With no winner in the 2020 race and votes still being counted in several battleground states, President Trump entered the East Room of the White House at 2:21 a.m. on Wednesday and asserted without evidence that the election was being taken from him by “a very sad group of people.”
“This is a fraud on the American public,” he told a crowd of supporters, in a reckless and unsubstantiated string of remarks about the democratic process. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win the election.”
The president said he wanted to stop the counting of votes and put the outcome of the election in the hands of the Supreme Court. “We want all voting to stop,” he said.
“We will win this,” he continued. “As far as I am concerned we already have won it.” He had not, in fact, won the battleground states he claimed as victories, like North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Many states were still counting votes and had not reported any vote totals.
His remarks were an escalation of his monthslong effort to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the race and previewed what is expected to become a protracted legal battle. Before Mr. Trump’s false claims, his campaign was already fund-raising off the uncertain outcome. A 12:03 a.m. plea asked for money to help “protect the integrity of this Election.”
They also stood in contrast to remarks made earlier in the evening by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who urged his supporters to have patience until all the votes were counted.
“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election,” Mr. Biden tweeted. “It’s the voters’ place.”
An early call of Arizona for Mr. Biden by Fox News was another check on any legitimate claim that Mr. Trump had won, or was even the likely victor in the race. And that call appeared to have enraged him. He told supporters that he had been watching Arnon Mishkin, the leader of the network’s decision desk, who appeared just after 12:30 a.m. and insisted Mr. Trump could not win the state.
“We have a lot of life in that and somebody declared that it was a victory,” Mr. Trump said. “Maybe it will be. I mean that is possible. But certainly there were a lot of votes out there that we could get because we’re now just coming into what they call Trump territory.”
Less than an hour after he left the stage, The Associated Press called Arizona for Mr. Biden.