WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to acknowledge for the first time that Joe Biden won the White House, but made clear he would not concede and would keep trying to overturn the election result. Trump's statements came in tweets that included several baseless claims about the Nov. 3 vote, which state and federal officials say was safe and secure.
Trump, without using Biden's name, tweeted that "He won," something Trump had not said before publicly, though he said the Democrat's victory was only "in the eyes" of the media. Biden defeated Trump by winning back a trio of Midwestern battleground states: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and topped the 270 electoral vote threshold to clinch the presidency. Biden so far has 77.5 million votes, the most ever by a winning candidate, to Trump's 72.3 million.
"If the president’s prepared to begin to recognize that reality, that’s positive," Biden's incoming chief of staff, Ron Klain told NBC's "Meet the Press." Still, Klain said, "Donald Trump’s Twitter feed doesn’t make Joe Biden president or not president. The American people did that."
A Republican governor said "it was good actually" to see Trump's tweet that Biden won. "I think that’s the start of an acknowledgment. ... We want to make sure that there is a smooth transition," said Arkansas' Asa Hutchinson on NBC.
The president has previously refused to accept the results of the election and he dug in again Sunday, in a subsequent tweet saying, "I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go." Even while seemingly acknowledging Biden’s victory, he also argued without evidence that the former vice president only won because the election was "rigged."
There has been no widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
Trump’s campaign has tried to mount legal challenges across the country, but many of the lawsuits have been thrown out and none has included any evidence that the outcome might be reversed.
Trump on Sunday renewed his groundless attacks on an election technology firm, Dominion Voting Systems, without evidence of any serious irregularities. Dominion has said it "denies claims about any vote switching or alleged software issues with our voting systems."
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, a federal agency that oversees U.S. election security, said in a statement last week that the "November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney and the former New York City mayor, said Sunday that Trump's "he won" tweet was meant sarcastically.
Giuliani, speaking on Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures," attempted to clarify Trump's remarks. "What he's saying is more, I guess, you would call it sarcastic, or a comment on the terrible times in which we live, in which the media has said he won, but by going on to point out that it was illegal. Obviously, he's contesting it vigorously in the courts."
With Scott Eidler