A popular German-language news website offered biting comments on the controversial U.S. presidential election with President Donald Trump as the “squatter” – a blow to his reluctance to engage in a peaceful change of power if he were to lose the White House to Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
On Friday morning, the front page of the Spiegel featured a disguised Trump sitting in an oval office that looked as if someone had prepared it for war. The president, rifle in hand, wears an angry, frowning expression, while behind him hangs the portrait of a smiling Biden, smashed by a single, smoking bullet hole. The caption was simply “The Squatter”, which means “the squatter” in English.
“Even if [Trump] loses this election, he will be able to continue to play an oversized role in American politics as the leader of an angry opposition that does not recognize his successor,” the article said. “A squatter who settles in the consciousness of the people. It cannot even be ruled out that he will run again in 2024 at the age of 78.
“And maybe he will simply stay.”
As Biden moves closer to securing the 270 votes needed to get the green light for his passage to the White House, the incumbent president has not yet confirmed that he will resign in the event of defeat.
Trump has repeatedly refused to say whether he would accept the results, and has instead worked to sow doubt about the validity of an election determined by a massive influx of postal votes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“You don’t know until you see it,” Trump told moderator Chris Wallace in a July 19 interview with Fox News. “It depends. I believe that the mail-in vote will manipulate the election. I really believe that.”
A month later, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany echoed the President’s comments and told reporters during an August 19 briefing that Trump would “wait and see what happens” in the November election before accepting the result. “The president has always said he will see what happens and make a decision in the aftermath,” McEnany said.
According to The Associated Press, Biden had 264 votes on Friday afternoon, compared to 214 for Trump. The outstanding states include Alaska, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Overnight reports of newly tabulated votes from the remaining counties in Georgia and Pennsylvania indicated that both states had switched to Biden by a narrow margin. Nevada is also leaning toward democracy, leaving Biden in charge until the results are final.
The current situation points to a Biden victory, and White House officials were reluctant to break the news to Trump, according to Hallie Jackson, White House chief correspondent for NBC News. However, should Biden be officially declared the winner, questions remain as to whether Trump will offer his concession.
Friday’s Spiegel article satirized this uncertainty and portrayed Trump as a “squatter” or someone living in a house he does not own, typically against the will of the rightful owner.
The pun addresses both Trump’s reluctance to say that he will leave the White House and the promise that he will continue to “play an oversized role in American politics,” as the Spiegel article points out. Trump received just under 48 percent of the vote, or more than 69.77 million votes – more than the 62.98 million he won in the 2016 election.
With U.S. voter turnout expected to be as high in the 2020 election for the first time in more than a century, Trump’s numbers show that he continues to have an extremely loyal support base. In a speech from the White House on Thursday night, Trump claimed that the 2020 election would be “easily won” if “legal votes” were counted, and continued with his message, claiming widespread voter fraud.
“His message was clear: I am not going anywhere,” the Spiegel article said. “And basically he is not wrong. He won’t just disappear – there is little in the election results to suggest that he should”.