Trump's False Victory Claim Met Swift Rebukes

News anchors, Joe Biden's camp, and prominent GOPers all pushed back on president's remarks
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2020 7:53 AM CST
Trump Accused of 'Castrating the Facts' in False Victory Claim
President Trump pumps his fist after speaking at the White House early Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Just before 2:30am Wednesday, during a still-undecided election, President Trump gathered supporters at the White House to let them know he thought a "major fraud" was occurring, because he hadn't yet been declared the winner. "As far as I'm concerned, we already have won it," he said. This announcement came shortly after the president put up a potentially misleading tweet that baselessly noted Democrats "are trying to STEAL the Election" and that "votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed" (Twitter hid that tweet, per its protocol on disputed posts). But Trump's White House announcement that he was the victor drew immediate pushback from news organizations, including from on-air TV anchors who promptly informed viewers that his statements were false. Who said what, per the AP and NPR, which notes a scenario that "newsrooms have been buzzing about ... for weeks":

  • NBC News' Savannah Guthrie, who'd interrupted Trump's White House speech at various points to tell viewers what he was saying wasn't true, put it most plainly: "The fact of the matter is we don't know who won the election."

  • George Stephanopoulos spelled it out a bit more on ABC News, noting, "Donald Trump is losing right now both in the popular vote and the electoral vote and there are many states left to be called."
  • From Brian Williams on MSNBC: "Our presidents don't select our victors. ... We always allow a lot on election night, hyperbole. But when it veers into falsehood—we have not called the states he claimed for victories." (NPR notes he falsely claimed Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia.)
  • On Fox, Chris Wallace pushed back at co-anchor Bret Baier's assertion that most of what Trump said was accurate. "This is an extremely flammable situation; the president just threw a match into it," Wallace said. "He hasn't won the states [he claimed]. Nobody is saying he won the states. The states haven't said that he's won."
  • Criticism on other networks was even harsher. "The president of the United States [is] castrating the facts of the election results that have been reported tonight," CBS' Norah O'Donnell stated, with colleague John Dickerson noting, "We've never had a situation like this in the country."
  • And from CNN's Abby Phillip: "If we were watching this in another country, we would be shocked. It's a sign our democracy is in peril."
  • Business Insider rounds up prominent Republicans who also took issue with the president's claim, including ex-Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and ex-national security adviser John Bolton. From Christie: "I think it's a bad strategic decision, it's a bad political decision, and it's not the kind of decision you'd expect someone to make tonight who holds the position he holds."
  • Meanwhile, Joe Biden's camp issued its own rebuke, deeming the president's words "outrageous," per the Guardian. "It is a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens," Biden campaign chief Jen O'Malley Dillon said in a statement. "Never before in our history has a president of the United States sought to strip Americans of their voice in a national election." She added that Trump's remarks were "incorrect," as ballots would continue to be counted. "Donald Trump does not decide the outcome of this election. Joe Biden does not decide the outcome of this election. The American people decide the outcome of this election. And the democratic process must and will continue until its conclusion."
(Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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