TV networks have cut away from Donald Trump’s White House remarks as he declared himself the winner of the election “if you count the legal votes”.
Donald Trump has spoken from the White House for the first time since election night, declaring that “if you count the legal votes, I easily win”.
“If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us,” Mr Trump said in his first public remarks since his press conference in the early hours of Wednesday.
“If you count the votes that came in late, we’re looking into them very strongly. A lot of them have come in late.”
Mr Trump said there were “now only a few states yet to be decided into the presidential race” and the “voting apparatus are run in all cases by Democrats”.
“We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually, and then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away, in secrecy,” he said.
NBC, CBS and ABC News all cut away from Mr Trump shortly after he started speaking. CNN and Fox News carried the full remarks.
MSNBC host Brian Williams, justifying the decision to cut away, said the press conference “was not rooted in reality and at this point, where our country is, it’s dangerous”.
“Here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the President of the United States but correcting the President of the United States,” he said. “There are no illegal votes that we know of. There has been no Trump victory that we know of.”
CNN host Jake Tapper said after the press conference, “What a sad night for the United States of America to hear their President say that. To falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election, to try to attack democracy that way with his feast of falsehoods. Lie after lie after lie.”
With his hopes of holding onto the presidency slipping away as thousands of votes continue to be counted in key battleground states, an exhausted-looking Mr Trump appeared defiant, vowing to fight the outcome in court.
“We think there is going to be a lot of litigation as we have so much evidence, so much proof and it is going to end up perhaps at the highest court in the land,” he said.
“We will see. But we think there will be a lot of litigation because we cannot have an election stolen like this and I tell you, I have been talking about this for many months with all of you. I have said very strongly that mail-in ballots are going to be a disaster. We are hearing absolute horror stories and we cannot let that happen to the United States of America.”
Mr Trump said it was “not a question of who wins, Republican, Democrat, Joe, myself”.
“We cannot let that happen to our country,” he said.
“We cannot be disgraced by having something like this happen. So it will hopefully be cleared up, hopefully soon but it will probably go through a process, legal process, and as you know I have claimed certain states and he is claiming states and we can both claim the states, but ultimately I have a feeling judges are going to have to rule, but there has been a lot of shenanigans and we cannot stand for that in our country.”
Mr Trump said mail-in voting was a “corrupt system”.
“It is too easy – they want to find out how many votes they need and then they seem to be able to find them, they wait and wait, and then they find them,” he said.
He said Republican observers had been prevented from watching the vote counting in some states including Pennsylvania and Georgia.
The President said he challenged Joe Biden and every Democrat to “verify they are legal votes, because they talk about votes and they should use the word ‘legal’ votes”.
“I want openness and transparency,” he said.
“No secret count rooms, no mystery ballots, no illegal votes being cast after election day. We want an honest election, an honest count and we want honest people working back there because it is a very important job. So that is the way this country is going to win, the way the United States will win and we think we will win the election very easily.”
He claimed officials in Democrat-run states, a number of which made the move to universal mail-in voting this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, believed “they could never win the election and that is why they did the mail-in ballots where there is tremendous corruption and fraud going on”.
“Tens of millions of unsolicited ballots without any measures whatsoever, and I told everybody that these things would happen because I have seen it happen,” he said.
“This was unprecedented in American history. This was by design, despite years of claiming (to care) about election security, they refused to include any requirement to verify signatures, identities or even determine whether they are eligible or ineligible to vote. They have no idea.”
It came after the President spent Thursday shooting off a series of furious all-caps tweets, writing “STOP THE COUNT!”, “STOP THE FRAUD!” and “ANY VOTE THAT CAME IN AFTER ELECTION DAY WILL NOT BE COUNTED!”
He added, “All of the recent Biden claimed States will be legally challenged by us for Voter Fraud and State Election Fraud. Plenty of proof – just check out the Media. WE WILL WIN! America First!”