President Trump released a videotaped 46-minute address from the White House Wednesday that he said “may be the most important speech I’ve ever made.” What followed, however, was a litany of unsubstantiated claims about the November election he lost to Joe Biden that the president had already been making for weeks.
Trump said he was providing “an update” on his campaign’s efforts to “expose the tremendous voter fraud” that he claims cost him the election. Trump and his lawyers have unsuccessfully tried to persuade judges in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin and Michigan to stop the process of certifying the ballot counts.
Biden won in all those states, and is on track to win the Electoral College by a margin of 306 to 232.
Contradicting the head of the U.S. cybersecurity agency, Christopher Krebs, who was appointed, and subsequently fired, by Trump, the president said the electoral system was under “coordinated assault and siege.” The president then noted something true: that election experts had predicted that final results would take days or even weeks to verify, due to an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots. Republican legislatures in Pennsylvania and elsewhere would not permit poll workers to begin tabulating early and mail-in votes until Election Day.
“For months, leading up to the presidential election, we were warned that we should not declare a premature victory,” Trump said. “We were told repeatedly that it would take weeks if not months to determine the winner to count the absentee ballots and to verify the returns.” Trump treated this as support for his claims that the election remains undecided, but states are moving ahead on their own schedules to appoint representatives to the Electoral College, which votes on Dec. 14. State officials, from both parties, have insisted that their elections were honest and the results accurate.
Trump then claimed, with no evidence, that Biden had been tipped off by election officials not to bother campaigning because Democrats would corruptly deliver the election to him.
“In fact, they were already acting like they knew what the outcome was going to be,” Trump said.
Biden held a comfortable lead in the polls throughout the campaign, and made almost no campaign appearances to avoid events that could spread the coronavirus.
Moments after the speech’s release on Facebook and Twitter, the two social media companies flagged the video. Facebook noted that Biden had been declared the winner of the election, while Twitter warned users that the fraud claims Trump made in the video were “disputed.”
Since Biden was declared president-elect, Trump’s social media posts have been repeatedly flagged, a fact that hasn’t stopped him from making them. Central to his argument that he was “robbed” is his apparent belief that while voter fraud was not new, especially in cities like Philadelphia and Detroit, this year it skyrocketed due to the increase in mail-in voting.
“This colossal expansion of mail-in voting opened the floodgates to massive fraud,” he claimed.
Although all the key swing states where Trump claims victory have certified their results in favor of Biden, the president continued to insist that he would somehow come up with enough votes to overturn those results. Of Wisconsin, for instance, he said: “We will have far more, many times more, than the 20,000 votes needed to overturn the state.”
Trump’s campaign has already paid $3 million for a partial recount in Wisconsin. The results increased Biden’s lead there.
Throughout his presentation, Trump made claims that his lawyers haven’t dared to bring up before a judge. The president even went so far as to take aim at the judges who have ruled against him in 40 of the 41 cases his legal team and his allies have brought forward so far.
“We already have the proof. We already have the evidence, and it’s very clear,” he said. “Many people in the media and even judges so far have refused to accept it. They know it’s true. They know it’s there. They know who won the election, but they refuse to say, ‘You’re right.’”
Some of the most definitive decisions against Trump were handed down by Republican judges, including some he himself had appointed.
At the end, Trump’s own words seemed to sum up the presentation best: “It was all very, very strange.”
Cover photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters
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