President Donald Trump realized the fears of many political observers Tuesday night by falsely claiming a "big win" in the U.S. presidential election despite many millions of votes yet to be counted and no clear victor even remotely in sight.
With the battle over crucial electoral college votes still potentially days or even weeks away—and just after Democratic nominee Joe Biden spoke to the nation in a televised address to urge patience for official results—Trump, just before 1:00 am ET, tweeted he would be "making a statement tonight" and then called it "a big WIN!"
Moments later, Trump falsely stated "We are up BIG"—even though at the time both the Associated Press and New York Times election desks had Biden up 213 to 174 in their electoral college projections. Trump then unleashed another lie, stating that the Democrats "are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!"
via Donald J. Trump / Twitter
Twitter immediately slapped a message on the Trump tweets warning that they contained overt misinformation, stating: "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process." In order for viewers to see the tweets, they would have to click through the warning."
Firing back against Trump's brazen misinformation, Biden himself tweeted: "It's not my place or Donald Trump's place to declare the winner of this election. It's the voters' place."
In his earlier speech, Biden urged the nation to remain "patient" as all the votes are counted, but added that he was "optimistic about the outcome."
"We believe we are on track to win this election," Biden told supporters from his home city of Wilmington, Delaware. "It ain't over until every vote is counted," he said.
Grassroots organizers like MoveOn.org said Trump would not get away with it:
He doesn’t decide ... we the people do. Forget his nonsense. We will ensure every vote is counted, and once they ar… https://t.co/TUa78vcJnM— MoveOn (@MoveOn)1604469263.0
Trump emerged to supporters after 2:00 pm ET inside the East Room of the White House where he again falsely claimed victory in the election and lied repeatedly by equating the counting of votes with an effort by Democrats to steal the election."
This is a fraud on the American public," Trump asserted, with no evidence whatsoever to support such a claim. "This is an embarrassment to our country," he continued. "We were getting ready to win this election—frankly, we did win this election.
"The president continued by saying his campaign's "goal now is to ensure—for the good of this nation, and this is a very big moment—this is a major fraud in our nation. We want the law to be used in the proper manner. So we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court."
"We want all voting to stop," Trump continued, though of course since polls closed in states on Tuesday evening, all voting has already ended. Trump then bizarrely claimed that phantom ballots might somehow appear "at four o'clock in the morning" that would be "added to the list," apparently by Democrats.
"As far I'm concerned," Trump said, "we already have won it."
People are crammed together with hardly any masks https://t.co/1kx4dlwUv3— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1604474693.0
George Goehl, director of the progressive advocacy group People's Action, was among those issuing immediate rebuke to any effort by Trump or the Republican Party to steal the election or misinform the American people before the tally of every vote is complete.
"Count every vote, no matter how long it takes," said Goehl. "Democracy includes us all. Anyone running for office can say whatever they want to, but it's the will of the voters that decides.
Donald Trump and Republicans know they're losing and like any cowards would, are doing everything they can to try and steal this election and block our votes and voices. The voters will decide our next president. And once every single vote is counted, the will of the people will be overwhelmingly clear."
While progressives and pro-democracy watchdogs for weeks have warned that Trump would try pull such shenanigans on Election Night, in the end it played out much as many reported and predicted it might.
For those keeping score: -@jonathanvswan reported Trump would declare victory in this fashion. -Trump denied that… https://t.co/YVeO1OHWEi— Daniel Strauss (@Daniel Strauss)1604470486.0
Who could have predicted that: 1) Voting day totals would favor Trump 2) The mail-in ballots would take longer to c… https://t.co/sxV4ZfrcnY— Ezra Levin (@Ezra Levin)1604471682.0
"You are as predictable as you are corrupt," tweeted progressive organizer Kai Newkirk in response to the president's tweet. "All the votes have been cast already. Now they just have to be counted. This is a democratic republic—not a dictatorship. And We the People intend to keep it. Every vote will be counted."
Linda Sarsour, co-founder of the advocacy group M Power Change, said Trump's efforts to subvert the election results would not be tolerated for even one moment.
"We must count every single vote—period," Sarsour said in a statement late Tuesday night. "We must count every vote, and prepare for what's coming. This is a crucial moment to defend democracy from fascism at home. We are committed to making sure every vote is counted, whether that means us hitting the streets, taking part in massive nonviolent civil disobedience, or showing up in Washington, D.C. ourselves."
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