US President Donald Trump raises his fist as he reacts to early results from the 2020 US presidential election in the East Room of the White House on November 4
U.S. President Donald Trump raises his fist as he reacts to early results from the 2020 U.S. presidential election in the East Room of the White House on November 4. (REUTERS)
President Donald Trump sought to declare victory even as millions of votes remained to be counted in key battleground states, saying in a speech from the White House on Wednesday he would be going to the Supreme Court to ask for “all voting to stop”, alleging fraud.
“Frankly, we did win this election,” he said, when he was nowhere near the 270 electoral college votes he needed to win. Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, was ahead with 225votes to Trump’s 213 in Associate Press tracker at the time of writing of this report.
The president had won Florida, Iowa and Ohio as voting had continued into early Wednesday morning and Biden expressed confidence about picking up Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and said he was “on track” to win the election.
Neither of them had flipped a state yet, although Biden was closest to it, having held a steady lead in Arizona, a Republican-leaning state Trump had won in 2016. Fox News called it for Biden and then retracted under fire from the Trump campaign for jumping the gun. But an angry Trump referenced it at length in his controversial White House speech.
“We feel good about where we are,” Biden had said earlier. “We really do. I’m here to tell you tonight we believe we’re on track to win this election.”
He added: “We are feeling really good about Wisconsin and Michigan. And by the way it’s going to take time to count the votes but we’re going to win Pennsylvania.”
Around the same time, Trump first sought to insert his false claims and grievances into the election process with a tweet, which was flagged by Twitter as disputed or misleading content, that he was “up Big” and wrongly claimed “they are trying to STEAL the Election”.
Trump and Biden were locked in close fights in battleground states as counting of votes progressed haltingly in some battleground states because of the high volumes of early votes, especially those mailed in.
But Trump did not lose in a landslide as some pundits had forecast, and Biden did not close the contest early as some had said he might.
Trump had picked up Florida, Iowa and Ohio among the battleground states he had won in 2016, and was leading in North Carolina. He also held on to Texas and Georgia, the solidly Republican states that Democrats had hoped to flip in a late campaign push.
Trump was also leading in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the three Democratic states — the Blue Wall states — he had flipped in 2016 to win the presidency. But his leads in these states were expected to change as large number of early votes — especially mail-in ballots — remained to be counted.
Michigan authorities have said they will not be ready to make an official announcement of the outcome till late Wednesday. Pennsylvania might also not have a result to announce until then.
Just as Biden had made a play for Georgia and Texas to an extend and failed, Trump had made a go for New Hampshire and Minnesota, both states won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, and failed. Biden won them both.
But Trump appeared to have held his own thus far despite having trailed Biden in polls for much of the race, and succeeded in mobilising his supporters with frenetic pace of campaigning in the finals days when he was multiple rallies across multiple states every day.
Jason Miller, a senior member of Trump’s re-election campaign, told reporters on a conference call, earlier on Tuesday: “We feel very, very good about our ground game, we feel very good about where we’re turning out.”