If you were ranking Donald Trump’s lies over the last four years, it would be easy to argue that what he said in the wee hours this morning was the worst of it. The Washington Post writes:
Trump broke democratic norms by asserting early Wednesday that he had already won, despite the paths to victory that remain for Biden. He claimed he will ask the Supreme Court to intervene in the election process, saying that voting must stop and falsely claiming that by continuing to count votes already cast, the Democrats would be stealing the election. Polls have closed, and no more votes are being cast, only tallied.
“To me, this is a very sad moment, and we will win this. And as far as I’m concerned, we already have,” Trump said in an unprecedented appearance before supporters gathered at the White House.
Speaking to maskless supporters, the president declared a victory he has not won, baselessly accused his opponents of conspiring to perpetrate “major fraud” against him and announced that he will file what experts on the right and left say would be meritless lawsuits aimed at blocking battleground states from counting all the ballots that have already been cast.
Trump’s remarks prompted a rare rebuke from some of his staunchest supporters, including the Senate Majority Leader. The Associated Press writes:
Mitch McConnell is discounting President Donald Trump’s early claim that he’d already won the election, saying it’s going to take a while for states to conduct their vote counts.
The Kentucky Republican and Trump ally said Wednesday that “claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting.”
McConnell also says he is untroubled by Trump’s vows to contest the vote count in key states, telling reporters in Louisville that “you should not be shocked that both sides are going to have lawyers there.”
Chris Christie on Pres. Trump's election remarks: "I talk tonight… as a former U.S. Attorney. There's just no basis to make that argument tonight. There just isn't."
— ABC News (@ABC) November 4, 2020
On Twitter, conservative podcaster Ben Shapiro wrote that it was “deeply irresponsible” for Trump to say he had “already won the election,” and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) objected to a post the president issued before emerging on stage that included similarly inflammatory language. “Stop. Full stop. The votes will be counted and you will either win or lose. And America will accept that. Patience is a virtue,” Kinzinger wrote.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) offered a more muted response that did not invoke Trump by name, tweeting: “The result of the presidential race will be known after every legally cast vote has been counted.”
Rick Santorum: "I was very distressed by what I heard POTUS say … the idea of using the word 'fraud' being committed by people counting votes is wrong … they are not stopping counting because they are trying to fix anything or create any sort of fraud." pic.twitter.com/z69YVsFSqm
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 4, 2020
Legal scholar Jonathan Turley wrote, “Clearly Trump has not won these states under any legal construction. He may still prevail but this is a point where inflammatory rhetoric can alienate courts and inflame voters.”
Speaking on Fox, @JonathanTurley says Trump should tamp down his rhetoric: "He did not win these states last night. These states are still in play. There are ballots that will be counted." (Trump has cited Turley in the past, and Turley testified against impeachment last winter.)
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 4, 2020
How is Fox playing Trump’s remarks?
I've thought this for a bit: The key question isn't whether Trump contests the election results, but whether Fox News contests the election results.
And so far, they're not. https://t.co/rKctYvzkF5
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) November 4, 2020
CNN’s Jake Tapper instantly fact-checked Trump’s remarks, watch above.