Former President Barack Obama has insisted Donald Trump should put Americans before his own ego and concede his election defeat once and for all.
Mr Obama warned the outgoing president that he has caused ‘damage’ by refusing to accept Democratic rival Joe Biden’s win more than a week ago, and that it is ‘absolutely time’ to do so.
In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Mr Obama reminded Mr Trump that as president, he is a public servant and only a temporary occupant of the Oval Office who is ‘not above the law’.
‘And when your time is up then it is your job to put the country first and think beyond your own ego, and your own interests, and your own disappointments,’ said the former president.
‘My advice to President Trump is, if you want at this late stage in the game to be remembered as somebody who put country first, it’s time for you to do the same thing.’
Mr Obama invited his successor to the White House soon after his election win four years ago and pledged co-operation in the transfer of power.
He said he is not shocked that a man who ‘never admits loss’ is refusing to acknowledge defeat now but warned his unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud is putting the US on a ‘dangerous path’.
Mr Obama also criticised Republicans who are going along with the false allegations and that it was ‘disappointing’ to see so few challenge him.
He said: ‘It’s been sort of par-for-the-course during these four years. They obviously didn’t think there was any fraud going on because they didn’t say anything about it for the first two days.’
‘I’m more troubled by the fact that other Republican officials who clearly know better are going along with this, are humouring him in this fashion,’ Mr Obama added.
‘It is one more step in delegitimising not just the incoming Biden administration, but democracy generally. And that’s a dangerous path.’
The President’s refusal to concede has stalled the Government’s normal process of preparing for a new presidential administration, which both Democrats and some Republicans have said has serious national security implications.
Mr Trump last night appeared to have finally admitted that Mr Biden won the election – but said it was only ‘because it was rigged’. His tweets were almost instantly flagged by Twitter with a notice reading: ‘This claim about election fraud is disputed.’
After it was widely reported that his tweet suggested he had finally admitted defeat, he later said he ‘concedes nothing’.
On Saturday, violence broke out after Mr Trump made a surprise appearance at a Million Maga March, called by his supporters, conspiracy theorists and neo-fascists in Washington DC.
Thousands gathered near the White House to repeat unfounded claims the election had been ‘stolen’ and mobbed their hero’s motorcade as he ventured out to greet them.
Police arrested at least 20 people on a variety of charges, including assault and weapons possession, officials said. Officers recovered several firearms, they added, with one stabbing being reported and two police officers injured.
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