President Donald Trump responded to several news outlets calling the 2020 election for President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday with an inaccurate and desperate-seeming statement, claiming that his campaign will start “prosecuting our case” in court come Monday — in what would effectively be an attempt to overrule the will of the American people.
“We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed,” the president said in his statement. “Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner in any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts.”
All states will certify their results in the weeks to come; and the projections made by Decision Desk and others who call elections were made based on current counts, which are not expected to significantly change between now and when that certification occurs later in November.
The statement also falsely claimed that election observers were not allowed to observe the vote count in several states. Not only were they, but in some cases these observers disturbed the count; others can be seen watching counters on livestreams.
INBOX: Statement from President Donald J. Trump pic.twitter.com/LJxbbdQBJu— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) November 7, 2020
The president’s words aren’t surprising, as he’d suggested ahead of the election that he would not accept its results. And, true to form, he has not.
In many ways, the official statement is a more formal version of the baseless allegations of voter fraud the president made in a series of tweets Saturday morning, in which he appeared to desperately grasp at any whimsical conspiracy theory necessary to keep power.
In those tweets, Trump lied about votes being “illegally received” in Pennsylvania “and certain other states.” Despite the fact, of course, that all states have counted only ballots submitted according to their guidelines. Some states, like Pennsylvania, allowed mail-in ballots received after Election Day — but with a postmark from Election Day, or earlier — to be counted. There’s nothing illegal about this, however; in fact, states are legally obligated to count ballots that are submitted in accordance with election law.
Trump also lied on Twitter about election observers not being allowed in counting rooms in “numerous states.” As noted above, this is false.
The tweets were flagged by Twitter as “disputed” and potentially “misleading.”
....This would ALSO change the Election result in numerous States, including Pennsylvania, which everyone thought was easily won on Election Night, only to see a massive lead disappear, without anyone being allowed to OBSERVE, for long intervals of time, what the happened...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020
....Bad things took place during those hours where LEGAL TRANSPARENCY was viciously & crudely not allowed. Tractors blocked doors & windows were covered with thick cardboard so that observers could not see into the count rooms. BAD THINGS HAPPENED INSIDE. BIG CHANGES TOOK PLACE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020
Overall, there is no evidence of voter fraud or tampering with vote counting. As Vox’s Aaron Rupar explained, the Trump campaign is making wild allegations of impropriety now and hoping to find evidence for them later:
Their strategy is to make allegations first and hopefully find evidence for them later. This state of affairs was thrown into stark relief late Friday morning during a Fox News interview with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel. During it, Fox News hosts appeared to be out of patience with her evidence-free insinuations that the election was somehow stolen from Trump.
“We just haven’t seen it. It hasn’t been presented. There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the internet, but when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out,” anchor Bret Baier told McDaniel, as she failed to explain how her technical gripes about election observers in Michigan could possibly affect the result in a state Biden appears poised to win by well over 100,000 votes.
Trump took these falsehoods to a new level Saturday, concluding his morning tweets with a incorrect statement that he actually won the election, writing “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”
I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2020
It’s concerning that the president of the United States is just outright lying about an election he lost, and that he has refused to concede now that it is clear he has lost. Perhaps even worse is that several high level Republican lawmakers have joined in on spreading doubt about the accuracy of the election results. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, all appeared on Fox News to repeat the false assertion that Trump won the election.
What lawsuits come Monday remain to be seen. But it is clear that Trump expects the courts to save him. However, as Vox’s Ian Millhiser has explained, that’s not a strategy that is likely to bear fruit. And whether he concedes or not, Biden will be sworn in as the next president of the United States in January.