In his first appearance since late Election Night, United States President Donald Trump on Friday again claimed the election result so far was part of a broad conspiracy to deprive him of a second term by Democrats, as a handful of states continued to tabulate votes. He renewed his claims that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election from him.

“If you count the legal votes I easily win,” Trump said at the White House, providing no evidence for his claim. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.”

After two whole days of twists and turns, Democrat Joe Biden seemed to be pushing closer to the 270 Electoral College votes needed to carry the White House, securing victories in the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan. Biden’s victories took him to 253 electoral votes, meaning he is now one battleground state away from crossing 270 and becoming the president-elect, according to CNN. Trump has 213 electoral votes. New tallies also showed Trump’s lead dwindling in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

But Trump, who has launched a relentless tirade against the counting of mail-in ballots, said he wants a halt in “votes that came in late”. “I’ve already decisively won many critical states, including massive victories,” he added. “It’s amazing how those mail-in ballots are so one-sided.”

The president also expressed his outrage in all-caps declarations on Twitter. “STOP THE COUNT!” he proclaimed. However, the president has no authority over election counting. “ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!” he later wrote. “STOP THE FRAUD,” said another. All his tweets were flagged by Twitter as potentially misleading.

In the early hours of Friday, Trump tweeted claiming he had easily won the presidency with “legal votes”. “The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES,” he wrote in a post, which Twitter labelled as disputed or containing misinformation about the elections. “US Supreme Court should decide!”

He also criticised Twitter for red-flagging his posts, saying: “Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!”

Biden also spoke briefly to reporters in Willingham, Delaware, after attending a Covid-19 briefing and declared that “each ballot must be counted”. “I ask everyone to stay calm,” Biden added. “The process is working. It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

The Democrat projected optimism about the outcome of the election. “The senator [Kamala Harris] and I continue to feel very good about where things stand,” he said. “We have no doubt that when the count is finished Senator Harris and I will be declared the winners. So, I ask everyone to stay calm — all people to stay calm.”

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