, racism, hatred, isolationism, and white nationalism.”

“As far as his official ouster, the true transfer of power happens when the electoral college goes to vote in December. It’s a mainly perfunctory act that aligns with the votes tallied in the state. By operation of the constitution, once those votes are cast, [Trump] is no longer the president. He can continue to occupy the White House but that doesn’t make him the president. The nuclear codes, the powers to act, all of that goes to Joe Biden then and there.”

According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday, 46 percent of American voters believe President Donald Trump should concede “right away.” (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“I don’t know what Biden’s team thinks of the GSA hold up, but grounds for an injunction could legally happen once the electoral college votes are in and the state-certified votes are official. A federal judge will also probably order the GSA to participate in the transfer of power. But if you want to do it the right way, the state-certified votes have to be in. You can play these games, which Trump is doing, but the man is a pure sociopath, and what he’s doing is trying to sabotage Biden before he begins.”

Morial also candidly expressed that the electoral college is “anti-democratic and antiquated,” noting that the process harms the electoral process more than aids it. Morial concluded with saying Trump appears to be living in fear of the legal consequences that could await him and his family as he holds on to his dwindling shreds of power but doesn’t believe that he’ll be successful. 

Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta was also gracious to lend his time to theGrio just as he concluded a debate in the state House of Representative. Rep. Kenyatta, one of the younger members of the state legislature, spoke with theGrio briefly while pointing some of his comments towards the GSA’s denial of procedure.

“The president lost this election,” Kenyatta began. “This is an historic loss and moment as Biden is approaching 80 million votes cast in his favor, the most for any candidate to run for president. He did so by flipping states like Arizona and Georgia, which hadn’t been won by Democrats in some instances in over 25 years.”

“Biden will also win this election with 306 electoral college votes, mirroring President Donald Trump’s votes in 2016. But how Trump is treating his loss is not how President [Barack] Obama and then-Vice President Biden treated him. And it’s not about being nice to Joe Biden, I don’t believe he cares about having a perfunctory meeting. What Trump is doing in the midst of a global pandemic, and by not allowing the GSA to authorize the spending of funds to aid the incoming administration.”

Tribeca Celebrates Pride Day - 2019 Tribeca Film Festival
House Rep. (PA) Malcolm Kenyatta attends “Out in Office” panel at Tribeca Celebrates Pride Day at 2019 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studio on May 4, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“This does two things: first, the GSA’s denial of monies doesn’t provide the Biden administration the funding it needs to understand and to mobilize a national vaccination strategy to combat the pandemic. Over 250,000 people have died from COVID-19 complications and getting out a treatment plan in a real way, in contrast of the anti-science approach used by the current administration, which is part of the reason President-Elect Joe Biden won.”

“Secondly, the GSA holding firm rips apart our national security. I have faith in the president-elect in understanding complex security matters, and in Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, who as a sitting senator is part of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Harris is getting some level of briefings due to her current role, but there’s a broader cadre of staff members who need to have access to information and services to protect our borders from outside threats.

“But outside of this being about Biden versus Trump, every time there has been a transition of power, malicious actors use that time to weaken the United States and our strength. Trump is putting our national security at risk and our public health safety at risk by continuing to champion the GSA’s efforts. The president needs to grow up, put on his big boy pants, and understand that this isn’t some partisan thing and allow the GSA to move ahead as it done in times past.”

Kenyatta made mention that nearly 10,000 Pennsylvanians have lost their lives due to COVID-19 complications, which included his own family member who succumbed to the virus. Kenyatta, with some measured frustration, remarked that this family will have to hold a memorial service virtually for his aunt, and stated that the lack of a national response impacts not only Pennsylvania, but those in his district, and greater, citizens of the nation overall.

Read More: Trump urges multiple state legislatures, judges to ‘flip’ election results

Concluding the comments from Black leaders, theGrio obtained a statement from Ron Busby, Sr., President, CEO, and Founder of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. In short, Mr. Busby echoed the sentiments expressed by Morial and Kenyatta that the President’s refusal to accept that he’s lost this election harms more than it helps.

“President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris and quite frankly, the entire nation, are quickly approaching a challenging crossroad at the hands of a president who refuses to accept his responsibility to lead the transition of power to the incoming administration,” Busby wrote.

“There are just over 60 days until the president-elect is sworn in, and with each passing day of no collaboration, Trump and those within his circle are placing themselves before the health, safety, and economic wellbeing of millions of Americans, including those hit the hardest by the pandemic, namely Black-owned businesses. This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue – it’s a moral issue that if improperly managed could have long-standing implications on the socioeconomic progression of this nation.”

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