President Trump on Wednesday called off his first trip outside Washington, DC, since the election after a campaign adviser tested positive for COVID-19. The president had not officially confirmed that he would be attending the event at a Gettysburg, Pa., hotel with attorney Rudy Giuliani and state Republican lawmakers, but the White House gathered the press pool for a trip to Pennsylvania before telling the reporters it had been called off, USA Today reports. The sickened adviser, Boris Epshteyn, tweeted that he was following "all appropriate protocols, including quarantining and contact tracing." More:
- Giuliani still attended. Giuliani—whose son tested positive on Friday—attended the Gettysburg event despite having been exposed to Epshteyn. They appeared together at a campaign legal team press conference on Thursday. CNN reports that Giuliani removed his mask when he sat down at the hotel event, where few other people wore masks.
- Republicans called "hearing" on election issues. Republican lawmakers described the event, led by the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee, as a hearing on alleged election fraud, though it was not an actual legal proceeding, WHP reports. The lawmakers heard from witnesses who had made claims of election fraud and irregularities.
- Trump phones in. The president called into the meeting and said, "We have to turn the election over," CBS reports. He alleged, without evidence, that there had been "many, many cases" of fraud. "This election was rigged and we can't let that happen," he said. "We can't let it happen for our country. And this election has to be turned around, because we won Pennsylvania by a lot and we won all these swing states by a lot."
- "A full vetting." Before the event, Giuliani said it’s "in everyone’s interest to have a full vetting of election irregularities and fraud," per Bloomberg. “And the only way to do this is with public hearings, complete with witnesses, videos, pictures and other evidence of illegalities from the November 3rd election." He told the Pennsylvania lawmakers that fraud involving mail-in ballots had taken place in their state, as well as in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia.
- "We may have actually won Virginia." Giuliani even claimed that fraud may have cost Trump a state that Joe Biden won by a margin of more than 450,000 votes. "Virginia was called with 10% of the vote. It turned out to be separated by 1%. I think we may have actually won Virginia," he said, per Mediaite.
- Biden team speaks out. Pennsylvania has already certified its election results, and a Biden transition spokeswoman dismissed the Republican event as a "sideshow." "The election is over. Virtually everyone on Earth has accepted that truth except for Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani,” Kate Bedingfield told reporters on Wednesday. "The Trump campaign has been laughed out of every courtroom with their meritless and baseless lawsuits meant to undermine the will of the American people. This is a sideshow."
(Read more Election 2020