With Votes Still Being Counted, Biden and Trump Await a Morning-After Decision — 'or Maybe Even Longer'
Twitter intervened early Wednesday as the president baselessly claimed "they" were trying to steal the election from him, with final results not yet known in key swing states as votes were being tallied
Joe Biden and Donald Trump struck strikingly different tones as Tuesday tipped into Wednesday and the results of the 2020 presidential election remained unclear while millions of ballots nationwide — and numerous votes in key swing states — were still being counted.
Speaking in Delaware, former Vice President Biden urged patience from supporters for the final tally of ballots and he said that he felt optimistic about a win. At nearly the same time, President Trump, 74, baselessly tweeted from the White House that some unnamed “they” was trying to steal the election from him.
Twitter quickly intervened, hiding Trump's post behind a disclaimer that "some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process."
The president has grown ever more insistent about not counting lawfully cast votes after Election Day.
He has also attacked the Supreme Court for allowing some states to accept votes that are postmarked by Election Day to arrive later and he has said that he might not accept the results of his defeat, suspecting that any loss would be fraudulent.
"We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!" Trump tweeted early Wednesday (after initially misspelling the word "polls" as "poles").
He also wrote that he would soon make a statement, apparently from the White House where a private election night party was held.
When Trump emerged in the White House's East Room shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday, speaking before a crowd of some 150 supporters and aides as well as his family, he quipped to laughter that "this is without question the latest news conference I've ever had."
From there, however, the president's humor evaporated as he ran down a familiar list of grievances and lies about the election, including falsely boasting that he had already won some swing states in which votes were still being counted.
It was the voting itself that president attacked — the latest escalation in what increasingly seems like criticism of democracy itself. He repeated his attacks on lawfully cast ballots that are lawfully counted after Election Day, as has long happened in various states.
And he said, at the end of a confused and rambling stretch, that his campaign might turn to the Supreme Court for relief.
"This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country," he said. "We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election."
"This is a major fraud in our nation, so we'll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court," he continued. (Vice President Mike Pence, on stage with Trump, seemed to quickly clarify, softening the president's stance: "While the votes continue to remain counted were going to remain vigilant ... we're going to protect the integrity of the vote.")
Despite Trump's assertions, millions of votes in six key swing states were still being counted: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and North Carolina.
But Trump painted a different picture. "We will win this and as far as I'm concerned we already have won," he said.
Earlier Wednesday morning Biden, 77, spoke to his supporters at a drive-in event — a pandemic precaution — in Wilmington.
He projected confidence about the paths ahead to victory, given close margins in Arizona, Georgia and likely strength in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, after Trump earned an early win in Florida: “Keep the faith guys, we’re going to win this.”
Further results, Biden said, would take time. And that was okay.
“We knew this was going to go long — but who knew we were going to go into tomorrow morning, maybe even longer?” he said.
"We need to be patient and it ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted,” he continued, going on to say: “It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who’s won the election. That’s the decision of the American people.”
Outside of the remaining swing states that will decide the Electoral College winner, there were millions more ballots still to be counted in other states such as California as of early Wednesday.