It's not a question of whether President Donald Trump is leaving. He is. He has one foot out the door.
The real question is how much more chaos, destruction and hatefulness will he wreak before the door hits him in the backside.
Trump is a lame duck, but he's still a powerful one for another 70 or so days. He retains the authorities of the presidency until noon on Jan. 20, and his refusal to concede the election seems designed as much for his own delusion as for that of his spineless un-American sycophants in the Republican Party — including Tennessee's Chuck Fleischmann and Marsha Blackburn, and Georgia's David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
On Monday, the White House escalated the Trump/Biden transition tension by ordering agencies to rebuff the Biden transition team — going so far as to even instruct senior government leaders to block cooperation with Biden's transition team.
Jen Psaki, a new a senior adviser to Biden transition team, says the Trump administration order and the GSA's refusal to sign off on an agreement that would release Biden's $6.3 million share of nearly $10 million in congress-mandated transition resources, along with agency briefing books and memos, is just par-for-the-course Trump team obstruction. Add to that the fact that Trump Attorney General Bill Barr just handed prosecutors the authority to investigate voter fraud claims (though he did limit it to "specific allegations").
"We've all seen these tactics for weeks if not months from the Trump team," Psaki told CNN, adding that the refusals are delaying the next American government's planning and review teams from finalizing policy on issues from COVID-19 and the recession to national security and political appointments.
"We're also talking about trying to fill 4,000 political appointment jobs, we're talking about national security officials having access to classified information ... access to skiffs. About our policy experts who ... want to roll up their sleeves and get to work preparing for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to govern."
Don't for a minute let Donald Trump, Republicans or social media misinformation fool you. This obstructive behavior is not happening because the outcome of the election isn't clear. The election's result is most certainly clear: Donald Trump lost the popular vote and the Electoral College vote — by a lot.
Joe Biden was elected with 76.2 million votes — the largest number of votes ever cast for an American president. Trump's total also was historic, but as of Tuesday afternoon his 71.5 million votes was falling short by 4.6 million. What's more, there is no path left for him to victory. There are not enough uncounted votes left to help him overtake Biden either in the popular vote or the Electoral College.
But Trump — and many of the Republicans in our Senate and Congress — are in denial.
We expected more of them, but we shouldn't have.
The Republican Party for four years has pretended not to see or hear Trump's immoral, manic behavior, constant dishonesty and subversive rhetoric. Why should accommodating his snub of the popular vote, the Electoral College and a peaceful and cooperative transition of power for the good of our country be any different?
In Georgia, to stay in lockstep with Trump, the two incumbent GOP U.S. senators who were forced into Jan. 5 runoffs with their Democratic challengers have turned on a fellow Republican. They are calling on the state's top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to resign, citing unspecified "failures" in the election. Loeffler and Perdue provided no evidence. Raffensperger, for his part, told them: "It's not going to happen."
Here's what else is not going to happen. They won't bring any evidence. If they had it, they'd already be waving it. But that's not the point. They don't need evidence to stroke Trump's ego — to rile up the Trump base, and spread conspiracy theories in hopes of casting doubt on Trump's clear loss.
But it's a dangerous, ugly and un-American ploy — both for the country and state politics.
Foreign enemies look at America right now like sharks circling for a whiff of blood: They see a systemic weakness. And that weakness invites attack — overt or covert.
As for the states, Georgia' Loeffler and Perdue are signaling that their campaigns could be more about turning out the conservative base of Trump supporters than repositioning themselves to the political center in order to speak to the Peach State's changing political reality: The state is becoming more diverse and leaning more Democratic.
"Trump is gonna cost the GOP the Senate," tweeted Erick Erickson, a Georgia-based conservative commentator, on Sunday. "His supporters are internalizing that the election in Georgia was stolen so why bother even trying."
Tennessee remains 60% Republican for now, but how can Fleischmann and Blackburn assure voters that things are fair in 2022 and 2024 if they amplify the Trump team's fabricated claims now? This was Fleischmann on Thursday: "What we're seeing is fraud, and it must be stopped."
No. What we were seeing on Thursday and every day since Nov. 3 was the tallying of American votes to rid ourselves of the worst president in our history.
Sadly, but in all probability, neither we nor Republicans have yet seen the worst damage Trump's unhinged ego will finally inflict on our democracy. And it appears the GOP is a willing victim — and enabler.