(CNN)In the space of 30 minutes on Thursday afternoon, the two candidates for president both put out statements on the ongoing 2020 vote count.
Here’s what Joe Biden said: “Be patient, folks. Votes are being counted, and we feel good about where we are.”And here’s what President Donald Trump said: “”IF YOU COUNT THE LEGAL VOTES, I EASILY WIN THE ELECTION! IF YOU COUNT THE ILLEGAL AND LATE VOTES, THEY CAN STEAL THE ELECTION FROM US!”Before you ask, no, my “Caps Lock” button wasn’t accidentally on. That’s how the statement from the President of the United States actually read.
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It’s also worth noting here that nothing Trump yelled in his statement is actually accurate. His push to stop counting the vote-counting process after November 3, which would invalidate millions of legal, early votes cast in places like Georgia and Pennsylvania, is fundamentally anti-democratic.Read MoreBut even putting aside — for a minute — the falsehoods in Trump’s statement, the difference in tone between what the two candidates had to say about the ongoing count is utterly flabbergasting.Biden’s statement urges calm and patience as the democratic process plays out. Trump’s seems purposely designed to outrage and enrage his most loyal supporters who will believe his false claims despite the total lack of evidence for them.Yes, it’s easier for Biden to take the high road because he is, in all likelihood, going to be elected the next president of the United States. And we all know that being a gracious winner is a heck of a lot easier than being a gracious loser.But even so. Can you imagine ANY other candidate for the nation’s highest office using the delay in vote tallies — a delay everyone expected due to the number of mailed-in ballots — ever even considering saying something like Trump did on Thursday? Trump is also scheduled to make remarks from the White House at 6:30 p.m. ET.Twenty years ago, when a ruling by the Supreme Court all but ended Al Gore’s chances in Florida, this is what he said in concession: “Tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”Nothing about the election being stolen from him. Nothing about “illegal” votes. Just a recognition that the presidency is both bigger and more important than any one person.Trump is not capable of that sort of perspective. What’s scary is how many people will unquestioningly follow his misguided lead.The Point: Even in the wake of the 2020 election, Trump’s efforts to destroy the word “presidential” have not abated. In fact, they’ve increased.