WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to acknowledge for the first time that Joe Biden won the White House, but made clear he would not concede and would keep trying to overturn the election result. Trump’s statements came in tweets that included several baseless claims about the November 3 vote, which state and federal officials say was safe and secure.
Trump, without using Biden’s name, tweeted that “He won,” something Trump had not said before publicly, though he said the Democrat’s victory was only “in the eyes” of the media.
Biden defeated Trump by winning back a trio of Midwestern battleground states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and topped the 270 electoral vote threshold to clinch the presidency. Biden so far has 77.5 million votes, the most ever by a winning candidate, to Trump’s 72.3 million.
“If the president’s prepared to begin to recognise that reality, that’s positive,” Biden’s incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’.
Still, Klain said, “Donald Trump’s Twitter feed doesn’t make Joe Biden president or not president. The American people did that.”
A Republican governor said “it was good actually” to see Trump’s tweet that Biden won. “I think that’s the start of an acknowledgment. We want to make sure that there is a smooth transition,” said Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson on NBC.
The president has previously refused to accept the results of the election and, in a later tweet Sunday, he dug in again, saying, “I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go.” Even while seemingly acknowledging Biden’s victory, he also argued without evidence that the former vice president only won because the election was “rigged.” Trump then made unsubstantiated complaints about access for poll watchers and about vote tabulations and asserted, “WE WILL WIN!” Twitter soon posted warning labels about the tweets.
There has been no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
Trump’s campaign has tried to mount legal challenges across the country, but many of the lawsuits have been thrown out and none has included any evidence that the outcome might be reversed.
Nearly two weeks after Election Day, Trump has neither called Biden nor made a formal concession, and White House officials have insisted that they are preparing for a second term.