“We have not seen any president in history lose reelection, refuse to concede defeat and take action that threatens to abuse presidential power to stay in power,” said Michael Beschloss, a prominent presidential historian. “Here, Donald Trump is again in a historic category of his own – and this time, it bodes ill for democracy.
Richard Norton Smith, who wrote a biography of Herbert Hoover and wrote one about Gerald R. Ford, two of the nine, recalled Hoover’s anger against the man who beat him, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and their icy car ride until the inauguration in March 1933.
“But the point is Hoover, even though he was embittered at FDR’s reluctance to cooperate, as he defined it, shared the same car, just as he had hosted the Roosevelts for the pre-inaugural ritual tea that night. previous, “Mr. Smith told me. “They may look down on each other, but their personal animosity has been offset by their commitment to the democratic process.
The oft-cited parallel is where Vice President Al Gore pushed for recounts in Florida in 2000 to overcome a slim lead from his Republican opponent, Governor George W. Bush of Texas. But Mr. Gore was not the incumbent, and President Bill Clinton did not order the administration to intervene, although he withheld transition resources from Mr. Bush until the fight. be resolved.
“We were very careful not to use government resources, funds, personnel or even a paperclip,” said Donna Brazile, who was Mr. Gore’s campaign manager.
In Florida, Mr Gore had a plausible chance to change the election outcome, given that he lost only 327 votes in a single state after the machine’s automatic recount. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is behind by tens of thousands of votes in several states that are set to change, something that has never happened on this scale.
“The big difference,” Ms. Brazile said, “is that it looks like a big public relations campaign in the courts to defile voters where Trump has lost or underperformed on storytelling. much broader claim that this election was rigged.
Reporting was provided by Michael D. Shear of Wilmington, Del., And Helene Cooper and Alan Rappeport of Washington.