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Supporters of President Donald Trump attend a Make America Great Again rally near the White House in Washington, November 14, 2020. Image Credit: NYT

Washington: President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election has entered a more dangerous phase as he stokes resistance and unrest among his supporters and spreads falsehoods aimed at undermining the integrity of the American voting system.

More than a week after President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner, Trump continues to block his successor’s transition, withholding intelligence briefings, critical information about the coronavirus pandemic and access to the vast machinery of government that Biden will soon oversee.

Some former top advisers to Trump have said that his refusal to cooperate is reckless and unwise. John F. Kelly, Trump’s former chief of staff, called it “crazy” on Friday. John R. Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser who wrote a scathing memoir about his time in the administration, said the refusal “harms the country.”

“Every day that he delays under the pretence that he’s simply asking for his legal remedies ultimately is to the country’s disadvantage,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week” programme on Sunday morning.

The president’s attempt to cling to power played out against a backdrop of protests by Trump supporters and opponents late Saturday, with sporadic clashes near the White House. The police arrested 21 people as one protester was stabbed and four officers were injured. Rather than seek to calm tensions, Trump lashed out.

“ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills,” he posted on Twitter on Saturday as he urged the police to move in aggressively. “DC Police, get going - do your job and don’t hold back!!!”

By Sunday morning, the president seemed to briefly acknowledge defeat, but he quickly reversed himself, declaring “I concede NOTHING!” He repeated lies about the vote-counting process, falsely insisting that Biden’s victory was the result of a “RIGGED ELECTION” orchestrated by the “Fake & Silent” news media.

Facing his final 65 days in office, Trump appears unwilling to break from the gut instincts that have guided his pursuit of the presidency and his exercise of authority in the past 5-1/2 years: a fierce determination to act only in his self-interest and a near-total refusal to accept blame or responsibility for his failures.