Early in the morning on Wednesday, President Donald Trump declared victory from within the White House, despite the fact that there are still over a million votes yet to be counted in key states he claimed to have won.
“We will win this,” Trump said, without evidence, at 2:21 a.m. “As far as I am concerned we already have won it.” And, even though battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan still have over a million ballots still to be counted, Trump says that his campaign is “winning” both states.
But the ballots tell a different story. Though Michigan was a tight race Tuesday night, there are hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots yet to be counted, and in Pennsylvania, 1.4 million remain to be counted. In both states, which are key to victory for either candidate, the as-yet uncounted ballots are expected to favor Biden, possibly enough to push both states blue.
Though Trump’s remarks were not entirely surprising, they were still dangerous during an election that was inevitably going to have delayed results. He has spent months saying that the results of the election would be invalid, and Wednesday morning, he doubled down on that message, incorrectly calling the election fraudulent.
“This is a major fraud in our nation,” he said. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list.” At the time, the numbers were tentatively in his favor — so for Trump, vote counting stops whenever the numbers favor him, however unofficial, not when all the votes are counted.
As many have pointed out, his remarks are dangerous. The Washington Post called his speech “an extraordinary assault on the integrity of the U.S. election system.”
If you’re wondering how this plays out in Trump’s favor, it’s because his team is really hoping media outlets cover this ordeal like Zeke here. https://t.co/t8CMOc8Z2B
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) November 4, 2020
Some of Trump’s remarks were pointedly aimed toward Democrats and the Joe Biden campaign: “A very sad group of people is trying to disenfranchise” his voter base, Trump claimed baselessly. And, an hour and a half before his speech, he tweeted, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election,” while about half a dozen states had yet to be called.
In response, the Biden campaign pushed back, calling Trump’s remarks “outrageous”: “Donald Trump does not decide the outcome of this election. Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election” said Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon in a statement. “The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion.”