Don Jr. and Eric call for a ‘manual recount’ and tweet claims of election fraud in sign of family split as Jared tells his father-in-law it’s time to quit
- President’s two oldest sons tweet flurry of claims of voter fraud and Eric demands a manual recount of ‘every vote’
- It is not known if Eric and Don Jr. have spoken directly to their father who learned he was defeated while golfing and tweeted angrily: ‘I WON.’
- Just after Joe Biden addressed the nation however, Jared Kushner was revealed to be pushing his father-in-law to concede
- Differing moves suggest a family split over what to tell the president
- Meanwhile some Republicans say he needs ‘time to absorb’ what happened while on CNN Rick Santorum said he had ‘conditions’ for conceding
Donald Trump’s eldest sons launched a fusillade of morning tweets claiming their father’s defeat was fraudulent Sunday, in a sign of a split from their brother-in-law Jared Kushner.
Don Jr. and Eric both retweeted claims from Republican operatives that included the late boxer Joe Frazier voting in Philadelphia and that counting software was rigged against Republicans.
Eric called for a ‘manual recount’ of all ballots – which would amount to as many as 150 million – because one county in Georgia said three days ago that it was briefly delaying counting due to a software glitch.
‘Software from hell! There needs to be a manual recount of every ballot in this country right now!’ he said.
And Don Jr. retweeted an anti-concession demand accusing Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania of ‘rampant fraud.’
It was unclear early Sunday whether either son has spoken to their father since his defeat was called by networks just before midday Saturday.
But it was revealed late Saturday night that their brother-in-law Jared has been urging Trump to come to terms with defeat and offer a concession.
First son’s complaint: The glitch referred to happened on Tuesday in Gwinnett County, GA and was resolved by Thursday
Claim: In this Tweet Paul Gosar – a Trump loyalist Republican congressman – claimed that software which had awarded 6,000 votes to Biden in error in Michigan in a glitch immediately spotted and disclosed by officials there – should be examined everywhere it was used
Poll watching claims: The Trump campaign claimed in press conferences and tweets that observers were ‘banned’ then admitted in court that they were not. They are expected to sue Monday over not being allowed close enough to see what happened. Democrats operated under the same rules
Claim: Project Veritas, the right-wing group which specializes in undercover videos, has what it alleges is a whistleblower Post Office worker who claims he was told to collect ballots which were then backdated to suggest they had been mailed before the deadline of November 3. The claims have not been addressed by the USPS
Unclear claim: Allegations that Joe Frazier voted in his native Philadelphia in 2018 after his death have circulated on the internet for the last two years. There is so far no evidence to support a claim someone voted in his name in 2020
Nothing yet though: Conservative lobbyist and Trump backer Matt Schlapp’s claims about Nevada were amplified by Don Jr. but he has so far presented no direct evidence
Furious reaction: Donald Trump was hustled in through a side door of the White House Saturday to avoid celebrating crowds outside, then launched an all-caps tweet claiming: ‘BAD THINGS HAPPENED. I WON.’
The possibility of an ugly family split would add new drama to the last days of the Trump White House – although the two sons had offered contradictory signals themselves on Saturday.
Eric did not attend a press conference with Rudy Giuliani outside a landscaping company in Philadelphia – and across the road from a sex shop – where the president’s personal attorney claimed he had evidence of voting fraud in the city.
Eric had attended Giuliani’s Thursday press conference in the city where the former New York mayor and Borat prank victim claimed ‘Canadians and Martians’ may have voted in the Keystone state.
And Don Jr. flurry of tweets claiming the election was corrupt were accompanied by an Instagram post with his father paying tribute to his willingness to ‘fight’ in what could be interpreted as an elegy for a lost cause.
The question of who can tell Trump it is time to admit he is done has perplexed aides in his inner circle.
Some have launched public attempts to flatter him into conceding, including former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who used a Wall Street Journal op-ed to say Saturday that Trump will concede once he is sure the election was not corrupt.
How he reacted: Trump furiously tweeted a series of claims about the election
‘BAD THINGS HAPPENED’: TRUMP’S COMPLAINTS AND WHAT THEY MEAN
‘THE OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTING ROOMS.’
Trump has claimed before that his campaign were refused access to counts, particularly in Pennsylvania. No evidence has emerged that this is the case. A federal judge asked Trump’s campaign lawyer when he sued for more access in Philadelphia how many observers were in the room and was told: ‘A non-zero number.’
‘I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES.’
Counting so far says Trump got 70,897,293 votes according to the Cook Report. But Joe Biden got 75,439,774. The popular vote in any case does not determine the election. Numbers of votes disqualified as ‘illegal’ for either candidate are unknown so far.
‘BAD THINGS HAPPENED WHICH OUR OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.’
The ‘bad things’ has no explanation or basis in what the Trump campaign has tried to claim in court so far. In Georgia they claimed 75 ballots were added after polls had closed when the Trump poll watcher left the room. A judge threw out the case for lack of evidence. There have been other claims of ballots being altered on his sons’ social media but none have been formally made in court.
‘MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WERE SENT TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER ASKED FOR THEM!’
Some states did send mail-in ballots to voters without them being requested to try to stop people coming to vote, as part of their efforts to prevent the spread of COVID. Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington all did already. The news states were California, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont and the District of Columbia. They all announced it much earlier in the year and Trump never sued to try to stop it in court. His campaign is not suing anywhere over these ballots. Trump has claimed repeatedly these would cause fraud but so far has presented no evidence of such a fraud.
‘71,000,000 Legal Votes. The most EVER for a sitting President!’
This is true, the previous record was for Barack Obama with 65,915,795. Obama was not on the ballot and the presidential election is determined by the electoral college, which Trump won in 2016 despite losing the popular vote.
Laura Ingraham, the Fox News 10pm host used her show on Thursday to call for him to ‘stand tall’ and know that ‘it was all worth it.’
‘If and when it’s time to accept an unfavorable outcome in this election, and we hope it never comes, President Trump needs to do it with the same grace and composure that he demonstrated at that town hall with Savannah Guthrie,’ she said Thursday. ‘President Trump´s legacy will only become more significant if he focuses on moving the country forward.’
But Trump’s own state of mind was clear in his tweets Saturday.
Trump is not expected to ever formally concede, according to people close to him, but is likely to grudgingly vacate the White House at the end of his term. His ongoing efforts to paint the election as unfair are seen both as an effort to soothe a bruised ego and to show his loyal base of supporters that he is still fighting. That could be key to keeping them energized for what comes next.
‘He intends to fight,’ Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said as it was becoming clear that the president was headed for defeat.
Would Trump ever concede? ‘I doubt it,’ said Trump´s longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone, whose prison sentence was commuted by Trump in July. Stone asserted that Biden, as a result, will have ‘a cloud over his presidency with half the people in the country believing that he was illegitimately elected.’
Allies suggested that if Trump wants to launch a media empire in coming years, he has an incentive to prolong the drama. So, too, if he intends to keep the door open to a possible 2024 comeback – he would be only a year older then than Biden is now.
There are many in his inner circle egging him on, including his personal attorney, Giuliani.
If he is watching his favored news outlet, Fox News Sunday, he is unlikely to hear voices suggesting he give up
On Fox & Friends Sunday morning, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that the election was a ‘left-wing power grab,’ and called it ‘a corrupt stolen election.’
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee – whose daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders was White House press secretary and spent election night with Trump – scoffed at the idea he should concede.
And Steve Scalise, the Republicans’ second-most senior member of the House, claimed state laws in Pennsylvania ‘were not being followed’ in the counting of late-arriving ballots and that Democratic officials were ‘not being transparent.’
So far the only senior Republicans to congratulate Joe Biden on becoming president-elect have been Mitt Romney, who voted to impeach and remove Trump from office, and Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska senator who Trump has repeatedly attacked.
No other members of the House or Senate who are close to Trump have spoken out to suggest the election is over.
And the Trump campaign itself has bombarded supporters with fundraising emails and texts based on their claims they will fight results in the courts.
They have raked in tens of millions of dollars since Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter.
Some of the money was earmarked to retire campaign debt – not fight in the courts – but the rest could be used to keep up an aggressive public campaign to continue to undermine faith in the election outcome.
That the peaceful transfer of power was even in doubt reflected the norm-shattering habits of the now-lame duck president, who even in victory never admitted that he had lost the popular vote in 2016.
Most aides believed the president would take the weekend to decide on a plan, which will most certainly involve more legal action.
But some aides believe the legal skirmishes are more about putting up the appearance of a fight than producing results.
There were some apparent indications Trump was moving in a less contentious direction, even as he continued to angrily complain to aides, reviving old grievances about the Russia investigation that began under President Barack Obama,
In a statement Friday, Trump suggested he would avail himself of every avenue under the law to challenge the election’s result. Allies interpreted it as a begrudging acknowledgement of the likely outcome.
‘We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,’ Trump said in the statement. ‘I will never give up fighting for you and our nation.’
On Saturday, the White House released a terse statement saying the president ‘will accept the results of a free and fair election’ and that the administration ‘is following all statutory requirements.’
Still, there were concerns that Trump’s rhetoric would inflame tensions in a nation that was already bitterly divided before the election. Isolated scuffles were reported near tabulation centers in Philadelphia and Phoenix.
Pro-Trump protesters – some of them openly carrying rifles and handguns – rallied outside tallying facilities in a few cities around the country Friday, responding to Trump´s groundless accusations that the Democrats were trying to steal the White House.
The Biden campaign made clear its patience had limits.
‘As we said on July 19, the American people will decide this election,’ Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said Friday. ‘And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.’
Trump, whose voluminous Twitter account seems to provide an apt entry for any occasion, offered this advice in 2016: ‘Vladimir Putin said today about Hillary and Dems: ‘In my opinion, it is humiliating. One must be able to lose with dignity,’ So true!’
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