What Happens If Donald Trump Loses The Election But Refuses To Concede?

A few things could happen.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump Alex Gakos & Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock

T.S. Eliot once said, “April is the cruelest month,” but that man was WRONG, because Election Week is in fact, the cruelest month of them all.

The final results of the 2020 presidential election are within reach, and it legit feels like we’ve been waiting for months to see whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump will be the president of the United States for the next four years. 

Some outlets have already predicted that Joe Biden will be the winner of the 2020 presidential race, which has raised the same question from people from all over the world:


What happens if Donald Trump loses the election but refuses to concede?

And let’s be honest, it’s probably not the first time that question has crossed everyone’s mind.

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Read on to find out some of the possible scenarios that could go down if Trump refuses to concede.


There has never been a president in U.S. history that’s refused to leave the White House.

While there have been presidents who have refuted election results, none of them have gone to the extreme notion of simply refusing to leave the White House on January 20.

However, since nothing about this year or this presidency has been normal, we truly cannot count out the scenario in which Trump doesn’t leave or commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

"We'll have to see what happens," Trump said in September of 2020. "You know that I've been strongly complaining about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and we'll have a very peaceful — there won't be a transfer, frankly, there'll be a continuation."

The 20th Amendment begs to differ.

Despite what Trump says, the 20th Amendment reads


“The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin."

If Trump refuses to leave the White House, the Secret Service can escort him off the property.

If Trump loses the election and refuses to leave the White House after Joe Biden is officially sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, then the Secret Service can get involved.

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You see, if Biden wins, is sworn in, and officially takes over as the leader of this country, Trump will (obviously) no longer be in power, and if he’s still on the White House premises, he will be treated as a trespasser — as Biden's campaign spokesperson said in a statement on November 6th.

In theory, Biden would be able to order the Secret Service — whose task is to keep intruders off the White House premises — to escort Trump out and completely take away his access to the White House premises.


If Trump legally challenges the election results, we could be in uncharted territory. 

This is a worst-case scenario, and it’s something that is totally possible, given the fact that Trump’s campaign has already filed lawsuits in three states — Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — to contest the election results. 

Lindsey Cohn, an expert in national security, said, “If the president refuses to concede or leave, then no, there’s nothing to be done about that until there’s a result to the election.”

So basically, in theory, Trump can just chill at the White House until the legal battles are resolved and Congress verifies the results.


If there’s one thing we do know, it’s that we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the final results are in, which hopefully happens soon.

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter.