WASHINGTON – It’s not just President-elect Joe Biden’s transition that’s under a microscope.
President Donald Trump and his allies are harking back to his own transition four years ago to make a false argument that his own presidency was denied a fair chance for a clean launch. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany laid out the case from the White House podium last week and the same idea has been floated by Trump's personal lawyer and his former director of national intelligence.
The comparisons are part of a broader attempt by Trump and his team to undermine the legitimacy of Biden’s election and his right to an orderly transition by unspooling mistruths about both this election season and Trump’s treatment four years ago.
“It’s worth remembering that this president was never given an orderly transition of power. His presidency was never accepted,” McEnany told reporters who questioned the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with the Biden transition.
But the situations are far different.
The day after her defeat in 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded.
“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”
The next day, President Barack Obama, who had portrayed Trump as an existential threat to the nation, invited the president-elect to the White House and visited with him in the Oval Office. Obama's aides offered help to Trump's incoming staffers.