President Trump Was Golfing When the Election Was Called for Biden — as His Campaign Now Threatens a Fight
It was not quite noon on Saturday when word broke that the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was finally over — four days after the polls closed and as millions of ballots had since shown the Democratic nominee overtake Trump in key swing states.
Biden, 77, soon issued a statement that he was "honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect [Kamala] Harris."
His campaign told reporters he would make a speech Saturday night from Delaware.
When the race was called, President Trump, 74, was at his golf club in Virginia in his first trip out of the White House since the election. (He has rarely been seen since Tuesday night, even as he has posted waves of tweets attacking the election.)
Shortly before Biden was projected as the election winner, Trump tweeted to insist "I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!" which was not true.
After the race was called for Biden a short time later, Trump issued a new statement in keeping with that increasingly defiant and deceitful tone about his defeat.
"The simple fact is this election is far from over," he said. "Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states."
(Indeed, certification by the states will not actually occur for weeks. But various media organizations historically project winners once the math on the vote counting becomes clear.)
The president also again implied, without evidence, that Biden's wins were the result of fraud and said that this week he would be mounting a series of legal challenges and asking for recounts.
Trump has softened his rhetoric since Election Day, after initially arguing that vote counting should stop entirely. Since then, he has said he wants to ensure the integrity of the vote though he has failed to provide evidence of his allegations of wrongdoing.
It was unclear if Trump would make a more formal speech reacting to Biden's win: The White House said on Friday that neither he nor Vice President Mike Pence would hold any events this weekend.
The Biden campaign has reacted dismissively to the idea that the president could resist the transition of power (which legally is already underway).
“As we said on July 19th, the American people will decide this election," a campaign spokesman told reporters this week. "And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House."
On Saturday, campaign adviser Symone Sanders told reporters much the same.
"Donald Trump does not get to decide the winner of elections," she said. "The people decide. Voters in the country decide, as we have long said, and voters have made their choice very clear.”
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