President Donald Trump looks on after posting an update on Operation Warp Speed in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on November 13, 2020.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump publicly admitted for the first time that President-elect Joe Biden won the election, more than seven days after media such as NBC News declared the race for Biden.
The president’s comments, made in what appeared to be an impromptu post on social media, stem from his campaign continuing to question the results of the court elections and his government holding back formal transition processes.
In subsequent tweets, Trump wrote that he would not admit it.
The alleged acknowledgment of the defeat came on Twitter in response to a post on the Fox News show “Watters’ World” which suggested that Biden “did not deserve” the presidency.
“He won because the election was rigged,” wrote Trump, reiterating a claim debunked by election officials across the country and his own Department of Homeland Security.
Shortly after writing that Biden had won, Trump wrote in another post that he admitted “NOTHING” and claimed that “WE WILL WIN!”
“He only won in the eyes of FAKE NEWS MEDIA,” wrote Trump.
The spate of tweets comes as the president continues to argue without evidence that the election was rigged against him, energizing his base even if he is defeated.
Thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, DC on Saturday to protest the results. At least 20 people were arrested after pro-Trump groups clashed with counter-protesters.
A White House official told NBC News when asked if Trump would admit defeat, “It looks like this.” The official added that this could mark the start of Trump’s clean sheet.
Biden’s chief of staff Ronald Klain said later on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press that he accepted the president’s post on Twitter “as further confirmation of the reality that Joe Biden won the election”.
“If the president is ready to see this reality, that is positive,” said Klain. He added that “Donald Trump’s Twitter feed doesn’t make Joe Biden president or president. The American people did that.”
So far, more than 97% of the expected votes in the 2020 race have been tabulated. NBC News predicts Biden will get 306 votes compared to Trump’s 232 votes. It takes 270 votes to win.
Biden also leads Trump in the referendum by more than 5 million votes, although the referendum is not legally significant.
The importance of recognizing the president was not immediately clear, especially given his later reversal.
Trump’s re-election campaign continues to track litigation across the country to slow down the electoral certification process in key states or otherwise challenge electoral processes. Most of these efforts have so far been unsuccessful.
Formal transition delayed
His administration has also yet to announce formal recognition of Biden’s victory, which has delayed millions in funding and other government funding for the transition effort.
General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy must sign the paperwork for the transition process to begin. The GSA did not return an email requesting a comment. A Biden interim official told NBC News that they had not received any information about the GSA process on Sunday morning.
The Biden team has continued to advance transition efforts despite the stone walls of the Trump administration. On Wednesday, Biden named Klain his chief of staff. Biden is expected to take on additional roles in the coming weeks.
The former vice president has instilled confidence that the president’s efforts would not hinder the peaceful transfer of power.
The Democrat team has repeatedly said, in response to inquiries on the matter, “The United States government is perfectly positioned to escort intruders from the White House.”
Biden called Trump’s refusal to admit an “embarrassment” on Tuesday, but said it would not slow the transition.
“We have already started the transition. We are on the right track,” he said at a press conference in Delaware.
Republicans have been slow to recognize Biden’s victory, although there has been some movement in that direction in recent days. In particular, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has not yet named Biden as an elected president.
GOP Sens. Susan Collins from Maine, Mitt Romney from Utah, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Ben Sasse from Nebraska have congratulated Biden on his victory, as did the last Republican to hold office, former President George W. Bush.
Senior Republicans, including Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, John Thune from South Dakota, and James Lankford from Oklahoma, have urged Biden to gain access to classified information.