Americas

Trump posts 46-minute rant on Facebook complaining about losing election

Outgoing US President Donald Trump has launched a new 46 minute-long rant calling for the election to be overturned.

In a pre-recorded speech he posted on Facebook on Wednesday, he repeated unsubstantiated claims about the win being stolen from him and wrongly claimed that he triumphed in key battleground states he lost.

Rather than pick a venue with an audience and reporters who might ask questions, Trump delivered the tirade to cameras in the Diplomatic Room of the White House.

He called the address perhaps ‘the most important speech’ of his presidency, though he largely recycled the same conspiracy theories of voter fraud that he has been making for the past month since losing the election to Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Members of Trump’s own administration, including Attorney General William Barr, say no proof of widespread voter fraud has been uncovered. Courts in multiple battleground states have dismissed a barrage of lawsuits filed on behalf of the president.

‘Even what I’m saying now will be demeaned and disparaged,’ Trump predicted.

‘This election was rigged. Everyone knows it. I don’t mind if I lose an election, but I want to lose an election fair and square. What I don’t want to do is have it stolen from the American people.’

 At one point during the bizarre rant, Trump held up a chart purporting to show a scheme to steal an election. However, the spike in votes he pointed to has been identified as Milwaukee County votes being counted once they came in

His remarks raise questions about how far he may be willing to go in his campaign to overturn Mr Biden’s win, including whether he might press Republicans in Congress to block certification of the vote, a move that has been floated by the president’s allies.

Mr Biden received a record 81 million votes compared to 74 million for his opponent. The Democrat also won 306 electoral votes compared to 232 for Mr Trump.

Trump said the election results should be ‘overturned immediately’ in several battleground states and suggested the Supreme Court should intervene in his favour, saying: ‘Hopefully, they will do what’s right for our country because our country can’t live with this kind of an election.’

But chances are slim that the Supreme Court would become involved, as no appeals claiming fraud have been filed at the high court.

Pennsylvania Republicans want the justices to prevent certification of Mr Biden’s win in the state, but their appeal alleges Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional, not fraud. The state Supreme Court already has dismissed the lawsuit.

About an hour after Trump’s video was posted it had been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook and shared by more than 60,000 Facebook users.

Both Facebook and Twitter flagged the president’s posting as problematic, with Twitter noting Trump’s claims about election fraud were disputed.

Professor of political history at Princeton University, Julian Zelizer, said the nation has seen close elections before – 1800, 1876 and, most recently in 2000 – but this year’s election did not fit in that category.

‘This is just a random baseless attack on the entire election,’ Mr Zelizer said.

‘Trump has no turning point. I often say there are parallels or precedents, but there aren’t in this case. He keeps bending norms.’

The US Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the election outcome.

But hours after posting the video, the Trump campaign announced the president had launched yet another lawsuit contesting the election results in Wisconsin. 

Attorneys for the state’s Democratic governor have called the case an ‘assault on democracy’.

The video comes after Trump confirmed he will try to run again for president in 2024 as he hosted a party with dozens of maskless politicians in the White House.

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