Donald Trump has claimed the “race is far from over”, as he finally answered questions from the media about the 2020 US election.
In a remarkable outburst that followed a video conference with members of the US military, the president claimed — again without evidence — that he had been the victim of “a rigged election”.
He also said he would be heading to Georgia as early as the weekend in order to campaign on behalf of two Republican senate candidates, in races that will determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress.
“If the media were honest and big tech was fair, this wouldn't even have been a contest,” he told reporters at the White House.
“And I would have won by a tremendous amount. And I did win by a tremendous amount, but it hasn't been reported yet.”
He added: "But people understand what's happened. They know what happened.”
Much of what Mr Trump said on Thursday was not new; he has been tweeting about, and denouncing the election result, which Joe Biden won by some margin, since election day.
Yet, this was the first time the president had answered questions from reporters.
Also, his accusations of fraud, levelled without evidence, were delivered at the end of a Thanksgiving Day interaction with members of the US military, stationed at home and overseas. Typically, politics is kept out of such events.
The president’s comments at times appeared scattered. At one point he said if the electoral college — due to meet on 14 December to certify the result — found Mr Biden had won, they would have “made a mistake”. Mr Biden beat Mr Trump 306-232 in the electoral college and by more than 5 million in the popular vote.
He then said he would “certainly” leave the White House in a peaceful transition. “And you know that,” he added.
Asked if he would attend Mr Biden’s inauguration, Mr Trump said he had made a decision, but did not want to make it public yet. It has long been customary for outgoing presidents to attend the inauguration of their successor. He also said it was wrong for the president-elect to be picking a cabinet, as Mr Biden has been.
Taken in their entirety, Mr Trump’s comments appeared to represent several things. Firstly, that even if he has lost the election, he still enjoys making headlines on a a quiet news day, and is aware of his ability to do so.
Of more interest to Republicans will be his apparent willingness to head to Georgia to campaign on behalf of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, as they take on Jon Ossoff and the Rev Raphael Warnock.
While Mr Trump narrowly lost the state to Mr Biden, and has denounced the Republican secretary of state for certifying the votes for his rival, his presence there could be crucial in boosting turnout for the two Senate contests, due to be held on 5 January. Typically, run-off races attract a smaller turnout.
As it stands, both races are tight. Democrats in the state, spearheaded by Stacey Abrams, are working to ensure the big turnout they think they will need to win. They need to win both seats in order to take charge of the Senate as well as the House.
“This has a long way to go," Mr Trump said. “This election was a fraud. It was a rigged election.”
As he left the room a reporter asked Mr Trump. “Isn't this the language of a dictator,” adding, “Mr President, some people claim you're denying reality".
The president responded to neither.