As Democrat Joe Biden continued to gain ground in ballot counting Thursday in key states, President Donald Trump against cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, peddling conspiracy theories about fraud and suggesting he’d “easily” won the race.
“If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” Trump falsely claimed, adding without evidence that the election had been marked by “historical interference from big media, big money and big tech.”
Speaking from the White House, Trump went on to accuse Democrats of “trying to steal” and “rig” the election.
“They’re trying obviously to commit fraud,” he said.
Again, no evidence supports his claim.
Trump also continued his now months-long attack on mail-in voting, falsely claiming the process was “corrupt.” Voter fraud of any kind ― including using mail-in ballots ― is exceedingly rare in the U.S.. And though the president has repeatedly attempted to cast aspersions on the process, voting by mail has a long history in this country. Even before 2020, voting in five states ― Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington ― had been conducted primarily by mail, and dozens of other states allowed “no excuse” mail-in absentee voting. None of their elections have been contested on the basis of fraud.
Trump additionally claimed ― prematurely ― that Republicans have “kept the Senate.” In fact, a few key Senate races have yet to be called, including in Georgia where the races for both its seats headed for January runoffs. The outcome of those two votes appears likely to determine which party holds a majority in the legislative body.
Trump took note of surprise GOP successes in the election ― including gains in House seats ― as he accused Democrats of cheating. He took no questions after his remarks, and thus could not be asked about this apparent contradiction.
Trump’s appearance was his first since early Wednesday, when he addressed the media as the first wave of election results was being reported. Trump at the time baselessly declared victory and falsely claimed he’d already won several states in which a clear winner had yet to be determined. He also, without evidence, suggested that the ongoing counting of votes amounted to “fraud” and should be halted.
Since then, the Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in several states to halt vote counting and disqualify ballots. Judges in at least two states have ruled against his campaign.
Trump vowed on Thursday to continue filing legal challenges.
“We think there will be a lot of litigation,” he said, adding that “it’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land,” referring to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman contributed reporting.