Networks Cut Away From Trump's White House Address

President, yet again, made unfounded claims of Democrats stealing the election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 6, 2020 12:05 AM CST
Networks Cut Away From Trump's White House Address
President Donald Trump leaves after speaking at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

ABC, CBS, and NBC all cut away from President Trump on Thursday evening as he spoke from the White House and made an unfounded accusation that the presidential election was being stolen from him. MSNBC's Brian Williams also interrupted the president. Fox News Channel and CNN aired the president's full address, after which CNN's Anderson Cooper said Trump was “like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun realizing his time was over.” Network personalities had sharply criticized Trump after his angry, middle-of-the-night speech following Election Day but aired that talk in full. Trump was more subdued Thursday, yet offered a litany of complaints about “suppression” polls, mail-in voting and fraud that he never specified. Details from the major networks and elsewhere:

  • “We have to interrupt here, because the president has made a number of false statements, including the notion that there has been fraudulent voting,” said NBC's Lester Holt. “There has been no evidence of that.”
  • CBS' Norah O'Donnell broke in to ask correspondent Nancy Cordes to fact-check Trump's assertion that if “legal votes” were counted, he would easily win the election. Cordes said there is no indication of a substantive number of illegal votes cast, and said Trump's reference to votes arriving late was “another falsehood.”
  • MSNBC cut away from Trump to anchor Brian Williams. “Here we are again in the unusual position of not only interrupting the president of the United States but correcting the president of the United States,” he said. “There are no illegal votes that we know of, there has been no Trump victory that we know of.”
  • After ABC ended its coverage, the network’s White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl, also said there was no evidence of illegal votes. “What he seems to be frustrated by is ... that it takes time to count votes,” Karl said. “It's always taken time to count votes. But especially in this election.”
  • While CNN kept Trump on the air, a chyron displayed under him said, “Without any evidence, Trump says he's being cheated.” Anchor Jake Tapper looked weary when it was over. “What a sad night for the United States of America to hear their president say that, to falsely accuse people of trying to steal the election, to try to attack democracy in that way with this feast of falsehoods," he said. “Lie after lie after lie. Pathetic.” CNN analysts David Axelrod and Van Jones both said they were angered by Trump's attacks on authorities in Detroit and Philadelphia, suggesting they amounted to racism.
  • On Fox News Channel, commentators Bill Bennett and Byron York said that just because Trump did not allege specific instances of irregularities doesn't mean there haven't been any. But the president and his lawyers need to present evidence, they said. “What we saw tonight is a president who believes that at the end of the day, when all the votes are counted, the election is not going to to go his way, so he's trying to plan an alternate route to retain the White House,” said Fox White House correspondent John Roberts.
  • The New York Post, a prominent Trump media ally, headlined a story on the speech, “Donald Trump makes baseless election fraud claims in White House address.”

(The AP fact-checks Trump's Thursday comments here.)

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