Two days after media projections declared Joe Biden the winner of the United States presidential election, Donald Trump on Monday refused to concede, and continued his bellicose pledge to legally fight the outcome of the election in the courts. Counting of mail-in ballots is still underway.
In a series of tweets, the incumbent president renewed his claims of electoral fraud without providing conclusive evidence. “Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” Trump said, deriding the US media. “We have all learned a lot in the last two weeks.”
Since the election day on November 3, Trump has falsely claimed the election result was part of a broad conspiracy to deprive him of a second term by Democrats. When the vote tallies of two key states – Georgia and Pennsylvania – finally tipped in Biden’s favor, Trump’s campaign declared the “election is far from over”, and announced it had activated “legal challenge teams” in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
As the counting of votes yielded a victory for Biden after a crucial win in Pennsylvania, Trump again insisted the race was not over, and fired off all-caps tweets falsely claiming he had “WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT”.
A day later, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he had “a lot of evidence” of fraud, but did not provide any immediate proof, according to AFP. The president, meanwhile, continued his tirade of unfounded claims that the election is being “stolen” from him on Twitter.
“We believe these people are thieves,” he wrote. “The big city machines are corrupt. This was a stolen election. Best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this clearly was a stolen election, that it’s impossible to imagine that Biden outran Obama in some of these states.”
Trump claimed the Democrats “stole what they had to steal” from him “where it mattered”.
All of his tweets were flagged by Twitter, which noted that these were disputed and potentially misleading claims by the president. It is for the first time ever in the history of Twitter that the social media giant has been flagging and censoring so many tweets of the head of a state.
But Trump was unrelenting. “We should look at the votes,” he said in another tweet. “We’re just beginning the tabulation stage. We should look at these allegations. We’re seeing a number of affidavits that there has been voter fraud. We have a history in this country of election problems.”
On Monday, Republican and former President George W Bush also weighed in on the election and said the “outcome is clear”. Bush said he had called Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris to extend his congratulations.
In a statement, Bush added that the American people “can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear”, according to AP. “No matter how you voted, your vote counted,” he said.
Nonetheless, Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, with any unresolved issues to be “properly adjudicated”, Bush added.
Biden begins taking over White House
Biden, meanwhile, unveiled his new website as he prepared to announce a series of executive actions on his first day in the Oval Office. On the website, buildbackbetter.com, Biden and Harris pledged to tackle four main priorities for the new Democratic administration: Covid-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change.
“A Biden-Harris administration, propelled by the foundation laid by the transition, will lead a just and equitable recovery that rebuilds a strong, inclusive middle class and builds an economy for the future,” they said on the website.
Biden, who turns 78 on November 20, is the oldest person ever elected to the White House. Harris, 56, a senator from California, is the first woman, first African-American person and first South Asian person to be elected vice president.
The Democrat is expected to name a task force on Monday to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 2,37,000 people dead in the United States and is surging across the country. Biden’s campaign said that former US surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy and former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr David Kessler would be co-chairs of the working group.
The announcement of the task force would be part of a week-long focus that Biden intends to place on healthcare and the pandemic, as he begins the process of building his administration, an unidentified aide of his told The New York Times.
He has also announced plans to rejoin the Paris climate accord and will reportedly issue an executive order on his first day in office reversing Trump’s travel ban on mostly Muslim countries, said his campaign manager Kate Bedingfield.
Biden has vowed to name a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of the country, although he may have trouble gaining approval for more progressive appointees if Republicans retain control of the Senate – an outcome that will depend on two runoff races in Georgia in January.