How long can Trump keep his election grift going?
President Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets Sunday morning that included his first acknowledgment that Joe Biden won the November 3 contest but Trump couched the statement by falsely asserting the former vice president "only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA" and reiterating his refusal to concede.
Trump also furthered his false claim the "election was rigged."
Twitter marked Trump's tweets with the label "This claim about election fraud is disputed."
"Joe Biden won the election. Everyone knows that Joe Biden won the election. Donald Trump knows Joe Biden won the election. Trump accidentally let it slip that Joe Biden won the election, and if Joe Biden won the election, he can't keep this grift going, so he had to take it back," government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington responded to the president's tweets.
Biden won the national popular vote by more than 5.5 million votes, and topped the 270 electoral vote threshold, getting 306 to Trump's 232 as of Saturday.
Countering Trump's claims, federal and state election oversight officials said in a joint statement Thursday that the "November 3rd election was the most secure in American history... There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."
The Trump campaign has nevertheless sought to challenge vote counts in several states. But, as Politico reported Saturday, "The president's legal machine... is slowly grinding to a halt after suffering a slew of legal defeats and setbacks."
"In the effort to stop Joe Biden's victory from being certified, so many lawsuits have been filed in so many state and federal courts that no one has an exact number. But one thing is certain," the outlet continued, "the Trump campaign has an almost perfect record, having won only one case and lost at least a dozen."
The Trump administration's delay—which has extended for a week while Trump makes baseless allegations of widespread fraud and insists litigation will secure him the presidency—is already keeping Biden from receiving high-level intelligence briefings and complicating his team's plans to move swiftly on the coronavirus. It could also hamper Biden administration staffing and security clearance processes while making it harder for the new administration to take the reins of government agencies.
Biden's team said the transition is progressing despite the Trump administration's continued refusal to recognize a new president-elect, but it acknowledged that the longer the delay goes on, the worse its effects will be.
Speaking to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday about Trump's refusal to concede, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) projected that Trump will "have the distinction of doing more than any person in the history of this country in undermining American democracy."
"The idea that he continues to tell his supporters that the only reason he may have lost this election is because of fraud is an absolutely disgraceful, un-American thing to do," Sanders said, and suggested Trump "'man up' and say, 'You know what? We fought hard, we lost the election, good luck to Joe Biden, I love America.'"
"But the fact that he is not even cooperating in the transition, the fact that he continues to deny reality and... suggest that Biden has illegally won the election is beyond belief, in terms of behavior for an American president," said Sanders.
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