UPDATED: President Trump claimed on Thursday, without evidence, that the election is being stolen from him, and blasted “Big Media” and “Big Tech” for so-called interference.
Trump made a lengthy address from the White House briefing room, his first appearance since early Wednesday morning. He claimed that he will win if “legal votes” are counted, but alleged that local election officials are working to hand the victory to Joe Biden.
“If you count the legal votes I easily win,” he said. “If you count the illegal votes they can try to steal the election from us.”
Trump made the claims without offering supporting evidence. He cited several legal cases around the country, where his campaign has alleged that Republican observers were not allowed to view the counting process.
“There’s going to be a lot of litigation,” he said. “It’s going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land. We can’t have an election stolen like this.”
Trump had earlier made a series of similar claims on Twitter, where they were flagged for being potentially misleading. One read “STOP THE FRAUD!”
Trump complained about polls that showed him doing substantially worse than his showing in various states on Election Day, which he alleged was designed to suppress turnout among his supporters. He singled out the Quinnipiac University Poll, saying it “was wrong on every occasion that I know of,” including predicting Biden would win in Florida and Ohio, states Trump secured in the election.
“We won these and many other victories despite historic election interference from Big Media, Big Money and Big Tech,” he said.
In a statement to Variety, Doug Schwartz, associate vice president and director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, defended the organization’s record and methods.
“For more than two decades, the Quinnipiac University Poll has been a highly-trusted source of opinion surveys with a stellar track record,” Schwartz said. “We stand behind our methodology and the polling industry provides valuable insights into changing political opinions over time. We learn with each election cycle and our experts will examine our polling methods and make any necessary adjustments in future years.”
MSNBC cut away from Trump’s briefing after his opening remarks. CNN carried the briefing, but warned that it would likely contain misinformation.
“The president is watching the lights go out on his presidency,” correspondent Jim Acosta said before the briefing.
Acosta suggested that the president’s remarks should come with a Surgeon General’s warning: “What you’re about to hear from the president of the United States may not be in line with the facts, may be hazardous to your democracy.”
Afterward, Anderson Cooper said that Trump’s remarks were “sad” and “pathetic.”
“That is the president of the United States. That is the most powerful person in the world,” he said. “And we see him like an obese turtle on his back flailing in the hot sun, realizing his time is over. But he just hasn’t accepted it and he wants to take everybody down with him including this country.”
Trump’s margin in several states is dwindling because Democrats urged their voters to vote by mail due to the pandemic, while Trump’s supporters largely turned out on Election Day. In places like Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Election Day vote got counted first, and it has taken additional time to count the mail ballots. The Republican legislatures in those states refused to allow mail ballots to be counted before Election Day, citing fraud concerns. Trump blamed the resulting “blue shift” in the counting on “Detroit” and “Philadelphia.”
“Detroit and Philadelphia, known as two of the most corrupt political places anywhere in our country, easily, cannot be responsible for engineering the outcome of a presidential race,” he said.
In Arizona, however, most of the remaining ballots appear to be mail ballots that were dropped off on Election Day. In that state, Biden’s margin is shrinking as more ballots are counted.
The race remains too close to call, but Biden is holding leads in enough states to claim the presidency. His team also said he is likely to emerge the winner in Pennsylvania, where Trump is currently ahead by about 65,000 votes. Biden also is trailing by just a few thousand votes in Georgia, and could claim a win there.
Trump’s campaign has gone to court in Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan, but has not succeeded in stopping the vote counting.