- During President Donald Trump’s late election night remarks, he falsely claimed that he had won the 2020 presidential race and said votes should no longer be counted, incorrectly implying that Democrats were trying to steal the election from him.
- “We were getting ready to win this election, frankly, we did win this election,” Trump said. “We want the law to be used in a proper manner, so we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4:00 am and add them to the list. Okay?”
- Many rebuked the president’s remarks, noting that there is no clear winner yet since millions of mail-in ballots have still not been counted and several key states have not been called.
- Twitter and Facebook also put disclaimers on Trump’s posts that implied he had won or that Democrats were trying to steal the election.
Trump Falsely Declares Victory
President Donald Trump faced backlash after falsely claiming he had won the 2020 presidential election in remarks made late Tuesday evening from the East Wing of the White House.
“This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump said during his speech, even though there is no indiction of fraud in this election thus far. “This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election, frankly, we did win this election, so our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of this nation.”
The race between Trump and former Vice President is tight and key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia have yet to be called. Still, when Trump took to the mic, he claimed victory in North Carolina and Georgia. He also pushed the fact that he was leading in Pennsylvania, despite the fact that millions of votes still need to be counted.
He also declared himself the victor nationwide and, without merit, claimed that the remaining votes should not be counted because they are an attempt by Democrats to “steal” the election. These remaining votes, however, are legitimate ballots that experts said would take a while to process and are equally as valid as the votes that have already come in. Many of these votes are mail-in votes that were always expected to lean blue, which is why as more states come in, Biden is gaining ground.
“This is a very big moment. This is a major fraud on this nation,” Trump continued. “We want the law to be used in a proper manner, so we will be going to the U.S. Supreme Court, we want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at 4:00 am and add them to the list. Okay?”
Journalists and Celebrities Respond
These blatant lies and calls for votes to not be counted, which would be both unprecedented and undemocratic, prompted outrage. After Trump falsely declared victory, MSNBC cut away from his speech.
“We are reluctant to step in, but duty-bound to point out that when he says, ‘We did win this election, we’ve already won,’ that is not based in the facts at all,” anchor Brian Williams said.
CBS News ended up adding a disclaimer on the lower third of their broadcast to note that there was no winner in the presidential race yet. On CNN, anchor Jake Tapper sounded off against the president.
“What President Trump just said was false, and undemocratic, and premature,” Tapper said.
Journalists were not the only ones calling the president out. Many began using the hashtag #CountEveryVote to call for the full electoral process that the president was trying to disrupt.
“Hang tough all!” Actor Mark Ruffalo wrote. “This is the #RedMirage it’s about to “turn the corner” into a #BlueWall. Take a breath and get centered in yourself for the next coming days. #CountEveryVote”
Biden also spoke late Tuesday, delivering remarks in Delaware that provided a strong contrast to Trump’s speech. He told supporters in his home state to sit tight while votes were counted and results continued to trickle in.
“Look, we feel good about where we are. We really do. I’m here to tell you tonight that we believe we are on track to win this election,” Biden said. “We knew because of the unprecedented early vote and mail-in vote that it’s going to take a while and we’re going to have to be patient until the hard work of tallying votes is finished.”
“And it ain’t over until every vote is counted. Every ballot is counted,” Biden added.
Social Media Platforms Check President Trump
For some time now, election experts, news outlets, and social media platforms have been worried about how long it would take for key states to be called and the potential for this to lead to misinformation about the results. Companies like Facebook and Twitter pledged to be vigilant when it came to false claims about races, including premature claims of victory. Both appeared to follow through with their promise following Trump’s speech.
Facebook added a disclaimer to Trump’s video of his election night remarks. That note warned that final results may be different from initial counts and that counting might continue for days.
Twitter has flagged a handful of Trump’s tweets, including one where he claimed that Democrats were trying to steal the election and called for voting to stop after polls close. (Voters who arrive at a polling location before its closing time can still vote, even if there is an hours-long line ahead of them.)
“Some or all of the content shared in this tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process,” Twitter’s disclaimer said. This same note was also added on a tweet where Trump implied that surprise ballot dumps were ruining his lead.
Trump is not alone in trying to create distrust in the outcome of this election. His campaign manager said on a Wednesday morning press call that the president would win if all “legally cast ballots” were counted, implying that incoming ballots are illegal, which is not true.
Jason Miller, a senior campaign advisor to Trump also told The Washington Post that they were working to make sure “illegally cast ballots are not counted.” Currently, there is no evidence of voter fraud in this election.
See what others are saying: (Washington Post) (New York Times) (CNN)
Campaign Season Gets Rolling This Month With Primaries in 13 States
Several of the contests taking place this month will serve as important tests for Trump-backed candidates and how much power the former president still has over the GOP.
May Primaries Start With Key Race in Ohio
The 2022 midterm season is officially heating up this month with 13 states heading to the polls.
Voters in Indiana and Ohio will kick off the busy month on Tuesday with several highly anticipated races, including one closely watched contest for the seat being vacated by long-time Senator Rob Portman (R-Oh.)
The fight for Portman’s seat has been a heated one: candidates have spent tens of millions of dollars, held numerous debates and forums, and at one point, two of them even got into a physical confrontation.
The main reason there are so many eyes on this race is because it will prove to be a key test for former President Donald Trump and the influence he has over the party. While Portman has generally been moderate and, at times, more readily critical of Trump than many others in his party, the Republican primary campaign has basically been a fight to see who is the most in line with Trump.
According to FiveThirtyEight, all but one of the seven Republican senate candidates embraced the former president’s election fraud lies as they fought for his coveted endorsement in a state he won by eight points in both 2016 and 2020.
Trump, for his part, ultimately ended up endorsing Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance in a move that surprised many, because Vance had previously been vocally opposed to the former leader and his competitors had spent months running ads noting that fact.
However, the fight for Trump’s backing appears to have been worth it. Last week, a Fox News poll found that support for Vance has surged by double-digits since Trump’s endorsement, making him the front-runner.
Still, as FiveThirtyEight reports, “other factions of the party haven’t given up the fight either — which means the primary will be a direct test of how much clout Trump has when other Republican elites dare to defy him.”
Meanwhile, there are also concerns regarding the ongoing legal battle over Ohio’s congressional map and the confusion that has caused for the state’s election calendar. For weeks, it was widely believed the state’s primaries would be pushed back after the Ohio Supreme Court ordered GOP lawmakers to redraw their map.
The map had been gerrymandered to give Republicans 12 out of the 15 congressional seats in the state even though they had only won around 55% of the popular vote. Ohio voters also previously passed a constitutional amendment in 2018 that effectively banned partisan gerrymandering.
The election, however, is still going forward anyway, even as early voting was down a whopping 40% from the last election, and the legislative races will not be on the ballot Tuesday, meaning there will have to be a second primary, which will likely drive down turnout even more.
Other Major Races This Month
There are also other notable contests scheduled for later this month. On May 17, there will be two additional races for seats vacated by Republican senators in North Carolina and Pennsylvania that will serve as important indicators of the former president’s sway over the party.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, the main Trump test focuses on two statewide races for the positions currently held by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R). The two infamously angered Trump after they refused to help him overturn the election, and as a result, many are watching to see if the former president’s full-fledged pressure campaign against them will work.
In Georgia and other battlegrounds voting this month, Democrats are also hoping they can make inroads — particularly in Pennsylvania. But recent polls have not painted a good picture for the party. Last week, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 47% of voters said they were more likely to vote for the Republican in their district, while just 44% said they would back Democrats.
The poll marked the first time in eight years that a Marist survey found the GOP with an advantage for congressional ballot tests.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (FiveThirtyEight) (PennLive)
New York’s Highest Court Strikes Down Democrat-Gerrymandered Map
The move represents a major blow to Democrats, who stood to gain as many as three seats in Congress if their map had been accepted.
Appeals Court Ruling
The New York State Court of Appeals struck down a congressional map drawn by the state’s Democrats Wednesday, dealing the party a major blow.
In the decision, the state’s highest court agreed with Republicans who had argued that the map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Democrats. The justices called the map “substantively unconstitutional as drawn with impermissible partisan purpose.”
The court also condemned the Democrats for ignoring a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2014 that aimed to limit political influence in redistricting, which included the creation of an independent entity to draw maps that the legislature would then vote on. However, the commission created to prevent partisan gerrymandering was unable to decide on a map because of its own partisan stalemate. As a result, Democrats in the legislature took it upon themselves to draw a final map.
But the version that the legislature passed and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed into law re-drew lines so that Democrats could have gained as many as three new seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Such gains would be highly significant in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans are expected to make substantial gains and may very well take back the House. Unsurprisingly, Republicans sued, and a lower court struck down the map.
In their order, the Appeals Court justices took away the legislature’s ability to make the map and instead delegated that power to a court-appointed “neutral expert.”
While the judges did say there was enough time to finish the map before the primary elections in June, they also added that the Congressional contests would likely need to be moved to August. Races for governor and other statewide officials, however, would stay the same.
The Appeals Court ruling is unique in that it targets Democrats, but it also comes as part of the broader trend of state courts cracking down on gerrymandering — though most other instances have stemmed from GOP-drawn maps.
In just the first four months of 2022, state courts in Ohio, North Carolina, Kansas, and Maryland have all struck down redistricting plans crafted by lawmakers.
Unlike the New York ruling, some of those other courts have implied that they will still allow those maps to be used in the 2022 elections. Such a decision would very likely disadvantage Democrats even more.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (The Washington Post)
McCarthy Warned Far-Right Lawmakers Could Incite Violence After Jan. 6 in New Audio of Leaked Call
The conversations represent a marked difference from the public efforts of McCarthy and other Republican leaders to downplay their members‘ actions.
Four days after the Jan. 6 insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) expressed concern about far-right Republicans inciting violence and openly voiced support for censoring them on Twitter, according to audio published by The New York Times on Tuesday.
The recordings, which come from a call among party leaders and aides on Jan. 10, are by far the clearest evidence top Republicans acknowledged that their members played a role in stoking violence before the insurrection and threatened to do so after.
They also emphasize the vast difference between what top Republicans, especially McCarthy, said behind closed doors, and how they downplayed and ignored the actions of their members in public.
One of the most notable elements of these recordings is that McCarthy and the others explicitly identified several individuals by name. They focused mainly on Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) and Mo Brooks (R-Al.) as the primary offenders.
In the audio, McCarthy can be heard flagging Gaetz right off the bat.
“Tension is too high. The country is too crazy,” he added. “I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don’t want to play politics with any of that.”
Specifically, McCarthy and the others talked about how Gaetz had gone on TV to attack multiple Republicans for being unsupportive of former President Donald Trump after Jan. 6. They particularly expressed concern over his targeting of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), who was a member of the leadership team and had already been facing threats.
Others on the call also noted that Brooks had spoken at the rally before the insurrection, where he made incendiary remarks that many have viewed as direct calls to violence. McCarthy said the public comments from his members “have to stop,” adding he would call Gaetz and have others do the same to tell him that this “is serious shit” and “to cut this out.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the second-ranking House Republican, asserted at one point that Gaetz’s actions were “potentially illegal.”
“Well, he’s putting people in jeopardy, and he doesn’t need to be doing this,” McCarthy responded. “We saw what people would do in the Capitol, you know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else.”
Republicans on the call also mentioned incendiary remarks from other members, including Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.), Barry Moore (R-Al.), and Lauren Boebert (R-Co.). Cheney pointed to Boebert as a security risk, noting she had tweeted out incredibly sensitive information about the movements of top leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) during the attack on the Capitol.
“Our members have got to start paying attention to what they say, too, and you can’t put up with that shit,” McCarthy added later. “Can’t they take their Twitter accounts away, too?”
McCarthy in Hot Water
The newly published recordings also come just days after The Times reported that McCarthy had told members on a call after the insurrection that he would urge Trump to resign.
McCarthy initially called the reporting “totally false and wrong,” but shortly after his denial, The Times received permission from their source to publish audio where he can be heard saying precisely that.
McCarthy, for his part, has tried to spin the situation, claiming that his remarks were still true because he never actually followed through on the plan to call Trump.
Still, the situation prompted widespread backlash from the far-right faction of the Republican party.
Multiple people expressed hesitancy about their support for McCarthy as Speaker of the House if Republicans take control of the chamber in the midterm elections. Some said they could not trust him.
Speaking on his show Tuesday, Foxs News host Tucker Carlson called McCarthy “a puppet of the Democratic Party.”
Gaetz also responded with ire, tweeting out a statement in which he referred to the call as “sniveling” and said of McCarthy and Scalise: “This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders.”
Other members mentioned in the call, however, appeared to brush it off. In a statement to Axios, Moore claimed that the story was engineered by “RINOS” (Republicans in Name Only), and that “Republicans will be more united than ever after taking back the House this November.”
It currently remains unclear whether these revelations with pose any long-term threat to McCarthy, but if Trump is any indication of the far-right party line, the House leader may be in the clear.
After The Times published the audio of McCarthy saying Trump should resign, the former president told The Wall Street Journal that the relationship between the two men was untroubled.
“I think it’s all a big compliment, frankly,” he added. “They realized they were wrong and supported me.”