President Trump on Thursday said he would leave the White House on Jan. 20 if the Electoral College declares President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the election, but indicated he was not prepared to concede defeat.
"Certainly I will. And you know that,” said Trump when asked if he would leave the White House if the Electoral College voted for Biden.
He added, “If they do, they made a mistake.”
“It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede,” Trump told reporters during a press call on Thursday.
It was the first time Trump has taken questions directly from reporters since the election more than three weeks ago.
Trump this year has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.
“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster," he said in September.
At the time, Trump said such a commitment was not necessary, appearing confident that he would win reelection.
On Monday, after weeks of stalling the transition process, the General Service Administration (GSA) reached out to Biden's campaign, giving them access to government resources and personnel. Trump in a tweet said he had directed the agency to do so, but its chief said she came to the decision on her own.
During the press call Thursday Trump also continued to claim widespread electoral fraud had occurred, despite no evidence to suggest that to be true.
“I don't know what is going to happen. I know one thing: Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes,” said Trump. The president also claimed that he had received significantly more than 74 million votes, insisting that votes for him had been tossed out.
Most of Trump's legal challenges in key battleground states to overturn the election results have been dismissed. In Pennsylvania, a judge ordered the vote certification to be stopped, a ruling Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) administration swiftly appealed to the Supreme Court.
Commenting on the voting infrastructure in the U.S., Trump said, “We are like a third-world country.”
Trump also said he was not sure if he would attend the inauguration. Former presidents typically attend the inauguration of their successors as a show of unity for the country. In 2016, former President Obama attended Trump's inauguration, along with other past presidents. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attended with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.