Donald Trump refused to formally concede the US election on Saturday, even as senior Republicans began to distance themselves from him, and as recriminations were reported among aides to a man doomed to go down as an impeached, one-term president. Before the race was called, Trump continued to tweet his defiance and to attract censure for making baseless claims about voter fraud and his supposed victory. He also went to his course in Virginia to play golf. While he played, a defiant statement was issued in his name.
“The simple fact is this election is far from over,” Trump insisted. “Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor.” The statement was of a piece with previous tweets and statements since the election on Tuesday – angry, refusing to admit defeat and alleging improprieties by his opponent without providing evidence.
“The American people are entitled to an honest election,” Trump said. “That means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. “It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.”
None of what Trump alleged has been proved to be true. Nonetheless, Republican legal challenges in key states are set to continue. Leading the effort to marshal a legal force like that which led the party to victory in the 2000 Florida recount were Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr and his younger brother Eric Trump, and Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor recently seen apparently trying to seduce a young actor posing as a reporter in Sacha Baron Cohen’s second Borat movie.