White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday said President Donald Trump “was never given an orderly transition of power” after the 2016 election.
McEnany's statements came nearly two weeks after the 2020 election was called for president-elect Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
In her Friday press briefing, McEnany mischaracterized what followed the 2016 election and Trump’s victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
After Trump was elected, “many sought to undermine him, discredit him, delegitimize him and deny his victory,” McEnany said, adding, “There were no calls for unity; there were no calls for healing. ... Let us not forget the inexcusable transition, or lack thereof, that President Trump had to endure in 2016 and four years into his presidency.”
The morning after the election was called for Trump in 2016, though, Clinton conceded and called on Americans to accept the results and continue the fight toward equality in the United States.
“We must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president; we owe him an open mind and the chance to lead,” Clinton said. “Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don't just respect that, we cherish it.”
Later that day, President Barack Obama held a press briefing to offer his own message of unity to Americans. Obama vowed that there would be a smooth and peaceful transition into the Trump administration.
"I have instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush's team set eight years ago and work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the president-elect," Obama said. "We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country. The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy and over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world."
Two days after the 2016 election, then Vice President Joe Biden met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and Obama met with Trump to offer support for a smooth transition.
Since this year’s election was called on Nov. 7, Trump has continuously challenged the validity of the results –– arguing that voter fraud was rampant on Election Day and the day's following as various states worked to count thousands of mail-in ballots.
The president has falsely claimed that he won the election on numerous occasions, even though various outlets, including the Associated Press, projected Biden as the clear winner with 306 electoral votes –– surpassing the 270 needed to win. Trump, on the other hand, got 232 votes.
Trump has also made several unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud, such as saying military ballots went missing in Georgia and claiming computer system glitches in Michigan. He has filed at least 33 lawsuits in key states.
Election officials across the country have denounced Trump's claims, saying there is no evidence of voter fraud in any state.
Trump's refusal to concede has left Biden without crucial national security information as administration officials refuse to recognize Biden as president-elect. Some Senate Republicans, though, are calling for Biden to gain access to the reports as it may leave the country in a vulnerable position if Biden isn't able to hit the ground running when inaugurated in January.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kayleigh McEnany says Trump didn't have a smooth transition in 2016