“Certainly I will, and you know that,” Trump said in his first explicit commitment to vacate office if the process did not go his way, adding, “It’s going to be a very hard thing to concede because we know that there was massive fraud.”
Asked if he would attend Biden’s inauguration on January 20, Trump said “I know the answer,” but declined to elaborate.
The defeated President’s meeting with the media, his first in the three weeks since he lost the election, was a testy affair in parts as he continued to make claims his legal team has failed to press in court but milks in public domain.
At one point Trump got snippy with Reuters’ White House correspondent Jeff Mason, snapping, “You’re just a lightweight…Don’t talk to me that … I’m the president of the United States. Don’t ever talk to the president that way.” Mason had spoken over Trump, pressing ahead with a follow-up question about conceding the election even as the President was claiming fraud.
Trump has had a contentious relationship with the mainstream White House press corps that is openly skeptical of his claims. He had mocked Mason for wearing a mask and once asked him to take it off before asking a question at a press conference, which the journalist declined to do, insisting he was happy to speak louder if Trump could not hear him.
Hours after Thursday’s meeting, Trump carried his anger over to social media, calling for a termination “for purposes of National Security” of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, apparently irked by the hashtag #DiaperDon trending on Twitter. Section 230 provides immunity from prosecution for websites that publish third-party content.
“Twitter is sending out totally false ‘Trends’ that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in the world. They make it up, and only negative ‘stuff’. Same thing will happen to Twitter as is happening to @FoxNews daytime. Also, big Conservative discrimination!” Trump raged, as critics humiliated him with memes and skits mocking him, including his sitting on a child-sized desk for Thursday’s event to convey Thanksgiving message to US troops.
Twitter is sending out totally false “Trends” that have absolutely nothing to do with what is really trending in th… https://t.co/B8DIPJ3eT7
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1606450005000
News about that event was sidelined as Trump continued his campaign to denigrate the US elections claiming he was defeated through fraud.
“We were robbed. We were robbed. I won that by hundreds of thousands of votes. Everybody knows it,” he maintained. He also insisted there was no way Biden could have polled 80 million votes, far more than President Obama’s record 70 million votes in 2008, even though the US population (and also electorate size) has grown by nearly 25 million since that time.
“If the media were honest and big tech was fair, it wouldn’t even be a contest. And I would have won by a tremendous amount,” Trump said, quickly correcting himself to say, “And I did win by a tremendous amount.”
He said he didn’t want to talk about running in 2024 yet since in his eyes the 2020 race was not yet over.
Speculation has raged about Trump’s next steps as he has remained bunkered in the White House since his defeat, emerging occasionally to play golf at a resort in nearby Virginia. On Thursday, he gave every indication that he will remain politically active by revealing he will visit Georgia to campaign for two Republican Senators locked in a run-off election. Losing both will hand over the Senate to Democratic control.
Trump has not appeared to be particularly engaged outside of Twitter since his election loss, with few public engagements even as the coronavirus continues to gallop across the country. On Thursday, he appeared resentful that the vaccine to protect against Covid-19 had arrived after the elections, saying infelicitously, “The vaccines — and by the way, don’t let Joe Biden take credit for the vaccine. .?.?. Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines, because the vaccines were me.”
Under rules pertaining to elections, any challenge to the results must be resolved by December 8. All states must certify their results before the Electoral College meets on December 14. The US Congress will gather on January 6, 2021 to formally certify the Electoral College results and declare the winner of the White House.