U.S. Markets closed

The refusal to concede is ‘all about Donald Trump's political power with the base’: Carly Fiorina

Ben Werschkul
·DC Producer
·3 min read

Less than four years after appearing alongside Donald Trump as a fellow Republican candidate for president, Carly Fiorina went against her party this year and endorsed Joe Biden.

During an appearance at Yahoo Finance’s All Market’s Summit in October, Fiorina laid out a scenario that might lead her back to her old party. She imagined Trump losing and then “there is perhaps an interesting conversation in the Republican Party” featuring those like her who did not support Trump “about the future of the Republican Party after Trump.”

The first part of the scenario has come true – President-elect Biden secured 306 electoral votes and 51% of the popular vote – but the second part of Fiorina’s scenario doesn’t seem to be happening.

Trump’s ongoing refusal to concede defeat is not about overturning the election, said Fiorina in a follow-up interview with Yahoo Finance, but instead, “this is all about Donald Trump's political power with the base.”

Former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S. February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, U.S. February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

In her eyes, Trump “has cemented his legacy as being inadequate for the job,” but his actions to delegitimize the election for many Republican voters could also help cement the GOP as “the Trump party" for years to come.

The Trump campaign’s legal challenges in states like Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have fallen flat so far. In fact, perhaps the biggest scandal in the days since the election was the revelation that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) apparently pushed Georgia officials to find a way to toss legally cast ballots, according to the Republican Secretary of State there.

He ‘isn't going away’

“I certainly think [Trump] is laying track for running again in 2024,” Fiorina said. “He isn't going away, he's not disappearing.” Fiorina said she has no ambition to join Biden’s cabinet, but at the same time she also appears less likely than ever to rejoin her old party.

Trump “won't be president but he will retain enormous political influence, and so the question is what he chooses to do with that influence,” she added.

Fiorina was the first woman ever to lead a Fortune 50 company when she took over Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) in 1999. Since leaving the company, she has focused on politics with unsuccessful runs for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and the presidency in 2016.

She has harsh words for other former 2016 candidates like Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Both men criticized Trump during the campaign but have largely been loyal soldiers ever since. (Fiorina was Cruz’s running mate for a brief time.)

Both men "threw those principles aside for short-term political gain," said Fiorina.

Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R) former Governor Jeb Bush, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, businessman Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz pose before the start of  the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Some of the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. From left former Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

“I would hope that fairly soon here you would have notable Republican elected officials stand up and say to the president, enough is enough,” Fiorina said about the current moment when few Republicans are willing to publicly acknowledge that Biden won the election. “It is time to acknowledge the obvious," she said.

Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

Read more:

Nearly all of Biden's likely economic advisors previously worked in Obama or Clinton administrations

Some ‘Biden Republicans’ just keep talking about a new political party

Why Carly Fiorina backs Joe Biden’s tax hikes

Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flipboard, LinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.