Donald Trump has said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College certifies Joe Biden as the winner of the November 3 presidential election, the closest the United States president has come to conceding the contest.
After a Thanksgiving videoconference with members of the US military on Thursday, Trump was asked if he would leave the White House if Biden, the US president-elect, officially wins the Electoral College vote.
“Certainly, I will. Certainly, I will. And you know that,” Trump replied.
Major news agencies called the race for Biden earlier this month, saying the former US vice president had secured 306 Electoral College votes compared with Trump’s 232.
A candidate must gain 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
Electoral College voters, known as electors, are scheduled to meet on December 14. Electors mostly vote based on the outcome of the presidential race in their states.
Despite his comments, Trump remained defiant on Thursday, reiterating unfounded claims that the election was marred by “massive fraud”.
He offered no concrete evidence of widespread voting irregularities.
Trump also said officials in key states that he lost were “communists” and “enemies of the state”.
He declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration, scheduled for January 20, but said he intends to hold a rally in the US state of Georgia on December 5 in support of two Republican Senate candidates there.
The result of those election runoffs will decide which party gets a majority in the US Senate.
The Trump campaign has refused to recognise Biden as the outright winner of the presidential race, filing lawsuits in several key states and stymying Biden’s transition efforts.
Most of the Trump campaign challenges focused on allegations of voter fraud and have been dismissed by courts. Michigan’s certification of its results on Tuesday appeared to seal Trump’s losing fate.
On November 6, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates hinted that Trump could be removed should he refuse to leave office, saying the US government “is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House”.