"What happened?"

Trump baselessly claims victory and accuses Democrats of “fraud”

Donald Trump addresses supporters at the White House
Donald Trump addresses supporters at the White House (Photo: Twitter)

President Donald Trump has called the US election a “fraud” and says he is the winner, despite running behind Biden on electoral college votes and many states still counting their ballots.

The first overnight indication Trump was not going to entertain the notion of losing came in a tweet at around 1 am Washington time. He said he would soon be making a statement, heralding “A BIG win!”

This was then followed by another tweet stating, “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”

That tweet came with a warning from Twitter that it was potentially misleading.

An hour or so later, he addressed supporters and the press in the White House.

“This is a fraud on the American public,” the president said. “This is an embarrassment to our country.”

Pointing to the large voter turnout and believing he has secured more votes than in the 2016 election, he said, “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.”

“We will be going to the US supreme court. We want all voting to stop.”

It’s believed that many Biden supporters voted early, and many postal ballots are still being counted. By contrast, many Trump supporters waited until election day to cast their vote, having been warned by the President – without evidence – that postal voting was open to abuse and potential fraud.

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After Trump finished his whinge speech, he invited Vice President Mike Pence to the lectern. Pence. The VP said, “as the votes continue to be counted, we’re going to remain vigilant … we’re going to protect the integrity of the vote.

“I truly believe … we are on the road to victory and we will make America great again, again.”

No, that’s not a typo. He said, “again, again!”

Pence pointedly did not echo the President’s comments about fraud or calling for the counting to be stopped.

At around the same time that Trump was claiming victory, Joe Biden tweeted, “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare the winner of this election. It’s the voters’ place.”

This was followed by, “We feel good about where we are. We believe we are on track to win this election.”

At the time of writing, Trump has won Florida, Ohio and Texas, but the pivotal swing states Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin remain too close to call. Biden has won California, Oregon, New Mexico and Minnesota, among others. According to Associated Press, Biden has 238 electoral college votes to Trump’s 213. The threshold for victory is 270. Some political commentators are suggesting that Republicans may have retained control of the Senate.

Many have criticized Trump’s call of victory, from across the political spectrum. The rightwing writer Ben Shapiro tweeted, “No, Trump has not already won the election, and it is deeply irresponsible for him to say he has.”

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Indications suggest the election prompted the highest voter turnout in at least 50 years, if not the last century.