- 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)
Texas AG Ken Paxton Allegedly Flees Official Serving Subpoenas in Truck
Following the news, a judge granted the attorney general’s request to quash the subpoenas.
Paxton on the Run
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his own home in a truck Monday morning to evade an official trying to serve him a subpoena, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
Last month, several nonprofits filed a lawsuit seeking to block Texas from charging individuals under the state’s abortion ban in cases that happened out of state or prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Two subpoenas were issued summoning Paxton to a Tuesday court hearing, one for his professional title and the other addressed to him personally.
Early on Monday Ernesto Martin Herrera, a process server, knocked on the front door of Paxton’s home in McKinney and was greeted by Texas state senator Angela Paxton, who is the Attorney General’s wife.
According to the affidavit, Herrera identified himself and informed her that he was delivering court documents to Mr. Paxton. She responded that her husband was on the phone and in a hurry to leave, so Herrera returned to his vehicle and waited for Ken to emerge.
Nearly an hour later, the affidavit states, a black Chevrolet Tahoe pulled into the driveway, and 20 minutes after that, the attorney general stepped out.
“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name,” Herrera wrote in the affidavit. “As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage.”
Shortly afterward, Angela exited the house and climbed into a truck in the driveway, leaving a rear driver-side door open.
“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” Herrera wrote. “I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him.”
“Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck,” he continued.
The affidavit adds that Herrera placed the documents on the ground by the vehicle and stated that he was serving a subpoena, but the Paxtons drove away.
Process Server or Lingering Stranger?
Following the publication of the affidavit in The Texas Tribune, Ken attacked the news outlet on Twitter and claimed to fear for his safety.
“This is a ridiculous waste of time and the media should be ashamed of themselves,” he wrote. “All across the country, conservatives have faced threats to their safety – many threats that received scant coverage or condemnation from the mainstream media.”
“It’s clear that the media wants to drum up another controversy involving my work as Attorney General, so they’re attacking me for having the audacity to avoid a stranger lingering outside my home and showing concern about the safety and well-being of my family,” he continued.
On Monday, the attorney general filed two requests: a motion to quash the subpoena and another to seal the certificates of service, which included the affidavit.
His lawyers argued that Herrera “loitered at the Attorney General’s home for over an hour, repeatedly shouted at him, and accosted” him and his wife.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman granted both requests on Tuesday.
In a statement, the attorney general said that Herrera is “lucky this situation did not escalate further or necessitate force.”
See what others are saying: (The Texas Tribune) (CNN) (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
Ron DeSantis Faces Lawsuit, Investigation for “Human Trafficking” of Migrants
A woman only known as “Pearla” allegedly lured the desperate migrants onto planes with monetary incentives and false promises.
A Political Stunt Blows Up in the Governor’s Face
After unexpectedly flying some 50 mostly Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is staring down a class action lawsuit, a local investigation, and a potential probe from the Justice Department.
On Tuesday, Lawyers for Civil Rights, in conjunction with the nonprofit Alianza Americas filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of the migrants. The filing names DeSantis, the state of Florida, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, and their accomplices as defendants.
It alleges they fraudulently induced the migrants to cross state lines to Martha’s Vineyard, where shelter and resources were not prepared.
According to several accounts, the migrants were falsely promised work, free rent, and immigration assistance in exchange for taking the trip.
The migrants are seeking unspecified damages on top of the cost of their legal fees for emotional and economic harm.
On Monday, Texas Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced that he was opening an investigation into the migrant flights and DeSantis’s role in the scheme, which he called an “abuse of human rights.”
“They feel that they were deceived in being taken from Bexar County — from San Antonio, Texas — to where they eventually ended up,” he told CNN on Tuesday. “That could be a crime here in Texas and we will handle it as such.”
Salazar also said in a statement that his office was working with private attorneys representing the victims and advocacy organizations and that he was prepared to work with “any federal agency with concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise.”
Since making the announcement, the sheriff’s office has been bombarded by threats via phone and email, according to a statement by a spokesperson.
Dylan Fernandes, a Massachusetts state lawmaker representing Martha’s Vineyard, called on the DoJ to launch a human trafficking probe into DeSantis Sunday.
He wrote on Twitter about the “inhumane acts,” saying, “Not only is it morally criminal, there are legal implications around fraud, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, and human trafficking.”
A Mysterious Woman Named Pearla
Several migrants have told reporters, and claimed in the class action lawsuit, that they were lured onto the planes by a tall, blonde woman calling herself Pearla.
She reportedly approached them outside the San Antonio shelter, on the street, and in a McDonald’s parking lot, talking to them in broken Spanish.
Eduardo Linares, a migrant who said he rejected Pearla’s offer, told The Boston Globe that she promised them a free trip to Massachusetts and guaranteed work.
Another migrant named Alejandro told the outlet she offered him three months of free rent, job placement, and help with his immigration case.
The San Antonio Report interviewed a migrant named Emmanuel who said Pearla paid him $200 to recruit other migrants for the flights.
Tuesday’s lawsuit filing elaborates on their claims, saying that they were enticed with $10 McDonald’s gift cards to fly to Boston or Washington.
It alleges that the migrants were rounded up in hotel rooms while the scheme’s organizers gathered enough people to fill two planes, with them sequestered so they could not discuss the plan with anyone else.
“Once the individual Plaintiffs and class members landed, it became clear that the promises made to induce them on the planes were in fact bold-faced lies,” the filing says.
DeSantis defended himself on Fox News Monday night, saying, “They all signed consent forms to go and then the vendor that is doing this for Florida provided them with a packet that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard, it has the number for different services that are on Martha’s Vineyard.”
The brochures given to the migrants, however, listed services for refugees, not asylum seekers, and some migrants have said they weren’t aware of this fact. If the migrants were misled, the participants in the scheme could be criminally liable.
Who Pearla is and who employs her is still unknown, but DeSantis has publically taken credit for chartering the flights.
The League of United Latin American Citizens is offering $5,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of Pearla.
Two days after arriving in Martha’s Vineyard, the migrants voluntarily took shelter in a Cape Cod military base, which is designed for such emergency purposes.
See what others are saying: (NPR) (Vice) (The Boston Globe)
Is The Pandemic Really Over? Experts Bristle at Biden’s Declaration
Top Republicans took the president’s words as a signal not to approve any more funds for COVID relief.
The Pandemic’s End
“The pandemic is over,” declared President Joe Biden in a “60 Minutes” interview aired Sunday night.
“We still have a problem with COVID,” he said. “We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.”
“If you notice, no one is wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape, and so I think it’s changing, and I think this is a perfect example of it,” he added, gesturing around at last week’s Detroit Auto Show, where the interview took place.
The president’s remarks turned many heads among public health experts, who have pointed out that 400 to 500 Americans continue to die from COVID-19 every day.
“We’ve had two million cases reported over the last 28 days, and we know underreporting is substantial,” Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, told The New York Times.
“COVID-19 continues to be the number four cause of death in the country,” he added.
Others argued that the U.S. president does not have the authority to declare a pandemic over. Only the World Health Organization, which first declared the coronavirus a global pandemic in early 2020, holds that power.
“We are not there yet,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week. “But the end is in sight.”
To Care or Not to Care: That is the White House’s Question
Biden’s relatively relaxed attitude toward the virus on “60 Minutes” contradicted his administration’s official policy, which aids have been quick to clarify remains the same. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the government’s declaration of a COVID-19 public health emergency, which enables it to waive or modify requirements for health-related programs like Medicare and Medicaid, remains in effect. That designation, however, will be up for renewal on October 13.
The White House has also been pushing Congress to allocate another $22 billion toward fighting the pandemic, but top Republicans said Monday that Biden’s comment declaring the pandemic over essentially shuts the door on further aid.
“If it’s over, then I wouldn’t suspect they need any more money,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx.) in response Monday.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the ranking Republican member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, added, “I don’t think they were going to get any Covid money through anyway.”
The Biden administration continues to encourage Americans to get the newly authorized “bivalent” COVID-19 booster shot, which provides protection against both the original strain and the omicron subvariants.
The booster shot could prevent as many as 10,000 deaths and 137,000 hospitalizations in the coming months, according to one estimate by Matthew Daley, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Colorado.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everybody over the age of 12, and those who are older, pregnant, immunocompromised, or have a chronic illness, in particular, get the booster as soon as possible. But while most Americans have been vaccinated at least once, less than half have gotten their first booster shot, according to CDC data.
New York Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday that vaccine mandates for private employers will end in November, though public employees will still be required to have a vaccine. The day prior, Starbucks also lifted some COVID policies, announcing that its workers will no longer get two weeks of sick pay for coronavirus infections starting on October 2.
In its statement, the company described the pandemic as entering the “endemic” phase.