Moments after Democrat Joe Biden was projected to be the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday, President Donald Trump released a statement declaring that his opponent “is rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”
Trump was spotted arriving at his golf course in Sterling, Virginia, earlier Saturday morning.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” Trump said in the statement.
Elections are usually called by news media, which tracks votes in local jurisdictions across the U.S., before results are officially certified because that process can take weeks and generally does not yield a different outcome.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated,” Trump said, accusing the Democratic Party of “wrongdoing.”
“So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands,” Trump concluded.
His comments echoed those he has made for several days and, as in those cases, he offered no evidence to back up his “wrongdoing” claims. Nor have state election officials reported any suspicions of any consequential voter fraud.
Later, after returning to the White House, Trump made his frustrations known over Twitter, falsely asserting, “I WON THE ELECTION.”
He focused his rage on “BAD THINGS” he claimed happened during the counting process, saying “OUR OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.”
Observers from both parties are allowed to watch the counting process and report any irregularities to proper authorities. In Pennsylvania ― the state that pushed Biden over the edge to victory ― the Trump campaign complained that their observers were not allowed close enough to the ballots on Election Day to be able to observe meaningfully. They were always allowed in the room to watch. A judge intervened to allow the observers to be six feet from the first row of tables, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
For months, Trump has attempted to undermine the election, repeatedly touting baseless conspiracy theories about the alleged fraud risk of mail-in voting. His claims are unsubstantiated. Voting by mail has a long history in the U.S., and voter fraud of all types, including when mail-in ballots are used, is extremely rare in this country.
Yet the president continued to push these lies from Election Day on, insisting without evidence that Biden was besting him in battleground states because of “illegal votes.” In his statement, he baselessly claimed that the Biden campaign wanted “ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters.”
Trump similarly complained in one all-caps tweet that “MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WERE SENT TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER ASKED FOR THEM!”
The 50 states all have different systems and rules for voting by mail, and many of them changed the rules due to the risk of voting in person while the coronavirus continues to spread across large swaths of the country. Some other states enacted universal mail-in voting well before Trump even took office.
There has been no evidence that voting by mail leads to widespread election fraud, and no such proof has emerged in this year’s widespread use of it.
Trump has also repeatedly claimed victory ― most notably in the wee hours of Wednesday when millions of votes remained uncounted in many states.
The president’s campaign already has filed lawsuits in several states to stop vote counting and disqualify ballots, and it is expected to file others next week in the most contentious battleground states.
So far, Trump’s legal efforts have proved ineffective. But he has indicated that he will continue filing challenges until he runs out of options.
“It’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land,” the president has said previously.
This story has been updated with Trump tweets he posted after returning to the White House Saturday afternoon.