Now, on his way out of office, President Trump is trying to trip up President-elect Biden’s transition team. Expertise will carry the Biden-Harris transition team for a while, but there are limits to what can be done without the government’s cooperation if Murphy remains obstinate. If Republicans care about America, they will want to ensure the incoming administration is equipped to protect us all as the deadly pandemic rages, the economy continues to suffer, and the nation’s enemies look for ways to exploit our vulnerability during the transition.

At this point, it is difficult to imagine Republican leaders repeating the words of the Bush administration official who offered the “nicest” transition in history. But we must hope they can summon enough patriotism to emulate the example of another disappointed presidential candidate, Senator John McCain. His gracious 2008 concession speech is ringing out again in video clips on social media: “These are difficult times for our country, and I pledge to [President-elect Obama] tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together.”

President-elect Biden has modeled that patriotism, as well. In a stark contrast to Trump’s belligerent behavior, Biden told Americans: “I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but unify. Who doesn’t see red and blue states, only sees a United States. And work with all my heart to win the confidence of the whole people.” It is not yet too late for Republican leaders to join him in this effort to heal and unify.