U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday claimed that the election was being “stolen” from him.
Mr. Trump, 74, has sought to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of mail-in ballots, which surged in popularity due to fears of exposure to the coronavirus through in-person voting. As counts from those ballots have been tallied, they have eroded the initial strong leads the President had in states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.
States have historically taken time after Election Day to tally all votes.
The close election has underscored the nation’s deep political divides, and if he wins Mr. Biden will likely face a difficult task governing in a deeply polarised Washington.
Republicans could keep control of the U.S. Senate pending the outcome of four undecided Senate races, including two in Georgia, and they would likely block large parts of his legislative agenda, including expanding healthcare and fighting climate change.
The winner will have to tackle a pandemic that has killed more than 2,34,000 people in the U.S. and left millions more out of work, even as the country still grapples with the aftermath of months of unrest over race relations and police brutality.
Mr. Trump fired off several tweets in the early morning hours on Friday, and repeated some of the complaints he aired earlier at the White House. “I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST,” he said on Twitter, without offering any evidence that any illegal votes have been cast.
Twitter flags post
Twitter flagged the post as possibly misleading, something it has done to numerous posts by Mr. Trump since Election Day.
In an extraordinary assault on the democratic process, Mr. Trump appeared in the White House briefing room on Thursday evening and alleged the election was being “stolen” from him.
Mr. Trump lambasted election workers and sharply criticised polling before the election that he said was designed to suppress the vote because it favoured Mr. Biden.
“They’re trying to rig an election, and we can’t let that happen,” said Mr. Trump, who spoke in the White House briefing room but took no questions. Several TV networks cut away during his remarks, with anchors saying they needed to correct his statements.
Mr. Biden, who earlier in the day urged patience as votes were counted, responded on Twitter: “No one is going to take our democracy away from us. Not now, not ever.”
Trump supporters, some carrying guns, ramped up their demonstrations against the process on Thursday night. In Arizona, Trump and Biden supporters briefly scuffled outside the Maricopa County Elections Department in Phoenix.
In Philadelphia, police said they arrested one man and seized a weapon as part of an investigation into a purported plot to attack the city’s Pennsylvania Convention Center, where votes were being counted.
Mr. Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, pursued a flurry of lawsuits in several states, though judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly rejected challenges there. Legal experts said the cases had little chance of affecting the electoral outcome, and Biden campaign senior legal adviser Bob Bauer call them part of a “broader misinformation campaign.”