“Democracy is sometimes messy,” Biden said. Sometimes it takes a little patience, too. But this patience is now being rewarded for more than 240 years with a regime that was the envy of the world. “
He urged calm and stressed that “every card must be counted.”
Hours later, at a startling press conference, Trump lied about the vote count going on in several states, invoking a conspiracy of “legal” and “illegal” ballots being tabulated, and claiming without evidence that states were trying to deny him re-election.
“They are trying to steal the elections,” the president said from the White House briefing room. “They are trying to rig the elections.” He also baselessly referred to outrageous behavior in Philadelphia and Detroit, the two cities with densely populated black populations that he called “two of the most corrupt political places”.
For the most part, Trump’s notes, read from the notes, were more of a farewell than a challenge. Far from insisting he would stay in power, he used much of his appearance to complain about pre-election polls, demonize the media and try to show the best picture on Tuesday’s results, bypassing his party’s gains in Congress. He did not respond to reporters’ questions.
For all Trump’s grievances, Trump himself and his party bear responsibility for the late counting of votes in a number of states.
Republican state and local officials have refused to allow localities to count votes by mail before Tuesday in some states. Because of Trump’s months-long attacks on mail ballots, more Democrats than Republicans voted in this way, allowing Biden to capture the bulk of the vote arriving in the mail.
In his speech, Trump did not express concern about the length of the vote count in Arizona, a state in which he was cutting Biden’s lead as more ballots are scheduled.
Republican leaders provided no immediate response to Trump’s comments, but a small group of dissident lawmakers in the party denounced his remarks, in an effort to reassure voters that there was no reason to believe that the integrity of the elections had been undermined.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois and a frequent critic of Trump, gave a sharp rebuke, calling his speech “crazy” and demanding that he stop “spreading false misinformation.”
However, there were also Republican lawmakers who were quick to defend Trump, siding with him in the false assertion that the vote count was illegal and that the Democrats were trying to cheat. Rep. Roger Williams of Texas wrote: “The Radical Democrats tried to get rid of law and order and are now trying to get rid of law and order in the ballot box.”
With the world watching to see if one of the most bizarre presidencies in the nation’s history is nearing its end, the US electoral bill has created a bewildering and troubling day for both parties, not to mention the millions of Americans anxious to conclude the campaign.
Biden’s advantage in Arizona, a state that had already invited the Associated Press for the former vice president’s position, diminished as thousands of votes were tabulated. But in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Trump saw his early advantage diminish as ballots counted through the mail.
Even Trump’s remarks on Thursday evening, he has not appeared in public since he appeared at midnight on Wednesday to insist he actually won. But he posted angry messages on Twitter, and continued to do so on Thursday.
“Everyone who Biden recently claimed that states will be legally defied by us on charges of voter fraud and state election fraud,” he said in one of the letters, without explaining what exactly that might imply. “Stop counting!” Shouted in another tweet.
In reprimanding the president, Twitter described some of the messages as “disputed” and said they “may be misleading about an election or other civil process.”
In any case, stopping the count now would only ensure Biden won the presidency, as he leads in Arizona and Nevada – states that together would give him 270 electoral votes.
Meanwhile, the main race in the Georgian Senate that could decide a majority in the House is now a lot closer, with Republican Senator David Purdue seeing his vote drop below 50% in his race against John Usoff, the Democrat. If neither of them wins a majority, the race will head into a run-off in January, which puts the possibility of a two-seat Senate battle in Georgia. The runoff has already been planned for the special election for the other seat of state.
On Thursday, a group of Trump’s political agents deployed to some of the disputed states to rally his supporters. The president’s lawyers have filed lawsuits in several states questioning the fairness of the vote count, hoping to slow down the process.
He suffered two legal setbacks on Thursday when judges in Georgia and Michigan ruled against his campaign. But Trump scored a minor victory in Pennsylvania when the state’s appeals court approved its request to compel Philadelphia election officials to give election observers better access to districts where workers count the ballots.
With counting slowly continuing in the West, much of the focus was on Thursday on Pennsylvania, with Biden winning the presidency regardless of results in other states. The state’s senior election official said Thursday evening that the counties were “still” counting “and did not provide any A schedule for when the count is completed.
Trump’s progress has diminished in the state as ballots are counted by mail in cities and suburbs with Democrats.
The two parties held competing press conferences in Philadelphia early in the day, as Trump supporters insisted that the lead would hold out statewide, and city Democrats, led by former Rep. Robert A. Brady, unveiled an analysis of the number of remaining votes that concluded Biden would Pennsylvania wins convincingly.
In Georgia, ballot counting in several counties continued to undermine Trump’s advantage in the traditionally Republican state: by Thursday night, he was leading by fewer than 4,000 votes out of the nearly 5 million cast.
Tens of thousands of ballots remained to be counted in the state late in the day, including many in Chatham County, a Democratic-leaning county along the Georgia coast that is home to Savannah, and thousands of other Atlanta-area counties that are also Democratic.
Georgia’s Republican Party has said it intends to file 12 lawsuits in the state.
In Arizona, Biden’s lead has dropped to about 58,000 votes, much lower than it was on election night. There are hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count, many of them coming from Maricopa County in Phoenix, which an update was expected to release Thursday evening.
Adrian Fonts, the Democrat overseeing elections in Maricopa County, home of Phoenix, said officials will continue to release daily updates at 7 p.m. ET, including over the weekend.
“We are moving forward and we’re making it,” Fontes said.
However, tension has increased in the vote count in Maricopa, since several armed protesters appeared at the county office on Wednesday night. About 200 Trump supporters gathered Thursday afternoon outside the Republican headquarters in Arizona after a protest earlier in the day in which about 50 Trump supporters gathered in front of City Hall in Phoenix.
Some carried banners reading “Don’t steal the election,” “Shame on Fox News,” and “Take back the lines.” (Fox News Arizona called Biden on Tuesday night, which inflamed Trump supporters.)
Biden produces just over 11,000 votes in Nevada, but local officials in Las Vegas announced Thursday that 51,000 Clark County ballot papers have been counted there and it will be announced on Friday. Biden won the county by about 8 percentage points. If he wins the bulk of the new vote, it will be nearly impossible for Trump to take over the state, since about 70% of Nevada voters live in Clark County.
As part of an effort to sow doubts about the state election, the Nevada state administrator in Nevada sent Trump a letter to supporters on Thursday asking them to “appear on camera / to record the issues they faced while voting in this election” in order to “uncover” the issues we see in Polling sites / clerical offices. “
For its part, both publicly and privately, the Biden campaign spent much of Thursday trying to dampen expectations about the certainty of outcomes in individual nations, even as his supporters were tense as the margins became much closer than many had anticipated.
In a briefing with reporters, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, acknowledged that his strings in Arizona and Nevada might shrink or flip. It was a departure from her position the day before when she referred to a “historic victory in a place like Arizona,” though she still expressed her optimism about the victories in both states.
“We expect, like Nevada, that some margin will continue to close today,” she said of Arizona, which she has focused on for months. “The Arizona story is one that Joe Biden will win, but it will take time and patience as we go through the count.”
At another point, she said, “Today’s story will be a very positive story for the Vice President, but it is also a story where people need to be patient and calm.”