Law professor explains why Americans shouldn’t worry about whether Trump will leave office
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office (Photo: Screen capture)

Those who know President Donald Trump well have been sounding the alarm about whether he will be willing to leave office on Jan. 20, 2021, as dictated by the U.S. Constitution. But Moritz College of Law Edward B. Foley wrote a column explaining why Americans shouldn't worry and that a peaceful transition of power will be the outcome.


In an interview, former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci explained that Trump's instincts are to fight or flee.

"He'll tweet furiously, try to discredit the process and appeal to his judges to overturn the results, but when he realizes it's all over, he'll slink out of the White House in shame," Scaramucci said just before Election Day. "People say he'll have to be forcibly removed – there is no chance of that happening. He's too much of a coward to put up a fight."

But when it comes to a peaceful transition, Scaramucci anticipated Trump wouldn't go quietly into the good night.

"Given his deep narcissism and insecurity, any success in the Biden administration will be viewed as an affront to his legacy," Scaramucci explained. "He and his acolytes will do everything possible to sow division and sabotage the Biden administration. During Trump's term, we've seen that today's Republican party is morally bankrupt. The modern GOP is focused exclusively on accumulating power, not improving the lives of the American people."

Foley explained that for all of Trump's bluster, ultimately, he'll relinquish his presidency.

"Trump would need to overturn Biden's apparent victories in three states to take Biden below 270 electoral votes," said Foley. "In Pennsylvania, where Trump's main claim is about being denied the right to observe the process as closely as his campaign wished, no court is going to invalidate votes for that alleged procedural failure alone."

He noted that there would need to be proof of actual unlawful ballots cast, and so far, they haven't been able to find a mass outbreak of Democratic voter fraud. There was a Trump supporter that tried to illegally get a ballot for his mother who had passed away, however.

Trump would need almost 85,000 illegally cast ballots in specific states to overcome the discrepancy needed to overtake Biden.

"Second, Attorney General William P. Barr has contravened long-standing Justice Department practice by permitting investigations of election fraud before states complete the counting of votes," wrote Foley. "This is more norm-busting, yet without likely consequence. Barr professes 'the Department's absolute commitment to fairness, neutrality, and non-partisanship.' But for the Justice Department to subvert vote-counting still underway when Barr's White House boss is trying desperately to cling to power would send just the opposite message."

His third point is that Republicans, particularly Republican senators, haven't admitted that President-elect Joe Biden is officially the president. That won't impact the election results, however.

"That's because Biden has passed a magic number — not 270, but 50: that is, 50 votes in the Senate to officially declare him the winner when Congress meets in a special joint session on Jan. 6," said Foley. "The number is 50, not 51, because one of the two Georgia Senate seats will be empty on Jan. 6 — the runoff to fill that seat is being held just the day before. The other Georgia Senate seat, although also in a runoff, involves a special election for an unexpired term; as a result, Sen. Kelly Loeffler will still be a sitting senator on Jan. 6."

As Biden explained in his Tuesday press conference when asked if he's concerned that the GOP members won't acknowledge his win, he said, "They will."

The only remaining nightmare scenario is that Vice President Mike Pence will try to override any result of the Electoral College Act.

"This is unthinkable; it would be the definition of despotism for Pence to put himself, and Trump, back in power when both the Senate and House recognize Biden's lawful claim," said Foley. "It also won't happen. By then, Trump's litigation should have played itself out. The reality of Biden's election will have become evident to — and more important, publicly acknowledged by — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and enough of his colleagues that Pence, if tempted, would not dare to try to pull off this stunt. After all, he imagines a political future for himself."

He closed by explaining that people shouldn't have significant doubts that Trump will be gone, even if he's sowing discord with his supporters and filling Twitter with bluster.

"Don't lose sleep about who will take the presidential oath on Jan. 20," Foley closed.

Read the full column at the Washington Post.