WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden pushed closer Thursday to the 270 Electoral College votes he needed to win the White House while President Donald Trump escalated his unproven accusations of voter fraud and promises of legal action. States across the country were still counting ballots that were cast ahead of or on Election Day, and a handful of battlegrounds remained up for grabs. Trump tried to aggressively press his case in court, but with just a few key states in play, it was unclear whether the flurry of court action could have an impact on the trajectory of the race.
The president tossed off a series of tweets alleging, without evidence, electoral misconduct and pressing for vote counting to stop. In an all-caps official campaign statement, he wrongly equated the counting of ballots with improper voting. “IF YOU COUNT THE LEGAL VOTES, I EASILY WIN THE ELECTION! IF YOU COUNT THE ILLEGAL AND LATE VOTES, THEY CAN STEAL THE ELECTION FROM US!” said Trump.
The president’s erroneous claim could further rattle a nation uneasily waiting for a winner two days after Election Day. Neither candidate had amassed the votes needed to win the White House, but Biden’s victories in Michigan and Wisconsin put him on the brink. Biden moved to project the appearance of a president, planning to attend a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday. Trump, in contrast, remained in the White House residence, working the phones and escalating his efforts to sow doubt about the outcome of the race.
With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 71 million votes, the most in history. At an afternoon news conference Wednesday, the former vice president said he expected to win the presidency but stopped short of outright declaring victory. “I will govern as an American president,” Biden said. “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.”